With the Prime Minister’s latest announcement declaring the UK tourism industry can officially start up again from 4 July, it’s high time we started thinking about planning a trip for the summer.
‘Provided that no more than two households stay together, people will be free to stay overnight in self-contained accommodation including hotels and B&Bs, as well as campsites, as long as shared facilities are kept clean,’ announced PM Boris Johnson on 23 June.
Travelling abroad is still going to be tricky for some time and with many flights already cancelled, staycations are going to be the most popular travelling trend of 2020. And while many Brits rush to book up the soon-to-be-open hotels and B&Bs, we’re making the case for camping. Along with our lockdown-induced renewed love of nature and the outdoors, camping suddenly seems like an even more appealing option than ever before.
And in the UK, we’re spoilt for choice with hundreds of campsites across the country, all offering different experiences. So whether you’re after the ‘real deal’ and want a truly authentic camping experience or are looking for an outdoor break with a few home comforts, there’s something for everyone, and we’ve rounded up 10 of your best options for the ultimate summer 2020 camping staycation.
10 of the best UK campsites for a post-lockdown staycation
Field725 Camping, Somerset
Best for: variety
Nestled between the historic market town of Frome and the village of Nunney, this is the kind of campsite that encourages acoustic guitars around the campfire. On offer is a range of camping settings to suit all types – from standard tent, campervan and caravan pitches to the more exciting options of fairy-lit bell tents, fully-equipped safari tents, yurts and even a ‘Sky Cabin’, which is a converted cockpit of a 50’s jet aircraft.
Merry Harriers, Surrey
Best for: animal lovers
So it’s not camping in the strictest sense, but staying in a shepherd’s hut is the perfect happy medium for those who want to feel a bit closer to nature than your run-of-the-mill hotel or B&B experience provides but still want somewhere to plug your straighteners in. At the Merry Harriers there are five brand new shepherd’s huts to stay in, but the best part is when you get to fall in love with a furry creature via the guided llama treks that take you along the stunning local trails of The Greensand Way. Cute!
Little Ropers Woodland Camping, Suffolk
Best for: wild camping
For those looking for a truly authentic camping experience, this is it. Whether you choose to pitch up in the woodland or neighbouring field in this tents-only space, they promise that ‘wherever you pitch, our setting is a tranquil alternative to more commercial sites’. Come here to enjoy the ultimate digital detox as you get in touch with nature.
Ten Acres Vineyard Camping, Devon
Best for: wine lovers
With camping and glamping options available, the real draw here is the on-site vineyard, which you can and should take a tour of before enjoying a guided wine-tasting of the site’s produce. Set in the heart of Devon, this is the perfect, peaceful base to explore all the stunning beauty Devon has to offer.
Soul Camping, Cornwall
Best for: yoga lovers
If yoga and camping happen to be your two main passions in life, Soul Camping is where you need to be. While the yoga retreats won’t be starting up again until 2021, the camping here is perfect if you like a little luxury – it’s more like glamping, with family- and couple-sized bell tents furnished with real beds, Egyptian cotton bedding, rugs and chests. A short walk from Port Isaac and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, sinking into one of the wood fired hot tubs at the end of the day sounds like heaven on earth.
Canopy & Stars treehouses, various locations
Best for: something different
So it’s not strictly camping, but a treehouse is certainly not a hotel either, and makes for the perfect getaway location to enjoy nature with a touch more comfort than a tent can provide. There are various Canopy & Stars treehouses across the UK, each boasting their own unique charm, but all situated above ground, making for an unforgettable trip.
Beryl’s Campsite, Devon
Best for: families
The only clue to this quirky campsite’s existence is a small ‘camping’ sign on the roadside, and it didn’t even have an official name until regulars christened it after the friendly woman who runs it. With 29 pitches to choose from, this ‘unconventional camping haven’ is a real sanctuary, totally hidden from the road, from which to explore the surrounding delights of the Devon coast.
Cornish Tipi Holidays & Camping, Cornwall
Best for: staying in a tipi
The first commercial tipi campsite in England, this site was doing glamping long before the word was even invented, so you know they’re doing something right. These days there are two sizes of tipi on offer, plus traditional tent pitches. With 20 acres of rural ground to pitch up in and explore, plus a lake for boating and fishing, you’ll never run out of things to do here.
Gwern Gof Isaf Farm, Snowdonia
Best for: walking
What could be better than waking up to the view of being surrounded by breathtaking mountains? Nestled between the Tryfan and Capel Curig mountains in Snowdonia’s Ogwen valley, this family-run 50-pitch campsite offers just that. Come here if you want to spend your days walking and climbing the mountains, but be warned, this is ‘proper camping’ – no luxuries here.
Lee Valley Almost Wild Campsite, Hertfordshire
Best for: city camping
Despite being situated less than five miles from the M25, this campsite could have you fooled for thinking you were in the middle of nowhere once you arrive. Set by the River Lee, this is truly back to basics, wild camping – there are no showers and a composting toilet is about the extent of your facilities, but that’s what makes it all the more fun. Perfect for city dwellers wanting to escape the rat race.