We’re all yearning for the sense of freedom and rosy-cheeked adventures that come with a camping trip — building fires at dusk, watching the stars, waking up to the sound of lambs bleating.
But how can we protect ourselves and others while holidaying under canvas?
As trips abroad are essentially banned this summer, UK campsites have been inundated with bookings and inquiries as they gear up to reopen with strict protocols in place.
UK campsites have been inundated with bookings and inquiries as they gear up to reopen. From July 4, the Government is aiming for stage three of the lockdown exit plan to kick in — which would allow some of the hospitality industry to re-open, quite possibly including campsites
From July 4, the Government is aiming for stage three of the lockdown exit plan to kick in — which would allow some of the hospitality industry to re-open, quite possibly including campsites. This is dependent on locations being ‘safe and enforcing social distancing’.
‘Most campsites have large spaces between pitches, so applying social distancing isn’t much of an issue,’ says Jonathan Knight, founder of Cool Camping. ‘But with shared facilities, it’s more difficult.
‘All of our campsites are increasing the cleaning of shared facilities and supplying hand sanitisers where possible.
‘Almost half are going to reduce capacity and a third are planning marked social distancing queues for loos and allocated time slots for showers.’
Marilyn Macalast, of the Coastal Stay campsite near St Davids, Pembrokeshire, is going cashless and limiting facilities to one person at a time. ‘We’re going to remove every other pitch so there’s plenty of space between each one. We’re also looking at introducing contactless check-in, by emailing across all the information guests need before they arrive.’
From pitches tucked away in the trees to sites overlooking the ocean, we’ve tracked down the best UK campsites with stringent measures in place, so you can get back to nature this summer with complete peace of mind.
Beryl’s Campsite in Devon has spacious pitches – most of which are scattered around a large lake
‘Panoramic’ and ‘Snug’ are two of the quirky names for the spacious pitches at Beryl’s Campsite in Devon, most of which are scattered around a large lake.
Nestled in woods on a hill close to Kingsbridge, in South Hams, the rustic campsite has spectacular views of the coastline. The South West Coast Path can be easily reached from the site, as well as Beesands, a mile-long shingle beach only a five-minute walk away.
Don’t miss: Grab a takeaway pizza from The Boat House in nearby Torcross and tuck in on the beach.
New safety measures: Reducing the number of pitches, adding loos and increasing cleaning of shared facilities.
Details: From £8.50 per adult per night (berylscampsite.co.uk).
Fordingbridge in the New Forest, pictured, is where campers will find the spacious Chapelfield Camping site
Fancy a night sleeping under the stars in the heart of a national park? The spacious Chapelfield Camping site close to Fordingbridge in the New Forest is perfectly positioned for those wanting to spend their days hiking or biking in the wild.
Fire pits can be hired and an on-site pop-up shop keeps guests supplied with freshly baked croissants, plus milk, bread, charcoal and logs.
Don’t miss: Spot the famous free-roaming New Forest donkeys and ponies on the five-minute walk to The Fighting Cocks, a cosy pub which specialises in hearty meat dishes.
New safety measures: Opening a second meadow in order to spread out the pitches, adding additional toilets and showers and introducing marked spacing for social distancing.
Details: Pitches from £25 a night (coolcamping.com).
Irton House Farm in the Lake District has eight spacious pitches that have views over Bassenthwaite Lake, pictured
Complete seclusion can be enjoyed at Irton House Farm in the Lake District, where your only neighbours will be the roaming resident sheep and chickens.
There are only eight spacious pitches across this entire two-acre site, which has magnificent views over Bassenthwaite Lake. Bacon, sausages and eggs can be bought from the on-site farm shop.
Don’t miss: Get up at the crack of dawn and enjoy a warming mug of coffee while watching the low-hanging mist over the Bassenthwaite valley gradually disappear.
New safety measures: Making all toilets and showers private and providing customers with cleaning or disinfectant sprays and wipes. Facilities to be cleaned three times a day.
Details: From £26 per pitch (pitchup.com).
Tent treats: Camping at Becks Bay in south-west Wales. The campsite is set just 100 metres from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
THE DOS AND DON’TS OF CAMPING ETIQUETTE
DO say hello and join in with your fellow campers — from a social distance, of course.
DO keep your dog on a lead and little darlings under control.
DO apologise to any baggy-eyed neighbours for your snoring.
DO be careful where you find your firewood. It’s unacceptable to hack into trees.
DO be mindful of your parameters. Never cross someone else’s pitch to take a short-cut — it’s the ultimate camping faux pas, especially in these times.
DO take a download of Carry On Camping, the 1969 film starring Sid James and Barbara Windsor.
DO make sure you pack a lot of hand sanitiser.
DON’T keep up appearances — charmingly dishevelled is the look you’re going for.
DON’T hog the shower like you have just returned from Glastonbury Festival.
DON’T sit on your mobile phone — you have had months locked up indoors to do that.
DON’T play the guitar like you’re performing at a gig, or blast your boombox.
DON’T drink too much and get rowdy.
DON’T bring your duvet and a mattress — you’ll look like a rookie.
DON’T say: ‘I wish we were in Spain/France/Italy . . . Enjoy the beauty where you are.
Campfires crackle and pop all evening at Becks Bay Camping, set just 100 metres from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and the cove known as Becks Bay.
The rustic campsite, close to the quaint harbour town of Tenby, has no electricity and no wi-fi, while the toilets and showers are built into a wooden shed with charmingly mismatched wooden doors.
Don’t miss: Walk across the fields to Bubbleton Farm Shop, which sells freshly baked bread and pastries, Welsh cheeses, locally grown vegetables and eggs sold within 24 hours of being laid.
New safety measures: Reducing capacity, adding extra showers and toilets and marking out spacing for social distancing, and increasing the frequency and level of cleaning of the facilities.
Details: From £10 per adult per night (coolcamping.com).
The family-run Atlantic Farm, in the coastal town of Bude, Cornwall, is just a mile from the beach, pictured
Switch off your alarm and enjoy a new wake-up call of cock-a-doodle-doo while staying at family-run Atlantic Farm, in the coastal town of Bude, Cornwall.
The pitches are spacious and lie just a mile from a handful of beautiful sandy surfing beaches and Cornwall’s rugged coastline.
Don’t miss: The alpacas, sheep and chickens on the walk to the surf breaks and rock pools at Crooklets Beach.
New safety measures: More frequent cleaning of shared facilities, erecting social distancing signage and providing cleaning products for the campers.
Details: From £8 a pitch (atlantic-camping.co.uk).
The Findhorn Valley in rural and rugged Morayshire. Here you will find Ace Hideaways, which is set among the trees
Tucked in the Findhorn Valley in rural and rugged Morayshire, Ace Hideaways’ camping pitches are spacious and set among the trees.
Each comes with its own fire pit, plus log stools and grills, so guests can gather kindling and logs from the surrounding forest and build a campfire.
The site is also home to Ace Adventures, which offers white-water rafting, canoeing and fishing trips.
Don’t miss: Indulge in a delicious cream tea at nearby Logie Steading.
New safety measures: Reducing the number of pitches on site, providing hand sanitiser in shared facilities and increasing signage.
Details: From £9 per adult (acehideaways.co.uk).
INTO THE WILD
The Wardley Hill Campsite on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. Pitches are generous and spaced out amid the long grass
A stream trickles through the meadow that is home to Wardley Hill Campsite on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. Pitches are generous and spaced out amid the long grass, ageing oaks and dancing butterflies, while wider areas of mown grass offer more space for larger tents.
Beautifully crafted wooden huts contain composting loos, while solar-powered shower bags can be borrowed if guests would like to forgo the regular facilities on site.
Don’t miss: Borrow the campsite’s paddle boards and head to the Norfolk Broads.
New safety measures: Reducing capacity, adding more toilets and showers and marking out spacing for social distancing, plus increasing the frequency and level of cleaning of facilities.
Details: Pitches from £8 per adult per night (coolcamping.com).
Ted’s campsite sits on a 60-acre working farm in the rolling Shropshire hills near Ironbridge, pictured
Lambs, donkeys and ducks wander freely around Ted’s campsite, which sits on a 60-acre working farm in the rolling Shropshire hills.
The tranquil site has wonderful, sweeping views of the countryside and excellent biking and hiking trails near by.
Don’t miss: A cooked breakfast made with freshly laid eggs from Ted’s hens.
New safety measures: Reducing capacity and creating individual toilet and shower blocks.
Details: Costs from £15 per pitch (pitchup.com).
The family-run Tremorvu Campsite, pictured, is situated between the beaches of Praa Sands and Porthleven
It’s all about windswept coastal walks and Atlantic sunsets at family-run Tremorvu Campsite, situated between the beaches of Praa Sands and Porthleven.
The site’s peaceful fields are bordered by hedges that provide protection from the wind. An ancient stone barn with a corrugated roof houses a farm shop, while Helston butcher’s, just a ten-minute drive away, supplies meat for barbecue dinners.
Don’t miss: Follow the footpath from the campsite entrance to the top of Tregonning Hill, a natural viewing platform for watching the restless waves during sunset.
New safety measures: Reducing the capacity of the campsite, marking out spacing for social distancing in showers and toilets, and increasing the frequency and level of cleaning of the facilities.
Details: Costs from £18 per pitch (coolcamping.com).
Pencarnan Farm, near St Davids, is just a one-mile walk from the popular surfing beach of Whitesands, pictured, in Pembrokeshire
Generations of the same family have been running Pencarnan Farm, near St Davids, since the 1950s.
The site, which sits on the westernmost tip of Wales, has spectacular views over the sea and direct access to Porthsele beach, a beautiful sandy cove ideal for swimming and kayaking.
The popular surfing beach of Whitesands is a one-mile walk along the coast path or, if you’re feeling adventurous, a half-mile swim or kayak from Porthsele.
The farm shop sells wetsuits, as well as logs for beach fires. And a coffee hut opens every day. Pizzas are served above the beach several times a week.
Don’t miss: Watch the sun dip below the horizon from Carn Llidi hill, only a 30-minute walk from Whitesands.
New safety measures: Increasing the frequency and level of cleaning of shared facilities and increasing the distance between pitches.
Details: From £12 per adult per night (pencarnanfarm.co.uk).
AND IF YOU WANT EN-SUITE BATHROOMS…
Great character: Boutique Farm Bothies in Aberdeenshire
Too posh to pitch? Here’s a selection of Britain’s best glamping sites — all with private showers and toilets.
‘Going off-grid’ takes on a new meaning at this shabby-chic stone hut hidden away on a private beach on the South Devon coast. The hut, which has no wi-fi, features a wood burner, fully fitted kitchen and double bed.
Book it: Sleeps two. Two nights from £695 (carswellcottages.com).
SLEEP IN THE TREES
The aluminium-framed birds’ nests at Red Kite Tree Tent in Builth Wells, South Wales, are suspended in the treetops and feature wood-burning stoves, private outdoor showers and a dining area next to a stream.
Book it: Sleeps two. From £299 for three nights (coolcamping.com).
Candlelit lanterns are strung around the Instagram-worthy geodomes at Camp Katur in North Yorkshire. Each dome has a double bed, barbecue, fire pit and outdoor shower.
Book it: Sleeps two. From £90 for two nights (campkatur.com).
The former sheep sheds at Boutique Farm Bothies in the Aberdeenshire hills have been converted into cosy shacks with hot tubs, wood-burning cookers and king-size beds.
Book it: Sleeps two. From £120 per night (canopyandstars.co.uk).
This handcrafted wagon situated on the north Cornwall coast is all rustic wooden floors, chic chunky rugs and heavy French linen.
Book it: Sundance sleeps two. From £550 for three nights (uniquehomestays.com).
The treehouse at Mallinson, a six-lodge site deep in a Dorset forest, has an outdoor spa deck with an open-air shower, a hammock, a hot tub and a pizza oven. A rotatable wood-burner warms the circular living space.
Book it: Sleeps two. From £390 per night (mallinson.co.uk).