We fancied some island camping for the weekend, the Seychelles were too far so we opted for the next best thing – the Isle of Sheppey! SC was excited for the duration of the week, I think imagining golden sandy beaches, palm trees and messing around in boats.
I didn’t quite have the heart to tell her that Sheppey is only 36 miles square and the coastline mainly consists of muddy marshland and estuary. It was occupied briefly by the Dutch in 1667 and was the proposed site of a new London airport.
We squeaked into the last space in a campsite called Leo Bay and that’s only because we are small. We were overshadowed (literally) by Percy in his monster Safari (Serengeti edition).
Percy kindly invited us on a tour of his van which went on for miles. We thought we’d seen it all when he opened up a double bedroom with fitted wardrobes. SC was entranced and, in that small child way, asked him how much it was – £30,000 second hand if you fancy one yourself.
I assumed it was a van which would stay put but Percy cheerfully told us how he frequently takes it to Devon and the south of France. I couldn’t even see a steering wheel but apparently it was behind the 52in flat screen telly…..
After we had picked our jaws off the floor we investigated the campsite. Leo Bay is very very flowery and a bit…quirky. It’s basically Steve and Sheila’s big front garden. The facilities are amazing, there’s a big gas barbecue that anyone can use, a kitchen area and a massive den for campers with a wood burning stove and games (a robin has her nest inside and flies in and out feeding her babies). It’s garden ornament-tastic with a lovely grassy central section with a picnic tables.
The front of the site faces out to the water and there’s a gate out the back to a big piece of parkland with a playground.
We’d spent the whole weekend misjudging the weather, expecting it to be tropical and being surprised when it was actually a bit nippy for sandals. On Sunday morning we rolled up to Barton’s Point Coastal Park with high hopes but grey skies and a chilly wind made it feel a bit bleak. SC, who never feels the cold, was happy enough flying her kite and going to the adventure playground though.
A nice coffee in the cosy character cafe (above) perked us up, as always. There’s a miniature railway but it wasn’t running until midday so we hastened to Sheerness.
The clock tower is listed in the “top ten things to do in Sheerness” so we stopped to have a look at it. After about 35….seconds of sage observation SC pipes up “can we have a burger for lunch?”. Having exhausted the entertainment potential of the clock tower we did indeed have a burger in the very cheap and extremely cheerful Rios on the high street.
There are loads of other attractions on Sheppey such as the Heritage Centre, some lovely beaches, the Minster and a number of pubs. However cat welfare and a list of dull but important jobs called us home so they will have to wait for another day.
Let me know your island camping adventures in the comments!