Pitch up and slow down: No airport (or ferry) queues. No passports required. Camping’s never been more desirable, and all these glorious UK sites still have availability this summer
- Pitching a tent on a picturesque British campsite is a more affordable alternative to a pricey holiday overseas
- Spacious camping fields roll down to an unspoilt sandy beach at North Morte Farm in North Devon
- Sporty types will love Dorset’s Sweet Hill Farm Wild Camping – it’s both a campsite and a horse-riding school
Perhaps you’ve been put off by the horrific scenes at airports up and down the country and are thinking: ‘No, I don’t need that.’ Perhaps the cost-of-living crisis is making you question a pricey holiday overseas. Perhaps the sunny weather we’ve been having is an encouragement to stay put here in the UK.
And that’s where camping comes in: easy-going, affordable and, if you follow our guide, you’ll discover there’s still availability for this summer.
GOOD FOR BEGINNERS
Blaithwaite Estate, Cumbria
A British camping break can be an easy-going and affordable alternative to holidaying abroad. The Lake District offers plenty of beautiful scenery for campers, from Buttermere lake (pictured) to the Blaithwaite Estate, which lies on the grounds of a Georgian mansion between the fells and Solway shore
This Lakeland campsite is an easy option. It’s in the grounds of a Georgian mansion between the fells and Solway shore. The parkland is yours to explore and marshmallows are sold, to be toasted on campfires.
Don’t miss: On-site bushcraft classes to build shelters and forage for food.
Details: Pitches from £16 per night, blaithwaite.co.uk/stay/the-great-outdoors/, 016973 42319.
Ye Olde Swan, Oxfordshire
Tents are pitched on an island in the Thames. If your portable cooking goes wrong, a mobile pizza trolley tours the site and there’s a foodie pub next door. If your tent blows away there are tipis to rent.
Don’t miss: Book private picnic-and-prosecco cruises on the site’s classic wooden motorboat.
Details: Pitches from £30 per night, yeoldeswan.co.uk/camping-glamping/, 01367 810220.
Hickling Campsite, Norfolk
While staying at Hickling Campsite in Norfolk, make sure to hire canoes to explore nearby Hickling Broad (pictured)
Pitch up on a flat site next to a Norfolk Broad, within a short drive of the coast. It’s so leafy you can pick raspberries and apples on site. Firepits are supplied while luxury pods and shepherd’s huts are available.
Don’t miss: Hiring canoes to explore Hickling Broad.
Details: Pitches from £32 per night, hicklingcampsite.co.uk, 01692 660274.
Coverack Camping, Cornwall
Tents are pitched in fields on the edge of this Lizard village. A five-minute stroll down ‘Lover’s Walk’ reaches the beach. And there are pre-erected tents to rent.
Don’t miss: Follow a footpath from the camp to the owner’s organic ice cream shop.
Details: Pitches from £25 per night, coverackcamping.co.uk, 01326 281339.
BESIDE THE SEASIDE
North Morte Farm, North Devon
During a stay at North Morte Farm in North Devon, make a day trip to the little-known National Trust village of Mortehoe (pictured) – it has a great pub, chip shop and beachside curry shack
Spacious camping fields roll down to an unspoilt sandy beach at this quiet but busy site. There’s a launderette, playground, wifi — and caravans to hire from £410 per week if your tent collapses.
Don’t miss: The little-known National Trust village of Mortehoe has a great pub, chip shop and beachside curry shack.
Details: Pitches from £9.50 per adult, £3 per child, northmortefarm.co.uk/camping, 01271 870381.
Heritage Coast Campsite, South Wales
Hen and stag parties are banned from this family-friendly site in brookside paddocks on the Coastal Trail in the Vale of Glamorgan. It’s tents-only too, but facilities include glamping tents with double beds, a brand-new showerblock, licensed cafe, barbecues, hair-driers, phone chargers and even a shared campers’ freezer.
Don’t miss: The beach below for rock pools and fossils.
Details: Pitches from £23 per night, heritagecoastcampsite.com, 01656 890399.
Treen Farm Campsite, Cornwall
Enjoy a laid-back festival vibe at Cornwall’s Treen Farm Campsite, a farm site next to Porthcurno’s sheltered sandy cove (pictured)
Navigate narrow country lanes to this farm site next to Porthcurno’s sheltered sandy cove. Caravans and big groups are banned; instead, enjoy a laid-back festival vibe with occasional meditation classes and campfire sing-songs. Beware, no bookings taken — it’s first come, first served.
Don’t miss: Homemade milkshakes with the milk of Guernsey cows grazing in the next field.
Details: Pitches from £10 per person per night, £6 per child, tent £5, car £1, treenfarmcampsite.com, 07598 469322.
Lepe Beach, Hampshire
This small tent-only site is just 150 yards from sandy Solent shores on the edge of the New Forest. Pitch your own tent or hire furnished glamping tents.
Don’t miss: Beer-battered fish and chips at the beach cafe.
Details: Pitches from £38 per night, eazycamp.co.uk, 0330 1000 842.
HILLS AND FORESTS
Bryn Gloch, Snowdonia
Head on energetic hikes up Mount Snowdon (pictured foreground) at Bryn Gloch, a families-and-couples-only site at the foot of the mountain
A sign at Kestrel Lodge, a campsite in the shadow of Skiddaw Mountain in Cumbria
This families-and-couples-only site on a riverbank at the foot of Snowdon offers energetic hikes up Wales’s highest peak or more relaxed fun in the games room or playground.
Don’t miss: Riding on Ffestiniog steam railway — it runs alongside the site.
Details: Pitches from £39 per night, bryngloch.co.uk, 01286 650 216.
Wild Boar Wood, West Sussex
The five-acre bluebell wood’s location is secret until you book. This protects the seclusion of nine furnished glamping tents, in woods shared only with owls, deer and woodpeckers. Enjoy crackling campfires, bucket showers and fairy lights draped through trees.
Don’t miss: Walk to neighbouring Bluebell Vineyard for drop-in tastings of acclaimed sparking wines.
Details: Hire bell tents from £93 a night, pegsandpitches.co.uk/wild-boar-wood/, 01273 980218.
Kestrel Lodge, Cumbria
Choose from a selection of between 24 Wainwright walks from your tent at this site in the shadow of Skiddaw Mountain, next to Bassenthwaite Lake. Pitch your own tent — or hire Mongolian yurts with wooden floors and kitchens.
Don’t miss: The camp website offers a long list of detailed walking routes with photos.
Details: Pitches from £22 per night, kestrellodge.co.uk, 01768 776752.
Drymen Camping, Stirlingshire, Scotland
Choose from glamping pods or your own tent under trees next to Scotland’s prime long distance trail, the West Highland Way. The landscapes are wild but there are modern conveniences such as wifi and multi-device charging points.
Don’t miss: Take an easy stroll on the West Highland Way — it leads to a pub within a few minutes.
Details: From £10 per person per night, drymencamping.co.uk, 07494 144064.
TASTE OF ADVENTURE
Sweet Hill Farm Wild Camping, Dorset
Campers can explore Portland Bill Lighthouse (pictured) on horseback during their stay at Dorset’s Sweet Hill Farm Wild Camping, a campsite and riding school combined
Try exploring the cliffs and lighthouses of Portland Bill on horseback — thanks to this campsite and riding school combined. Tents have sea views but facilities are ‘nearly wild’ say owners. This means making do with compost toilets and cold water taps.
Don’t miss: Abseiling down the rocks at cliff-side activity centre.
Details: Pitches from £20 per night, sweethillfarm.co.uk, 07792 689591.
Beltonville Farm, Derbyshire
Pitch tents overlooking Miller’s Dale beauty spot in the Peak District. It’s grand walking country and if weather gets wild the site offers a cosy shepherds hut and bunkhouse.
Don’t miss: Jumping into the gorge at the nearby Derbyshire Abseiling Centre
Details: Pitches from £20, beltonvillefarmcampsite.co.uk, 07943 994807.
Pete’s Field, Paddlesworth, Kent
There’s a back-to-basics vibe as rabbits and pheasants run around the long grass; toilets are in converted containers and there are DIY bucket showers. Enjoy homemade tree swings and piles of firewood for cooking. Cars stay in the field next door. Too basic? Hire glamping tents here instead.
Don’t miss: The Cat & Custard Pot pub.
Details: Pitches from £30 a pitch per night, petesfieldcamping.co.uk, 07588 379844.
Cornish Tipis, Cornwall
Spend the night in a tipi at Cornish Tipis, a site in a woodland valley near Bude. Above is Bude’s Crooklets Beach
There’s a Swallows And Amazons vibe to these well-appointed tipis in a woodland valley near Bude. Pitches are dotted under trees around a flooded quarry. No dogs.
Don’t miss: Canoes and boats available in the lake.
Details: Pitches from £50 per night, tipis from £161 per night (sleeps five people), cornishtipiholidays.co.uk, 01208 880781.
Purple Badger Camping, Leicestershire
Pitch tents between wildflower patches next to fishing lakes or choose glamping bell tents and shepherd’s huts. Facilities include wood-fired sourdough pizzas and a cool coffee bar.
Don’t miss: Nearby National Space Centre.
Details: Pitches from £30 per night, purplebadger.co.uk, 07594 515948.
Apple Camping, Pembrokeshire
A collection of quirky attractions dotted round an orchard. Camp in a jet, submarine, train carriage, UFO or yacht — or opt for more conventional pre-erected luxury tents.
Don’t miss: The nearby open-air zoo.
Details: From £75 per night for two in bell tent, applecamping.co.uk, 07971 547776.
Deerstone Glamping, North Yorkshire
Above is one of the six furnished bell tents at Deerstone Glamping, a luxurious and spacious retreat in North Yorkshire
With just six furnished bell tents in 80 acres of spectacular countryside this is a luxurious and spacious retreat. Share Yorkshire Dales views with fellow resident deer, hares and curlews.
Don’t miss: Movie nights in a cinema tent.
Details: Pitches from £125 per tent per night, deerstoneglamping.co.uk, 07546 900656.
The Outdoor Hotel, Dumfries, Scotland
Book bell tents decorated in fine fabrics, with kitchens, wood-burners and king-size beds snuggled under goose-feather duvets. Luggage is delivered from a hidden car park in colourful wheelbarrows.
Don’t miss: The farm’s sausages cooked on your own firepit.
Details: Two-person bell tent from £80 a night (two-night minimum), outdoorhotel.co.uk, 07507 510263.
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