Why a staycation on a royal campsite is perfect for the summer – and it costs just £23 each a night


WHEN you travel as regularly for work as I do, hearing of chaos at the airports can be soul-destroying.

Packing your family into a motorhome and exploring a hidden Suffolk gem such as Kessingland or going to Norfolk’s Sandringham is the perfect way to replenish your travel passion.

Chief Motorhome Hire of Paignton, Devon, supplies all manner of vehicles and can send along an expert to explain how to get the best from them.

Our introduction, from a chap called Martin, was precise and thorough but also encouraging and enjoyable for someone who had never driven something so large.

He even made emptying the chemical-waste cassette sound like the sort of enriching challenge my life was lacking, like hot yoga or cooking Nepalese food.

Having adored childhood caravan holidays 30 years ago, I was well versed in emptying our buckets in the morning.

But the technological advances in wheeled hotels like our Roller Team T-Line have put an end to those bizarrely fun chores.

Powered by gas and electric, almost every amenity is on board, from running hot water and a flushing toilet to a glorious fridge, USB sockets and loads of storage. It is all run via a couple of idiot-proof controllers on the wall.

We had a comfy fixed double bed at the back and a space-age double bunk that lowered from the lounge ceiling, soon dubbed the “magic carpet bed”.

With a few clicks and swivels, the dining table hosts six comfortably.

Never have I heard an hour-long motorway delay be met with such joy, as our six and eight-year-olds realised it meant more time in their magical mystery tourer.

Parking up at Kessingland to be met by the lovely Jane, who rarely stopped tending to guests, we had a lovely pitch.

The kids instantly vanished — first to the adventure playground, then the brilliant Platinum Jubilee treasure hunt and finally to the beach via more playgrounds and shops and eateries.

Even with a cider and ale festival in full swing at the Sailor’s Home pub, we couldn’t wait to get back to camp.

It was the same at Sandringham, which matched Kessingland by perfectly blending a peaceful, rural campsite with facilities that would suit any high-end gym or spa.

Hosted on royal grounds, close to Hunstanton and Snettisham and the Norfolk lavender fields, there is always bundles to do.

For those looking to use the sites’ facilities, prepare to be impressed.

They are sparkling thanks to great investment and maintenance from the Camping and Caravanning Club.

A common fear among non-campers is getting stuck next to a nightmare neighbour. But there was no blaring music, blazing BBQ or barking dogs to be found.

Everyone was after the same thing — a bit of tranquillity — but were all getting it in different ways.

If you are used to all-inclusive holidays, a trip like this might be a challenge.

A late-night game of Uno trumps the arcade, while a punnet of grapes miraculously taste sweeter than Maltesers.

We were bewitched by an even stranger phenomenon too.

Perched in our palatial juggernaut, complete with Fiamma awning that almost doubles your kingdom in size, we started fantasising about downsizing.

We were eyeing up caravans and tiny tents with a pang of jealously.

Surely we couldn’t cope in the elements with nothing but canvas and a few poles?

How have they cooked a full-English on that portable stove?

How come they’re not riddled with anxiety about not having a wall socket to charge their phone?

We still don’t know. But we are left with a genuine urge to travel and see what we have been missing.

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