The winners of our ‘Go Big or Go Home’ competition, the Johnston Family, take on ‘The Big Tow’ as they journey from their home in Scotland down to Padstow in Cornwall. Keen to make the most of the summer holidays, the Johnston family set off with ‘Ellie’ – the Avanté 866 – to enjoy all that Cornwall has to offer. Having won their caravan for the year, our guest reporters, mum Lucie, dad David and kids Abi (8) and Tom (6) put to the test how easy it is tow the length of the country, embarking on the 600 mile journey and discovering that the Avanté 866 handled itself impeccably over the duration of the trip.

Mum Lucie told us:

“We had an amazing time visiting Cornwall in Ellie. We spent our stay at Padstow Caravan Park which was ideally located as we could walk down into Padstow (and get the bus back up the hill!) without needing to try and find a parking space for the car.  The site also has a street food cafe in the farm next door which sells great burgers and tapas style food. We were able to bring our own bottle and sit in an open marquee looking out at the views of the Camel Estuary - beautiful! 

In Padstow we were lucky enough to arrive on the day of the Padstow Vintage Rally which we could walk to from the caravan park. Whilst there we saw the amazing motorcycle stunt team - Demon Drome, “The Grandaddy of all Motorcycle Stunt Shows” - which left us all open mouthed in awe! 

In the evening we ate at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant which was situated on the seafront and served fresh-caught fish; the kids loved the mussels there, but our favourite meal was probably the strawberry cream tea that we had at Berryfields caravan park!

Abi and Tom both loved our day out at the Camel Creek Adventure Park.  They rode endlessly on the Morgawr dragon roller coaster and the Viking ship ride, and Tom won a dance prize in a kids’ competition.  We liked it so much we even went back for a second day as you can return for free within seven days.

We also spent a lot of time bodyboarding at Harlyn Bay, a great beach for families to relax or to get stuck in and go paddle boarding in the sea. Though sadly there are no photos of me in a wet suit, I did manage to take a few of the others - funny that…

Two of our days were spent biking along the Camel Trail. We hired bikes from Wadebridge and the first day was spent cycling up to Bodmin, stopping off for Cornish Pasties at the fantastic Camel Trail Tea Garden before exploring Bodmin Jail. On the second day we cycled back down to Padstow to see the views of the estuary.  It is lovely and flat and, apart from a small section in Wadebridge, traffic free - making it perfect for the children.

A longer day out was to go down to the Minack Theatre to see a story telling show and then walk along the coastal path to Porthgwarra. Here they have the cutest little cafe selling pasties and cakes, and you can also pay a visit to the beach that’s often featured in Poldark. We decided to carry on and have a Poldark-inspired day and so visited a few tin mines.  The kids loved donning a hard hat and exploring the underground mines, and even got to have a go at panning for gems at the Greevor Tin Mine – the largest mine site in the country.

Back at the caravan park we all loved having the spacious Ellie to return to, and most evenings we cooked our meal on the BBQ and ate at ‘home’.  The Vango awning was incredible - so easy to put up and roomy inside. Other people came over to chat to us about the awning and gain our opinion, as they noticed its spaciousness and ease of assembly. The kids slept like logs every night - I think we might have tired them out a wee bit in the day times….”

Watch this space for the next instalment of the Johnston’s Go Big or Go Home caravan adventure!