Last weekend we packed our bags, jumped in the car and drove up to Suffolk to a small town called Saxmundham. Just outside the town is a small campsite run by Jenni and Kevin who set up there about three years ago after transferring from Dorset. But it’s not just any campsite, it’s an airstream glamping park and as you pull on the breaks and turn to look at the field, you are greeted by a spectacular sight of 6 beautiful airstreams, carefully brought back to their original glory, standing peacefully in the park, waiting to give you a weekend break like you’ve never experienced before.
At this point, I can hear Jenni entering the conversation and reminding me that one of the trailers is actually an Avion.
These guys are super passionate about what they do and how they do it. They spend months searching the internet for airstreams for sale. They buy them, import them from the States and drive them from Southampton, where they arrive on a ship, up to the quiet Suffolk countryside.
But they’re not just any Airstream offered up for hire. No, they are all furnished and decorated as closely as possible to the original state, lending a marvellous vintage air to them. On top of that, each trailer is named and the names are delightful – Betsy, Dee Dee, Nettie and Gloria are some examples. You will even hear Jenni referring to her airstreams as ‘she’.
We were incredibly lucky to be invited up for a weekend break at Happy Days Retro Vacations to try out the experience for ourselves, as a family and we were allowed to bring Baxter with us as a few of the Airstreams are dog friendly.
Inside an Airstream
We were given Dee Dee for our stay who is one of the first trailers you pass in the field. Standing brightly with a wooden table outside she looks really inviting. I really liked that the area in front of the Airstream was artificial grass, what a great idea as it saved a lot of mud being dragged in but was still in keeping with the field. We also had some colourful outdoor chairs to relax in too dotted around our pitch and flamingos too.
The door opens into the living area with a table to the right, the kitchen sink and hob/oven in front and the fridge to the left as you climb the steps. The shelf over the fridge has a TV (for watching DVDs as there is no television connection) and a radio. Parents will be pleased to know that the WiFi connection is very hit and miss, we really embraced this as the girls were off out exploring from the word go but more about that later.
As you turn left into the airstream, straight after the kitchenette you enter the bedroom with a single bed on either side of the walkway which leads down to the bathroom. The bathroom has a portable toilet, a shower, a sink and a cupboard for storage.
Each window has beautiful handmade curtains to make a cosy evening and shut out the light. The table has a PVC cloth and the benches are covered in cushions in wonderful retro prints.
It Is Gorgeous.
As you settle in to your vintage Airstream, you find all sorts of delightful surprises that make you smile and from the word go I can guarantee a happy-go-lucky feel about your weekend (or longer) stay.
Once the children were in bed, we sat and chatted a while before turning the table area into a comfortable double bed. You simply remove the table top which slots across the two benches on either side and store the leg under the bed. The cushions all go into making the mattress – and it was very comfortable indeed.
You can either take your own bed linen or hire it from Jenni.
Don’t panic there are some very accommodating bathrooms onsite, not gender specific and also large enough to get the family in. Heated, spacious and beautifully decorated too. Definitely shower here rather than in the Airstream!
Entertainment at Happy Days Retro Seaside Glamping Holidays
You may be thinking, ‘What will we do in the middle of nowhere?’ and to that my first reply is, “Relax!” You are in the midst of nature at its best, surrounded by a peace that can only do you the world of good. Take the time to recharge and treasure the moment.
However, Jenni and Kevin have also put a lot of thought entertaining all members of the family.
There is a wonderful park with a ‘secret garden’ kind of entrance that leads to an old army truck which our kids loved playing on. A trampoline and a wonderful area of grass, fields and trees, all hedged in so the children can play safely until their heart’s content. We came home with a bag of apples and pears!
Reception is in a furnished shed and has games, DVDs and a jar of sticks for marshmallows too. There are books, leaflets to take away and plenty of ideas to keep you amused.
Then there is the Red Shed. The Red Shed is a place that can be used for parties, there are sofas to sit on and a dance floor. There is a DJ booth in the corner and a glitter ball. Kevin will be installing a fire this autumn so it can be used in the colder months too.
Jenni told me that the whole park can be hired out for special celebrations, birthdays, hen parties, anniversaries. I agree it would make a wicked venue for a family get together.
There is also a polytunnel which the previous owners had used as a greenhouse. If we were looking for the twins they were in the polytunnel playing table football! There was also a super-sized Connect 4 game and a table with lots of chairs. Oh and another glitter ball, why not?
Lastly, I must mention the firepit and marshmallows. As sun falls and dinner has been served, Kevin did a round of the Airstreams taking huge buckets of wood and firelighters to his guests. Using an old washing machine drum which works perfectly as a firepit, we lit a fire, pulled some wonderful hand crocheted blankets around us and whilst we toasted our marshmallows (on the sticks found in reception) we looked up and saw a sky full of stars. I managed to point out the plough but I soon realised it was the only formation I knew!
Places to visit close to Happy Days Retro Park
There is plenty to see in this part of the world and both Kevin and Jenni are full of top tips to pass on. We went to visit Southwold which was lovely. We walked along the pier and beach. We stopped off at a pub on our way back to Happy Days called The White Heart, also home to the Famer and Fisherman restaurant which had a delicious menu. We weren’t there for food but we tried a couple of the local Adnams beers – I spotted that Adnams also do gin but failed to find some to buy. We sat in the pub garden where the girls fed the ducks and walked alongside the lake picking wild blackberries.
On the Sunday we visited Thorpness and walked to The House in the Clouds and spotted the windmill from Grandpa In My Pocket tv programme. We also visited Aldeburgh where apparently there are two marvellous fish and chip shops which we are going to have to go back and try as we got hungry in Thorpeness and went into the Kitchen where Paul and the girls had a homemade pizza and I had a fresh crab salad.
Each Airstream has tea, coffee and sugar but if you do want to shop for food and other bits there is a Tesco and a Waitrose in Saxmundham. A five minute drive away.
I’m not sure if you understand just how much I enjoyed our weekend at Happy Days Retro Vacations? I am hoping my enthusiasm is coming over through my post because it was one of the nicest experiences I have had this year. I would thoroughly recommend it and the girls arrived home asking if we could go back again.
Thank you, Jenni and Kevin, for a very special experience.
Disclosure: We were weekend guests of Happy Days Retro Vacations for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.