Step away from the armchair - things to do in January
Reluctantly, we suppose we must shift ourselves after the break. We hate to feel like clichés, but it does have to be said that after the Christmas hols we are feeling very clichéd indeed. We sniffled at The Snowman, cannot face another slice of brandified Christmas pudding, have livers slow and sluggish, and turned the air blue on New Year’s Day when jeans were tried on and didn't fit even with lying flat on the floor and not breathing. Bah and also humbug.
We’re not so clichéd as to make all sorts of New Year’s resolutions involving weight loss and getting fit – anything requiring willpower is best kept until spring and not introduced in the grim and skint depths of winter – but we suppose it wouldn’t kill us to get some fresh air and exercise. And now that we’ve had a look at what’s on, as well as downed several pints of tea to get us started, we think we might be able to make it out of doors after all. Here are some events in January which might help shift you from the armchair:
Twelfth Night, 5 January: We weren’t sure whether this could safely be included in the ‘getting out of the house for fresh air and exercise’ stakes, as Twelfth Night traditionally involves parties and eating, but in homage to the Shakespeare play we think a stay at Warwickshire’s Wootton Park is cause for celebration. As is finally being allowed to take the Christmas tree down. Book a pod at Wootton this weekend from £65 a night sleeping two, and assuage festive guilt by taking a hike around the nearby Costwolds to walk off some of the cake.
Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival, 11-13 January: Pootle to Peterborough next weekend for the annual Straw Bear Festival, where a bear, OK, a person, dressed in a straw costume capers around town with a troupe of dancers. ‘The person donning the costume is adding something like five stone to his own weight,’ explain the event organisers, which is kind of how we feel right now too.
Stay: Save cash with a stay at Tall Trees Leisure Park in nearby Wisbech, which has 34 per cent off electric grass pitches until 28 March 2013, starting from £9.57 a night. The farm shop here has all sorts of tasty goodies to try, and the Oliver Twist pub a stroll away from the campsite dishes up top grub. We’re not doing very well so far with this sensible eating in January thing.
Wassailing, 19 January: Banish bad spirits and raise a wassail glass to a good year (and cider apple crop) with Wassailing in East Sussex, the first Wassailing event run by the Pentacle Drummers. There’ll be a torch procession, Morris dancing, live music, drumming and games – and entry is free. Wassail!
Stay: Lurch back to a luxury berth at Rye’s Barefoot Yurts, where your booking includes two traditional Mongolian yurts of your very own to take over – one for sleeping in and one as a big sitting room. The yurts sleep up to six and start from £260 for a two night stay from 18-20 January. Or bring your own tourer, motorhome or tent to Long Acres Caravan and Camping Park just across the border in Surrey, with pitches from £14 for a non-electric pitch and £17 for an electric one.
Horror-on-Sea Film Festival, 18-20 January: Get spooked on the Essex coast with weekend film shenanigans at Southend-on-Sea, run by the same folk who organise the town’s annual film festival. As well as new independent films and shorts, there’s a masterclass on making low budget features, talks with film makers, and the chance to run screaming down the world’s longest pier as if pursued by a zombie horde. We made that last one up. But admittedly it sounds like huge fun, and would fulfil some January exercise requirements.
Stay: Lee Wick Farm Cottages and Camping along the coast at St Osyth has camping pods in style, with the Mega Pod coming with double bed, futon, DAB radio, iPod dock and outside seating as well as a kitchen area, loo and shower. The pod is £110 for 18-19 January for up to four people, and £155 for four people for 18-20 January if you want to stay the full three nights of the festival.
Burns Night, 23 January: January isn’t complete without celebrating Burns Night, which we are firmly telling ourselves we’ll do sensibly this year. There’ll be celebrations and suppers all over Scotland on or near 25 January to celebrate Burns Night, the birthday of poet Robbie Burns, with the clever revellers in Pitlochry starting a bit early. Stick around for a few days afterwards for the start of the Pitlochry Winter Words Festival for literary sorts, or continue your Burns stagger around Perthshire with a Rabbie Burns and Whisky Tour on the morning (!) of 25 January in Crieff.
Stay: We have a few Perthshire options with January availability: Grand Eagles at Auchterarder has hardstanding motorhome and touring pitches with optional electric from £19.50 a night, with non-electric grass pitches from £16 a night at Ecocamp Glenshee – campers can also use the bothy with woodburning stove. There’s also the family-run Blairgowrie Holiday Park a short drive from Perth and Dundee, with hardstanding electric pitches for tourers and motorhomes from £18 a night.
For a Welsh January, St Dwynwen's Day, the Welsh equivalent of St Valentine’s Day, is on January 25 for romantic strolls and having to buy an extra present. We wouldn’t dream of suggesting activities you can do with your loved one to celebrate the day, so shall move swiftly on to Welsh sites you can stay at in January – camping pods in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion or Wrexham, pre-erected tents in Pembrokeshire or a bothy shepherd’s hut near the coast: or see our campsites and parks in Wales that are open all year.
That should be enough fresh air for the month, we think. And we'll generously append our guide to gastronomic camping and caravanning in winter here too, since it might also motivate some to get out of the armchair. Diets start in March.