I’ve got something to admit to you. When I write blog posts about things to do near a campsite, I haven’t always experienced them all firsthand. Some of that is because I wake up on a sunny day after one or two (and the rest) glasses of red of an evening and all I feel like doing is lazing around all day on site. Some of it is because we want a cheap weekend and doing things costs money, and some of it is because we love to take Mylo away with us and some attractions aren’t the most dog friendly. We do try to get out and about, especially when Harry is with us and there aren’t many other kids on site but sometimes it’s hard to know what to do.
On heading away this weekend, I thought to myself, what if we had an itinerary to follow for the weekend, would it make a difference? We always sit around saying ‘we should get out and do something’, but without knowing what, it’s sometimes easier not to. I managed to persuade Marc that we should spend the weekend in Malvern visiting all 10 of the destinations I had written about in 10 things to do within 10 miles of Malvern. We made sure we packed a backpack, bought food for packed lunches and wrote down the 10 places to go.
Saturday morning comes around and we hit the first blocker. We’re both a little heavy headed and it’s a lot hotter than we expected, still we plough on getting ready, have breakfast and sit down to chill out for a bit before we head off. Rather than attempt all 10 visits in one day, we decided we would space them out over the weekend so we didn’t feel like we had to rush out first thing in the morning, after all no one enjoys heading off for the day feeling flustered, hot and bothered and like you have forgotten half of things you needed to take!
On day 1, on our itinerary included a vineyard, a castle, a local town, a park and a museum. We kicked off the day by loading up the car and jumping in. We decided to make the most of day we would introduce a new rule, shout to stop. The idea behind this was that we wanted to not only test the value of a clear plan, but we also wanted to see what else we would see or experience on that journey had we not had the itinerary. Harry found this particularly fun, although we had to avoid stopping every 2 seconds at his command!!
For our third stop, we headed towards Great Malvern where we had a few things to see. We managed to make it most of the way without stopping, with the exception of one stop to take pics of sheep in the road, and a further brief stop at the cafe and entrance to the Malvern hill walks. We didn’t stay long as the plan was to come back here tomorrow. We reached Great Malvern with no more stops and reached Priory Park which was our first stop. We enjoyed the park and stuck to visiting the other places on our itinerary, but we also got the value of just being in a local town and taking in the sights and experiences. We stopped at a local fair at the Priory, got some food for our BBQ dinner, stopped for an ice cream and took some pictures of the quaint local scenery. Day 1 was a success. We had only managed 3 of our 5 intended stops but we had in fact experienced much more than just those 5 things. We headed back to visit the Village Fete and then on back to the site.
Day 2 kicked off in a similar vain to day 1, with a red wine headache! Once we were freshened up we headed off in the car to our first stop, the Malvern Hills. Today’s itinerary was slightly more relaxed than the day before but we still managed to deviate from it. We got to the car park at the bottom of the hills successfully, only to realise we only had notes and all the pay and display machines were change. Harry already needed some new shoes so we headed towards the nearest big shop which was in Ledbury. A bit of a detour, but it meant we got to drive through the centre of Ledbury which is a beautiful little town with some amazing Ye olde buildings. Once we had the shoes we headed back to the Hills.
Once we finally got back to the hills, we couldn’t go into the car park at the base of Worcester Beacon as it was full, as were the next 2. We eventually found a space which meant we climbed up the hill in a different location. Whilst this again deviated from our plan, it meant we saw a completely different side to the Malvern Hills and still managed to walk to the peaks, but with added scenic routes in between. We lasted to about 2.30 in 25 degree heat and decided that we had ticked enough off our itinerary items at 8 out of 10 and headed back to the site for the afternoon to enjoy a bevy in the sunshine.
Well in addition to the vineyard, castle, towns, parks, museums and walking routes, We experienced so much more. Not just a deer park, local village fete, dropping into a local pub for a pint and picnicking in a beautiful castle grounds, but time out as a family.
To us, the importance of having an itinerary is that it gives you direction. Sticking to the plan is not important, but the intention to is. Places may be closed, you may take a complete detour, but you did it together, you went out to explore, you saw something new, you experienced something different and you made memories. There are probably a few lessons to learn like making sure you check opening times, trying not to fit too much in in one day, always carrying change for car parking, but overall having an itinerary paid off and gave us an even better bank holiday weekend away.