Reforge Retreat, Devon
A stay here is about retreating into nature, among meadows, woods and lakes. Bring a bike and head out on the Ruby Way path nearby, or join up with the Tarka Trail which stretches from Meeth to Braunton. If a night off from cooking is in order there’s a pub in Black Torrington, a 15-minute walk away. Pitch and two adults from £60 for three nights.
The Cider Vat, Devon
Among 14,000 apple trees, camping at The Cider Vat makes for a back-to-basics, sensual stay. Wander through the woods of the old quarry or around the water meadows. Book a cider tour to find out about your scented surroundings, and the farm shop on site has all sorts of meat, veg, bread and other foodie bits. Pitch and two adults from £60 for three nights.
Sweet Hill Farm, Dorset
The team here also owns an equestrian outfit next door, so get set for saddle-based trekking around the island on horseback (by bike and on foot are also fun). Back at the camp, enjoy 180-degree seaside vistas, encompassing three lighthouses as the site is at the tip of the Isle of Portland. Pitch and two people from £60 for three nights.
Windfall Orchard, Somerset
Opening for the bank holiday weekend, this Somerset Levels site is all about nature. Pitches are set in a couple of acres of young broadleaved trees and orchard. There’s a large clearing with a communal fire pit and the nearby River Parrett is a popular spot for kayaking and paddleboarding. Facilities have been crafted by a local carpenter with an emphasis on rustic. That goes for the woodland shower room too. Grass pitch for two people from £60 for three nights.
Knowler Farm, Kent
In the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this site is a 20-minute drive from Canterbury. The beach at Hythe is 20 minutes’ drive away or Whitstable is within 40 minutes. The site is on the edge of the quiet village of Stelling Minnis, where there’s a great shop and pub that’s highly recommended by the Knowler Farm team. Wild camping pitch and up to four people from £60 for three nights.
Barton View, Hampshire
Laidback and friendly are key words here. There’s plenty of space to choose from, all of it with fine views towards Winchester by day and dark skies for star-spotting by night. There’s a minimum of six metres between pitches and dogs on leads are welcome, but the site does not have toilets or showers. Grass tent or trailer pitch for two from £60 for three nights.
Castleton Camping, Derbyshire
Hankering for a stunningly rugged landscape full of opportunities for hiking, cycling, climbing and other outdoor activities? On a working farm within the Peak District National Park, Castleton Camping is half a mile from the small village of Castleton, which is well-served by pubs and cafés. The amenities here are simple (loos but no running water), but there’s a small pop-up café next to the site at weekends. Grass tent or trailer tent pitch for up to four from £60 for three nights.
Belvoir Waters, Nottinghamshire
It’s a choose-your-own-adventure of sorts as campers are left to find the perfect pitch among woodland, surrounded by three lakes. The adventure continues with wandering around the lakes and woodland walks, listening out for some of the 180 bird species spotted in the area. Pitch and up to four adults from £90 for three nights.
Great Haywood Canalside Camping, Staffordshire
Make the weekend as relaxing – watching the colourful narrowboats chugging by or being mesmerised by wildlife – or as active – cycling, village wanders or a jaunt to National-Trust-run Shugborough Estate – as you like. This relaxed site overlooks the northern edge of Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with a popular farm shop and café where you can also pick your own berries. Pitch and two adults from £36 for three nights.
Devil’s Dyke Camp Site, Cambridgeshire
For those who can’t decide between countryside and city this is the solution. Walking trails include the seven-mile Devil’s Dyke while Cambridge is a 20-minute drive away and historic National Trust sites are all at the doorstep. But wild camping – festival-style – is the way here, with only basic facilities. Pitch and up to 12 people from £60 for three nights.
Stonham Barns Holiday Park, Suffolk
It’s fun for the whole family with a pirate-themed miniature golf course, soft play barn, sensory room and funfair. For older campers, catch a comedy or tribute act at the AMP Theatre, sojourn at the fishing lakes or get creative at the pottery-painting studio. There’s also a tearoom, restaurant powered by local produce, and village shop. Pitch and up to eight people from £75 for three nights.
Four Oaks Camping, Norfolk
New this year, the farm-style pitches here are simple, spacious and quiet with plenty of pleasant trails nearby. It’s within the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but history buffs will appreciate jaunts to King’s Lynn, Sandringham Estate and Castle Rising, just a short distance away. Pitch and two adults from £60 for three nights.
Oak Tree Holiday Park and Fishery, North Yorkshire
Spend a weekend angling for carp on the two coarse fishing lakes here. Pitches are adjacent with scenic views. The Isle of Axholme’s location is also well placed for explorers, with the Humberhead Peatlands National Nature Reserve just a 20-minute drive away. Pitch and two adults from £75 for three nights.
Rake Meadows, Cheshire
Set down a country lane next to a field of horses and next to a wildlife reserve with lots of birds and rabbits about, Rake Meadows is a pick-your-own-pitch setup with plenty of space to choose from. It’s the perfect option for those who love a bit of nature with amenities close by (Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet, an aquarium, cinema, bowling alley and indoor golf). Pitch and two adults from £57 for three nights.
Bowses Hill Farm, Lancashire
An afternoon may look like wildlife spotting, den-building or searching for hidden tree drawings in the woodlands. Or maybe getting your hands dirty with some bushcraft or picking up wood and logs for a firepit. Guests are provided with a nice mix of the homely and the wild set on a 10-acre farm in a rural patch outside of Blackpool. And dogs are welcome to join too! Pitch and two adults from £117 for three nights.
Coedhirion Farm, Carmarthen
From this farm, campers can have a day at the beach or in the Brecon Beacons. This family-friendly site is surrounded by woods and wildflowers and even Limousin cattle and Texel and Coloured Ryeland sheep to pet and feed. A couple of country pubs are just a 10-minute stroll away in Llanddarog. And for an insider tip, head to the post office for breakfast. Pitch and two adults from £88 for three nights.
Nantcellan Barns, Ceredigion
From this quiet family-friendly site it’s about a 15-minute walk along a footpath to Clarach Bay. Either pack a picnic or settle in to one of the seafront cafés serving up woodfired pizzas, fish and chips, coffees and cakes. Spread over a 20-acre meadow, the quiet pitches are bordered by a small stream and native woodlands with much effort towards creating better habitats for native wildlife. Pitch and two people from £90 for three nights.
Rainbolts Hill Farm, Pembrokeshire
If it’s fresh-air frolics you’re after, the Pembrokeshire coast is a pretty fab pick. Days are filled with surfing, hiking, horse riding, wildlife spotting and coasteering before settling in for sea-view sunsets from Rainbolts Hill Farm. Peace and quiet are key as parties are not permitted, and facilities include top-notch heated bathroom blocks. There’s a farm shop selling local food and craft beers, too. Pitch and two people from £72 for three nights.
Biker’s Haven, Ayrshire
This one is reserved exclusively for motorcyclists. That’s right, cars are not permitted. With Culzean Castle a 10-minute drive away and Galloway Forest Park just 35 minutes, it’s the perfect base for exploring the region. Simple grass pitches on a working farm near Girvan offer views over the Firth of Clyde towards the Isle of Arran. It’s a relaxed, friendly sort of place where you can hang out over breakfast as long as you’d like in the morning. Pitch, one motorbike, and two people from £30 for three nights. Additional bikes extra.
Dalbreagha Croft, Highlands and Islands
While Scotland’s west coast isn’t short on scenic spots, Dalbreagha Croft near the village of Onich has a strong claim to being among the prettiest of them all. Set by the peaceful shores of Loch Linnhe and just to the south of the entrance to Loch Eil, this croft combines a quiet location, gorgeous views and easy access to the A82, making it easy to get out to some of Scotland’s top tourist attraction, including Glencoe and Ben Nevis. Well-behaved dogs are allowed to stay on site too, but must be kept on a lead at all times. Pitch and two adults from £48 for three nights.
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