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08 July 2006 

In 1926 the popular Daily Express journalist HV Morton drove round England in a bull nosed Morris stopping more or less at random in towns and villages from Land's End to the Lake District. His impressions of the places he stayed in and the people he met were written up in a best selling book called In Search of England .

Almost eighty years later Joe Bennett, a Briton who has settled in New Zealand, returned to his native land and followed Morton's route.  He reflects on the similarities and differences between England now and when he left more than twenty years ago and the England of Morton.

Camping is apparently no longer the 'domain of the retirees' but 'young professional urbanites in search of fresh country side and adventure, festival campers who want to use their tent more than once a year and young families in which the parents value fun as much as the kids do'.

Sandi Toksvig is joined by Jonathan Knight author of Cool Camping: England and Laura James author of Cool Camping: The Great Escape, Outdoor Living in Serious Style to discuss the increasing popularity and appeal of the outdoor life under canvas and to find out how it can even include comfort and a sprinkling of glamour.

Presented by Sandi Toksvig

Camping (copyright: Jonathan Knight)

This week's guests:

Laura James never went camping as a child and in her 20s had a couple of poor camping experiences.  Much later during a dinner conversation, she realised that the aim of camping was to have a good time and there is no reason not to take proper cotton sheets and be comfortable with air beds and all the rest of the camp comforts. 

Laura's book ' Cool Camping - The Great Escape, Outdoor Living in Serious Style' covers different types of tents, kit to take, campfires, recipes, songs, camping at festivals and places to camp with tips from various celebrities.

Cool Camping:The Great Escape, Outdoor Living in Serious Style
Publisher: Collins
ISBN: 0007230559

Jonathan Knight is the author of Cool Camping: England, soon to be followed by Wales and Scotland.  Jonathan has stayed at 37 of the 40 sites in his book.  He has visited 100s others.

What makes a good site varies but constants are: country location, good views, quiet, well managed with good facilities. Ideally there are no caravans.

Some sites have unique features. Blackberry Wood in Sussex is based in a wood and each pitch is in its own clearing, while still having access to good facilities.  In Devon one site is built on the edge of a cliff so that each tent has a ledge to itself, allowing great views when you get up in the morning. 

Cool Camping: England 
Publisher: Punk Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 0955203600 

Joe Bennett is a freelance writer.  Joe was born in England, brought up near Brighton and since leaving university travelled to a variety of countries, including Canada and Australia, eventually settling about 19 years ago in Lyttelton, near Christchurch, New Zealand.

Despite his years away Joe still feels British but prefers to come back to the UK as a traveller. His latest book Mustn't Grumble - an accidental return to England describes his experience.

Mustn't Grumble - an accidental return to England
Publisher: Scribner
ISBN: 0743276272 

In Search of England
by H.V. Morton
Publisher: Da Capo Press
ISBN: 0306811057 

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Sandi ToksvigSandi Toksvig:
The daughter of a foreign correspondent, Sandi has been travelling all her life more info

John McCarthy John McCarthy is a widely travelled journalist and presenter with a particular interest in the Middle East.
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