There was no beautiful crystal blue waters laid beside a bed of golden-yellow sand! Instead there was muddy fields, trees & a lake!
There was no all-inclusive 5 star resort, a room with a sea view, instead there were tents, lots and lots of tents, all with a view of the portable loo’s.
As you may have guessed already, this wasn’t a holiday in the exotic Maldives or even a week in Spain, this was a Friday-Monday break in “Sunny” Oxfordshire England.
I’d be lying if I stated this was my favourite holiday, yet this is one I feel worthy of a write-up, one that showed me that a good family holiday didn’t have to mean an all-inclusive package dream holiday!
We couldn’t afford a family holiday in the summer of 2011 and I was grateful to have won the opportunity to have a weekend away with my children. Yes, I worried how the non structured holiday would sit with the Little man (aka A boy with Aspergers) but despite some ups and downs we had a pretty amazing time.
We arrived quite late on a Friday night having gotten lost a number of times down what seemed to be the same country lane! We found a great spot on the ground amongst a hundred other tents and tried to pitch what was to become our home for the next 3 nights! I say “tried” as we were still trying to pitch this thing some 2 hours later and almost took to sleeping under the stars when some jolly campers helped us out.
Little man and his sister embraced the whole camping experience pretty well, with little man sleeping better than he actually ever has (maybe it was the fresh air or the sheer exhaustion of it all, who knows)!The Wilderness festival: Little man places his wish on the tree, Alice with her face painted, Little man looks on at some wacky insects and right the beautiful lake.
By morning I started to see the experience in a whole new light! There was no swimming pool but instead we swam in the beautiful natural lakes under an array of slopping willow trees, I even swim under a beautiful star lite sky.
There was no hotel bar but instead we had open log fires with bars that resembled mini beach huts, to dance amongst the deers and trees was a totally awesome experience.
We didn’t slip on our sandals and stroll along the beach, instead we wiggled into wellies and strolled along the river bank in the early mornings sunlight that shone between the cracks of the branches of the tall trees of the wilderness. To say it was beautiful would be an understatement!The beautiful lake, Little man has his face painted and his delight at his reflection. Alice runs in the Wilderness.
I sat and watched my son get his face painted for the first time, a huge step for the child with sensory sensitivity! Was it the magic of the Wilderness, who knows? I know that the smile on his face when looking in the mirror will stay with me forever!
My children enjoyed boat trips along the river and strawberry picking in the near by fields that surrounded the Wilderness, we took them on long drives to neighbouring villages and stood by watching the wild horses race in the huge green fields. Yes, this may not have been an exotic break away, there was not a glimpse of blue sea and I swear it even rained on one of the days we were away, yet this was a holiday that taught me that holiday’s are what you make them. Yes, we do hope that this year we will visit some place that bit warmer, but we will never forget the holiday in the Oxfordshire Wilderness, for it was simply a holiday that is…and always will be worth remembering!
Above: Alice in a wig and hat, Alice with flowers in her hair & bottom Alice and Little man enjoying the festival.