Winning tip: Three Cliffs Bay, Gower, Wales
Whenever people complain that the UK isn’t a holiday destination, I think of Three Cliffs Bay near Swansea. I first went as a child, and have remained in love ever since. The campsite looks over a sheltered lagoon with three rocky crags, huge sand dunes and rock faces you can scramble up. It’s a perfect campsite for families because of the facilities and surrounding nature. Apart from the incredible view, my favourite thing is how close it is to the beach – very tempting for a morning swim. I can’t wait to go back.
• Open to caravans and motorhomes from 13 July, for camping (from £24 a night) from 1 Sept, no glamping till 2021, threecliffsbay.com
Doward Park campsite, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Doward Park campsite is on the edge of the Forest of Dean between Ross-on-Wye and Monmouth, two of the loveliest towns to snout around. Facilities are basic, but kids will love the woodland play area. Local attractions include magnificent walks through the forest, starting only steps away from the site. Scramble down past recently inhabited (and magically explorable) caves to Symonds Yat and spy a peregrine falcon, or investigate a surprising industrial history of the nearby forest where iron was smelted beside the river. A short car journey will take you deeper into the forest: there’s a wonderfully diverse sculpture trail from the Beechenhurst picnic site near Coleford.
• Reopens 4 July, tent pitch from £20 a night, dowardpark.co.uk
Marthrown of Mabie, near Dumfries
A mixture of yurts, roundhouses and tipis, with wood-fired hot tub. Near loads of really good mountain bike trails and the Ae Forest . On ex-forestry land so surrounded by trees. Loads of wild swimming spots. Owners very alternative and approachable. My car broke down when I was staying there and a load of people turned up for a mini-festival and invited me along to the music and communal meals. (For social distancing, yurts and tipis are now self-contained, with their own showers and composting loos.)
• Reopens on 15 July, tent pitch from £8 a night, tipis from £55, marthrownofmabie.com
Beach View Holiday Park, Sizewell, Suffolk
Beach View at Sizewell is a lovely little site, little known and right on the clifftop with stunning sea views. It is caravans and campervans only and pitches are large and nicely spaced out. The bar sells Adnams beer and there’s a brilliant wood-fired pizza oven outside doing takeaway. There’s no play equipment or “entertainment” but the views and beach are stunning, as are walks down the coast to better-known Thorpeness and Aldeburgh. Just up the beach is a great cafe, Sizewell Tea, which you can sit outside for breakfast. The site is small and quiet but there’s not much better than sitting enjoying a pint watching the sun set over the sea.
• Reopens 4 July, pitch from £30 in summer, beachviewholidaypark.co.uk
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Crom Campsite, Newtownbutler, Fermanagh
Probably the best trees in the world are yews: and the famous pair at Crom Castle are perfect for a climbing extravaganza or a secret picnic between their limbs. The Crom National Trust campsite is 2,000 acres of peaceful islands, a ruined castle and ancient woodlands that you can explore by bicycle, on foot or even hire a boat to explore the lakes. It’s a magical place but if you also need a little home comfort the cafe and visitor centre are lovely, with free kits to help kids of all ages explore.
• Reopened 1 July, pitch from £28 for two nights, glamping available, nationaltrust.org.uk
Ettie’s Field, Atherstone, Warwickshire
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Ettie’s Field in Warwickshire is reopening in August and is one of the most charming boho-chic campsites. Fairylights, donkeys, llamas and the most amazing loos you’ll ever see. The site has full features including hook-up and dishwashers and is immaculately clean and well-kept and has a luxury lounge with comfy sofas. It has the laid-back atmosphere of a special place. I don’t know why I’m even telling you this – I should be keeping it a secret.
• Accepting bookings from 6 August, pitches from £30 a night, Airstreams from £150 (two-night minimum), ettiesfield.com
Home Farm, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
Home Farm campsite in High Wycombe is a small but perfectly formed little getaway. There are plenty of gorgeous walks nearby through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and being less than a mile walk from the incredible Mash Inn [still closed] you could have a long lazy meal before heading back to the campsite for a nightcap and to spend the evening gazing at the stars. At £30 a night it’s cheaper than the taxi home!
• Taking bookings from 4 July, pitches from £29.99, homefarmradnage.co.uk
Clachtoll beach campsite, Lochinver, Highlands
Clachtoll beach campsite in the north-west of Scotland is extremely dog- and family-friendly. It’s on a remote beach with golden sands and crystal clear waters – one of the few beaches on the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s snorkel trail. You also might get lucky here and spot a whale or dolphin.
• Open from 15 July, low availability until mid-August, pitches £17 a night, clachtollbeachcampsite.com
Manor Farm campsite, Cromer, Norfolk
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Manor Farm in East Runton is an absolute gem of a campsite, attractively located on a gentle hill overlooking Cromer with sumptuous views of the sea and the imposing church spire of St Martin’s. The site caters for tents and caravans and has fabulously clean and modern, insect-free toilet and shower blocks. It’s an undemanding and pleasant 20-minute downhill walk into the gentle, old-fashioned delights of Cromer. Supermarkets are close by. Manor Farm is beautiful, unfussy, quiet, family-friendly and very reasonable.
• Reopens 4 July, pitch with electric hook-up £25 in summer, manorfarmcampsite.co.uk
Knepp Estate, Horsham, West Sussex
I would heartily recommend Knepp Estate in Surrey. Famous for its rewilding project, and recently the site of the first white stork hatching in the UK for centuries. Camping is on a wildflower meadow near woods, with yurts and treehouses available. There’s a huge area to explore with a couple of pubs around the edge for a refreshing pint.
• Reopens 4 July, tent pitch £20 a night, shepherd’s huts from £190 for two nights, knepp.co.uk
Low Wray campsite, Ambleside, Lake District
Camp on the quieter western shores of Windermere at Low Wray campsite, expertly run by the National Trust in a relaxed atmosphere. Leave your car behind at Grasmere and cycle or walk there to get a real feel of the waterside location. Activities include paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking and rowing. This campsite includes traditional pitches with lake or field views, and glamping safari tents. If you want to camp in the trees you can also try hammock camping or a stay in a cosy tree tent. There are shops and showers, and the owners light a wood-fired pizza oven three nights a week.
• Full booked for July and August, pitches from £12 in September, nationaltrust.org.uk
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