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Photograph: Shutterstock
Photograph: Shutterstock

Hit the road! Seven camping spots to visit in the UK this summer

Get up close to nature at one of these picturesque campsites

Written by Time Out. Sponsored by 'Enjoy Summer Safely'
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If your idea of camping is casting your weary eyes over a sea of coloured nylon at a music festival, desperately trying to remember which hastily assembled tent is yours, then you’re about to have your mind a little bit blown. Camping is an opportunity to escape the city and reconnect with the natural world. Plus, the growing trend for glamping means that if you don’t even have to sacrifice all the comforts of home (although going totally off-grid has its charm, too). Here, we’ve put together a list of seven incredible spots to pitch your tent, from secluded coastal locations to castle-adjacent campsites.  

Want more UK travel inspiration? In partnership with the ‘Enjoy Summer Safely’ campaign, we’re encouraging the nation to holiday closer to home this year. Remember: check the website of any attraction or region you’re thinking of visiting in advance in case pre-booking is required, and look out for the new ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry standard, which confirms that any business you’re visiting is acting in compliance with social distancing and safety measures. 

Photograph: Budgells
Photograph: Budgells
Photograph: Budgells

1. Badgells Wood Camping

Where is it? Kent
Best for: Full forest immersion 
Nestled deep in the ancient woodlands of the Kent North Downs, this 30-acre off-grid camping site is perfect for those who want to really switch off. You’ll still have access to hot showers, running water and toilets. Recently, Badgells launched regular ‘forest bathing’ workshops – guided meditations in the woods led by a mindfulness teacher. 

Carrowmena Activity Centre
Carrowmena Activity Centre
Photograph: Carrowmena Activity Centre

2. Carrowmena Activity Centre

Where is it? County Londonderry, Northern Ireland 
Best for: Glamping in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 
Not quite ready for the off-the-grid camping experience? Here at pretty Carrowmena, located along the Causeway Coastal route in Northern Ireland, you can choose to sleep in style in a fully furnished luxury bell tent or a triangular-shaped glamping pod. You’re a half-hour drive from the historic centre of Derry, and a stone’s throw from the coastline. 

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Photograph: Castle Knights
Photograph: Castle Knights
Photograph: Castle Knights

3. Castle Knights

Where is it? Usk, Wales 
Best for: Time-travelling 
Picture this: you’re toasting marshmallows by the fire, watching the sunset over rolling Welsh hills and… a castle? Yep, here at Castle Knights, you’re camping in the grounds of an actual castle (Usk, to be precise). Choose from good old-fashioned camping, or a yurt, cabin, mini fort or even a barrel-shaped bod. You’re not living a totally medieval life, though: there’s a communal kitchen barn, modern toilets and hot showers.

Photograph: Shutterstock
Photograph: Shutterstock
Photograph: Shutterstock

4. Gibraltar Farm Campsite

Where is it? Silverdale, Lancashire  
Best for: Rugged natural beauty
Camp in the heart of the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at this family run working farm. With beautiful Morecambe Bay just beyond the campsite, there are plenty of opportunities for sunbathing and swimming; but you can also venture into National Trust woodland for a spot of forest immersion. The campsite itself has plenty of home comforts, including hot water and showers, a washer/drier and new shower and toilet block. 

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Photograph: Shutterstock
Photograph: Shutterstock
Photograph: Shutterstock

5. Grange Farm

Where is it? Brightstone, Isle of Wight 
Best for: Gorgeous views
Embrace a more chill pace of life at this coastal retreat in the Isle of Wight. This family-run site offers panoramic sea and countryside views across its 60 acres of camping, wildlife and farmland, with the choice of staying in tents, caravans or self-catering cottages. Pro tip: the Isle of Wight is home to lovely pubs, restaurants and cafés a short drive from Grange Farm. And from now until the end of August, you can take advantage of the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme – so why not have a look at which local venues are participating?

Stubcroft Farm Campsite
Stubcroft Farm Campsite
Photograph: Stubcroft Farm Campsite

6. Stubcroft Farm Campsite

Where is it? East Whittering, West Sussex 
Best for: Beach bliss 
For close proximity to some of the South Coast’s loveliest beaches, Stubcroft Farm Campsite is your best bet. The long, curving Bracklesham Bay is just minutes away, as is sandy East Whittering. You’re in great hands at this award-winning campsite, which offers modern shower and toilet facilities and a well-stocked shop. Lots of Covid-safe precautions have been introduced too (make sure you bring your face mask for use in all communal areas). 

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Photograph: Shutterstock
Photograph: Shutterstock
Photograph: Shutterstock

7. Bakewell Camping and Caravanning Club Site

Where is it? Bakewell, Derbyshire 
Best for: Hiking holidays 
If you’ve gazed longingly at your friend’s Instagram photos of their Peak District hiking trips, then lace up those boots pal: it’s time to get out there. This charming campsite is an ideal base for your outdoor exploration, and it’s a 15-minute drive into the super-cute village of Bakewell.

Find more inspiration and guidance for your UK summer holiday here.

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