Motorhome Full Time - campsite of the year awards!
The Motorhome Full Time Campsite of the Year 2017 awards are based on those sites I visited in 2016 so that the best places I visited last year are some of the great places you could visit this year! The criteria I am looking at are those that go towards making a great motorhome holiday. The first consideration is of course location, the second facilities, third ratio of quality to price and the fourth warmth of welcome and assistance given to guests.
Obviously as far as location is concerned I am looking at things to do in the area so the campsite has to be located in what I would term a destination – a place worth visiting, somewhere from where you could send postcards to your family and friends – if you still do such things of course. For facilities, I am looking at what services are available on and off site, from the availability of getting food, social areas, washing facilities etc.. I am not looking for ‘family activities’, I am thinking of the benefits for motorhome users who in general are couples aged fifty or over without children. Some campsites may have ‘family’ facilities but it is not a criterium. So far I have never been to a campsite where the staff were rude to me but I know that such places exist and maybe I have been very lucky – but warmth of welcome, willingness to assist campers and ability to speak English is important.
So here are the winners!
The Bronze Award goes to Les Castels La Bien Assise located in Guines, France. http://www.motorhomefulltime.com/campsite/la-bien-assise-guînes-france
This site is located very close to Calais, only a 20 minute or so drive from the ferry terminal in the charming town of Guines. The group Les Castels has around fifty sites based around a chateau. The site has a great deal of facilities including swimming pool, exercise equipment, washing machines, shower block with very large showering facilities (I have never seen such large ones!) bar, gourmet restaurant and more. Many people pass through here, either on their first or their last night in France but I stayed longer – I was there for five days and at the end regretted I did not have more time as there was much more I still wanted to see. Guines was a border town between England and France and although the castle is now gone we can still see vestiges of it in the Clock Tower Museum located in the centre of town. The Field of the Cloth of Gold took place nearby. This was a summit meeting between Henry VIII of England and Francois I of France in 1520 and a whole room is dedicated to this meeting in the museum. Today the location is just a field but an obelisk marks where it took place. Nearby locations of interest include the town of Ardres, the historic Village Saint Jacques and fortifications from the second world war all of which are reachable by bicycle.
The Silver Award goes to Camp Koren located just outside the town of Kobarid in Slovenia. http://www.motorhomefulltime.com/campsite/kamp-koren-kobarid-slovenia
Kobarid is best known from its name in Italian – Caporetto – the scene of a battle during WW1 and 1917 will mark the centenary. The campsite is situated above the Soca river – also best known by its Italian name – Isonzo. The Soca has a wonderful turquoise like colour which gives it an almost magical appearance, looking down at it in the evening from the campsite is very romantic. This is a destination for the physically active, the mountains around offer outstanding walks where one can hike through the forested mountains seeing the sites from WW1 and visiting locations such as the outstanding Kozjak waterfall which is only around 20 minutes walk from the campsite. It is around 15 minutes walk into Kobarid, one can visit the excellent WW1 museum there – which is one of the best war museums I have seen anywhere! There is also a cheese museum one can visit too. If you like outdoor activities in the mountains in an outstandingly beautiful location and are interested in history then this is the campsite for you!
The overall winner for 2017 is the Wielewaal campsite located just outside the town of Baarle which is shared between the Netherlands and Belgium. http://www.motorhomefulltime.com/campsite/de-wielewaal-baarle-nassau-net...
The Wielewaal campsite is in the Netherlands, although within a short walk along the road, one finds oneself in Belgium as are some of the fields neighbouring the campsite. Baarle is split between the two countries due to complicated treaties and ownership rights which go back to the Middle Ages. Although completely surrounded by the Netherlands, there are large Belgian exclaves and Dutch enclaves within those exclaves – it is all very complicated. Fortunately people from both communities get along very well and this is something for visitors to enjoy! If you like cycling, you will really appreciate this part of the world with what I termed ‘motorways for bicycles’ – wide, two way, hardened cycle tracks through the forests and fields.
The campsite itself has outstanding facilities with many of the guests being very long term – I think many come to spend several months there! The whole site, although being part of a farm, is spotlessly clean. The shower block looks new, washing machines are included in the price so there is nothing extra to pay, there is a communal room with an enormous television for those football matches and a variety of reading material and games in there as well. The campsite is set within the countryside although the town of Baarle is within walking distance. Being part of a farm, fresh eggs are available on a daily basis. I have never seen anywhere such as well run and clean campsite as Die Wielewaal.
Of course I would like to thank all those campsites I visited in 2016 and hope to see some equally excellent sites in 2017!