Wardley Hill Campsite, Norfolk
Wardley Hill is a family-owned, off-grid campsite in six acres of the Waveney Valley near Beccles, on the edge of the Norfolk Broads. Wildflowers and grass are left to grow to encourage bees and butterflies, interspersed with mown spots for camping (there is space for up to 15 tents and four campervans). Glamping options include tree tents, bell tents and huts, including one with hammocks for beds. The site has a woodland, a small stream and tree ponds, plus a recreation field for cricket and kite-flying. There are compost toilets, two hot open-topped showers, fire drums made from old washing machines and a book exchange. Beccles has a heated lido, which is also the starting point for the Big Dog Ferry, a three-mile boat trip along the River Waveney to the Locks Inn community pub. Norwich is a half-hour drive away.
From £17 a night for two adults, hostunusual.com
Grange Pony Trekking Centre, Monmouthshire
A horse riding centre in the Brecon Beacons also has a 20-pitch camping field with a tree-lined stream along one side, surrounded by mountains. There is a compost toilet on site and flushing toilets and showers in the nearby house, and campers can order a cooked breakfast (£8), packed lunch (£6) or even a three-course dinner (£18). Riders can book half- or full-day treks through the Black Mountains on Welsh ponies or cobs; walkers are on the Cambrian Way and near Offa’s Dyke Path; and cyclists are just off National Cycle Route 42. The market towns of Hay-on-Wye and Abergavenny are within half an hour’s drive, while Hereford is less than an hour away and Cardiff about 1 hour 20 minutes.
From £16 a night for two adults, pitchup.com, or grangetrekking-wales.co.uk
The Old Airfield, Hampshire
These 30 acres of heathland near Burley in the New Forest were once an RAF airbase. The tarmac and planes have been replaced by grass, trees and the odd New Forest pony, but its former life makes it the ideal campsite: it is very flat and close to the coast. The site is new for 2021 and only open in half-term and the summer holidays, for tents, motorhomes and glamping (in bell tents). It is the third campsite from the family that own Harry’s Field and Harry’s Meadow in Fordingbridge. There are eco toilets and hot showers, fire pits, a breakfast truck in the mornings, pizza ovens at the weekend and different food trucks during the week. Cyclists can head north to Burley, about four miles away, or south to the beaches at Highcliffe and Mudeford, and there are lots of local walking trails. Southampton is about a 40-minute drive.
From £16 for a tent pitch plus £8 per adult, coolcamping.com, or
Hawarden Farm Shop Campsite, Flintshire
The people behind the Good Life Experience, a music and nature festival, have set up a campsite at the same venue for 2021. The 6.5-acre site will have a maximum of 20 tents (bell tents and regular) and is on the Hawarden Estate in Flintshire, a few hundred metres from the 13th-century Old Castle and 18th-century “new” one. The vibe is wild meets luxury – so as well as woods, nature trails and a pick-your-own fruit farm, there is an award-winning farm shop with a butchery, bakery, deli, bottle shop, bar and cafe. Other facilities include toilets and showers, an outdoor kitchen, an adventure playground, a treehouse and fire pits (with free logs). Regular activities include yoga, archery and axe-throwing, and it is a short walk through the parkland to the estate’s pub, the Glynne Arms – best visited after the axe-throwing, rather than before. Chester is a short drive away and Liverpool can be reached in 45 minutes.
From £44 a night for up to six, thegoodlifesociety.co.uk,
[email protected], or [email protected]
Hillside Camping, Devon
This back-to-basics campsite is on a small family farm in north Devon; it has 30 tent pitches, cold running water and portable toilets but no showers or other facilities. The site is often visited by barn owls, woodpeckers and birds of prey, and campers can buy eggs laid by the resident free-range chickens (and honey from the neighbouring farm). Despite its rural setting, it is less than 10 minutes from the A39, making it easy to get to the port town of Bideford (20 minutes’ drive) or the beaches at Bude (30 minutes). There are plenty of walking trails through the surrounding woods, and the South West Coastal Path passes through Bucks Mills, three miles to the north. It is about 1 hour 20 minutes from the nearest city, Exeter.
From £20 a night for two adults, pitchup.com
Bush Farm, Cornwall
Wild camping may not be allowed in most of the UK – but it is on Bush Farm, a 200-acre farm near Saltash. Campers are let loose with a map of the site and instructions simply to stay at least 50 yards from any other tent, whether that’s in the woods, by the river or lake – or near the toilets and showers. Popular spots already have fire pits set up, or guests can bring their own. The former cattle farm is now being rewilded, with 100 acres of wildflower meadows and 20 acres of crops grown only for birds to eat. The campsite is less than half-an-hour’s drive to the three-mile stretch of beach at Whitsand Bay or the seaside town or Looe, and a similar distance to Plymouth.
£10 a night for adults/£5 children, coolcamping.com, or
Orchard Camping, Herefordshire
The Ross on Wye Cider & Perry Co is based at Broome Farm in Peterstow, where apples and pears have been pressed since the 1930s. Now campers can sleep among the fruit trees in the Old Orchard. There are toilets and showers, an honesty shop and fire pits to hire (£3 for firewood). It is a 10-minute walk through the orchards to the company’s pub, the Yew Tree Inn, for draught cider and perry and pizza (food on Fridays and Saturdays only, takeaway available). More energetic visitors can hire canoes in the market town of Ross-on-Wye, a 10-minute drive away, and paddle down to Symonds Yat. The campsite is within easy reach of Hereford, Gloucester and Worcester.
£9 a night for adults, under-18s free, rosscider.com
Sandy Meadow Farm, West Sussex
There is lots to do around this farm campsite, but the site itself is in a peaceful setting near the village of Pulborough in the South Downs. There is room for 60 tents, 20 caravans and 20 motorhomes – with some electric pitches – plus toilets and showers. Heritage attractions such as Bignor Roman Villa and Coultershaw waterwheel and pump are within walking distance; grand buildings including Petworth House, Parnham House and Arundel Castle are a 15-minute drive; and there are three vineyards doing tours and tasting within half an hour. Free activities in the national park include walking, cycling, stargazing (it is a dark sky reserve) and geocaching. The campsite is about an hour from Brighton.
From £22.50 a night for two adults, pitchup.com
Willow Hill, Gloucestershire