Anyone who knows me well will know how much I am not a fan of camping/roughing it! I hate bugs, creepy crawlies and I hate being cold. So you can imagine how much I was dreading staying in a wigwam in October! Basically It was my dad’s 50th in June and I struggled to know what to get him that was special. I knew he just wanted to spend time with me and I know he loves camping so I decided to bite the bullet and buy a voucher for us all to go, and put aside my dislike of it (on this one occasion). I thought we would plan to go in a couple of months time, but as usual there was always something that meant we had to keep moving it further and further forward. When we got to the end of September and still hadn’t booked we realised we were going to have to do it soon before it got to cold!
The voucher I bought was actually on Groupon and was a really good deal, £45 for a 2 night stay (going on a Sunday) for 2 people. I did however have trouble with the company to begin with as when I booked and then had to change the date (I rang up 2 days after originally booking) they told me, no can do. I begged and pleaded with them saying that we didn’t realise the Great North Run was going to be then and that we don’t want to lose our money but they just said tough luck basically. The woman on the phone was extremely rude and after me crying to my partner at the fact that I had just lost £90 of my money (I had to buy 2 vouchers) and a few more phone calls from him and my mum to the woman, they agreed we could change the date if we paid a £25 admin charge. Baring in mind the dates we wanted were free and were no skin off their nose. We also gave plenty of notice to change the date so it wasn’t a last min cancellation.
Once we were booked in and had paid to change the date we then discovered that we would also need to pay extra to have little dude in the hut with us. This made no sense to me as it made absolutely no difference to them whether there were 2 or 3 of us in there. The wigwams were the same size and could sleep up to about 5/6. This did slightly wind me up as it seemed they were just out to make money and so far my experience was not a good one. They also charged £10 per day (per wigwam) for you to have a fire pit. Everything started to really add up and when we got there we had to buy cards for the heater inside the huts. I was however happy to pay £1/£2 per day to have heating in there!
So at this point I should mention that really, it isn’t camping. We did have heaters, the wigwams had places to sleep with mattresses, a fridge, sockets to plug your phone charger in and was pretty spacious. I was actually surprised at how much I liked them. I was expecting to feel really dirty sleeping in there and was a bit grossed out at the idea of the mattresses but was happy to see they were similar to hospital bed ones,meaning they were wipe-able and actually looked really clean. The whole wigwam was rather clean and it didn’t feel like lots of people had stayed in there. I think this is why I was so comfortable and content staying there. So things were starting to look up and from the moment we arrived we decided to put the previous negativity behind us.
One of the best things about staying in wigwams, besides being warmer and more comfortable was the fact that it took us about 10 minutes to get set up. We literally brought in everything from the car, laid out some quilts and filled the fridges. There was no trying to put up tents and blow up beds! We even had a glass of wine in our hand and were sat relaxing within half an hour of arriving there. It was just so stress free and we just lived out of our cases with there being no wardrobes, so no sorting clothes out either. We did have a little bit of trouble fitting all the meat in the fridge and we definitely could have brought a little less food as we had gone a bit OTT.
Although it was October it was surprisingly sunny and quite warm and was the perfect weather for Glamping. It was actually really nice sitting on the deck bit of the hut in the sun and just chilling whilst Reid had a good run around and jumped in muddy puddles that were left over from when it rained the day before. There was another family opposite us a little distance away but we didn’t see that many other people there. I suppose that is the good thing about going this time of year. The other family had some lightly older kids and I have to say, they were just being horrible. They were so nasty to Reid and when he tried to jump in puddles, they kicked the muddy water at him and said go away. They also were really rude to me and my partner but it appeared the parent’s didn’t really care. We didn’t let them spoil Our trip there though!
The only bad thing about going this time of year was that the coffee shop and gift shop weren’t open while we were there. They also did nice crafts with little ones apparently but obviously they weren’t on whilst we were staying so can’t comment on that. There was still everything you needed there however and someone on site to buy your fire pits etc. from. Apart from that it was up to you what you did and to look after yourselves. We did discover there were shops just a 5 min drive down the road so if we were desperate we knew we weren’t too far away from things. We made sure to get the snacks out straight away and this is where I started eating and pretty much never stopped!!
The facilities whilst staying there really surprised me. The worst thing about camping for me, apart from the flies and the cold etc. is having horrible communal areas that are freezing (especially toilet and shower blocks). This was totally not the case at this site. There was one main building which was very close to where we were staying, so not a big walk. It had everything we needed including a huge big communal kitchen area with lots of ovens/hobs, cupboards filled with cooking equipment/utensils and plates, knives, forks, cups and so on. There were a good few good sized tables for families to sit round to have food if they wished and everything looked pretty clean. It was a bit bizarre stood in a onesie cooking breakfast whilst other random people were also stood in pj’s cooking. Luckily it wasn’t busy so it wasn’t too awkward!
The shower situation was brilliant as there was a room with a shower block but also had separate family shower rooms with a toilet in and a shower. Each room had its own heater that would keep coming on now and again to fill the room with warm air. It wasn’t 100% nice and toasty but it certainly wasn’t unpleasant either. I stuck to the family shower rooms and they were so spacious and there was a mirror in there and a bench to put all of your stuff on. It was all just so easy and not stressful or unpleasant which really did make a nice change from normal getting ready areas when camping. On the night time if I had been sat outside and the fire wasn’t always doing it’s job I would go and chill in the family shower room for a bit with the heater on to keep warm.
On the evening we made sure to get the fire started as soon as we could. You could use it from 5pm so bang on 5 we would have it lit. We set up a wind breaker to provide a bit more shelter and we had chairs all positioned right next to the fire. The fire was brilliant but we did find that we ran out of wood earlier than we would have liked. I love sitting round a toasty fire with a blanket on but the smell of fire just stays with you forever which I hate! We played games around the fire and had some more drinks after little one went to sleep. we whacked the heater on in the hut about 20 mins before he went in and it was so toasty and warm. We then had the option to turn the heat on to low so it stayed warm but wasn’t too much.
My dad set the BBQ away soon after getting the fire set up and we had really tasty food. I was not expecting to be having a BBQ in October but it really was a nice surprise. We had definitely brought far too much food with us but we did give it all a very good go! Marshmallows toasted over the fire was obviously for dessert and we bought the huge great big ones from B&M so they were true American style. We had a great time on the evening and it was so nice to be just sat outside chatting and having a laugh. We played a few games and there were no major arguments (my family can’t just play games like normal people!) so that was a result! The fresh air actually made me really tired so I didn’t last as long as them each night and went to bed by 10.30pm!
The following day after we arrived we decided to have a cooked breakfast (courtesy of my mum) and then Sie and I wanted to pop to the shops. We left Reid chilling with the grandparents and we popped to go get a few bits (some more wood for the fire) and for a look around. When we came back we wanted to go rock pool fishing with little guy so we headed to the beach nearby. When we got there we realised there were no rock pools and were told the other beach nearer us would be better for it. We spotted an amusements so decided to go in there for a bit before heading to the other beach, I love the 2p machines! We went to the second beach and discovered the tide had come right in so we couldn’t really go fishing (although we got a few photos still). We decided to head back to the site and try again tomorrow but we took little man to the outdoor play area to make up for it.
The next day we packed up the car as we had to be out by 11am. Again, this was really easy and we were done within 20 minutes. We decided so that we weren’t rushing, to cook our breakfast and have it after we packed everything up at 11. So we could just eat in our own time and then leave. We planned to go to Holy Island to do the rock pool fishing with little man and we wrapped up warm as it wasn’t as good weather that day. We headed there and knew we had a few hours before we would need to make our way back with the tide coming in. We didn’t fancy being stranded there or chancing it last minute and hoping we don’t get stuck in the water. The rock pools were brilliant but the weather was so so bad. We caught a few crabs and fish and then put them safely back in the water. Ok…we didn’t, we forgot, so we had to send Sie all the way back to release them, much to his delight but we did found it hilarious!
The whole trip was actually really pleasant! I would honestly return to Pot-a-doodle-do to stay and had a very good experience there. The woman dealing with customers over the phone does need to either be moved to a less customer service based role or needs to adjust her attitude to people booking. Apart from that the staff we saw on the day were really lovely. To be honest, we are quite convinced that the woman we saw cleaning the main communal building who was rather nice, was actually the woman on the phone. We recognised the voice, so maybe she was just having a bad day that day. The accommodation is basically just on someone’s farm, so maybe she just thought, it’s my farm and I don’t want to change bookings. Who knows her reason, but it really did make us feel absolutely terrible. That and the additional costs like paying for a 3 year old to come in the same Wig Wam with us.
Aside from the few problems we encountered I would still highly recommend a stay there and it really was the best camping experience (ok, glamping) I have ever had. I have no idea what it’s like in summer however, when it is no doubt more busy! Maybe it isn’t quite as chilled out then but I would love to find out. Do let me know if you have been there in Summer! If you are thinking of visiting there it is worth seeing if the vouchers are on Groupon. I recommend bringing lots of warm comfy clothes and blankets, lots of games, a wind breaker, torches and definitely bring alcohol! I recommend buying the fire pit each night but also grabbing and extra £5 bag from Homebase which is just down the road. I wouldn’t advertise you have bought some but as long as you are paying them their charge each night I don’t see the harm really.
Have you ever stayed in a Wig Wam? Are you a camping/Glamping fan? Let me know in comments below!