18th December 2018
Although a lot of people tuck their caravans up for winter, these days they are built so well that there is no reason not to go exploring all through the year, and with Christmas just around the corner we were looking forward to escaping for some festive fun.
Lucky enough to be swapping our Bailey Unicorn for a brand new Pegasus Grande Rimini, we couldn’t wait to try it out for a few days. Being 8ft wide it is the widest caravan currently produced in the UK so we were eager to see if we’d notice a difference, but as soon as we hit the road we were perfectly comfortable and could barely even notice the extra few inches. We were surprisingly lucky with traffic in the usually congested cities, and sailed right through the narrow streets of Bristol and Bath. In no time at all we had arrived at the first stop on our Grande Christmas Tour - Longleat Caravan and Motorhome club site.
After having a good chinwag with the lovely wardens, we found the perfect pitch and were settled. First things first, we fired up the stove and put the kettle on, then after a quick cuppa it was time to put up the Christmas decorations! With festive classics blasting out of the speakers we excitedly turned the Grande into a winter wonderland. Although it’s only 6 inches wider than our Unicorn, it’s like a Tardis and the size difference internally is really noticeable. The G-Shaped lounge created a perfect home for our 6ft tall, full sized Christmas tree. If it fits, why not?!
Now that Christmas had officially arrived in the Grande, we spent the rest of the evening relaxing and feeling festive, enjoying dinner and listening to the very vocal lions roar from the Safari Park.
Despite having roaring lions just the other side of the fence we had a very comfortable first nights sleep in the Grande. We woke up feeling refreshed and looking forward to the festive fun that the day would bring.
Watching the chirpy robins playing on the pitch outside we spent the morning having breakfast and relaxing in the toasty warm caravan, before heading out for our first Christmassy excursion - Stourhead House and Gardens.
Being a 17th century National Trust property we were surprised to find out that they had a “stair climber” for wheelchair users to enter the grand house and although it was slightly unnerving I made it in without any issues.
Once inside the main lobby we were greeted by the smell of the crackling log fire and a magnificent 16ft Christmas tree, just a little taller than the one in our caravan! We wandered around, talking to the lovely and incredibly knowledgeable volunteers and admiring the beautiful house full of traditionally British Christmas decor, before taking a stroll down to the lake.
Although it was absolutely stunning and so peaceful, it was time to head back to Longleat. There was more festive fun to be had!
Less than a minute walk from the site entrance and we had arrived at the amazing Longleat Festival of Light. This year’s theme was something most of you will know we adore- Travel.
With rosy cheeks and steamy breaths fading into the winter’s night, we wandered around and were magically transported all over the globe. All the way from Japan and India to ancient Egypt, and everywhere in between - even travelling through time to when dinosaurs roamed the Earth!
It was all mesmerising but being a lover of the ocean my personal favourite part was being taken on an underwater adventure. Surrounded by fish and turtles with jellyfish hanging from the trees we were in awe, and despite being in our 20’s we are big kids at heart and found it magical!
After having a fantastic but very chilly day, we were happy to have a lovely and warm caravan waiting for us back on site. Although we were sad for it to be our last night at Longleat, we couldn’t wait to continue our Grande Christmas Tour the following day.
Opening the blinds in the morning the sunlight flooded in through the huge vertical skylight, it was a beautiful day to be on the road again.
After a smooth hitch up, the Grande was soon trailing behind us as we made our way further north, stopping for lunch at our favourite service station in Gloucester, then on to Chapel Lane Caravan and Motorhome club site.
You might be thinking that Birmingham is a bit random, but in keeping to the “Grande” theme, there’s nowhere better to go than the Christmas market, which claims to be the biggest authentic German market outside of Germany and Austria!
So after quickly setting up the caravan on a pitch and firing up the heating, we went to the city centre to check it out.
Bundled up in layers we explored the vast amount of wooden huts under twinkling lights, all selling unique handmade gifts.
We made our way around, soaking up the bustling atmosphere with live music coming from the stage in the main square. The ornaments and scarfs were lovely but of course, Stephen was most drawn to the food huts, we found ourselves following the scent of traditional German cuisines in the search to fill our tummies. There was so much to choose from but we settled on cheeseburgers and waffles smothered in everything sweet and deadly you can think of.
Now feeling full to the brim on both German food and festive cheer, our phones told us that the temperature had a “real feel” of -3°, and we “really felt” it! More thankful than ever to have a warm caravan waiting on site for us we made our way back for another cosy night in the Grande.
Waking up the next morning to another beautiful blue sky, everything was covered in a thick, sparkling frost. Having had a busy week and with it being our last day with the Grande, we were looking forward to having a more relaxed time on site. By total coincidence, we had some friends also staying at Chapel Lane so we spent the afternoon together, first firing up the Cadac to roast some chestnuts before dashing into the warmth of the caravan to continue the party.
The lounge is a great set up for social situations and the comfy sofas made a perfect space for us to chat. The time just flew by and before we knew it, the evening was setting in and it was time for dinner.
Taking inspiration from the Pegasus Grande’s range of models, all named after Italian cities, on the menu that night was an authentic Italian spaghetti carbonara.
We found the kitchen very practical and easy to use, there was ample space for everything and the inclusion of an electric hot plate means you can save on gas while preparing your favourite meals. Stephen rustled up dinner in no time, and it was delicious!
In preparation for leaving the next day, we took the majority of the decorations down, but the tree had to stay up for one final night. It was after all our Grande Christmas Tour.
In the morning, we were sad to be packing up and returning it to Bailey but we’d had an amazing week full of festive fun. We’d really got into the Christmas spirit and made so many fantastic memories along the way and we can’t wait to do it all again next year.
We love caravanning in the summer... but we love caravanning in the winter just as much!