Five of the best alternative campsites


The Heath Robinson of glamping

Tim Johnson, owner of Blackberry Wood in East Sussex, “is to glamping what Heath Robinson was to industrial design,” the Sunday Times explains. The biggest creation of the first to date is the Piggledy Tree House (above), a £ 200,000 fantasy set in a wild woodland at the foot of the South Downs National Park, with two double beds, full kitchen and patio overlooking the site. “If that option is too trippy,” book the helicopter, a converted 1965 Wessex search and rescue helicopter. It can accommodate up to four people and has a refrigerator, gas hob and heating. You can also stay in the 1964 Routemaster double-decker Holiday Bus, which has been fitted with a kitchen on the ground floor. Other original options include a fire truck named Angus and the Scandinavian-style “Curvy Cabin”.

£ 245 for Piggledy,

A bed under the stars in Devon

With demand skyrocketing for camping vacations and festivals canceled this year due to the coronavirus, teepees and bell tents across the country are being reused for pop-up glamping sites, Dixe Wills explains in The Guardian. Southcombe Barn, just outside Widecombe-in-the-Moor, south-east of Dartmoor National Park in Devon, is one such place. In the grounds of the house that Canopy & Stars founder Tom Dixon shares with his wife, branches of a felled eucalyptus tree have been shaped as part of an outdoor bed. For this summer only, the Midsummer Meadow Bed “is open to guests who want to do without canvas and doze off in the fresh air.” A nearby bell tent stands ready for emergency relief with a double bed, sofa and a bottle of wine. The bathroom is a converted carpentry workshop about a minute’s walk away, while in the old barn there is a kettle and unexpectedly an art gallery.

£ 145 per night in a guest room,

Glamping Midland in wooden wigwams

© Wigwam Holidays

“More like wooden pods than traditional wigwams – and all the warmer for that – wigwam huts have tiny kitchenettes, modern bathrooms and electricity,” Natalie Paris explains in The Daily Telegraph. They are a testament to the growing popularity of glamping and can now be found at over 80 locations across Britain. Practical rather than pretty, they are often accompanied by a dining table that turns into a sleeping area. This means that they are well suited for people who are happy to do without the fuss or frills. Charnwood Forest, near Leicester in the East Midlands, is “a particularly picturesque place, with hotbeds, a hiding place for wildlife and a reed-lined pond”.

From £ 160 for two nights,

A haven of peace on the coast near Abersoch

© Alamy

“Coastal campsites often have their own peculiarities – the best are smaller, slightly off the beaten track and offer limited facilities, so you can take full advantage of the expanse of wilderness on offer,” Jacob Little explains in Spectator Life. Nant Y Big in North West Wales is a prime example. While the lockdown restrictions mean campsites in this part of the world will open a little later than in England (hopefully from July 25), it will be worth the wait. Perched above Porth Ceiriad Beach on the Llyn Peninsula near Abersoch, there is plenty of space here, “so the camping is low density and the seclusion is intoxicating”. The campsite is a haven of peace and quiet, so there is no music allowed and no noise after 11pm, and it is only a 15 minute walk to the beautiful sands at the foot of the cliffs.

£ 10 per adult,

Wake up to the sound of roaring lions in Doncaster

Camp near the lions and go on safari after hours © Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster has launched its ‘Roar and Snore’ camping area, allowing families to pitch their tents just outside the park entrance, Kara Godfrey said in The Sun. This means lucky campers will be able to wake up to the sound of roaring lions in the morning. You’ll need to bring your own tent, but on-site dining facilities include a pizzeria and breakfast cart. Toilets and showers are also available. Tickets to the park are discounted for campers and “if you fancy spending some time alone with the animals, you can even book an out-of-hours safari, which takes place an hour before or after the day. ‘opening of the park’.

Campsites are available for a maximum of six people per pitch. From £ 50, £ 40 for additional nights. See


Sally J. Minick

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