Lots of new campsites have opened in the past few years offering quiet, secluded pitches in acres of countryside. Others are catering for the upper end of the market, providing furnished tents or cabins with comfortable beds, and individual touches such as his-and-hers outdoor bathtubs for romantic stargazing. The choice of places to stay is more diverse than ever, but one common thread highlights the real draw of our campsites – they’re all immersed in the lush, picturesque British countryside.
Here’s a selection of great British hotspots that make a cosy home away from home…
Painswick camping, Cotswolds
Nestled in this postcard-perfect pocket of the Cotswolds, Painswick Camping promises the kind of simple, pared-back camping experience of old. Its spacious meadow offers a
tranquil setting for just five tents, so there’s never any danger of overcrowding. And while the campsite itself is refreshingly understated, the nearby village’s quaint cobbled streets boast charming tearooms and places to eat.
Ramblers take note: Painswick lies directly on the Cotswolds Way, arguably the best way to enjoy this ancient countryside, and an opportunity to build up a thirst for a soothing ale in one of the many quintessentially Cotswoldian pubs.
One cat Farm, Ceredigion
This charming eco-retreat is the ideal destination for those who like their camping with comforts, but still seek a thoroughly outdoors experience in the West Wales countryside.
One Cat Farm’s cannily crafted ‘tent-cabins’ blend effortlessly into the surroundings thanks to their timber-clad walls and turf roofs. Green credentials are complemented
by luxury touches such as super-comfy beds and twin outdoor bathtubs – stargaze in style as you enjoy a soak. The handsome harbour town of Aberaeron awaits just down the road, while Cardigan Bay is one of the best places in the UK to spot dolphins.
Foxlease, New Forest
Perhaps the New Forest’s best-kept camping secret, Foxlease’s 65-acre estate has been owned by Girlguiding since 1922. But you don’t need to be a Guide to pitch your tent in Foxlease’s expansive meadow. And as befits the campsite’s intrepid custodians, the sheer range of activities for campers to enjoy – a zip wire course, archery, abseiling and kayaking – makes this place a sure-fire hit with families. The indoor swimming pool is perfect on rainy days while casting off at the well-stocked fishing lake is an ideal way to spend a lazy summer afternoon.
Bon camping, Pembrokeshire
A five-minute drive from the vast, surfer-friendly sands of Newgale Beach, this brand new campsite occupies almost 30 acres yet has fewer than ten pitches. Most of the site is covered by forest, streams and gorse bushes, which ensure the on-site logbook is bursting with visitor boasts about wildlife sightings. An old barn has been converted for communal use – it has fridges, freezers, soft furnishings and a dining area for rainy days. Elsewhere on the site, kayaks are available to borrow on a first-come, first-serve basis. Campfires are permitted.
Happy Valley, Norfolk
The Japanese call it ‘Shinrin-yoku’ – forest therapy – and though there aren’t any cherry blossoms, there’s certainly something rather zen about this enchanting woodland glampsite dominated by fir trees. Pine cones and needles carpet the floor around the shepherd’s huts. The accommodation features double beds, wood-burners and a fully equipped kitchen area, while a furnished bell tent is pitched in a more open, grassy space. Rent bikes to explore the 250-acre Wildlife Trust site Congham Heath, which is right next door, then continue on to the Old Bell pub, one mile away, to refuel.
Beneath the Oaks, West Sussex
Ever fancied having an entire campsite to yourself? On the edge of the South Downs, newly opened Beneath The Oaks has just one bell tent on offer, hidden among the trees of an ancient woodland. Furnished for up to four people, it serves as both an exclusive couples-only retreat, or a play-base for families, with children playing Tarzan on the rope-swing, toasting marshmallows on the campfire or building dens in the surrounding trees. Ordnance Survey maps are provided in the tent – there’s a pub and deli within walking distance – and footpaths lead directly from the campsite.
Rubbersview Shepherd’s Hut, Scottish Borders
Looking across the Teviot Valley to Ruberslaw – the distinctive, conical hill that gives the site its name – this single shepherd’s hut sleeps two in a cosy, wood-clad shell, warmed by a wood-burner and furnished with all the essentials you need. Free logs are provided, but there’s electric heating too (one of a few modern additions that also include wi-fi) and tea, cereals and fresh croissants are all included.
Wild Camping, Cornwall
This campsite has only two pitches – a bell tent and a gipsy caravan – so tranquillity reigns supreme. Snuggled up against a 12-acre woodland on West Cornwall’s Penwith Heritage Coast, owner Francesca provides a welcome pack of logs on arrival, before showing you to your accommodation. Facilities are modest: there are composting toilets and gas-powered showers, but no electricity, although a covered dining area and simple cooking facilities are a welcome treat. Follow trails into the trees and explore protected wildlife habitats, or take a 20-minute stroll to some of Cornwall’s best beaches.
In The Stix, Rutland
Just a ten-minute drive from the pretty market town of Oakham, In The Stix’s four geodesic domes are the closest things England has to igloos, making for some seriously cool accommodation. But there’s substance behind the style: each furnished dome – carefully positioned to achieve privacy – features its own separate field kitchen, extra space on the mezzanine level, plus a private bathroom with flushing toilet, and a shower. Prise yourself away for bike riding down to the banks of Rutland Water, or you can hire a boat and head out on to the water itself.
Milborne Wood, Dorset
Surrounded by ancient trees sheltering orchids and butterflies from the outside world, the 180-acre Milborne Wood is a campsite that keeps nature at the fore. Only ten pitchers are available, and simple facilities include a hot shower and compost loos crafted from the wood’s own ash, oak and sweet chestnut trees. Take a hop in the car and you will reach some of Dorset’s most famous sights, such as Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove and Old