Bumble Campers is a family run campervan business with pick up points in Manchester and Peterborough. Owners Gemma and James established the business back in 2012 having developed a love for life on the road after travelling extensively in both Australia and New Zealand. They currently have 27 campervans in their fleet ranging in sizes and style to accommodate a range of guests from couples, groups of friends and families.
We were thrilled to be selected as brand ambassadors for the company earlier this year with Gemma and James giving us the task of showcasing a family experience of a Bumble road trip. A few weeks ago we thought Covid may well scupper our Bumble plans – but sure enough we pulled it off and at the start of August we spent 4 nights in a Bumble four sleeper around Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.
In the lead up to our trip we communicated several times with both Gemma and James who were always quick to respond and really helpful. Drivers can opt for various levels of insurance cover ranging from ‘Risky’ at no additional cost but with a £1000 excess charge to ‘No worries’ at an additional charge of £22 / day but with a much lower excess charge. Being sensible folk we opted for the ‘No Worries’ package for piece of mind. We were also able to send driving license documents over ahead of van collection to save time on the day.
We collected our camper from Peterborough as it was a slightly shorter drive for us travelling from East Sussex. Pick up was really straight forward and quick. As we had sent paperwork beforehand we only needed to give a couple of signatures on the day. There is a large secure parking area that you can leave your own car for the week which is a real weight off your mind. After that all we had left to do was to transfer all our worldly goods from one vehicle to the other and we were off!
Van Set Up
The 4 person Bumble Camper set up consists of a Toyota Previa camping conversion with a Tent Box on the roof. As we’re already used to driving a similar sized Ford Galaxy the Previa was an easy transition. The Previa is relatively small in terms of camper sizes which made it easy to park – the only thing we really needed to be aware of was height barriers due to the Tent Box on top.
The Previa comes with an automatic gearbox which made long drives stress free and easy to manage. There are two belted seats in the front and two at the back where the kids made cosy nests and caught up on sleep during our longer drives. Storage space is minimal so pack carefully. I’d also suggest packing in soft bags they can be manipulated into small spaces.
Once parked up for the night the two passenger seats are adapted to form a double bed. An additional two sleeping spaces are also provided by the Tent Box on the roof. The Tent Box was one of the highlights of our whole Bumble experience – it was so easy to use, really comfortable and as for the views in the morning…nothing else comes close. Every where we parked people would enquire about the Tent Box and we’d always give raving reviews. We decided we’d sleep one adult and one child in each sleeping space as we were nervous about the children using the Tent Box ladder in the dark and equally nervous about leaving them unattended in the vehicle below. This worked really well for us taking turns and making sure we all had equal time in each space. The camper comes with custom made black out blinds to ensure a good lie-in regardless of what time the sun rises, indeed some mornings we managed to sleep past 8am which in our family is pretty special!
All Bumble Campers come with a battery run fridge, a single gas hob, all the pots, pans and cutlery you might need – they’ve even managed to fit a sink with running water in! We tended to use the hob to cook eggs and hot drinks in the morning, we’d then eat out for lunch somewhere before having another meal at the van in the evening. There’s a table that fits to the rear where we’d sit around watching the world go by as we munched on noodles and drank red wine as the sun set. The perfect way to end a day.
Road Trip Diary
Day 1 – We had our van for 4 nights and really wanted to make the most of this time exploring Norfolk and Cambridgeshire – both areas we’re not overly familiar with. With our collection point being in Peterborough the first day would already see us driving a long way before we even collected the van. We decided we wanted to spend our first evening on the coast winging our plans a bit by not making a booking in advance. After just over an hour’s drive from the Bumble depot we arrived in Snettisham on the North Norfolk coast. We were greeted with wide open beaches stretching across the Wash. The kids were ecstatic to have so much space and freedom after a long drive. We moved on slightly further along the coast to Heacham where we managed to find a pitch at Hunstanton Campsite. This campsite is family friendly with good facilities and best of all a 5 minute walk from the beach where we got to enjoy the most incredible sunset. A great start to our week on the road!
Day 2 – After returning back to the beach for the morning we headed deeper into Norfolk towards the Broads where we had two nights booked at a farm called Two Jays near Coltishall. After a long day on the road the day before we decided to take it easy today spending time relaxing at the campsite and catching up with a friend who lives close by.
Day 3 – Having heard great things about this traditional seaside resort we decided we had to check out Cromer. We indulged in fish and chips and ice cream before jumping waves and catching crabs under the pier. We loved this charming beach town with it’s cobbled streets and colourful pier. We finished the day around the campfires with our camping neighbours. The kids made friends and played until late whilst the adults chatted into the dark. Good times.
Day 4 – After a quick session on the paddle-board on the waterways near Coltishall it was time to pack up and say goodbye to Norfolk and head to Sacrewell Farm near Peterborough for our last night. You can read all about our stay at Sacrewell here. It was a great end to our little road trip and perfectly located for returning the van back to the Bumble depot the next morning.
A week in a campervan as a family certainly comes with it’s challenges. The kids often bickered (as they always do) and there’s a degree of chaos and hectic disorganisation in every day. However the positives and incredible moments far outweigh these momentary stresses. I will remember evenings sat at the rear of the van listening to the radio and watching the children play as the sun goes down. I’ll remember snuggling up with the kids and getting cosy together in our sleeping bags aware of the sense that a sleepover with Mum or Dad is pretty special. I’ll remember the squeal of excitement as the kids poked their heads out of the tent box first thing in the morning. And of course…more than anything I’ll remember being together through every minute of that week, as a family. Thank you Bumble Campers for inviting us to embrace the opportunity to #BumbleAbout in one of your camper vans. We’ll remember these days for a very long time.