Our spaceship campervan gave us the flexibility of stopping off wherever we wanted for a week of touring around parts of the south and the midlands of England and at a very affordable price, definitely helping to reduce the accommodation costs.
The challenge with English travel of this kind at this time of the year, is that many campervan and caravan parks are closed due to the season and the places you can pull-over and sleep are few and far between, whilst going ‘wild’ in England is, well, it’s not encouraged.
Nevertheless, after a long day travelling we headed from London to Brighton down on the south coast, where we found a 4 hour free parking during the afternoon. I dived into our cosy bed in the back of Asteroid for some well earned shut eye and waking up 3 hours later only to find out that I had left the headlamps on and our battery was dead, dead, dead! Fortunately for us, Asteroid, that’s his name, came complete with jumper leads and after flagging some young guys down, we were up and running albeit with a tinge of a red face, but a broad smile and another crazy story, won’t be making that mistake again!
We eventually found a side street in Brighton where you don’t have to pay and display nor any time restrictions and for those of you who are planning a visit by car, this is a huge challenge with clearly demarcated zones and pay stations everywhere even on side streets and backroads. Nevertheless, we settled in for the night tucked up in the back of the van, with a bottle of wine to keep us company, across from a block of flats and next to a school sports ground.
Driving along the south coast to Portsmouth and a view across the waters to the Isle of Wight we ended up at a formal caravan park with proper toilet facilities! Luxury!
This gave us a good start for the morning and a drive up to the medieval town of Arundel en route to Bath. Arundel Castle and the Cathedral set the tone for this awesome old worldly village, the cobbled streets just adding to the atmosphere and scenery, you could almost imagine knights on horses riding through these streets in the days of yore.
We scored with Bath at the Marina Caravan Park which was minutes away from the city centre, with hot showers and several toilets to select from. Luxury again! This time the cost was double digits at 15 pounds for the night, within our budget!
Bath, complete with its own working Roman Baths is a treasure in the jewel of England, famous for its works of art, literature, architecture, rugby union team and university, this city is a gem of a place.
We finally arrived in The Cotswolds and although the weather did not favour us, well it is England and no one ever visits here for the weather, we spent a night in an old countryside inn, while the snow fell gently outside, followed by a night in Cirencester another old Roman town, in a pub, upstairs again!
Driving through the gentle roads, these villages like Bourton-on-the-water or Stow-on-the-wold, pop up out of nowhere and are like hobbit towns, with their tiny streams and foot bridges a plenty, zig-zagging across the village centres, or are some of these places just hamlets? Who cares, they are truly cute and peaceful places.
We managed a surprise visit to visit an aunt of mine in the town of Kenilworth, which as you might guess houses a great example of a fine castle ruin, Kenilworth Castle, although not to be compared to Warwick Castle its famous neighbour, this castle has such mystique and grandeur.
After a brief visit to Leamington Spa, my mum’s birthplace, our final stop was in Stratford-upon-avon, known affectionately as William Shakespeare birthplace, where he was born and spent much of his life writing.
The splendour of the River Avon gently flowing through the centre as the river boats navigate the locks from different sections, all with the backdrop of fabulous Georgian houses with the black and white facias.
A 1,5 hour drive down to London via a service station to wash the dirt down off Asteriod and deliver him safely back at his real home in the spaceships depot. Great fun, good drive and spacious for two backpackers, another tick in the box of fun!
Great fun, good drive and spacious for two backpackers, another tick in the box of fun!