Our family holiday this summer came close to being pretty much our best ever. It takes quite a lot to beat nearly five weeks touring around Europe, but our trip to the Dordogne in France this year ticked so many boxes that I had to share the details with you. We first heard about Huttopia when my sister-in-law went with her family last year, and we were instantly smitten – the campsites looked like our ideal size (not too big, pretty low-key) with plenty of space and an approach that keeps the impact on the environment to a minimum. After our wet and chilly camping holiday in the UK last summer, we were keen to hunt out some sunshine, and we were pretty confident we’d find it down in the Dordogne. On a mission to cheer ourselves up and fend off the winter blues, we booked our ferry crossing and a two-week stay in a Huttopia Trapper tent in the Lanmary Forest first thing on Boxing Day morning.
And so, just after the school holidays started at the end of July, we set off for Perigueux, breaking our journey with a stopover in a lovely French B&B on the way down. When we arrived we were not disappointed. Having spent our last three summers in our own tent, our Trappeur tent (basically canvas stretched across a wooden frame on a wooden platform), complete with proper beds, a fridge and small kitchen area plus a WC and compact shower felt like a stay in a luxury hotel. We could still enjoy all the things we love about camping – living outdoors, surrounded by nature, evenings sitting out under the stars – but those extra creature comforts meant more in the way of relaxation, without middle-of-the-nights stomps to the toilet block, or the seemingly constant trips to do the washing up.
The tent was beautifully designed – all neutral tones and rustic wood. Every detail had been carefully considered – the hooks on the door had an industrial edge, and instead of just sticking on a standard lock on the bathroom door, there was a pleasing lock constructed out of wood. We immediately relocated the dining table from inside the tent to the decked area outside – eating meals outdoors is one of my favourite things about camping. We were a really good distance from our neighbours, and all the tents were positioned looking a different way so you weren’t all lined up and in each other’s eye-line.
The campsite itself stretched across a large area, and had a central block with bar and restaurant that served wood fired pizzas and salads that you could eat out on an expanse of decking. For the twins, a swimming pool comes very high on their holiday wishlist, and we had two to choose from – one heated and one unheated (we preferred the unheated one because it was much emptier than the other one!). There was a free kids’ club for a couple of hours every morning, where the activities included things like building a bug hotel, or making dens in the woods. There was evening entertainment too (not every night), but it wasn’t the sort of cheesy stuff that would make me cringe – from a circus skills show (that has generated a complete obsession with Diablo for Fonz), to a jazz band, to a talk on prehistoric times where the kids got to try throwing a spear!
Perigueux is a great city to explore, plus the area has stacks of other things to offer if you want to get off the campsite. We balanced lazy days spent going no further than the pool and back, with trips out including visiting some of the incredible caves in the area, going canoeing on the River Dronne, finding swimming spots on various local rivers and a going further afield to take in the huge Saturday market at Sarlat.
This is absolutely not a sponsored post – we chose and booked this holiday entirely under our own steam, and we’re strongly considering booking again for next year. It really was the most relaxed that Ben and I have felt on holiday since having the twins, and we were sorely in need of a break and some rest as we lead such a busy and full life. My only complaint is that two weeks wasn’t enough!