If you think you don’t like camping, think again…
Never one for camping, preferring instead a ‘proper’ bed, somewhere to have a shower and plug in my hairdryer, I was tempted by the term ‘glamping’ a catch-all word for the latest in camping with all mod cons provided in a camping-type location. To that end, our family of four stayed in a Ready Camp pre-erected tent at Cannock Chase to taste the delights of camping – but not as we know it….
The Cannock Chase campsite is an absolute delight; small and cosy, spotlessly maintained, quiet and friendly. A lovely rural setting on the edge of the Chase, the only noise you’ll hear is the birds in the forest (and of course the other campers!). The pitches are set in a wooded glade and there’s a spotless amenities block offering hot showers, washing facilities, toilets, hairdryers, a separate parent and baby room, a laundrette and sinks for washing your dishes. It’s well-lit and the shower block was toasty warm! Cannock Chase is an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and it’s easy to see why as you’re surrounded by miles of woods and trails – a haven for cyclists, walkers and those with a pooch in tow.
We received a warm welcome from friendly and knowledgeable staff who took time to show us round our Ready Camp tent and make sure we have everything we needed (we did!). Our tent (if you can call it a tent) was pre-erected, so there were no arguments about who forgot the tent poles! It was also much larger and better equipped than we envisaged from the brochure.
With two separate bedrooms, one housing a double bed and the other a double bed with single bunk on top, there was plenty of room and plenty of privacy. The living area is spacious with a dining table and six chairs with padded seats (luxury!), a small sofa, and a kitchen area with 2-ring hob, full size fridge, microwave, toaster, kettle and all the kitchen utensils you could need.
The tent is designed to sleep up to 6 people comfortably (4 adults max) and we found we had ample room to relax and cook. There’s also a good amount of storage space so no need to keep everything in the car - the bedrooms have large pockets cleverly stitched into the walls where you can store clothes, shoes, books, bits and bob, etc, and one of the rooms has a hanging clothes rail too. Underneath one bed is a lockage storage box (take your own padlock) for valuables or just for storing non-perishable foods.
The floor is covered in vinyl flooring – so much better than a groundsheet – and felt warm underfoot. It was really easy to keep clean after a day out in the forest - and of course a broom and dustpan and mop are provided for you.
It's been very well thought-out not only with private bedrooms, but the ‘windows’ are a good size, letting in lots of light, and are also made from blackout material which keeps the early morning light out that often wakes you up in a standard tent. It also helped keep out any draughts, so was really snug.
The kitchen area doesn’t have a sink or tap, which took a bit of getting used to (this is camping after all) but it’s amazing how quickly you adapt and we made it the children’s job to take the tub of dirty dishes to the washing area each evening which they actually enjoyed!
Our pitch at Cannock was on top of a gentle slope so we had a good view of the campsite and the tent had sturdy steps leading up to a decking-style veranda with plenty of room for four people to sit out and enjoy the view. Folding chairs are provided, too. The overhead lights meant we could sit outside as long as we could bear (it is England after all!) and watch nature unfold.
Once zipped up inside, we were very cosy and spent most of our evenings playing board games, reading and chatting (there are plenty of lights) before retiring to bed. This is where we felt a bit like cheats – no brewing up a hot bedtime drink on a camping stove, no struggling to get out of your clothes in a confined space and no cold sleeping bags – hurrah!
This tent is a sturdy beast too; we had a night of torrential rain which lashed the campsite and hammered on the tent roof… but we stayed snug, smug and dry!
One thing you do need to bring is your own bedding and towels, but it’s great to be able to use your own duvet instead of a cramped sleeping bag every night. And I used the campsite tumble dryer each evening to dry off our towels ready for showering the next morning.
Cannock Chase campsite is surrounded by miles of walking trails, tracks and cycle routes (walking boots are essential!) and maps and directions are available from the reception area. It’s very close to Rugeley and there are plenty of local eateries if you don’t feel like cooking or fancy a treat one evening.
Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)
Ready Camp is a brilliant choice if you don’t feel up to the more traditional form of camping and children will really love it. They will get the experience of camping and you’ll avoid the hassle of camping stoves, damp sleeping bags and the threat of your tent blowing down in bad weather! The downside? No dogs are allowed in these tents
Ready Camp inventory
Everything… but the kitchen sink!
Double bed, Triple Bunk & Pull-out bed
Clothes hanger with 4 Hangers
Floor lamp & 2 Spotlights
Fridge, Microwave, Kettle & toaster
Table with 6 Table mats
6 Chairs with seatpads
2-Seater settee & lounge light
Doormat & Set of porch awning lights
6 Dinner plates, side plates & bowls
6 Mugs, tumblers & wine glasses
6 Teaspoons, tablespoons, knives & forks
2 chopping boards & 5-pc utensil set
Small sharp knife, large knife, bread knife & scissors
Corkscrew, tin opener & peeler
3 Pans plus a frying pan
Colander, 3 food containers
Washing bowl & water carrier
Bin, dustpan & brush
A little heater to keep you warm
Things to do in Cannock Chase:
GoApe & Segway experience – Birches Valley Forest Centre, Rugeley WS15 2UQ
Cycle R Cannock (very cheap bike hire) – High Green Court, 16-17 New Hall High, Cannock WS11 1GR. Tel: 01543 523606
Cannock Chase Heritage Trail – a 10-mile route linking Cannock, Hednesford and Rugeley, passing through, or close to, sites of historic or environmental interest
Plaza Rugeley – a converted cinema, now a Wetherspoons pub offering very reasonably priced meals. Tel: 01889 586831
Cannock Chase German Military Cemetery - Brocton, Cannock WS12 4PS
Red Carpet Cinema, Bar & Restaurant, Barton Marina, Barton-under-Needwood, Burton-on-Trent DE13 8AS. Tel: 01283 716257
Castle Ring iron age fort (short walk from the campsite)
Ancient High House in Stafford (reportedly one of the most haunted places in the UK!) - 48 Greengate St, Stafford ST16 2JA. Tel: 01785 619131
Shugborough Hall and Estate – National Trust-owned. A complete estate with mansion house, servants' quarters, working farm, walled garden and tea room. Great Haywood, Milford ST17 0XB. Tel: 01889 880160
Drayton Manor Theme Park – has a zoo as well as the usual rides such as Apocalypse and Shockwave.
• I stayed at Ready Camp Cannock Chase
• Prices start from £26 per night for a tent sleeping four adults and two children.
Three nights’ minimum stay – Friday to Monday.
- There are 10 new Ready Camp sites this year:
Cannock Chase, Derbyshire, Sussex, Devon, Herefordshire, Lincolnshire, Somerset, Hertfordshire and 2 in the Cotswolds, bringing the total to 39 across the UK.
- Visit the website to view the locations - www.readycamp.co.uk
Cannock Chase Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Old Youth Hostel,
Staffordshire WS15 1QW
- Visit www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk
- It’s always worth checking if there are any good deals to be had for late availability, so check out www.readycamp.co.uk/late-availability