Top British campsites for thrifty summer fun
A night under canvas lets you fully savour the British summer – and is easy on the wallet too
A camping holiday comes with two big benefits. Firstly, it immerses us in wilderness, fostering that essential bond between human and nature. Secondly, it’s cheap. As we all tighten our belts, the per-night price tag of as little as £10 a head is seriously appealing. And if you happen to be camping-averse? Don’t worry, most of the country’s finest campsites boast cushy glamping options too…
Kynance Camping, Cornwall
FAMILY-FUN ON THE LIZARD PENINSULA AT KYNANCE CAMPING
KYNANCE CAMPING / LAUREN WILLIAMS
Locations don’t get more prime – in the heart of the epically beautiful Lizard peninsula in Cornwall, walking distance from pasty shops, the coastal path and cove swimming. Family- and dog-friendly, it has bell tents sleeping up to five for hire if you don’t have your own camping kit
Lillyroo’s Glamping, Kent
LILLYROO’S HAS PRE-PITCHED BELL TENTS NEAR THE BEACHES OF DEAL
If the idea of pitching a tent gives you heart palpitations, opt for the pre-pitched bell tents at this glampsite near Deal. Each comes with a proper bed, log burner and solar-powered lighting, so you can sleep in comfort before exploring the nearby beaches or biking trails.
From £110, lillyroosglamping.co.uk
Birds and Bees Campsite, Suffolk
CAMP IN A PRETTY MEADOW AT BIRDS AND BEES
BIRDS AND BEES CAMPSITE
Wildlife is given priority at this family campsite near Saxmundham, which means there’s rigorous caretaking of the onsite environment and dogs aren’t permitted. Pitch your tent in one of three meadows near the communal ‘beehive’ – complete with honesty shop and self-catering kitchen – and pre-order an artisan breakfast hamper to kick your stay off in style.
From £15pp, birdsandbeescampsite.co.uk
Newgale Campsite, Pembrokeshire
SUNSET HOUR AT BEACHSIDE NEWGALE CAMPSITE
Perched on the west Welsh coast since 1935, this is the dream campsite for beach-goers – you’re steps from the two-mile golden stretch of Blue Flag Newgale Beach. It welcomes the full gamut of camping styles from tents to motorhomes (and dogs too), and a pub is right next door if you can’t be bothered to cook.
From £10pp, newgalecampsite.co.uk
Harry’s Field, Hampshire
SLEEP UNDER CANVAS IN THE NEW FOREST AT HARRY’S FIELD
HARRY’S FIELD HAMPSHIRE
This New Forest campsite, perched on the tree-lined grounds of a manor house, caters for seasoned campers and newbies alike. Rock up with your own kit to pitch among the 40 acres, or book a blingy luxury bell tent with proper mattresses, rugs and outdoor picnic benches for social dining.
From £14pp, newforestcampsite.com
Weston Farm Campsite, Dorset
THE SCENERY IS FIRST-RATE AT WESTON FARM CAMPSITE
NATIONAL TRUST / PAUL HARRIS
Cosied among dramatic coastal scenery on the Isle of Purbeck, National Trust campsite Weston Farm is basic in its amenities. But then, with surrounds like this, what else do you need? Chapman’s Pool beach is a half-hour walk down the cliffs, and historic Worth Matravers pub Square and Compass (purveyor of sublime pasties and cider) is even closer.
From £11pp, nationaltrust.org.uk
Baxby Manor, North Yorkshire
BAXBY MANOR MAJORS IN GLAMPING OPTIONS
Having scooped legions of prizes – including Loo of the Year (yes, that’s a thing) – Baxby Manor has plenty of fans. They come not only for the well-tended tent and campervan pitches, but epic treehouse Rufus’s Roost and Hobbit-esque Hoglet Houses. Environmental creds are super-strong and so is the food; there’s even an onsite sourdough pizza shack.
From £17.50pp, baxbymanor.co.uk
Cotswolds Farm Park, Gloucestershire
TRY THE FAMILY-FRIENDLY GLAMPING OPTIONS AT COTSWOLDS FARM PARK
COTSWOLDS FARM PARK
Presenter Adam Henson (aka Mr Countryfile) owns this farm by Cheltenham, where families meet British rare-breed animals, walk in woodlands and enjoy myriad play spaces. And, camp – there are tent and caravan pitches, plus decked-out safari tents, bell tents and camping pods to choose from.
From £12.50, cotswoldfarmpark.co.uk
Woodfire Camping Westerlands, West Sussex
FOOD IT A FOCUS AT WOODFIRE
If you think camping means forgoing great food, this South Downs campsite illustrates otherwise. They dish up wood-fired breakfasts and dinners – ranging from fish grills to low-and-slow meaty cooks – at street-food-style prices. The campsite has prime views over rolling hills and there are roomy tents to hire if you don’t have your own.
From £19.50, woodfire.co.uk
Treen Farm Campsite, Cornwall
THE MINACK THEATRE IS NEARBY TREEN FARM CAMPSITE
VISIT BRITAIN / SARAH MCNALLY
Some of Cornwall’s finest coastal campsites book up months in advance. But this no-reservations spot is heaven for the disorganised, offering sea views on a first-come, first-serve basis. Walk down to nearby beaches, visit the nearby Minack Theatre or just kick back on site, watching the herd of Guernsey cows strolling by or joining the regular group meditation sessions.
From £13.50pp, treenfarmcampsite.com
Low Wray Campsite, Cumbria
WOODEN PODS KEEP YOU COSY AT LOW WRAY
NATIONAL TRUST / LEE JOHN MANN
Get immersed in the wilds of the Lake District at this National Trust campsite perched on the edge of Lake Windermere. Boat hire is available so you can take to the waters, while accommodation ranges from traditional DIY pitches to pods, safari tents and hanging spherical ‘tree tents’.
From £11.50pp, nationaltrust.org.uk
Grange Farm, Isle of Wight
THE COAST DOESN’T GET CLOSER THAN AT GRANGE FARM
With 60 acres of farmland and coast to explore, this family-owned Isle of Wight campsite holds interest for an extended camping adventure. Tents, motorhomes and caravans can all take advantage of the sublime sea views, plus the onsite playground and neighbouring beach.
From £11pp, grangefarmcamping.co.uk
Castle Knights, Monmouthshire
COMMUNAL AREA AT CASTLE KNIGHTS, BY USK CASTLE
Set among the ruins of Monmouthshire’s Usk Castle, this camping and glampsite captures the imaginations of would-be knights – you can even trade a traditional tent for a mini crenellated fort sleeping four. Despite the theme, toilets and showers are (thankfully) modern rather than medieval.
From £12pp, castleknights.co.uk
Wytch Wood, Somerset
INSIDE A PRE-PITCHED OPTION AT WYTCH WOOD
WYTCH WOOD / MILLY FLETCHER
Only a few pitches are remain available at this eco-focused campsite between now and mid-September, and once you visit you’ll see why it’s so popular. Coddled in ancient woodland and wildflower meadow, it has a bar, coffee shop and onsite activities such as archery, all run sustainably. Note: to be able to book you must also be a member of the Greener Camping Club (£12/year).