Spa camping!

When you hear “girls weekend away” you don’t often think of camping in late October but I’m happy to hop in Bernice at a moments notice and my good friend Angela is made of stern stuff.

A lot of the “wild” campsites are closed for the winter now so it was with a heavy heart we booked Lincoln Farm Park in the Cotswolds with its heated swimming pool, sauna & steam room, well stocked shop and steak frites van on site (on a Friday)….

The minute you spy the word Oxford on a road sign the traffic feels obliged to grind to a halt so, after a morning at work, it took me a surprising 3.5 hrs to arrive and was starting to get dark. Angela left her home in Welshpool earlier than me so she was already immersed in the spa when I arrived. It was too late for me to take advantage of the facilities so I began the arduous ten minutes getting Bernice ready for relaxation…

Ready to relax – note the fabulous Luninoodle

After a nice evening with fajitas catching up and a luxurious child-free lie-in in the AFT on the Saturday we embarked, with some trepidation, on a 7 mile circular walk from Woodstock, home of Blenheim Palace and snooty art gallery owners. We’ve had several disasters in the past with guided walks (mentioning no names – AA 50 Walks in Kent) missing out significant landmarks leaving you screeching “which stile, there’s THREE?!” and gently bickering with your companion for the duration of the walk.

Luckily we were pleasantly surprised by the excellent instructions on the Oxfordshire County Council website printout and the lovely walk took in woods, fields, tracks, a nature reserve, part of the fabulous Blenheim Palace estate and lots and lots of glorious autumnal colours.

We had spent a fair bit of time fretting about getting back in time for the open session at the pool, spa and sauna at 4pm but the walk was pretty flat and we were back in Woodstock with time to spare to take in afternoon tea – hurrah! Lovely tea and cake at Natural Bread Cafe & Shop, friendly service, local ingredients and an impressive array of bread and cakes. I had the raspberry & almond tart and Angela enjoyed the lemon polenta cake. It’s all a bit pricey for sure but it’s a posh bit of Oxfordshire and, anyway, I’m from London so it seemed normal to me.

We popped into an art gallery on our way back to the car. Now I’m not a glamour puss at the best of times (snort of agreement from everyone…) and hiking gear is not a great look but the look of disdain we got going in was quite something. When I went to speak to the guy about one of his paintings which I really liked he pointedly turned his back on me. Now it would be rude to name them but he was pretty rude to me so Kyffin Gallery in Woodstock – poor service, you lost a sale and I won’t be back…👎🏻

We lingered a little too long in Woodstock and hastened back to the car in danger of missing up to four minutes of spa time. I’m always a tiny bit irritated when something is described as a “facility” at a campsite then has an extra charge but £4 is bearable for a nice pool, sauna, steam room & jacuzzi. There’s one thing this campsite is not short of and that is….DISCO! Not for this spa tinkly bells and rainforest sounds, it’s Heart FM all the way, top volume, in the main toilet block as well  (heated and very clean if a little 1980s pink ‘n green). I spent a surprising amount of time dance-walking which is always embarrassing for someone my age.

Lincoln Farm Park is a beautiful site, well maintained and looked extra fabulous with all the autumn splendour. My only niggle is some of the staff who, whilst very efficient, speak to you like you’re a naughty teenager. Maybe they have a lot of naughty teenagers there but I’m forty next year and I am able to read a sign that says “no outdoor shoes” unaided.

We had a fab spa (our outdoor shoes safely stowed away in the designated rack you’ll be relieved to hear…) then headed off to Oxford to catch up with Louise, a university friend. Pizza at Mamma Mia’s in Summertown followed by a few glasses of prosseco rounded off a lovely spa camping trip – do you think it could catch on?


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