We spent our first-ever family camping trip at Humble Bee Farm this half-term. If you want to read a bit more about the trip, I’ve written a few posts, but the main one is here. This post is intended as a review of the site and I want to make it clear that we chose the site and paid to stay ourselves. I have not received anything in return for this review.
We chose Humble Bee Farm after much deliberation (there’s a science, honest. Check it out here) and we weren’t disappointed.
The campsite is just 20 minutes from Scarborough in a small village and very much off the beaten track. It consists of a small section for caravans, some pitches with electric hook-up and many more without. It also has a series of wigwams on the campsite and a couple of self-catering cottages to rent.
The site itself is at the bottom of a steep hill, almost in a valley. It’s effectively several long, thin fields with a road down the centre. There is a main toilet and shower block with washing up facilities and a family shower room in roughly the centre of the site. More toilets and showers are at the entrance behind reception.
It is exceptionally quiet – no road noise at all. There’s no mobile reception either, so no annoying ringtones playing at awkward hours. In fact, the only noise that disturbed us (barring the crying of other people’s children) was a skylark nesting nearby which persisted in calling out in protection of its nest. This went on periodically right throughout the night and, according to Husband, it was joined by other partners in crime (although he can’t identify them personally) when the time came for the dawn chorus. That must have been one of my 30 minute periods of sleep…
There’s a small playground – a bit of a fort with a slide, one baby swing and two big swings plus a bench for mum or da;, some chickens, two Pygmy Goats and a duck pond with a resident population of waddlers. The playground isn’t huge, but it’s safe, with relatively new equipment and provides a welcome distraction for the children.
The site’s owners were very friendly and only too happy to help. We were quickly checked in by one of the owners who efficiently explained about how the site was laid out, the various facilities and gave us detailed directions to our pitch. We didn’t have electric hook up, and despite wondering if we could secure one at the last minute, found that we didn’t really need it. The field without the hook up is a bit wider and the pitches very generously-sized, so we were pleased in the end.
The bottom field slopes inwards from both sides, with the road running down the middle which is very good for drainage, as we found out. It does mean you wake up with your feet squished against the bottom of the tent, the degree to which will vary depending on which part of the field you’re in. The drainage is certainly very impressive as after many very heavy thunderstorms on our first night we awoke to no standing water at all. Constant rain over the second night meant the site was wetter in the morning, but not the inches-deep ponds we’d been expecting. The slope does make cooking and eating a bit difficult, but this will vary depending which part of the field you’re in. It seemed to level out a bit further down, so perhaps we were just unlucky on that front.
You can hire fire pits from the site – although we didn’t. The husband of this husband-and-wife team (should’ve made a note of the names) delivers them to the tents every evening around 6pm on his mini JCB tractor – much to the delight of my son who loves vehicles of any description. He even stopped for a chat when he saw that Buddy was interested, despite us not ordering a fire pit. They come with a trug full of logs and are effectively a brasier which should burn for a couple of hours.
In terms of other practicalities, the showers and toilet blocks were always spotlessly clean and there were plenty of them for the size of the site. We deliberately avoided peak times and never waited for anything. There was always toilet roll, and little touches like a couple of cublicles containing basins will have eased the potential queues There was also a two-sink wash-up area complete with freezer for re-freezing your packs and in the top shower block there’s a washer, dryer (£1.50 each) and a couple of hairdryers – which, although not a Vidal Sassoon, helped me feel human again after a night listening to the wind and rain.
Reception also serves as a mini shop stocking essentials such as milk, bread and eggs, as well as tomato ketchup and meat from a local farm shop. They even cook bacon and sausage sandwiches some mornings for a very reasonable price using meat from the farm shop down the road. If you’re looking to sample the local cuisine, a fish & chip van calls on Saturday tea times.
The highlight for the children was the animals. It’s not the whole working farm we’d imagined, but the ones that are at the site certainly add interest for the little ones. We didn’t explore it, but I did notice a “piggyback trail” signed from the entrance to the site and marked up as a 30 minute stroll. If the weather had been better we might have explored this with the children after dinner one night. This sums up the thoughfullness with which the owners have put the site together.
We would definitely return to Humble Bee Farm. It’s a professionally-run family campsite (the owners said they don’t take bookings from groups and prefer the family market) with good facilities and was perfect for us to dip our toe into the water of camping. Even if that water was provided by a number of thunderstorms.