You may remember last year I fell completely in love with North Star Club (read here). After we left, as with all good places we tend to visit, it remained on my mind and when I was invited to North Star Club’s sister camp, Jollydays, I didn’t hesitate in jumping at the chance and a date was booked in for May.
Fast forward a few months later and Matt and I packed up the car and headed to Yorkshire. Check-in wasn’t until 4pm so we decided to pop into York for a few hours for a mooch around. I fell in love with the city almost instantly, perhaps because it had a lot of what I felt Peterborough, my hometown, was missing. The buildings mixed old with new and there were small, independent shops alongside those favourite brands we all know and love. I remember being utterly delighted with the lemonade and crepe stands on offer in several places. A few of you will shake your heads disapprovingly at this next bit: we also visited the famous Betty’s and after browsing the menu, we ended up leaving. As gorgeous at the place itself was, the prices were shocking and nothing really appealed to me – plus who puts sultanas in scones!?
After driving through the woodland and locating a helpful man whose name I didn’t catch, we were given a tour of the camp before being taken to our Woodland Tent. We had our own private little space, set well apart from other campers. There are several self-catering options you can choose from at Jollydays with varying price points including Bell Tents, Woodcutter Huts and Lodge Tent.
Our tent was one of the more luxury options and we actually had two small sheds inside, one which contained a kitchen with hob and fridge and another with a roll-top bath. Yep, you heard correctly! A roll-top bath in a tent! There were also two ‘bedrooms’, great for a family or group of friends: one incredibly comfy four poster bed and two twins. Despite these lovely touches, like the other campers we had no electricity points to charge phones or laptops and no heating. The cold was easily solved by snuggling around our log burner and hot water bottles became our best friend at bedtime! It was far from a miserable situation, instead a cosy, unique adventure.
It was easy to think North Star Club and Jollydays would be a similar experience but they are completely different. While North Star Club is made up of luxurious lodges with everything you could need, Jollydays is a lot more basic but just as exciting. You are located in the woods for both but with Jollydays it is much more about getting closer to nature and embracing it. Inside our tent you could hear the birds and wildlife (and any rowdy hen parties!) throughout the day and night whereas at North Star Club you are a lot more shut off from it all.
You don’t have to go too Bear Grylls though as Jollydays caters for everything you really need. There is an honesty shed with alcohol, coal, umbrellas and all those other necessities which you can take from and pay back before you leave. For those who aren’t fortunate enough to have bathing facilities, there is a shower block available with plenty of showers for everyone to use. There is a ‘tea shed’ to make a tea or coffee and lounge around in with hay furniture (an interesting concept I’ll admit!). It possesses the only electric point to charge your devices and we were pleasantly surprised to never see anyone in there.
A utilities hut was well stocked with everything you could need for cooking with and you can freely help yourself. We borrowed a few bits for the first meal of our stay for which we made use of the BBQ that came with our tent and enjoyed a real meat feast outside on our veranda. I can clarify that BBQs are even nicer when you are sitting amongst nature!
As with its sister site, there is a lovely campfire for all to use where you will often find many people crowded round, prodding marshmallows into the flames and chatting cheerfully. This was such a popular place that I think it might even have been worth having more of these dotted around camp as sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of privacy, especially if you’re on a romantic break!
Jollydays, I came to realise, is completely what you make of it. You can enjoy the multitude of attractions that York has to offer or as we did, you can make the most of the wonderful camp and the unusual experience staying there brings. For us it was an escape. Without wifi or charge, our phones were barely touched and we reveled in the serenity, taking in nature and each other, reading and writing, listening to the rain battering our tent late at night and crowding round our log burner, basking in the warm glow.