Jacob Little

Into the wild: hidden campsites to explore this summer

Into the wild: hidden campsites to explore this summer
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We all know it’s going to be another bumper year for the UK’s tourism sector. With confidence in international travel still not yet fully in-place, and staycation options booked out, camping is a fantastic alternative, giving you the flexibility to follow the weather and families the ability to meet again in a socially distant way with the backdrop of some of the UK’s most stunning landscapes.

We’ve put together this list of some of the best campsites in the UK to book this summer, with a focus on wild spaces and access to coast paths and hill walks.

Here are eight recommendations for the best campsites to book this summer.

Upper Booth, Edal

Edale, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, S33 7ZJ

Mam Tor, Edal Image: National Trust

Upper Booth campsite sits on the Pennine Way in this stunning part of the Peak District National Park, at that blissful of camping locations, at the end of a narrow, winding lane. Spread across a couple of fields, there’s plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the stunning vistas of the nearby High Peak moors. A small amount of campervans are allowed, as are dogs, but be prepared to leave your car in a nearby field as there’s no parking next to tents. Our recommendation would be to wake early and head up on to the more challenging routes up Kinder Scout, up Jacob’s Ladder and on to the highest part of Derbyshire and the Peaks, the Kinder Plateau. In good visibility, you’ll be handsomely rewarded with some of the best views in the area.

Troytown, St Agnes

Troytown Farm, St Agnes, Isles of Scilly

Troytown Farm, St Agnes, Isles of Scilly

Running straight down to shore with some spectacular panoramic views of the endlessness of the Atlantic ocean, Troytown campsite is situated on the most westerly island of the Isles of Scilly, St Agnes. A charming, farming-led island with a strong sense of community, this diminutive campsite allows you to truly be at the water’s edge, and requires a stroll down the only main road on the island to get to. This really does feel like the end of the earth, in the best possible way, and we can think of nowhere better on a calm summer’s evening when the water’s lapping at your feet. There are good facilities, including a little shop, and additionally the ability to rent paddle boards and kayaks to allow you to turn your attention to the water.

Little Meadow Campsite

Ilfracombe, North Devon, EX34 9SJ

Little Meadow campsite, Ilfracombe

Little Meadow campsite very much makes the most of its location, with generous facilities and pitch sizes looking over the stunning north Devon coastline, between Ilfracombe and Combe Martin. The tranquil inlet that is Watermouth Harbour offers a small amount of facilities, and the imposing Watermouth Castle with its associated small theme park offers activities for the kids. Don’t be fooled however, Little Meadow isn’t a commercially-oriented campsite, and tucked away here you can be sure to find a simple, straight-forward series of pitches within easy-reach of all of this area’s beaches and attractions.

Treen Farm Campsite

St Levan, TR19 6LF

Down at the far west of Cornwall sits an idyllic series of fields called Treen Farm, run by the Hall family and the latest in five generations to work this land. Their campsite is situated amongst some of the most stunning landscapes this country has to offer, and the offering is a simple affair, but there are good facilities and a well stocked shop. What really makes this campsite shine is the easy access to the southwest coast path - allowing miles of uninterrupted views across the southern portion of west Cornwall and in close proximity to popular areas such as Pedn Voudner beach, Porthcurno and The Minack Theatre. On a calm, sunny summer’s day, there are few campsites in the UK that rival this location.

Chapel House Farm, Wales

Craswall, HR2 0PN

Situated in the Welsh Marches not far from the popular town of Hay-on-Wye, Chapel House Farm is a real gem of a wild, isolated campsite, with only the sounds of local farms and the stunning Black Mountains for company. Their approach and ethos allows the land around the camping pitches to grow wild, so throughout the year there are wild flowers, meadows where the grass has been allowed to grow long and the opportunity to find isolated spots with epic views across this ancient landscape. Staying on the farm is a real opportunity to slow down - but the facilities are excellent, and the little shop also offers a fine menu of pizzas cooked in their original bread oven, which dates from the 1400s.

Cornish Tipi Holidays

Pendoggett, PL30 3HZ

The Lake at Tipi holidays

This is something a little different, and a special place nestled in an isolated, abandoned quarry near Port Issac in Cornwall. The owners of Tipi Holidays know how to work the land to make best use of a number of pitches within large woodland surrounding the quarry, but the pièce de résistance is a large lake at the bottom of the site, suitable for swimming and lazing around on wooden platforms that have been places as floating islands. There’s also boats and kayaks available for use.

Tarn Foot Campsite

Loughrigg, LA22 9HF

Loughrigg Tarn, Cumbria

Loughrigg Tarn is a deep tarn at the bottom of Loughrigg Fell. The tarns of the Lake District are lakes formed in prehistoric times - water collected at the bottom of valleys after glacial erosion. This campsite sits right by its shore, and is a perfect, secluded spot for a quiet dip, even in the busiest of the summer months. Expect fantastic views across the Lake District, and simple facilities in a hidden, well-sheltered spot. The perfect base for a week of hiking across this majestic landscape, Tarn Foot campsite accepts tents only and has toilets and running water, but no shower facilities. Basic, wild and the perfect canvas retreat.

Bert’s Kitchen Garden

Morfa Farm, Llyn Peninsula, LL54 5LD

This campsite is set around a thriving kitchen garden, where wildflower meadows are allowed to prosper, and intimate pitches have been created amongst spaces that are in-tune with the natural cycle of the landscape. There are a small amount of pitches here for both tents and a very small number of campervans, but note there are no electric hookups. The Llyn Peninsula is situated to the west of the stunning Snowdonia National Park and the campsite forms an excellent base to explore this stunning part of the world - the site has direct access to the coast path and is a simple, family-run site providing a fantastic opportunity to unwind.