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Camping - with a river, ducks and a cold beer
Camping and Caravanning Club Chertsey (Surrey)
Member Name: eilidhcatriona
Camping and Caravanning Club Chertsey (Surrey)
Advantages: Relaxed, good facilties, pretty river views
Disadvantages: Riverside pitches fill up quickly - you can't specifically request these
I live in Greater London, but there aren't too many caravan sites there, so when my parents come to visit in the summer with their caravan, they stay at the Chertsey Camping and Caravanning Club Site. I usually go and stay there with them, because it's such a nice spot that feels miles away from central London and I feel like I'm on holiday!
The site is located on the banks of the Thames, in the town of Chertsey, Surrey. Chertsey is just within the South East corner of the M25, and can be reached easily by train from Waterloo. The site is run by the Camping and Caravanning Club (C&C Club), and so the rates are lower for members but absolutely everyone is welcome. The site is suitable for caravans, tents, motorhomes and trailer tents, and has both hard stands and grass pitches. Rates vary depending on the season.
The facilities on site are standard but well maintained. There are two toilet block, the larger of which is located in the centre of the site and tends to get very busy. I think a lot of people don't seem to remember the smaller one by the gate, which I always used for showers as I never had to wait. The main block is newer, but even with five shower cubicles in the ladies there can be a queue on weekend and summer mornings. There are also washbasin cubicles in both blocks, and hairdryers. Also in the same building as the larger toilets is a games room and social area, dishwashing area and laundry facilities.
Also onsite is a very small shop in the reception area, but it is basically limited to milk and ice creams. Handy if you run out of milk in the morning, and of course the ice creams were popular with me and my mum in the July heatwave this year!
The site has a total of 200 pitches, so it is a reasonable size but it is popular so I would advise booking, particularly in summer and at weekends. The best pitches, which I will get onto in more detail shortly, are by the river and are very popular with those who have been before, but you cannot request one when you book, it's first come first served on the day of arrival, so if you want one, arrive early in the day.
Every time my parents have visited they have been lucky enough to have one of the riverside pitches. These are in a very pretty tree shaded area and have only a fence, narrow path and some bushes separating them from the river. The Thames at this point isn't the mammoth river it is by the time it passes Westminster, it's much narrower and very relaxed. There are numerous barges and small yachts passing, and also a large amount of birdlife - notably a large colony of Canada Geese and Egyptian Geese. The Egyptian Geese like to visit this area of the campsite and can often be seen wandering about looking for food. You can also see swans, coots, moorhens and crested grebes. My dad was also lucky enough to spot a kingfisher.
This section of the site has an idyllic feel to it. Provided the weather is good (and we have always been lucky there in July), you can sit outside the caravan, supping a cold drink and put your feet up with a good book, or just sit and watch the river go by. In the corner of the site there is a decked area with picnic tables which looks out over the river, and which is a very nice spot to let the day pass you by.
You can drive into London from Chertsey if you fancy visiting the sights, but to be honest I wouldn't bother. You can take the train from Chertsey station to Waterloo, which takes around 1 hour. There is plenty to do in the area, and it doesn't take too long to drive to attractions such as Hampton Court Palace in South London, and the theme parks, Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventure, are very near.
There is some noise at the site from the nearby motorway (the M3) and from planes going overhead - but this is not intrusive. In fact, I like watching the planes - I love seeing them low not long after take off or coming in to land. Years ago when we first visited this site we saw Concorde. Nowadays I looks for A380s!
I really can't recommend the Chertsey C&C Club Site highly enough. In all honesty, aside from the gimmicky sites with mini theme parks attached that we visited when I was a kid, I can't think of a site I like more than this. It's relaxing, pretty and scenic. I already can't wait until next summer when my parents will be back there.
Summary: A lovely site that I can't wait to visit again
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