It’s summer so if we couldn’t encourage you to sleep under the stars in winter or spring, then we won’t take no for an answer this season, rain or no rain! So grab your sleeping bag, practice pitching your tent and head to one of our favourite summer campsites
Now is the ideal time to explore our green and pleasant land. It’s also the time for all those campsites that have been closed over the colder months to throw open their gates for the summer.
So we’ve got more choice than ever, with great options for families, mixed groups or hardened hikers who want their own base camp for a week of trekking in the Peaks, or the Lakes, or anywhere else for that matter.
If you’ve never camped before then make this your first year of al fresco dining and sleeping; it’s one of the most enjoyable ways to experience the country… and it’s cheap as chips, too, never a bad thing in this age of austerity.
1. North Lees Campsite, Hathersage, Derbyshire
Ideal for the adventurous camper, this spot was actually a favourite for wild campers until a more formal set-up was put in place a few years ago. North Lees sits beneath Stanage Edge, which is a popular climbing spot, surrounded by the moors and woods of Hathersage.
The site takes in three fields and you can pitch anywhere you like, within reason, and the facilities are basic but more than sufficient. You’ll find showers, toilets and even a laundry room for drying wet clothes after a day’s hike.
A 20-minute walk into Hathersage will bring you to an open-air pool (that’s heated!) and plenty of pubs. There are also paths from the site that will lead you to the plethora of country trails and the team here are very friendly and very, very knowledgeable about the area so make the most of their advice. Pitches cost £6 for adults and £4 for children.
2. Middle Woodbatch Farm, Bishops Castle, Shropshire
There’s something a little special on offer here – just 10 pitches, and no caravans or motorhomes are allowed, so it’s just you and your canvas.
Middle Woodbatch has won various accolades from camping guides for its unique, family run set-up. First and foremost, it’s a livestock farm in an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. And its facilities are up to scratch, too, with showers, toilets and a camper’s kitchen, complete with mod cons like a fridge, microwave, plus hot and cold running water.
Adults cost £7 per night, children between six and 15 cost £4 per night, and under fives go free (there’s a £1 per night if you bring your canine friends).
3. Kielder Campsite, Kielder Village, Northumberland
Ideal for mountain bikers and for water lovers, the campsite sits hidden in the heart of England’s largest forest. The midges are the only drawback here, so make sure to come prepared.
The perfect outdoor adventure spot, there are walks, cycle trails, horseriding trails and kayaking to be found across the hundreds of acres of woodland. The kayaking takes place on Kielder Water and it’s the local community that run things around here, with profits going into the campsite and village.
Pitches, of which there are 70, cost £8-10 per tent or about £30 for a basic camping pod.
4. East Grange Farm, Kinloss, Forres, Morray
An excellent option for those wanting a fun-packed, activity-filled trip! This site is ideal for a group looking for a good time in the outdoors, with enough potential for fun activities to keep even the most city-loving friend happy.
East Grange sits a few miles from the beautiful Moray coastline and is home to a music venue, biathlon centre, laser tag, quad biking and more! Campfires are allowed so feel free to cook up some campsite fare.
Facilities are first-rate; kitchen, shower and toilet block, as well as a restaurant and bar. You can pitch a tent, hire a tent or stay in one of the lodges or wigwams on offer. Prices start at £5 per person per night.
5. Eco Retreats, Plas Einion, Furnace, Machynlleth, Powys
Chill out in a haven of peaceful, ethical, Welsh wonderfulness. The site here is made up of tipis and yurts (you can’t bring your own tent), and here you can indulge in a raft of alternative therapies, munch on ethically sourced local produce and take in the organic farm.
Light is by fire and the toilet facilities are made up of composting loos… everything has been designed from an eco, sustainable perspective. It’s a unique, incredibly relaxing experience but not as cheap as your average campsite.
Prices for two guests staying for two nights are about £315.
6. Burrowhayes Farm, West Luccombe, Somerset
Sitting near Exmoor’s lovely beaches, this small campsite is also home to a stables, with an array of riding options on offer during your stay, aimed at all ages and abilities.
Ideal for horse lovers, the staff here are super friendly and the amenities are modern and well-kept, with a comprehensive amenities block. Even better, a short walk through the woods will take you into Porlock and the quaint pubs to be found there.
Prices to pitch your tent start at £7.50.
7. Skyeside Camping, Brotherswater, Patterdale, Cumbria
Camping in Cumbria is the ideal way to explore the beautiful lakes and dry-stone walls that make up this area. Skyeside’s site sits near the small Brotherswater Lake and once you get pitched you’ll be surrounded by mountains, with beautiful Oak woodland nearby.
A fun challenge for hikers is High Hartsop Dodd (sounds worryingly like heart stop to us, but we’re assured it’s not that taxing). Make sure to drop into the Brotherswater Inn to sup on a well-earned pint.
Prices start at £7 per tent (one to five man), plus £5 per adult.
8. Outdoor Alternative, Cerrig yr Adar, Anglesey
As the name suggests, this place is all about getting active in the outdoors. And it’s not actually a public site – you need to call ahead to arrange a space – but rather a base for taking part in the activities on offer.
The site can be found on the tip of Holy Island and the off-shore nature of the spot makes for a very welcome break from the real world. The base is ideal for those who plan to do a bit of sea kayaking or rock climbing, although there are plenty of easier options, like a nice ramble along the coastline or birdwatching.
Prices for pitching a tent start at £6.