Review: Camp Beaumont Children's Holiday Camp (Woodbridge)

(AD Gifted) I love school holidays. It’s great to spend more time with my children. I love having the relaxed starts and gentle days, but they can also be hard work. With three children at home the demands for food are constant, the fighting frequent and the noise levels insane. That’s without me thinking about trying to get work done with them around all day. There is another way though. Whether you want a break, you need childcare so you can work or you just want children to be having fun with others during school holidays day camps can be invaluable. Camp Beaumont run a number of day camps in school holidays in London and the Home Counties. My daughters were invited to try them out during October Half Term.

2 white t-shirts on top of each other. One has camp beaumont inspirational childcare on the sleeve, the other "get set go"
Camp Beaumont is day camp for children in London and the surrounding areas

Children's Day Camps During COVID

I had to think carefully about sending my children to Camp Beaumont at October half term with the Coronavirus infection rates growing. School is essential, but for us a holiday camp isn’t because we don’t work full time. I decided to go for it though because: the risk and severity of Coronavirus for primary school children is meant to be low, the camp had COVID policies in place (including bubbles and face masks for parents) and a wet October half term at home isn’t a lot of fun for any one.

The Different Age Groupings

Camp Beaumont divides children into different groups based on their age and the activities vary between them. 

My younger daughter is 4 so she was in “Playtime”. This group is for 3 and 4 year olds. I was worried that as one of the older children who has already started school she would find it a bit babyish, but she didn’t make any comments along those lines.  The way the groups were set up the sign in for Playtime (or nursery as they also referred to it) was right outside their classroom so I could see her handed over. The sign ins for the older groups were in the main hall and then they were taken away by a member of staff.

My eldest daughter at age 9 was in the “Active” group which covers age 8 to 11. I thought this would work well for her because she would be with people mostly her school year and above. I didn’t see any one else in her group, but she said that they had divided the group into bubbles so she wasn’t with the 10 and 11 year olds. She suggested the bubble was quite small and it had 3 girls in and a higher number of boys. 

The leaders were really friendly and recognised my children and remembered their name when we came in on the second day.

Arriving at Camp Beaumont Woodford at Woodbridge High School for a review

Activities at Camp Beaumont

There are planned activities during the day and a timetable for each group was on display at sign in. As anyone who has asked their child what they did at school will know my children found it very hard to communicate what they did each day. Even using the activities on the timetable as prompts it was a struggle and they didn’t recognise some of the activities I expected they had taken part in. I couldn’t say for sure whether that was because those activities didn't happen or because of their recollection of them.

My younger daughter was well entertained all day, but older children seem to have a more relaxed timetable with more time to “hang out”. My eldest found the lack of structured activities hard at times. She didn’t know anyone in her bubble and being a wet half term they were mostly in a classroom without toys and with limited resources.  Maybe it would have been easier if she had attended with a friend or if she had been there from the beginning of the week so she had more time to form friendships. I also suspect that this works a lot better in the summer where they can play games outside rather than sitting in a classroom while it rains.

Activities that I did wrestle out of them that they enjoyed were: art activities and ball games. My eldest also had an archery session.

Would I send my children to Camp Beaumont again?

Probably. I think that in the summer they would have a great time and it could break the holidays up for them and me.

I would think more carefully about sending them in half term though or the beginning of the school holidays if I didn’t need the childcare for work because I think my eldest was really tired and this affected her enjoyment, but it also comes down a lot to personality types. My younger daughter is a generally smiling and chilled out child. She was excited to go in and happy when I picked her up, my eldest is far more anxious and struggles to adapt to new situations more. She was worried before going and not in a great mood when I picked her up either day. She complained about various things and said she didn’t enjoy herself, that she didn’t really do anything and it was only after looking at the programme and questioning her that I really got any information. I wouldn’t take that negatively against the camp though because she is a Tween prone to the dramatic. She could have had non stop fun and still grumbled when I picked her up. She did say she would like to go back another time to see a girl she made friends with so I would take that as an endorsement.

This was my youngest daughters first experience at a holiday camp and she enjoyed herself. My eldest has been to lots at her school and went to a week long sports camp in the summer. She didn’t enjoy Camp Beaumont as much as previous camps which I feel was due to the unfamiliarity with the staff and there being less activities. The camp at her school has access to lots of toys for downtime, whereas she said there wasn’t at Camp Beaumont (I expect COVID may have contributed to this). 

One of the things that appealed to me about a holiday camp like Camp Beaumont is taking part in activities that they wouldn’t normally be able to do, but I think these generally weren’t taking place. Some sites having a swimming pool (but not our nearest) which my children would love. Our site has an archery range and quad bike track although quad biking wasn’t a planned activity that week. 

So overall I am a bit undecided. I would struggle to whole heartedly recommend you send your children to the Woodbridge Camp Beaumont, but I wouldn’t say don’t go either. I would recommend the Playtime group for 3  to 4 year olds, but the older groups might depend on your child’s personality on how much they enjoy it.

Tips To Get The Most Out of Camp Beaumont

-There is the a long drop off and pick up window. I took mine in near the beginning so they weren’t overwhelmed going into a room full of people and picked them up nearer the end so they didn’t feel they were missing out. On Friday people seemed to go earlier and we were the last to pick up from Playtime despite there being plenty of time left.

-If children have a friend interested in going too it might make it easier for them and Camp Beaumont will do their best to ensure friends are in the same bubble. 

-Send them with plenty of food. My children’s lunchboxes came home picked clean both days they were there.

About Camp Beaumont

Camp Beaumont has been running day camps for 40 years. They run in school holidays throughout the year for children aged 3 to 16. Not all sites are open at every holiday and facilities vary between sites. The site we attended is Woodbridge School in Woodford and it is open now for bookings in February and June half terms, Easter and the Summer.

There is a car park on site at Woodbridge High School and it is walkable from Woodford Tube Station.

To find out where your nearest Camp Beaumont is, the dates they are open and booking information visit the Camp Beaumont website

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