The Scottish Mail on Sunday

No queues, no check-in and no de­lays – join the camping boom

Sick of air­port chaos and long-haul mis­ery? That’s why thou­sands of fam­i­lies are head­ing for the Bri­tish coun­try­side. The choices are amaz­ing: tents or shep­herd’s huts, open fires or full kitchens, river treats or hot tubs. What­ever you pre­fer, ex­pert Jon


FROM air­port chaos to the Brexit ef­fect, the rea­sons for tak­ing a stay­ca­tion are mul­ti­ply­ing – and camp­sites across the UK are brac­ing them­selves for a boom.

And why not? Bri­tain’s beau­ti­ful coun­try­side is easy to get to and stays can be re­mark­ably af­ford­able.

Com­pare that to the chaos at Heathrow and Gatwick when Bri­tish Air­ways’ com­put­ers crashed, or the dwin­dling value of the pound abroad af­ter Brexit, and it’s hard not to be tempted.

That’s why do­mes­tic book­ings on the web­site cool­camp­ have more than dou­bled com­pared with the same pe­riod last year.

And Hal­fords stores are also re­port­ing huge leaps in sales of stay­ca­tion sta­ples such as airbeds (up 153 per cent), camping chairs (74 per cent), out­door cook­ing equip­ment (58 per cent) and roof boxes (19 per cent).

Over­all camping sales are up 45 per cent.

Lots of new camp­sites have opened in the past few years. Many of­fer just a hand­ful of quiet, se­cluded pitches in acres of coun­try­side.

Oth­ers are cater­ing for the up­per end of the mar­ket, pro­vid­ing fur­nished tents or cab­ins with com­fort­able beds, and in­di­vid­ual touches such as his-and-hers out­door bath­tubs for ro­man­tic stargaz­ing.

The choice of places to stay is more di­verse than ever, but one com­mon thread high­lights the real draw of our camp­sites – they’re all im­mersed in the lush, sun­dap­pled Bri­tish coun­try­side.

All camp­sites on th­ese pages cam be booked at cool­camp­


NES­TLED in this post­card-per­fect pocket of the Cotswolds, Painswick Camping prom­ises the kind of sim­ple, pared-back camping ex­pe­ri­ence of old.

Its spa­cious meadow of­fers a tran­quil set­ting for just five tents, so there’s never any dan­ger of over­crowd­ing. And while the camp­site it­self is re­fresh­ingly un­der­stated, the nearby vil­lage’s quaint cob­bled streets boast charming tea­rooms and places to eat.

Ram­blers take note: Painswick lies di­rectly on the Cotswolds Way, ar­guably the best way to en­joy this an­cient coun­try­side, and an op­por­tu­nity to build up a thirst for a sooth­ing ale in one of the many quintessen­tially Cotswoldia­n pubs.

£10 per per­son per night painswick­camp­


THIS charming eco-re­treat is the ideal des­ti­na­tion for those who like their camping with com­forts, but still seek a thor­oughly out­doors ex­pe­ri­ence in the West Wales coun­try­side. One Cat Farm’s can­nily crafted ‘tent-cab­ins’ blend ef­fort­lessly into the sur­round­ings thanks to their tim­ber-clad walls and turf roofs. Green cre­den­tials are com­ple­mented by lux­ury touches such as su­per-comfy beds and twin out­door bath­tubs – stargaze in style as you en­joy a soak.

The hand­some har­bour town of Aber­aeron awaits just down the road, while Cardi­gan Bay is one of the best places in the UK to spot dol­phins.

From £85 per night in high sea­son onecat­


PER­HAPS the New For­est’s bestkept camping se­cret, Foxlease’s 65-acre es­tate has been owned by Girl­guid­ing since 1922. But you don’t need to be a Guide to pitch your tent in Foxlease’s ex­pan­sive meadow. And as be­fits the camp­site’s in­trepid cus­to­di­ans, the sheer range of ac­tiv­i­ties for campers to en­joy – a zip­wire course, archery, ab­seil­ing and kayak­ing – makes this place a sure-fire hit with fam­i­lies. The in­door swim­ming pool is per­fect on rainy days, while cast­ing off at the well-stocked fish­ing lake is an ideal way to spend a lazy sum­mer af­ter­noon.

£10 per per­son per night


A FIVE-MINUTE drive from the vast, surfer-friendly sands of New­gale Beach, this brand new camp­site oc­cu­pies al­most 30 acres yet has fewer than ten pitches.

Most of the site is cov­ered by for­est, streams and gorse bushes, which en­sure the on-site log­book is burst­ing with vis­i­tor boasts about wildlife sight­ings.

An old barn has been con­verted for com­mu­nal use – it has fridges, freez­ers, soft fur­nish­ings and a din­ing area for rainy days. Else­where on the site, kayaks are avail­able to bor­row on a first-come, first-serve ba­sis. Camp­fires are per­mit­ted.

From £35 per night for two adults


THE Ja­panese call it ‘Shin­rin-yoku’ – for­est ther­apy – and though there aren’t any cherry blos­soms, there’s cer­tainly some­thing oth­er­worldly about this en­chant­ing wood­land glamp­site dom­i­nated by fir trees. Pine cones and nee­dles car­pet the floor around the shep­herd’s huts. The ac­com­mo­da­tion fea­tures dou­ble beds, wood-burn­ers and a fully equipped kitchen area, while a fur­nished bell tent is pitched in a more open, grassy space.

Rent bikes to ex­plore the 250-acre Wildlife Trust site Cong­ham Heath, which is right next door, then con­tinue on to the Old Bell pub, one mile away, to re­fuel.

Shep­herd huts from £99 per night for up to four peo­ple hap­py­val­leynor­


EVER fan­cied hav­ing an en­tire camp­site to your­self? On the edge of the South Downs, newly opened Be­neath The Oaks has just one bell tent on of­fer, hid­den among the trees of an an­cient wood­land.

Fur­nished for up to four peo­ple, it serves as both an ex­clu­sive cou­ples-only re­treat, or a play-base for fam­i­lies, with chil­dren play­ing Tarzan on the rope-swing, toast­ing marsh­mal­lows on the camp­fire or build­ing dens in the sur­round­ing trees. Ord­nance Sur­vey maps are pro­vided in the tent – there’s a pub and deli within walk­ing dis­tance – and foot­paths lead di­rectly from the camp­site.

From £80 per night for two peo­ple


LOOK­ING across the Te­viot Val­ley to Ru­ber­slaw – the dis­tinc­tive, con­i­cal hill that gives the site its name – this sin­gle shep­herd’s hut sleeps two in a cosy, wood-clad shell, warmed by a wood-burner and fur­nished with all the essen­tials you need. There is also a kitchen area and an ad­ja­cent bath­room cabin, while touches like lo­cal books and a wicker satchel for stor­ing for­aged berries lend a per­sonal feel. Free logs are pro­vided, but there’s elec­tric heat­ing too (one of a few mod­ern ad­di­tions that also in­clude wi-fi) and tea, ce­re­als and fresh crois­sants are all in­cluded.

From £50 per night for two peo­ple


THIS camp­site has only two pitches – a bell tent and a gipsy car­a­van – so tran­quil­lity reigns supreme. Snug­gled up against a 12-acre wood­land on West Corn­wall’s Pen­with Her­itage Coast, owner Francesca pro­vides a wel­come pack of logs on ar­rival, be­fore show­ing you to your ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Fa­cil­i­ties are mod­est: there are com­post­ing toi­lets and gas-pow­ered show­ers, but no elec­tric­ity, al­though a cov­ered din­ing area and sim­ple cook­ing fa­cil­i­ties are a wel­come treat. Fol­low trails into the trees and ex­plore pro­tected wildlife habi­tats, or take a 20-minute stroll to some of Corn­wall’s best beaches.

Tent pitches for up to four peo­ple from £260 a week – changeover day is Fri­day wild­camp­ing­corn­


JUST a ten-minute drive from the pretty mar­ket town of Oakham, In The Stix’s four ge­o­desic domes are the clos­est things Eng­land has to igloos, mak­ing for some se­ri­ously cool ac­com­mo­da­tion. But there’s sub­stance be­hind the style: each fur­nished dome – care­fully po­si­tioned to achieve pri­vacy – fea­tures its own sep­a­rate field kitchen, ex­tra space on the mez­za­nine level, plus a pri­vate bath­room with flush­ing toi­let, and a shower. Prise your­self away for bike rid­ing down to the banks of Rutland Wa­ter, or you can hire a boat and head out on to the wa­ter it­self.

Domes for four peo­ple from £380 for a week­end, or £650 a week


SUR­ROUNDED by an­cient trees shel­ter­ing or­chids and but­ter­flies from the out­side world, the 180acre Milborne Wood is a camp­site that keeps na­ture at the fore. Only ten pitches are avail­able, and sim­ple fa­cil­i­ties in­clude a hot shower and com­post loos crafted from the wood’s own ash, oak and sweet ch­est­nut trees.

Take a hop in the car and you will reach some of Dorset’s most fa­mous sights, such as Dur­dle Door, Lul­worth Cove and Old Harry Rocks.

£15 per night for adults, and £7.50 for chil­dren mil­

 ??  ?? COUN­TRY LIFE: A fam­ily take to the wa­ter at One Cat Farm FOR­EST THER­APY: One of the shep­herd’s huts at Happy Val­ley
COUN­TRY LIFE: A fam­ily take to the wa­ter at One Cat Farm FOR­EST THER­APY: One of the shep­herd’s huts at Happy Val­ley
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 ??  ?? SE­CLUDED: The gipsy car­a­van at Wild Camping in Corn­wall
SE­CLUDED: The gipsy car­a­van at Wild Camping in Corn­wall
 ??  ?? COSY: In­side the shep­herd’s hut at Rubersview
COSY: In­side the shep­herd’s hut at Rubersview
 ??  ?? HOT STUFF: A camp­fire at Be­neath The Oaks in Sus­sex
HOT STUFF: A camp­fire at Be­neath The Oaks in Sus­sex

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