We are in the midst of a camping boom. Faced with travel restrictions and uncertainties around jetting off into the sun, taking your family out for a few nights under canvas is an increasingly attractive prospect, and the wealth and depth of the British landscape lends itself well to a stay under the stars.
Of course, there are traditional camping setups aplenty in this country, many of which are established businesses that keep people coming back time and time again. But a new brand of campsite is emerging across the UK - pop-up sites opening to make the most of the summer break have established themselves up and down the land, and many offer access to the grounds of stately homes normally closed off to the public. Keen to recoup lost earnings over the past 18 months, landowners are thinking of ingenious and diverse ways to reestablish their businesses and provide extra space to the huge influx of new campers that will be taking to the countryside this year.
If you're serious about injecting the glamour into glamping, these are the sites to try:
Little Wild Campsite, Porthleven
You know you’ve got an authentic wilderness camping experience when the campsite in question is closed 90 per cent of the year. Open only in July and August, this campsite is perched up high - offering up splendid views across the Cornish coastline. Pitches are in one field and centred around a communal campfire which is a lovely touch. A compost loo and a shower in separate units sit below rustic constructions with turf roofs.
Marston Park, Frome
Marston Park, a stunning estate in rural Somerset set around Victorian gardens and its own lake, has offered up inspiring creative breaks and glamping for the summer season this year. The beautiful attention to detail and grown-up atmosphere is captivating - the site offers up three different types of accommodation before the end of October. Fully furnished bell tents are available alongside creative suites with writing desks and more luxurious accommodation.
Cloud Nine Glamping, Cirencester Park
Billed as the ‘ultimate family escape’ on their website, there are three locations to choose from here - either in Norfolk, Dorset or the Cotswolds. It runs until the end of August and sets itself up as the perfect blend of wholesome family adventure fun, providing a wide array of activities including wild swimming, paddle boarding and kayaking as well as playing host to numerous artisan food sellers, sumptuous stalls and local producers. Accommodation is boutique in style and ranges from spacious Bell tents to Airstream caravans on an expansive site.
Belan Bluebell Woods
A simple, back to basics campsite hosting six car-free pitches, surrounded by tall grass & flowers across three acres of wild meadowland. Sat within Pantmaenog Farm, which in itself is situated amongst sixty acres of wild farmland in mid-Wales, this is the perfect temporary pop-up campsite in which to base yourself if you’re in this part of the world.
The Wild Meadow at Raynham Estate
Luxury yurts are the name of the game on the Raynham Estate, a sprawling country residence in the heart of Norfolk and not too far away from this area’s unique coastline. There are four yurts on site, luxuriously equipped - two sleep four and the other two sleep up to five people. There are even two power sockets in each yurt and a generous covered communal dining area to while away the night when the kids have gone to bed.
Home Farm Glamping
Home Farm Glamping is a unique proposition in the fact that it is only a few miles away from the last stop at the northern end of the Jubilee line. Just north of Stanmore and Elstree is Home Farm, a family-run piece of farmland in Hertfordshire that has expanded to offer weddings, events, hen dos and a range of accommodation including bell tents and yurts. The perfect quick escape from bustling London life.
Glamping at The Graythwaite Estate
If camping in a posh tent on the shores of Lake Windermere sounds like your cup of tea, this glamping offering at The Graythwaite Estate is worth a look for summer 2021. They’ve pre-erected 40 bell tents and created a camping ‘hub’, with games, music, charging points and table football. There’s access to the lake and an on-site adventure company within the estate should you wish to investigate watersports.
A series of creative weekends put together by the same people behind Shambala festival - providing an opportunity for everyone to get a little ‘festival fix’, situated in Kelmarsh, Northamptonshire. There’s music, dances, poetry, activities for the kids and paddleboarding, and thoughtfully put together pitches offering up yurts, tipis, bell tents or bring your own options.
Beachfront Glamping on Cadland Estate
The Cadland Estate is a family-owned and run estate situated on the south coast near Southampton, adjacent to the North Solent National Nature Reserve. Yurts and beach huts are scattered across a patch of meadowland above the estate’s own private beach - so the sea views are offer up a brilliant vista from the site - with the added benefit of having a fully-stocked bar and top-quality restaurant nearby.