You’ve committed to spending the summer in the UK (for now), but can’t get a decent hotel room for love nor money right now.
The answer? It’s time to get acquainted with nature and camp (or glamp) in the wild. From cushty shepherds huts in the Kent countryside to luxury bell tents in Bude and rural camping in the the Cotswolds, there really is something for every kind of happy camper.
Wylde Valley, Bude, Cornwall
The fourteen acres of meadow, once exclusively home to the Leopallooza festival at Wylde Valley near Bude in north Cornwall, is opening to the public as a campsite for the first time this year. Offering happy campers little luxuries like proper flushing loos, hot showers, boutique bell tents with memory foam mattresses and wooden patios perfect for morning coffee or admiring the spectacular sunsets and starry skies. Within easy distance from some of Cornwall’s most beautiful beaches, this is an epic spot for a summer staycay.
Price & availability: bell tents from £420 for three nights in August.
Elmwicke Camping, Gloucestershire
Just north of Cheltenham, this rural campsite is perfectly located for exploring either the Cotswolds in one direction or the Forest of Dean in the other. Elmwicke is a family camping ground on Severn Valley farm with seven acres to enjoy, animals to meet, and tractor and trailer rides for the kids.
Price & availability: Pitches available through August (take your own tent) - from £25 a night for a pitch for up to 5.
Damson View, Cumbria
Damson View is a glampsite situated in a national park in the Lakes featuring luxury pods kitted out with king size beds, living areas and compact kitchens. Lying peacefully between Kendal and Windermere, surrounded by rolling hills, sheep-scattered fields and fruit trees, the little-known Lyth Valley is a hidden gem.
Price & availability: Plenty of space throughout the summer, pods from £100 a night for 2.
Glamstreams, Frome, Somerset
Glamstreams features two American vintage airstreams located on a private estate just outside the Somerset town of Frome. The quiet riverside site is perfect for days spent fishing or teeing off on the golf course next door. Stroll into Frome to stock up on Rye Bakery breads and pastries or a mooch around the independent shops before returning to the vans which are complete with a well-equipped kitchenette, shower and eco-friendly loo.
Price & availability: Weeks to book in July and August from £1,150 for a van for up to 5.
Cae Nant, Mid Wales
Only a stone’s throw from Snowdonia, this glampsite is set on a smallholding with horses, sheep and two spacious and well-furnished domes, sitting alongside GlyndÅµr’s Way National Trail. The retro-futuristic bubbles sit atop decking with picnic tables, a fire pit, hammocks, and a wood-fired pizza oven and are well-equipped with a hot shower and toilet.
Price: From £145 per night in a bubble that sleeps up to 6.
Ellenden Farm Glamping, Kent
Home to a rewilding project in association with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Natural England that’s focused on returning fields to English meadows, Ellenden Farm is an adults-only glampsite that also boasts three shepherds’ huts and two bell tents that share views of the Kent countryside and coast. Wander the more than 200 acres of blissful woodland or hike or bike to nearby Whitstable for fish & chips on the beach.
Price & availability: Bell tents from £105 a night and huts from £110 a night with lots of space still in August.
Purple Badger Camping, Leicester
Set by a pair of fishing lakes on the border of Rutland and Leicestershire, Purple Badger Camping offers both glamping-style accommodation and campfire-friendly camping. Surrounded by woodland and wildlife - and helpfully only 10 miles from Leicester - this is a great spot for fishing, with plenty of roach, perch, tench and carp. Pack your rod and peace out.
Price & availability: Pitches, bells (from £60 a night) and shepherds huts (from £95 a night) available in August.
Hillview Farm Glamping, Wiltshire
Hillview Farm boasts five pre-pitched bell tents perched on a hilltop offering panoramic views of the Wiltshire countryside. For those after an active break, the 54-mile Monarch’s Way walking trail runs directly through the farm, as does the 217-mile King Alfred’s Way cycle loop. After a long day of exploring there are hot showers (and composting toilets) onsite, while food can be cooked on fire pits surrounded by outdoor seating.
Price & availability: Bell tents sleep up to four (from £130 a night), with lots of space in August still.
The Old Airfield, New Forest
Set on a former RAF base, this brand new campsite offers immediate access to the cycle trails of the New Forest and is just a 10-minute drive from Highcliffe Beach. Temporary facilities include hot showers, composting loos and a pizza van that visits on weekends.
Price & availability: £40 per night for a pitch for up to 4 people and Bell Tents from £140 a night, with availability in August.
Wardley Hill Campsite, Norfolk
Wardley is a simple, back-to-basics campsite on the Norfolk-Suffolk border. It’s a simple meadow for wild campers with glamping options for those looking for something with more comfort, including sturdy shepherd’s huts, bells, a tree tent and the Hammock Hut, a Wendy house-style structure with two hammocks inside. Each comes with a fire-pit area for evening campfires, while regular campers can borrow fire-pits too to get in on the marshmallow action.
Price & availability: Tree tents from £63 a night and the Hammock Hut from £68 a night.
Starry Meadow, Hay-on-Wye, Wales
For the feel of a festival without the ticket prices, try Starry Meadow. Think fluttering flags, bunting, delicious street-food, star-lit evenings, and stories and music around the campfire. The site offers plenty of space and boutique bell tents kitted out with fitted floors, bedside tables, mirrors, fairy lights, and comfortable futon style beds - all just a stone’s throw from Hay-on-Wye.
Price & availability: Bell tents from £475 for four nights.