2020: A year of travel with Chimptrips

by Jan

As you’d imagine, 2020 was not the year of travel the Chimptrips family were expecting.  We had so many exciting trips booked, Rome, Amalfi, Thailand, and Wales, all of which cancelled.  However, all was not lost.  Despite the restrictions, we had a great year exploring closer to home and enjoying some fantastic UK staycations.

January & February

A visit to Switzerland & France

Two boys in Chewbacca Onesies skiing at Les Arc 1800

2020 got off to a fantastic start with our annual skiing trip.  We began with a stopover in Geneva where we took ourselves in the direction of the international zone, before returning to Geneva’s historic Old Town.

The next day we travelled on to Arc 1800 in the French Alps, where we met with a group of 8 families.  Little did we know that this was the last time we’d be travelling abroad.  Or even socialising with a group of friends!  Anyway, the skies were blue, and we all had a wonderful time, both on and off the piste.

March to June

Lockdown in Surrey

Camping in the back garden

By March, covid-19 was spreading and after one last day out at Moors Valley Country Park in Dorset, the country was in lockdown.  We found new ways to entertain the kids and became increasingly grateful for our garden and local outdoor places.

In particular, we spent a lot of time exploring Barossa Common and Swinley Forest and really appreciated having this natural space on our doorstep.

July

Exploring the Gower Peninsular, Wales

View of Worms Head, Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula

With our summer plans for Thailand abandoned, we made new plans far closer to home.  Our first destination was the Gower Peninsular in South Wales.

Although we’d driven past the Gower several times on our way to Pembrokeshire, we’d never stopped in this part of Wales.  However, our beachside cottage in Oxwich Bay was the perfect base for exploring the beautiful Gower beaches and countryside.

We loved the coastal walks in the Gower. The highlights were our climb across the cliffs to find Culver Hole at Port Eynon and our clamber across rocks to reach Worm’s Head in Rhossili.

August

A visit to Norfolk

View of Blickling Estate buildings across manicured lawns and sweeping drive, Norfolk, England

Next stop was Norfolk.  From the village of Foulsham, we spent a week socially distancing on isolated beaches such as Weybourne and Brancaster.  We also signed up to National Trust membership and made a visit to the estate at Blickling Hall near Aylsham.

Glamping in East Sussex

Bell Tent Glamping at Brakes Coppice Campsite, Battle, East Sussex, England

From Norfolk we took a detour for a surprise glamping trip in East Sussex.  The children thought we were homebound until our arrival at the first campsite, Brakes Coppice Park, near Battle.

We spent a couple of days in Battle with day trips to Bodiam Castle, Battle Abbey, and Hastings.  Plus, we learnt everything we need to know about the famous Battle of Hastings in 1066.

From here we moved to a yurt at Freshwinds Farm near Pett.  This was only half an hour away, but took us nearer to Rye, Winchelsea, and Dungeness.

Although we’ve camped a lot, we only have limited glamping experience.  Unsurprisingly, we loved it, especially the second site where we had a yurt overlooking country fields.  It’s a wonderful way to spend some undisturbed time in the countryside and just so quick when it’s time to pack up.

September & October

After 5 months of home learning, the kids were delighted to return to school in September.  We reverted to making the most of our weekends for days out and visiting new places.

We also continued to take advantage of our National Trust membership.  Although most historic houses remained shut, we loved visiting the beautiful gardens and outdoor spaces.  Amongst our favourites were Claremont Gardens, the Vyne in Hampshire and Winkworth Arboretum in Surrey.

A mini break in West Sussex

Arundel Castle Garden view

In September we headed out for another glamping trip in Sussex, but this time to West Sussex.  Our first day was a full-on day at Arundel, visiting Arundel Wetland Centre and the magnificent Arundel Castle.

We made a hasty visit to Littlehampton beach, before returning to a glamping site near Houghton Bridge.  After a night in Amberley, we were in the perfect location for a day trip to Petworth House and Deer Park.

Exploring the Wye Valley, Gloucestershire

Fallen trees and Scowls at Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean, UK

Of all the 2020 trips we’d planned, I had high hopes we’d make it to Snowdonia National Park in Wales.  We’d booked our first treehouse stay as a Christmas present for the family.  We planned to spend a few days relaxing in the woods and then move to Betws-y-Coed for some mountain adventures.

Unfortunately, as the time approached, the covid situation worsened in North Wales and the government closed the area to visitors.  At first, we hoped we could still go to the treehouse, as it was in such a remote location.  However, it wasn’t to be, as Wales went into a two-week lockdown.  Of course, the kids were disappointed, but we’ve postponed the trip.  And, on a positive note, now we have something to look forward to in 2022!

Our last-minute change of plans resulted in a hasty booking at a cottage in Upper Lydford in the Wye Valley, Gloucestershire.  It was as near to Wales as we could get without going in!

So, for the next few days we explored a very autumnal Forest of Dean.  The highlights of the trip were our visits to the amazing woods at Puzzlewood, Symonds Yat and the Dean Heritage Centre. 

No doubt, we’ll return in warmer weather to try our hand at canoeing on the River Wye.

November & December

More local adventures

Stag Deer at Richmond Park, London, UK

Deer parks seemed to be a bit of a theme for this year.  After our trip to Petworth, we made a sunrise visit to Richmond Park and later several trips to Bushy Park.  Both are former royal hunting grounds and remain home to hundreds of free roaming deer.  Today they are both fantastic places to visit and great for spotting wildlife.

As lockdown restrictions continue to tighten the highlight has been exploring more outside places and local nature reserves in Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire.  I think that this will be the norm for the foreseeable future, so we just have to make the best of it.

2020: A year of travel with Chimptrips - Conclusion

Two boys sitting around early evening Campfire, cooking on Tripod at Freshwinds Camping, Sussex

Although international travel was cancelled due to covid, we really can’t complain.  2020 was certainly a different year of travel.  However, we enjoyed some amazing trips and got to explore some beautiful parts of the UK.

We discovered new nature trails and country parks locally and really made the most of outdoor places in a very socially distanced way.

Looking forward to 2021

Although we have booked our return trip to Arc 1800, I really can’t imagine it will happen.  We are now under the strictest tier 4 lockdown measures and currently can’t see anyone or travel anywhere.

By now I’d usually have my year’s travel plans mapped out, but we really don’t know what the future holds.  However, we do hope to explore more of the UK in 2021 and enjoy the amazing outdoor places near us.

We wish to thank all our readers for your support and kindness this year.  The Chimptrips family wish you all a happy and safe 2021!

We hoped you enjoyed reading a year of travel with the Chimptrips?  What were your favourite travel moments of the year?  We’d love to see your comments below.

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5 comments

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5 comments

Avatar for Jan
Emma @ Adventures of a London Kiwi 6th January 2021 - 10:55 pm

I adore how much you’ve made of the UK this year – it’s such a wonderful country!

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Sarah 3rd January 2021 - 11:38 pm

Looks like you took advantage and saw some beautiful places in the UK. Best of luck with your current tier 4 lockdown. Hopefully it all goes well and later in 2021 we are all able to enjoy some travel 🙂

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Jan 4th January 2021 - 7:19 pm

We did really well considering most of our original travel plans got cancelled. We luckily have some beautiful places on our doorstep.

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Holidays from Hels 3rd January 2021 - 7:08 pm

Finding fun in the UK has been a Covid silver lining hasn’t it? Grounds of stately homes and parks have seen many of us through the year. And your glamping looks fabulous!

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Jan 4th January 2021 - 7:18 pm

Yes, we loved glamping – it’s just so much easier than camping!

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