Map in hand, Radio 2 on loud, our first stop was the Jolly Sailor pub in
Bursledon. Situated right on the water, we had lunch overlooking the Hamble
Estuary, watching the yachts and taking in the surroundings.
Back on the road, we cruised south heading for the picturesque Hollands
Wood Campsite in New Forest. This family-friendly campsite, set in 22
hectares of oak woodland, where ponies roamed freely, was the perfect pitch
for every type of camper. The site didn’t have electricity, but it did have
hot showers and laundry facilities and easy access to the forest’s walking
and cycle paths – and the nearby village of Brockenhurst (and the nearest
When it came to cooking, even with a fully-equipped kitchen on board, we
wimped out – we were terrified of setting the curtains on fire – and headed
to the bars and restaurants of Brockenhurst (if you like antiques and retro
goods, make a beeline for Pineapple Retro).
We had been warned that nights could be cold in the camper van, but thought
that in the middle of September sleeping bags and a blanket would suffice.
Next time we’ll be taking onesies.
The following day, after some wicked doughnuts from the Bakery, we were back
on the road and finally felt we had mastered the driving as we headed south
on the A35 through Poole towards Bournemouth. We were taking Buttercup to
the seaside and even contemplated some surfing. Just to fit the image.
From here we headed farther along the Dorset coast, stopping off in Corfe,
with its medieval castle, its dramatic ruins situated on the hill. After a
tour of the battlements and some Purbeck ice creams we headed to our next
campsite; down in the Isle of Purbeck and Downshay Farm. A working farm
situated on the Purbeck hills, with large fields and views of the castle,
campers are welcome to turn up and pitch on site with no
It was so easy to turn up with Buttercup, we just needed flat ground, and it
made the trip so flexible. Still a little wary on the cooking front we
headed for the Scott Arms. The food and locally brewed beer were excellent
and the views from the garden spectacular.
The next morning we were up early, packed and headed to Swanage. The Jurassic
Coast was breathtaking and we walked along the coastal path to the
lighthouse before getting back into Buttercup for the drive to Lyndhurst and
then the journey back home.
We never did make much use of the facilities on board and probably weren’t
adventurous enough. We got about as far as making tea on the stove, and
plugging in the cable for electricity, but we grew very attached to
Buttercup during our short excursion and would definitely go away with her
Hiring a campervan
Buttercup can be hired from Arun Valley Campers at North Stoke Farm, Amberley,
West Sussex (01798 839106; arunvalleycampers.co.uk)
from £275 for a weekend and £495 for a week. Like the other campers for
hire, Buttercup comes fully equipped with an oven (gas), fridge, sink, table
and chairs, sleeping bags and pillows on request as well as tea and coffee.
She sleeps four comfortably.
Hollands Wood Campsite (Lyndhurst Road, Brockenhurst, Hampshire; 01590 622967; campingintheforest.co.uk;
from £16.50 for a standard pitch). Set in 22 acres of woodland, it caters
for all levels of campers and has three shower and lavatory blocks, laundry
facilities and even a dog shower. No electric hookup facilities.
Downshay Farm (Haycrafts Lane, Swanage, Dorset; 01929 480216;
downshayfarm.co.uk); open from May 23 to June 2 and July 11 to August 31;
prices from £5 per person and £3 for the camper van, or £4 for a large tent.
A family-run, working farm, it is ideally situated in the heart of the Isle
of Purbeck. This site has one huge field for tents and small campervans.
Facilities include, shower and lavatory blocks, freezers for ice packs, a
washing-up area and it has electric hookup facilities). In peak season they
have a mobile shop that visits every morning. You can’t book, it’s a turn up
and pitch site, so best to arrive early.
Where to eat and drink
The Jolly Sailor (Land’s End Road, Old Bursledon, Southampton; 02380 405557; jollysailoroldbursledon.co.uk).
Right on the water, overlooking the Hamble Estuary. Good menu and a varied
selection of beers; Sunday roasts.
The Scott Arms (Kingston, Corfe Castle, Dorset; 01929 480270; thescottarms.com).
Lovely little pub with great views of Corfe Castle. Locally sourced menu and
a Jamaican themed barbecue in summer.
the free Telegraph Travel app, featuring expert guides to destinations
including Paris, Rome, New York, Venice and Amsterdam
Telegraph Travel on Twitter
Telegraph Travel on Facebook
Telegraph Travel on Pinterest
Travel on FourSquare