A few weeks ago we went on our last – last minute – camping trip of the year to Northam Farm Brean. The trip was Sam’s idea, 4 days prior, so I left it to him to find/book the campsite. We knew we wanted to stay local to Bristol so decided on a trip to Brean – one of our favourite places. There are a few campsites we know and love in the area but wanted to try somewhere new and ended up at Northam Farm Brean.
This was an end of September trip so we knew it was probably going to be our last opportunity to get away in the van before the evenings started to get really chilly. We do have a heater in the van, but no toilet, so you can get quite chilly when nipping to the loo in the night. And with a ‘nearly’ 2 year old – no-one likes to get cold.
Northam Farm Brean is on the main Brean waterfront. Walking distance to Brean Leisure Park and just across the road from Brean Beach. They have a caravan sales office as you drive in (which I initially thought was reception) and then the main campsite reception. Checking in was easy and we got taken straight to our pitch. The pitches are all hardstanding (incl. the awning pitch) which we never get on well with as it’s difficult to pitch an awning on stones. We much prefer hardstanding for the van/caravan but grass for the awning. This is also much more comfortable when sitting in the awning on an evening and reduces the risk of damage. We chose a pitch right opposite the play area which Arthur loved.
Once we’d pitched up we had a look around the campsite. They had a campsite shop that was actually really well priced. Sometimes too cheap when you can get a huge bag of crisps for 65p and a delicious flapjack for 80p when you’re peckish in the evening. They also had hot food and slush puppy’s – perfect for Summer – as well as fishing tackle and bait to fish at the on site fishing lake. Alongside the campsite shop they have a bar, café and on site chip shop – which was a lot nicer and cheaper than the local chip shop we got food poisoning at – more about that later.
After pitching our tent we walked into Brean and got some chips for a late lunch and had a look around Brean Market which has been going since well before Sam and I got together 13 years ago. We then made our way back to the van for our first night. It dropped below 4 degrees but we didn’t notice during the night and it was warming up again by the time we woke in the morning thankfully. Arthur is used to camping and outdoor life now and didn’t wake too early.
This is when Sam and I realised we’d got food poisoning from the Fish & Chips we’d had in Brean so our first full day was not fun whatsoever. Trying to parent when neither of us could bear to stand up. Thankful we’d pitched right next to the park we took it in turns to watch Arthur. There were 4 play areas on the site but unfortunately the toddler specific one was in a dog free area of the campsite so either Sam or myself had to take Arthur alone instead of going as a family. I do understand dogs not being allowed in the actual park but the whole area of the site where the park was wasn’t dog friendly so not ideal if you have a toddler and a dog.
I started feeling a little better mid afternoon so managed to cycle to a local arcade with Arthur and spend a bit of time with him there. We only spent £1 but were there ages and came out with a car, a frisbee and some sweets. Sam and I didn’t have any dinner that day but made Arthur some pasta on our new Cadac BBQ and got an early night.
We woke feeling much better on Monday, we were meant to be packing up and leaving but decided to extend our trip another night so we could make the most of it. This was the day of the late Queen’s funeral. After watching the funeral we cycled to Weston-Super-Mare along the Brean Down Way. This was the first time using this cycle path and it was brilliant, almost totally flat, away from the roads and much to Arthur’s delight there were many blackberries to pick on the way. We had a stroll on the beach, took Arthur to a couple of play areas and got a Dominos for lunch as this was the only place open on the bank holiday – can’t beat pizza on the beach though, or anywhere for that matter!
The next day it was time to pack up and head home – stopping at Clarks Village on the way as we were quite local to it and I can never resist an outlet shop.
Northam Farm Brean was £27.50 per night so on the higher side for mid/off season. Also, after paying £27.50 a night you’d expect the showers to be included in that but they were 50p a shower, and were your very basic campsite showers. In our 13 years of camping together (and many years before that), we have never come across as campsite of this scale that charges to use their showers. Only the £5 a night wild camping sites that showers are more of a luxury at so this was disappointing.
We found the campsite to be very built up and busy. The workers were driving the tractors and carts around the roads on the campsite and around the children’s play area a lot faster than they should have been. And the fact it was all hardstanding didn’t help – it didn’t really feel like we were camping – more like sleeping in the van in a car park if that makes sense. It had a very commercial feel to it. We stay at many different campsites, big and small, and you never really know what to expect until you’re there but this won’t be one we return to.
Have you visited Northam Farm Brean? Did you get the same feel as we did?
Until next time,