Tag Archives: Things to do

Gloucestershire Attractions and Campsite

We visited a small organic campsite in Gloucestershire and local attractions and attractions not long after we picked our van up in January. We called her Patchouli but Chewie for short) and sent her directly to the mechanics for a thorough check over. As soon Chewie returned home we were eager to take her out for a weekend. We searched the internet for a relatively close site just in case anything went wrong. That way we were not too far from home. Finding a site called West End Farm near Arlingham in Gloucestershire we booked our pitch. £10 for Friday night on a hard standing pitch and £4 extra if you wanted electric hook up.

We packed some food that we had in the house so that we didn’t have to buy any. A chilli and a pasta that we had in the freezer coupled up as freezer blocks to keep the rest of our goods cool. (That’s when we remembered we now have a fridge – a new luxury!). Singing tunes on the radio, we set off in the sunshine down the M5 for a few junctions and then took a country lane for a couple of miles until we reached the farm. On arrival there was a sign to say that due to them being a small site there was no reception but just to ring if we needed anything. Our start to Gloucestershire campsite and attractions was going well as the site was very clean and welcoming.

We had a look around and found they had a couple of grass pitches with electric hook ups. There was a new wooden structure with toilets, showers and a washing up area. Very nice and clean!

The site is part of an organic farm and we saw this sign in the toilet block. Turns out we were sharing our fresh water with the cows. The cows had priority too! West end farm is home to plenty of wildlife but cattle is their main priority. Although you can hear some noise from the machinery nearby it isn’t enough to cause an issue.

Vanlifediary.com Gloucestershire campsite

River Severn and the Severn Way.

This was a great spot when taking Gloucestershire campsite and attractions into consideration. The location itself is part of an attraction! The Severn Way. It is a long network of paths following the River Severn from it’s origin high on Plynlimon, in the uplands of Mid-Wales. The RIver Severn is the longest river in the UK measuring 220 miles long. It passes through Powys, Shropshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire before reaching the Severn Estuary.

The Long Distance Walkers Association gives the Severn Way’s length as 360.3 km (223.9 mi).

The campsite is located on a horseshoe bend on the River Severn and therefore has direct access to lots of lovely walks including access to the Severn Way.

The Severn Bore is a tidal bore seen on the tidal reaches of the River Severn in south western England. It is formed when the rising tide moves into the funnel-shaped Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary and the surging water forces its way upstream in a series of waves, as far as Gloucester and beyond. Surfers love to take advantage of the waves as they surf up the river on the bore. Make sure you do your research and try to witness this event when the spring tide is at its highest!

vanlifediary.com Severn bore

Arlingham Village

Driving to the campsite you drive through the quaint village. It isn’t very big, in fact the 2011 census recorded just  459 inhabitants in 176 households. Arlingham has the River surrounding it on 3 sides and a canal on the 4th. Even with so much water surrounding it, Arlingham does not have a high flood risk. The village is full of character and remains very rural with 10 working farms with Dairy and beef herds.

The church of St Mary the Virgin’s registry dates back to 1539 and has lots of very old but well preserved tombs and headstones. Although it was closed when we visited you can tell from care taken in the grounds that this little church is very important to it’s parish.

We took a walk around the exterior and the winter sun was low in the sky. The light reflected off of the rear double door to display a golden shimmer as though it had been covered in gold leaf.

vanlifediary Arlingham church

Meet the locals – at your own risk!

The graveyard isn’t a scary place to be, not once you have met the locals of course.

I mean to say that some of the residents are a little unsure of visitors. Perhaps a little territorial even! No I don’t mean the humans, I mean the pheasants! A cock greeted us as we began our walk home and at first he seemed a little shy. The pheasant started to follow us down the road a little. We even thought he was cute! We even stopped to take a photo of this encounter… It was then things took a disastrous turn for the worst!

Out of nowhere, the little swine decided to take a pot shot at Louise! (See video here). He jumped up and kicked her with both his feet and tried to take a bite of her! Once safely back to the van we snuggled up for dinner and had an early night.

Saturday morning we woke up to a bit of a damp day but we were happy. It didn’t matter to us. We had a really good night’s sleep, our first night in Chewy, felt relaxed and refreshed. In fact, once we went to sleep we both had a really deep sleep and woke up around midnight feeling as though we had slept all night long!

Robinswood Hill – Gloucester

A hearty frankfurter omelette breakfast (nicer than it sounds) set us up for the day. We didn’t want to spend any money so decided to head to Robinswood Hill in Gloucester. 250 acres of open countryside with nature trails marked out for you. At the summit you can see views of the Severn Bridge to the South, the Malvern Hills to the North and the Black Mountains to the West. This attractions was only 20 miles from the Gloucestershire campsite

Car parking is free, even for the motorhome, no height restrictions and luckily the car park was flat or we may have had to drive on! The van is quite heavy and we need to build trust in the handbrake… which was at that point ‘selective’ on her ability to hold!

We donned our wet weather gear and polished off a sarnie before our walk. It didn’t look too bad from the bottom but boy are looks deceiving! Louise decided the path was too boring and dragged me up through the trees forging our own path… Never again! I swear I thought I was going to pass out at several points. I was going up a bank on my hands and knees grabbing on to tree roots to pull myself up, all the while slipping and sliding – making very little progress! Once up that bit I decided that we were going to follow the path!

Up Up and Away!

Incline after incline we inched our way. Throwing a strop every 5 minute I was encouraged on even though I was really hating it at that point. Although I climbed the Sugar Loaf last year this is the first major climb I had done since my foot injury and I am glad to report it held up well!

All of a sudden the summit appeared a few hundred metres above us. One last hurrah and we made it to the top. Another trig point achieved! It is also a beacon point. From the top of Robins Wood Hill we couldn’t see too much as the visibility was poor. Did I mention it was raining and windy? Looking down from our position we could see parts of the county briefly, before more rain clouds hampered our visibility but the M5 services we easy to spot!

It was really windy up there so after a short break we slowly edged back to the car park. We knew we had done it and being able to get into our converted van, have a brew, some soup and get changed makes all the difference in this weather. The heating went on to warm us up and we reflected on how much better we felt now the cobwebs had been blown away. Despite my reluctance and grumpy demeanour I did actually enjoy it – when it was over.

iGrill Restaurant

When taking Gloucestershire campsite and attractions into account, sometimes a meal cooked for you is a real treat. Not far from Robinswood Hill is iGrill, an amazing burger/pizza/grill restaurant on Metz Way, Gloucester.

There is free parking available and all the food is cooked fresh for you. I have never had a burger like the ones they cook there. It is a minced sirloin of lean beef with no artificial flavours or additives. They mince it and make it into a patty so its succulent and juicy. They even make their own signature sauce as an optional extra. As it’s cooked fresh you can even request it to be cooked a certain way.

They also do pizzas, kebabs on skewers, Vegetarian menus, smoothies and milkshakes. They are on the Just Eat app so will deliver too! We went there for some proper food on our way home and boy did it taste amazing!

Prinknash Abbey

Prinknash has lots to offer, from Roman Catholic Benedictine Monks at Prinknash Abbey to the bird and deer park where you can hand feed the deer! This location is certainly worth putting on your next to do list!

The Abbey

According to the monks, it is not known for sure when Prinknash made its first documented appearance.e in documented history. According to a venerable antiquary Gloucestershire was erected into a County and divided into Hundreds by King Alfred [c. 890] and in a list of these Hundreds Prinknash is included in the division of the Hundreds of Kings Barton. Gloucestershire antiquaries, however, are not always reliable and we cannot say for certain how ancient the place is.

Monastic life did not end in the middle ages and there are still monks in residence here. You can visit the Monestry’s shop which sells monastic gifts and books. There is also a cafe however the Monastery is private for the monks that reside there.

Deer Park

Next door is the Bird and Deer Park, a real treat for animal lovers. It was created in 1974 by Phillip Meigh and now run by his daughter since his death in 2008. This parkland incorporates the old monks ponds to create a habitat for all sorts of wildlife. You can visit here and spend time hand feeding the birds, fish and fallow deer. It’s a photographers dream!

We had a lovely afternoon here and it is on our list of places to go back to. The site is on a hill so do wear suitable footwear. I was on crutches at the time of our visit and had to wear a hard boot to protect my foot. This made some of the navigation tricky but still doable!

The animals in residence are

  • Reindeer
  • Fallow deer
  • Pygmy goats
  • Miniature donkeys
  • Waterfowl including geese, ducks, Ne Ne’s, Snow geese and Bahama Pintails
  • Peafowl
  • Poultry including Mad Frizzlers, Polands, Dutch faveralls and seabrites
  • Pheasant and Fowl including the stunning Golden and Yellow pheasants
  • Kookaburras
  • Caged and Aviary birds from D’anvers and Japanese Quail, to Budgies, Cockatiels and Lovebirds
  • Fish including Carp and Tench

Family fun at Gloucestershire campsite and attractions.

Make sure you take plenty of change as for 20p you can obtain food to feed some of the animals. We had a slight hiccup when a deer snatched one of the paper bags of food and ran off with it so do hold on tight!!! Also watch the birds, they may poop on you… and they did poop on us! But it was so nice to be able to relax and just sit with the birds. They are very tame will come and land on your hands for the food. It’s a great experience that kids and adults will love. The site is quite large and well maintained. There is plenty of free parking, again no height restrictions, available for the whole Prinknash site.

There’s a lovely cafe which sells salads and hot meals. A children’s menu is available, soft drinks and of course locally made ice creams. If you’re looking for a gift with a difference then I’m sure you will find one in the gift shop adjoining the ticket office. You do have to pay for entrance into the Bird and Deer park. You can book online and save 10% with an email ticket sent direct to you.

There are so many different Gloucestershire campsite and attractions so you

Click here to see other locations we have visited.


Llandudno and Orme

Visit Llandudno! Situated on the coast of North Wales, Llandudno is a location full of promise and mystery. It incorporates both tourist attractions, stunning welsh countryside and wildlife. For this specific visit we decided to stay in a hotel and found a Travelodge. This is the only branded hotel in the town centre with a Premier Inn about 5 minutes out of town however there are so many B+B’s and independent hotels to choose from.

This Travelodge is one of the chains newest hotels and is only a few minute’s walk to the beach. Car parking is available on the roads central reservation or on side streets which could get busy.

Visit Llandudno

After easily finding the hotel and a parking space we decided to check out the beach. Llandudno is a horse shoe shaped bay with large Victorian hotels standing shoulder to shoulder along the seafront. There is a large promenade, suitable for heavy volumes of foot traffic and push chairs, and a shingle beach leading out into the Irish Sea. Llandudno is home to the longest pier in Wales, which houses amusement arcades including one with a ZOLTAR machine. (If you have ever watched the film “BIG” you will either be enthralled or scared of it). You will also find a variety of shops, food stalls (including seafood and cheese as well as donuts and burgers) and kids games to keep all the family happy.

Visit Llandudno Pier – It has been lengthened since its original construction. Originally it started half way up with it’s entrance by what is now the Grand Hotel. An additional section brought it further inland alongside the edge of the bay. The pier is dog friendly, something that is rare to find, and they can enjoy the warm smell of donuts too! Llandudno is what we imagine a typical ‘British’ seaside town to be. Clean, friendly, colourful, charming and happy. Even though many British seaside towns are showing their age and some poverty, this doesn’t seem to have reached Llandudno. It looked fresh and vibrant with an air of Victorian charm.

Llandudno Pier

Mostyn Street is located just behind the promenade and is the main street for shopping here when you visit Llandudno. Well known high street shops can be found here as well as independents covering gifts, antiques and clothing. There is a small retail park just 5 minutes away with more high street names.

There are an abundance of restaurants, coffee shops and take-away’s. From fish and chip shops to full seated restaurants. The town library and small shopping arcade feature tourist information centres.

Llandudno is the birthplace of Punch and Judy. To celebrate this there are shows on the promenade multiple times a day during peak season. A great opportunity to get the kids to sit down for a while! Another treat for the kids is to let them have a go at crabbing. Buckets and reels are available to purchase from several shops.

Alice, Alice? Who the hell is Alice?

Alice in wonderland statue

As you travel through Llandudno you may notice some carved statues that look like the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts and a Cheshire cat to name a few! It turns out that the real Alice, inspiration for the Alice in Wonderland books by Lewis Carol, had a holiday home here in Llandudno. Alice used to visit Llandudno frequently and in homage to her the town has created a guided walk. It’s great to do with a dog, with wonderland themed statues in locations around town! You can buy the maps from the tourist information centre.

We also talk about Alice in our New Forest post!

Hunger Strikes!

There are plenty of places to eat when you visit Llandudno and Harvey’s, a New York bar and grill, hit the spot! It has a lovely atmosphere and is a great place to relax. The food was amazing and the service was first class. There are plenty of cafe’s, restaurants and bars around, almost every side road featuring a food outlet.

Nothing beats being on the pier or the prom with a bag of chips but do be warned… the seagulls will likely mug you for the food, they don’t have manners!

Great Orme

view from Great Orme

Two tourist attractions can take you to the top of the Great Orme. A cable car or a tram. The cable car is weather dependant and doesn’t run in windy conditions. As we had a dog at the time we opted for the Tram ride (dogs travel for free – even the big ones!) Trams were running every 10 minutes but you may have to queue in peak times. It is worth the wait if you like stunning views. The tram stops halfway up the hill where you can get off and explore the copper mines – stick a pin in that… I’ll come back to it.

You could also continue to the next tram and head up to the top of the Orme. Here you will be able to see for miles and miles on a cloudless day, in every direction. There is a nature reserve up here where you can walk around the Orme in peace. Dogs are welcome here  there are lots of sniffs to wear them out. The Captains Table café/restaurant serves food and drinks for when you want to rest or take it easy. For the kids there is a playground and there is also a gift shop by the tram station.

Copper Mines.

The Copper Mine was something that we came back to do a few days later and decided to drive to. It took about 45 minutes to go around the attraction which was full of fascinating information. The Orme Mines are thought to date back 4000 years – 2000 years before the Romans invaded. Over the past 28 years mining engineers, cavers and archaeologists have been slowly uncovering more tunnels and large areas of the surface landscape. This has revealed what is now thought to be the largest prehistoric mine, so far discovered in the world making this site very special.

There are 9 levels that have been uncovered so far and evidence of fires which were used to crack the rocks can also be seen. Unfortunately, not much of the site is open to the public yet but when speaking to a member of staff they said that they may open more in the future.

Excavations can only take place in the winter so that they can open it to the public during the summer season. It is very narrow inside and if you suffer from claustrophobia you may find it a bit much. The mine has been dug out using hand held tools, so the miners wouldn’t dig out more space than they needed to follow the copper veins.


Thursday saw us take the van out for a spin. You can easily spend a week in Llandudno and not needed to take a car out. Everything we needed was available in Llandudno. We drove west to Anglesey and found this to be a beautiful place to visit with a rich wildlife. Lligwy Beach in Moelfre is a wide sandy beach with low sand dunes giving an open airy feel. Dolphins and Puffins can spotted here – Keep your eyes peeled to see the local wildlife.

Thanks to the SATNAV we headed down a tight single track lane to the beach, and had to pass a lorry coming the other way. Minor damage was caused to the van in the shape of bramble scratches but nothing too major. The beach was worth it as there was plenty of space, golden sand and beautiful scenery. There was a little café where we purchased hot chocolates and hot bacon baps for lunch. Sunshine and blue skies accompanied us which I believe are a rarity in Anglesey.

Around Llandudno

Although there are plenty of attractions to keep you occupied when you visit Llandudno, you may wish to visit other local places. Here are a couple of ideas!

Conwy Castle. A stunning castle and part of CADW. We have passes to CADW sites and really recommend them. It’s a good idea to get here early as parking can be troublesome in peak season. The castle is a 13th centuary medieval fortification and was build for Edward 1st.

Colwyn bay, just on the other side of Llandudno. Free parking on the road side and a promenade with coffee shops, ice cream parlours and a Celtic hat shop to name a few!

Llandudno itself has two beaches. The main tourist one on the north face and then a west beach, which is quieter and dog friendly. It does not have the abundance of shops or tourist attractions but instead is a quiet beach, with lots of benches on the path way, for you to enjoy a quiet stroll. Being west facing you may also find the best sunsets on this side of Llandudno with views of the Ormes to treasure for ever.

There are still many parts of Llandudno that we did not get to fully experience in our 4 days here. We definitely want to visit Llandudno again!

Other activities we didn’t get to try include: