Camping with kids – Aldenham Country Park

We are doing a bit of camping this year, and to kick things off we decided to get going with a weekend of camping, locally. It’s been a while since we last took Little B away in a tent, and given the fact that she’s only two now, I was pretty sure she wouldn’t remember it. So best to check how we’d get on without going too far afield!

With our Halfords Camping Guide at the ready, we set to it…and to start off with, we really didn’t go far at all:

Our Camping Diary

Friday, 5.31pm – arrive home from various kids pick ups, and decide it would be a good idea to test the tent in the garden. We only have a small garden, and it’s at the front of our house too – cue lots of interested comments from neighbours, dog walkers and random passers by.

halfords aventura family 4 tent

5.55pm – one fully functional tent!

cat in halfords aventura tent

6.03pm – cat inspection. Apparently Pixel was pleased with the tent, and gave it a purr of approval. The kids realised that cats enjoy jumping on tents if they think there are random things moving inside. One game of ‘giant tent mice begins…’

6.33pm – the Other Half arrives home to a scene of three over excited children and one very wound up cat. Also luckily, one very much still up and working tent.

inside halfords aventura family 4 tent

7.16pm – kids beg to be allowed to sleep overnight in the front garden, in the tent. The Other Half agrees. Little B does not agree. She and I end up starfishing in the bed all night wondering how everyone else is enjoying their night under canvas.

Saturday 7.42am – the happy campers wake up. The Other Half is handed the Halfords Camping Guide with instructions to find everything on the packing list, I go to work, and expect to come home to everything ready to go camping a bit further away!

packing the car for camping

6.04pm – return home from work, pack all gear into car, and head off to campsite. Having a handy tick list on the back of the guide is really useful – it makes getting ready to go so much more quick and stress free.

6.48pm – arrive at Aldenham Country Park. I’d roped in Moggy to arrive before us, so she could pick up our ‘fire pack’ and scope out the camping area to see where we’d be pitching our tent. Unfortunately, we couldn’t actually find our way in to Aldenham Country Park! It took quite a lot of driving around, and phonecalls back and forth before we finally located an entrance (not sure it was the one we were meant to use) and made our way into the camping field.

pitching halfords aventura family tent

7.23pm – put up tent. Having practiced previously, we were much quicker this time round and it only took a matter of minutes before everything was pegged down and ready, in a nice flat location…

7.41pm – FIRE!

aldenham country park fire pack

Aldenham Country Park sells a fire kit, which contains kindling, natural firelighters, long handled matches and logs, as well as a donation towards sustainable replanting. It’s really useful to have it all contained in one kit and we do love a nice campfire to sit around as the sun goes down – this made getting the fire going a whole lot easier.

campfire aldenham country park


8.12pm – marshmallow toasting time!

eating toasted marshmallows

8.44pm – time for a few family ball games before bed – I was glad that the Camping Guide had reminded me to pack a ball and some racquets. The kids always stay up a bit later when we are camping, and I find that they usually sleep much better than I expect afterwards because they are worn out and full of fresh air – I had fingers crossed they would sleep well in our new tent…

camping family ball games

Bedtime was signalled by the switching on of the solar lights – something which I always add in to our camping gear as they provide a nice level of light to reassure the kids and also act as a useful method of identification for which tent is ours in the dark.

solar lights lanterns camping

9.07pm – toilet trip time. Usually we bring a travel potty with us, but this time it was the one thing I forgot (despite chanting ‘travel potty, travel potty’ regularly in my head whilst I was packing the car). Luckily at Aldenham Country Park there is a nice toilet block available, with plenty of space to wash faces and hands and brush teeth. It’s billed as ‘wild camping’ so that’s pretty much the extent of the facilities – there are no showers on site. The toilets are also a pretty hefty walk from the camping field we were in, so its worth bearing that in mind (and remembering to bring a travel potty for late night toilet trips!). Also worth having a head torch, so you can walk with hands free to hold on to small children.

camping head torch

9.36pm – roll mats out, sleeping bags open, onesies on. Our tent has two rooms, so the ‘boys’ took one and the ‘girls’ had the other. A few minutes of excited chatter and jumping around later, and we had three snoring kids.

four year old sleeping in tent

10.16pm – adult campfire enjoyment! Aaaand relax 🙂

mesmerising campfire

Sunday 7.02am – the kids slept well! With the undercover area between the two ‘bedrooms’, they happily tucked in to bowls of cereal whilst the adults dozed a bit more.

3 kids eating breakfast camping

9.34am – several bacon sandwiches later (cooked on our portable gas stove outside the tent), we were all up and dressed and ready to explore. Aldenham Country Park has a farm, donkey rides, Winnie the Pooh’s 100 Aker Wood, and various adventure playgrounds on offer – and they are all included as part of the camping fee. Seb and D very much enjoyed the Woodland Adventure, and we didn’t even get as far as the monkey nets before we had to head back and take the tent down.

aldenham country park woodland adventure trailaldenham country park woodland adventure trail

10.56am – the tent was packed away safely in its bag, and everything was packed back into the car.

11.02am – and we were ready to spend the rest of the day exploring and having fun as a family before driving home to sleep under our usual roof again.

Everyone was happy – and exhausted – by the end of the weekend. We are looking forward to camping again, much further afield, very soon!

toddler with bubbles in field


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