School’s out for Summer

The egg & spoon races are done and dusted and the parents race in which you panted home last is but a distant humiliation.  The countdown now officially begins to the summer holidays. 

For a couple of days everyone’s on cloud 9, then the squabbles set in and up goes the familiar cry of ‘I’m bored’.  On go the gadgets and down go the heads as their digits start a-tapping…  you may start to wonder if your children are ever going to venture outside and how the heck you are going to keep your voice NICE AND CALM for the next 6 weeks.


Here at Mad Dogs & Vintage Vans we are all about embracing the Great Outdoors and life’s simple pleasures: toasting marshmallows over an open fire, making dens and mud pies, staying up late til the sun sets over the hills and listening to our resident owls hooting in the copse. Good old fashioned holidays where kids are free to run wild and families spend time playing, laughing, eating and going on adventures together.  Check our summer availability here

Lifestyle blogger Laura Side Street recently enjoyed a glamping break staying in Monty with her two young boys and mother.  For her a digital detox was the main motivator: ‘I am a firm believer in the restorative power of disconnecting from technology and the busy daily routine and reconnecting as a family, away from distractions in the most simple ways… there has been a lot of recent scientific research showing the benefits of spending time outdoors and within nature such as stress relief, improved mental and physical well-being, increased energy levels and concentration and the list goes on’.  Click below to read the first instalment of her fab Mad Dogs glamping blog.  Stunning photos too.


Our four vans are situated in a wild grass meadow overlooking a field where horses graze peacefully and with fantastic views west to the Black Mountains. Military man Monty has the advantage of a private deck and can sleep a family of up to five.  Gertie is the grand dame of our fleet, dating from the 1930s  and sleeps 4 whilst Sybil, who was handmade by a carpenter dad in the 1940s, sleeps 4 comfortably plus there’s an additional hammock bed for a small child.  Curvy Elsie has a large double but families are welcome to pitch a tent next to her for overflow accommodation.  The vans are located close enough to each other if you’re coming with friends but far enough apart to guarantee privacy.

There’s plenty of adventures to be had by day in this stunning corner of the Wye Valley: hire a canoe and if you’re lucky you’ll spot a kingfisher on the banks of the River Wye or head off to the nearby ancient Forest of Dean where there’s a wealth of activities including great cycle trails.  The picturesque market town of Ross-on-Wye is only an hour’s walk down a farm track along the river and you could always stop for a dip en route. Or take advantage of the tennis court on site and have a family knock up (please remember to bring balls and rackets). Ladies, perhaps indulge yourself and book a Glamp n Pamp nurturing holistic treatment with our onsite therapist. By night spark up a fire and get the sausages sizzling before settling back to do a spot of stargazing.    

Thanks to Chris for this great photo

Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom.
July is dressed up and playing her tune… Altogether now,
Summer Breeze, makes me feel fine…

Look forward to seeing you this summer
Jo & Sacha xx



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Hey Ding a Ding, Ding. 



When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;

Sweet lovers love the spring

So said Will-i-am Shakespeare and delighted to say Spring has finally burst into life here at Mad Dogs & Vintage Vans.  The trees are unfurling their green leaves, the bluebells are blooming round the campfire, the copse is carpeted with spring flowers and the distinctive silhouette of the Black Mountains and Hay Bluff puncture the piercing blue sky in the distance.  
To celebrate all things blooming marvellous we’re offering 10% off midweek bookings.  Cycling, walking, canoeing & take advantage of the Wye Valley at its best with 10% off a booking made before the end of April. 
 (Monday-Friday excepting bank holidays and high summer)


Thanks to all  our guests who stayed in the early season.  Log burning fires in the vans, thick duvets, hotwater bottles and blankets have ensured the nights were cosy, even when temperatures dipped below freezing.  Special thanks to award winning blogger Slummy Single Mummy who posted a rave review about her recent stay with us.  Read it here.


Looking ahead we are very excited about all the people coming to glamp and celebrate with us in the upcoming months.  This weekend Sybil will be playing host to our lucky 9Bar competition winners and then we enter party season with a steady stream of hen party revellers, family gatherings and even our first honeymooners.  For anyone thinking of hiring the whole site we do still have a few precious weekends left including 7/8 May, 18/19 June and 3/4 September.  Check our group hire availability and book here. 

At the risk of repeating ourselves glamping doesn’t mean having to compromise on comfort and luxury. We’re really excited to bring you what we think is a unique new service called Glamp n Pamp.  Our fab therapist Felicity offers a range of pampering holistic treatments including massage, reflexology and nurturing facials all on site.  We can recommend this as a deeply relaxing and restorative way to spend a few hours before cooking up something delicious over our new improved campfire.  If you’d like to find out more or make a booking then please get in touch.


Finally, on the subject of campfire cooking and in the spirit of Spring foraging, here is our recipe for Nettle Soup.  Whilst nettles abound all summer long there’s a relatively small window when the heads are young and tender enough to use for culinary purposes. Great for boosting iron levels and packed with vitamin C.  Just remember to wear gloves when you’re picking!

Mad Dogs Nettle Soup 

½ carrier bag of nettle tops or young leaves
2oz butter
1 large onion finely sliced
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 ¾ pints of stock (chicken or vegetable)
Salt & pepper
4 tbsps double cream

1.       Wearing rubber gloves, pick over the nettles discarding any tough stalks. Wash the nettles thoroughly.  Melt butter in large saucepan and cook the onion gently until transparent.  Add the garlic, potatoes and stock.  Bring to the boil and simmer until the potatoes are soft  Add the nettles and simmer for a further 5-10 minutes until tender.  Season.
2.       Puree the soup in a blender and return to a clean saucepan, stir in half the cream and reheat.  Check the seasoning, pour into bowls, add a swirl of cream and garnish with chives… Enjoy!

Hope to see you soon

Jo & Sacha xx  


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Carry On Glamping


Pre Season 2016

2016 is the year of more…

For some the early part of the year is all about giving things up, but here at Mad Dogs & Vintage Vans we’re focusing on upping the indulgence levels: more campfires, more marshmallow toasting, more candlelit dinners in the mess tent, more stargazing, more freshly baked bread delivered directly to your van and definitely more cider please!
Meanwhile behind the scenes we’ve been hard at work refreshing the website.  

click here to see the fab results

 We especially love it when guests share their photos with us and this one is an all time favourite. Our website Gallery is full of many more.  

One of the best ways to enjoy Mad Dogs & Vintage Vans is to book the whole site and throw your own party. If you’re thinking of celebrating a birthday or hosting a Hen weekend here, we recommend you get in touch as we only have a small number of spring & summer weekends remaining.  Check our availability here.   

Our season opens on March 25th just in time for Easter.

We hope to see you soon. 
Sacha & Jo


Copyright © 2016 Mad Dogs & Vintage Vans 



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