In the last couple of weeks I have been doing a little tour of the UK, mainly catching up with some old friends and seeing as much live music as possible. During this time I didn’t pay to stay in a campsite once. Here’s what I did:
Day 1: Thursday 16th May 2013, Rochester, Kent
I went to Rochester and met my friends at the Medway Marina Bar, which was a very peaceful night with the sun setting over the Medway. Good beer and live music from The Harper Brothers made it a great night which was very enjoyable indeed. John the landlord is a great bloke and was quite happy for me to spend a night in the car park there that belongs to the marina. The Marina Bar is in a part of Rochester called Borstal which is visible from the M20 bridge that goes over the Meday there.
Day 2: Friday 17th May 2013, Toppesfield, Essex
I was in rural Essex, a lovely little village called Toppesfield. I had a drink and a meal in the Green Man pub there and watched some great local bands playing in a marquee out the back. An excellent night and even got to have a chat with Nik Kershaw who was visiting. Tony the landlord was quite happy for me to spend a night in the pub car park in the motorhome.
Day 3, Saturday 18th May 2013, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire
I love Melton Mowbray, not just because I am partial to a pork pie, but it is a town with great people and an excellent live music scene. Saturday night’s destination was the Generous Briton pub, or the Genny B as the locals like to call it. There is a layby opposite the pub, but the band were using that for their gear, so I just stopped in the Halfords car park ’round the corner. Not the most glamorous of camping spots, but it did the job.
Day 4, Sunday 19th May 2013, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire
I have some great friends in Market Rasen, so I am a bit biased, but it really is a wonderful spot in beautiful Lincolnshire. The town has optimistic people who are proud to ‘keep it local’. We went for a day at the horse racing in Market Rasen, that was a lot of fun, although after betting on a few useless nags, I ended up £9 down on the day – a very nice thing to do all the same. In the evening I stopped in a car park in town, no big deal as it was Sunday, and went to The George pub to see yet another live rock band.
Day 5, Monday 20th May 2013, Southwell, Nottinghamshire
Oddly enough another horse racing town today. Southwell is a gorgeous town, not far from Nottingham. The reason I was here was to see the amazing 16 year old guitarist / songwriter James Gooch and the highly talented folk rock of the Brad Deer Band, who had just returned from the Bearded Theory Festival to play at The Admiral Rodney in Southwell. The Admiral Rodney is a large pub and hotel. They were happy enough for me to spend one night in their car park.
Day 6, Tuesday 21st May 2013, Watford, Hertfordshire
It was quite a long drive down from Nottinghamshire so I took advantage of some motorway service stations to take on fresh water, empty the toilet cassette and waste water and all the routine stuff. When I arrived in Watford I was aware that car parking was at a premium, due to the proximity of London and Watford Junction railway station. There are a lot of ‘residents permit’ parking spaces, but if you go slightly north of the centre and head to Cassiobury Park there are lots of places you can park, that are peaceful and free. A Tuesday night in ‘The Horns’ doesn’t usually have live music, but it did tonight. I know a lot of people in Watford, so it was an excellent night of old and familiar faces.
Day 7, Wednesday 22nd May 2013, Lewes, East Sussex
My destination was The Dorset Inn, Lewes, which has a large car park opposite where you need to pay, but as I arrived in the evening and left before 8am it was free. Before going to Lewes I couldn’t resist going to Brighton and getting my folding bike out for a lovely ride along the seafront cycle path to Hove and back. Once again more live music at The Dorset Inn and I met up with a bunch of friends that I know from when I worked in Alpe d’Huez, France. Not the busiest night there, but good fun all the same.
Day 8, Thursday 23rd May 2013, Abbeydale, Gloucester, Gloucestershire
The plan here was to see punk band, Noise Agents at the Ridge and Furrow. I’d never seen them before, but I’m glad I have now. The Ridge and Furrow has a huge car park that is fine to stay in for one night or alternatively there is a Morrison’s opposite that I reckon you could discretely park in.
Day 9, Friday 24th May 2013, Brockworth, Gloucester, Gloucestershire
I actually played bass myself this night with some friends, one who is from this area. It was a favour for The British Legion club there, so they let me stop in their car park. I dare say if you were to ask you could too, they are very easy going.
Day 10, Saturday 25th May 2013, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire
I lived in this town from 1987 to 2002, so I know it pretty well. I parked up in the football club car park down by the canal, which was OK as long as I was gone by midday on Sunday (I was). But there are numerous car parks and laybys you could easily use too. The Goat in the high street is the best live music pub in Berkhamsted, so that’s where I was for an excellent Saturday night.
Day 11, Sunday 26th May 2013, Bovingdon, Hertfordshire
I was here to see a band at the Halfway House pub. Landlord Chell was happy for me to park in his car park, but opposite the pub is a disused Jaguar garage which was just fine for the night.
Day 12, Monday 27th May 2013, Apsley, Hertfordshire
This was a bank holiday, so parking was easy. The big football match with Watford at Wembley was on too, so everyone was either at Wembley, at home or down the pub watching it. The band I was watching were playing at The Oddfellows Arms in Apsley and just around the back of the pub is a small industrial estate that was deserted which gave an ideal place to stay for the night.
So there you go, 12 nights in the UK with ZERO camping fees, thanks to having a motorhome. Admittedly this is not your average motorhome hire holiday, but it does go to show how versatile they are and the level of freedom they offer. Why not get a hire quote today and plan your next trip?