Caroline MillsSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Travel and touring’ written by Caroline Mills
I sometimes find the August bank holiday a strange one. It can be a bit of a damp squib, weather-wise, and feels as if we’re desperately trying to cling on to a last gasp of summer knowing full well that, in our minds, it’s beginning to feel like autumn.
Well, with this little mix of bank holiday weekend events it will feel as if the summer party has only just begun and the sun will have a brilliance requiring straw-hats and sunshades. Plus, we've found some super sites nearby so you can hitch up and make the most of it!
1. Football in the River, Gloucestershire
Yes, you read it right. This is no ordinary footy match but one of those quirky events that the Cotswolds does so well. A short stretch of the idyllic River Windrush as it flows through Bourton-on-the-Water is the temporary pitch as two teams from Bourton Rovers FC battle it out for aquatic glory. Pre-match warm-up usually involves handing around a couple of beers and the occasional press up in the shallows. If you’re hoping for prime viewing, get there early (the spectacle draws thousands) and be prepared to get doused – part of the action is ensuring as many spectators as possible get as wet as the players.
The match takes place around 4pm on bank holiday Monday, with other festivities taking place throughout the day. It’s free to watch, other than your laundry bill.
The Caravan Club has a site at Bourton-on-the-Water (though it’s actually about three miles from the town). However, if you’re touring child-free, you could stay at the very peaceful Field Barn Park. The site is for adults ‘over 30’ and occupies a beautiful slice of Cotswold countryside in neighbouring Clapton-on-the-Hill.
2. World Bogsnorkelling Championships, Powys
If you thought footy in the river sounds mad enough, the Welsh take it a step further. Held annually in Llanwrtyd Wells, Sunday 28 August will see the 31st World Bogsnorkelling Championships. Apparently it’s one of those ‘must do’ events, in which case you’ll need to get your entries in fast – the closing date is seven days prior. However, you might prefer simply to watch others get smothered in mud from the comfort of the riverbank. Don’t blink though – the world record stands at 1 minute, 22.56 seconds. Proceedings get underway at 10am and there are food and drink stalls, crafts, a bouncy castle and live music if you’re not planning on taking the plunge.
Want even more? The Bogsnorkelling Triathlon runs the day before.
There are a couple of sites in the vicinity. How about Fforest Fields, which is listed in Practical Caravan's Top 100 Sites Guide 2016, or Irfon River? Both are situated riverside in scenic countryside.
3. Ould Lammas Fair, Northern Ireland
Should you be enjoying a caravan holiday in Northern Ireland, visiting the beautiful Causeway Coast town of Ballycastle will be a must over the August bank holiday weekend for, reputedly, Ireland’s oldest fair.
The Ould Lammas Fair dates back centuries and traditionally takes place on the last Monday of August. Today’s offering provides street entertainment and two days (including Tuesday 30 August) of market-trading, selling crafts and artisan farm produce. Don’t miss the local speciality ‘Yellow Man’, a crunchy honeycomb sweet.
Ballycastle is a beautiful seaside town, with magnificent beaches, fabulous scenery and the place from which to catch the ferry to the neighbouring retreat-like Rathlin Island.
There are several campsites around Ballycastle but we’d recommend – or indeed you recommend as it’s a regular winner of Practical Caravan’s Top 100 Sites Guide Northern Ireland regional award – Ballyness Caravan Park, approximately 10 miles west. The site is kept immaculate, with enclaves of pitches and a naturalised area with a lake for dog walks.
4. Let’s scream for ice cream, Kent
Heaven on earth for ice cream lovers has arrived in Kent – a festival dedicated to the creamy delicacy. Taking place at the family-friendly Kent Life farm attraction on bank holiday Monday, the Ice Cream Festival will allow you to cool off with a purchase from various ice cream vendors. Create an icy masterpiece at the toppings station or treat yourself to some take-home goodies from the numerous chocolatiers and confectionery stalls joining in the fun. There’s lots of children’s entertainment too, including traditional seaside puppet shows.
With Kent Life situated near Maidstone, one of the nearest sites is Coldblow Farm, however it’s a five-van site for Camping and Caravanning Club Members only. If you’re not a member, then The Caravan Club’s Bearsted site is open to all.
5. Hit the beach – in Nottinghamshire
If you’re feeling very landlocked holidaying with your caravan in the Midlands and you’re craving the beach, no worries. There’s no need to drive for miles to the coast, for you can have all the fun of the seaside right in the heart of Nottingham city centre!
Set in Old Market Square, there’s 250 tonnes of sand, a paddling pool, deck chairs, seaside rides, food vendors and a beach bar. The Deliveroo Beach is free to visit, but if you’re not keen on sand in your sandwiches, why not book a beach hut booth at George’s Great British Kitchen to enjoy, reputedly, the best fish and chips in Nottingham, freshly-made candyfloss and beach-themed cocktails?
If the paddling pool doesn’t provide sufficient thrills and spills for you, head to the National Watersports Centre at Holme Pierrepont. Here you’ll be able to go water skiing, white water rafting and kayaking. What’s more, you can stop overnight at Holme Pierrepont Country Park.
6. Sorting the goats from the sheep, North Yorkshire
There’s, arguably, nothing more British than a good, traditional rural show. The Wensleydale Agricultural Show in Leyburn knows how to put on a performance – it has been going for over a century, after all – and takes place this year on Saturday 27 August.
Besides sorting out your Herefords from your Highlands and the differences between Swaledales and Wensleydales (cattle and sheep respectively), you’ll see heavy horses, ponies and poultry alongside sheep dog trials (the very best in rural entertainment), vintage tractors, steam machines and a fun dog show. There’s a children’s fun fair and face painting, too. Plus, visit the Food From Farming marquee for delicious local, artisan produce.
But, how are your marrows? If you think they’re in tip-top condition, they, alongside your beetroot and runner beans, could be in with a chance of winning first prize in the Flower and Vegetable Show.
Craken House Farm Camping and Caravan Site is one of the closest campsites to stay unless you’d prefer The Caravan Club’s Lower Wensleydale site. But if you have to pitch further away from Leyburn, you’ll still make it to the agricultural show; you can hop on a train as there’s a free shuttle bus between Leyburn railway station and the showground. And you’ll find plenty to occupy the rest of your weekend in the area.