7 of the Best Family Glamping Sites in the UK

Many people tell me that they are not quite ready for “full-on” camping but do like the idea of getting more fresh air and a bit of outdoor living. To those people I say you must try glamping!

Glamping is the perfect compromise, particularly for families. You have all the benefits of being outside – fresh air, freedom for children to play and acres of space to explore. But you also have those home comforts such as a luxurious double bed, carpets and rugs underfoot and perhaps even a cosy log burner. On top of that, you don’t have to think about loading up your entire life into your poor, overloaded car but just need to take clothes and essentials – perfect!

There are many family glamping sites popping up across the UK as families are realising that this could be just the tonic they need after what can only be described as a “challenging” year. So, we have identified 7 of the best family glamping sites in the UK to help you on your search for the perfect, relaxing holiday.

1. Beavers Retreat Glamping, Pembrokeshire

This rather special glamping site will absolutely spoil you! Situated in the heart of the Pembrokeshire Coast National park, you will relax happily in the quiet location with beautiful views. This family-run site knows exactly what families need from the large, luxuriously furnished bell tents to the range of fabulous geodomes with wood-fired hot tubs. Each unit has its own sheltered kitchen and cooking facilities as well as your own allocated toilet and shower. If you are dreaming about escaping and reconnecting with nature, family and friends then this could be just the place you need.

Geodome at Beavers Retreat

2. Harry’s Field, New Forest

This peaceful retreat in one of the most serene corners of the New Forest is the perfect place to get away from it all.  After exploring the local area including abundant wildlife from New Forest ponies and foals, deer and hedgerows teaming with birdlife, you can return to the comfort of luxuriously furnished bell tents. At night, you can cosy up around your own fire pit with twinkling fairy lights and lanterns to light the way. And if you don’t fancy cooking, regular visits from pop-up food trucks including pizza ovens, curries and cocktails, as well as Barista coffee, hot freshly baked croissants and pain au chocolat at the weekends, should keep you going!

Harry's - night time

3. Longberry Farm, Kent

This stunning site is just an hour away from London but feels like another world! Nestled in the “Garden of England,” this family-run glamping site offers many accommodation options from luxurious, fully furnished bell tents to a cosy converted stable. Expect beautiful countryside views and every home comfort you could possibly need. Spend your days playing in the sunshine, gently rambling in the countryside; and then your nights gazing up to the starry skies, enjoying the peace and quiet while camped around your very own fire pit. Bliss!

4. Gorsey Meadow, Norfolk

This gloriously spacious glamping site is situated at the very heart of the beautiful county of Norfolk. With the welcome ethos of space and luxury, you will not find yourself on top of your neighbours You will have the opportunity to really escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and children have the freedom to explore and play. You can pick from one of 5 sumptuous bell tents to return to, each with excellent quality bedding, a double ring gas cooker with gas, crockery, cutlery, charcoal bbq, lantern, cool box and much more. In the evening, you can cosy up around one of our two fire pits whilst you chat about your adventures from the day.

5. Tinkers Bells, Staffordshire

This extraordinary site ensures you don’t have to worry about your neighbours at all as it is an exclusive use glamping site! You have sole use of 4 large bell tents, each beautifully furnished with real double beds and the option of up to two single Z beds so large families can easily be accommodated. You also have access to a fabulous kitchen cabin, outdoor seating area, fire pit with log seating and your own powder room. Your whole family can therefore truly relax and feel safe, children can roam happily, and you can take in the views of the stunning Staffordshire countryside.

6. Wye Glamping, Powys

This stunning site on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, offers a true getaway. Peace and space are guaranteed as there are only 5 locally built, canvas or wooden yurts available, each with superb attention to detail. Each pitch is totally self-contained with a large sundeck, a fully equipped kitchen hut, picnic bench, deckchairs, firepit/BBQ, private compost loo and a private shower room. With mountain views and beautiful dark skies at night, you will enjoy a fantastic family holiday relaxing and making precious memories.

Wye glamping views

7. Brocklands Farm Glamping, Hampshire

Accommodation here can only be described as exceptional. Provided via two spacious safari tents, each sleeping six with a king bedroom, twin bedroom and double cabin bed, the whole family can relax in full comfort. Every need is tended to – from the private bathroom cabin to the wood-burning range, the sofa and chairs to the solar-powered fairy lights. You will have a permanent smile on your face and will definitely not want to leave! With far-reaching views over the stunning Meon Valley in the heart of the South Downs National Park, you can suspend reality and make magical memories for the whole family.

Brocklands Safari Tent

Getting Prepared for COVID-19 Secure Camping

Beech Croft Farm

We now know that camping officially starts in England from 4th July – woo hoo! As we went to press, sites in Scotland can open to those with their own self-contained accommodation (i.e. own shower/toilet) from 3rd July and shared facilities from 15th July. Sites in Wales may open on 11th July for those with self-contained accommodation only and are awaiting further guidance about those with shared facilities. Sites in Northern Ireland are already open.

Visit Britain Good to go logo
Visit Britain – Covid-19 Secure Camping

You might have seen this badge (“We’re Good To Go”) popping up on various websites, Facebook Pages, etc. This means that according to Visit Britain, the campsite has successfully shown that they have met Government and industry guidelines, are thus Covid-19 secure for camping and can safely accommodate their guests. You can be sure that this means a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to update sanitation facilities, mark out pitches, train staff, set out new signs and notices, draw up new rules, etc. So we say congratulations to the many sites on Gone Camping Co that have achieved this.

Covid-19 secure camping at Red Shoot Camping Park
Covid-19 secure camping at Red Shoot Camping Park

So, what will Covid-19 secure camping look like?

1. Booking

All bookings will need to be made in advance this year – there will not be the opportunity of “Oo, this looks nice, let’s try here!” as you drive by, so be organised and book in advance. This is for several reasons: to minimise contact, to allow for electronic payments, to ensure guests are fully aware of rules and conditions before arriving and most importantly for campsites to ensure the number of people on site are limited accordingly. This is actually a good thing as it will mean larger pitches and more space this season. As you might expect, prices may have to increase as sites will have less guests and a shorter season.

Covid-19 Secure camping at Beech Croft Farm
Socially distanced pitches at Beech Croft Farm in the Derbyshire Dales

Now, we are great advocates for camping with other family groups as it really can be great fun. However, this year, campsites will not be able to accept such bookings. Beech Croft Farm in Derbyshire has reiterated the government guidelines in their Covid-19 update in that they “cannot accept bookings for more than 2 units together if you are from different households.” This will be standard across the industry for the time being, so it is a case of more time with your family I’m afraid!

2. Checking in and out

All guests have a responsibility to stay away and isolate as per the government regulations if they develop symptoms of Covid-19 in the run up to their holiday. Disappointing though this would be, we all have a collective responsibility to guard against the spread of the disease as of course, the quicker it can be controlled, the quicker life can return to some sort of normality.

A warm welcome and safe conditions at Cotswolds Camping

Cotswold Camping, Oxfordshire are also keen to make sure everyone is safe and have installed a fever detection system to check temperatures thus ensuring all guests are protected from Covid-19.

Checking in and out will also be contactless and outdoors. Alex advises that at Stanley Villa Farm in Lancashire, whilst guests will be greeted on arrival, social distancing will be maintained, and the keys would be left in the door of the camping pod. Similarly, check out would be contactless and guests would be asked to simply leave their pod key in the door.

Covid-19 secure camping at Stanley Villa Farm
Camping Pods at Stanley Villa Farm

3. Distancing

Most campsites have limited pitches available to ensure they can maintain social distancing and rotate facilities as appropriate. Holden Farm in Hampshire, will ensure that only 10 families/households will be onsite at any one time in their wonderfully spacious camping field. This has the benefit of plenty of space to fly a kite, play a game of cricket or just enjoy the fresh air. They will also provide each pitch with a complimentary firepit – perfect for lazy summer evenings.

For Covid-19 secure camping, expect to see more signs than usual, indicating spaces for possible queues or a one-way system where there is likely to be a bottleneck. Signs will also provide reminders for hand washing, use of hand sanitisers and maintaining distances – you may well feel you’ve seen it all before, but as we all know, we have to continue to “stay alert.”

4. Sanitisation

You can expect cleaning of facilities to be more frequent and thorough this year. You may well be greeted by someone in full PPE as you approach the facilities and you may also need to be patient to allow them to complete the thorough deep cleans required.

Holden Farm have the excellent modern camping facilities on-site that you would expect: clean flushing loos, hot showers and good washing up facilities. The small numbers onsite will work to your advantage, thus avoiding the need for queues. Cleaning and maintenance have been increased further to the Covid-19 secure standard. They have also installed perspex dividers between wash basins so you feel safe when brushing your teeth. You will need to bring all of your own toiletries and expect to be given loo roll on arrival as it won’t be kept in cubicles. Furthermore, there are hand sanitisers dotted around the site so everyone can keep germ-free and safe.

Holden Farm
Plenty of space at Holden Farm!

Fallow Fields Camping, Kent are enforcing a 24 hour period between bookings of furnished bell tents, as scientific evidence suggests the virus does not remain on surfaces after 24 hours. They will carry out their customary deep clean between bookings as normal, and use disinfectant on all hard surfaces. Additionally, all furnished bell tents will have an anti-bacterial fogger used – this kills 99.99% of germs and stays active on surfaces for up to 30 days.

5. Sharing Facilities

There are some sites that have invested heavily into their showers and toilets to ensure minimal sharing. For example, Fallow Fields Camping have added additional mobile showers and toilets to the campsite to help with social distancing. They have also employed a local, professional cleaning company to carry out 2 deep cleans per day alongside regular wipe downs of touch-points throughout the day.

Stanley Villa Farm in Lancashire have also added more shower units but will work these on a time slot basis, with cleans between each use.

Some have even gone so far as to allocated specific areas for guests so there would be no sharing. At Longberry Farm in Kent, the reduced capacity on site this season means that guests will have their own allocated kitchen/dining area and washing facilities that will not be shared with other guests. The hot tub option will also be private – how very lovely!

Longberry Farm
Pristinely clean bell tents at Longberry Farm

You may well need to pack more items than you normally do. If the site you go to usually has tea towels, crockery, washing up brushes, etc. it is highly likely that they won’t be able to do so this year, so check with them beforehand and as Mr Grylls would say “be prepared!”

6. Activities on site

Some playparks might be open but you will need to supervise children more closely this year rather than let them go “feral” and insist they use the abundant hand sanitisers before and after use.

But generally, you may well have to become more self-sufficient in terms of entertainment this year. Wonderful additions to your stay such as the “Kids’ Retreat Tent” or “Kids’ Cinema” at Fallow Fields Camping,  simply cannot be available at this time. So pack the bikes, tennis set, kite, football, hula hoop, Connect 4, Uno, etc and prepare to use your imagination to keep all entertained…sort of like you have done for the whole of lockdown really (sorry!)

A beautiful evening at Fallow Fields Camping

At the risk of sounding like a killjoy, it is extremely important that we adhere to the campsites’ rules and accept the changes to our “normal” holiday. These really are “unprecedented times” (had to say it) and the whole situation does not just affect us personally, but everyone around the country. If we want camping to return to normal, then it is vitally important to support the industry this year so that there are still campsites in business next year.

The alternative does not bear thinking about!

Support British Tourism This Year

Holiday in the UK

Holidays are on hold in the UK while the country is in lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, so it’s safe to say that tourism is one of the most affected sectors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It’s expected that small and medium businesses (which represent around 80% of the British tourism industry) will be facing huge challenges. We spoke to the team at White House on Wye Glamping who advised on the many things we can do to help out these businesses:

As someone who runs a small glamping site in Herefordshire, I can assure you that we’re definitely feeling the effects. April is usually one of our busiest months with the Easter holidays bringing in families looking to get to the outdoors. Instead, our tipis sat empty, apart from the few nights we spent in them on our ‘staycation’!

Relaxing at night - British Tourism
Relaxing at night by the Tipi

Although the lockdown is stopping you from going on holiday at the moment, there are many alternatives to help projects and businesses to keep afloat during these unprecedented times. I encourage you to do what you can to do to support the British economy this year. The Spanish beaches will still be there next year, so let’s make 2020 the year where we discover the adventure and beauty that is on our very own doorstep.

During the lockdown:

  • If you have a holiday booked, don’t cancel yet. Check your cancellation policies, and if this allows you to hold your booking, don’t cancel it. This will support the business and they will give you an alternative in the case the trip has to be postponed.
  • If your work hasn’t been affected, you can spend the money you were spending on commuting, going out, gym memberships on supporting small businesses instead. Many companies are offering vouchers to use when the pandemic is over, and tourism is up and running again. This will give business cash flow for this year and you will get your holidays for next year already paid with the “quarantine savings”- Let’s get something good from the quarantine! You can also use these vouchers for birthdays, anniversaries and gifts to your loved ones.
  • Book in advance! If you have something planned for 2021, it’s the time to plan in advance! Whether it is a hen party for your best friend who is getting married in 2021 or your parents’ 30th anniversary. You will get very good deals for booking in advance while supporting the sector.

At White House Glamping, we are allowing our guests to reschedule their trip for free, as we would love to see them when restrictions have been lifted, whether it is in May, July or September. We are also creating very personalised vouchers that our guests have been using for Mother’s Day, birthdays and anniversaries. It’s a perfect way to give an online gift (as you won’t be able to make a cake for your mum this birthday) for something to look forward to in the near future.

Outdoor living with home comforts
Outdoor living with home comforts

After the lockdown:

When social distancing is reduced, it’s time for you to discover your country! We know that many people will be avoiding travel, particularly international travel, but camping and glamping offer a much safer trip away from crowds.

Maybe this year won’t be the best time for festivals, massive parties or crowded beaches, so why not find an alternative to all of this? It’s time to reach out to your neighbours and discover Britain’s countryside.

In 2019, tourists from the UK spent £48 billion abroad in different countries like Spain, France, Italy and the USA. So if in 2020 and 2021, we all change our trips abroad from Mallorca or Tuscany to the nation’s beautiful spots like Herefordshire, Cotswolds, Dorset, Cornwall or Lake District the economy of the British Tourism industry will be very thankful.

Beautiful British countryside
Beautiful British countryside

Glamping is a fantastic idea. Avoiding masses, breathing fresh air and in contact with nature but without sacrificing your day to day small luxuries. After all, after being stuck inside for months we can surely all do with a large dose of fresh air. Here at White House Glamping, we are looking forward to seeing you all!

Hopefully, we will still be able to take a fantastic camping or glamping holiday later this year. To discover more gems in the beautiful British countryside and to help support small businesses, check out our directory.

Why Settle for an Ordinary Camping Holiday? At River Dart Country Park, you don’t have too…

Family-friendly campsites shouldn’t be locations that just offer a pitch in a field with a tired, single children’s play area. Everyone knows that family holidays should be fun. Not just for the children, but for the adults too. It’s an opportunity for the whole gang to spend time together and most importantly, have fun together!

At River Dart Country Park in Ashburton, Devon, this ethos has been the key to families returning, time and time again. Located within Dartmoor National Park, the site boasts over 90 acres of stunning parkland and playgrounds with something for everyone.

The sheer amount of outdoor activities available to visitors is incredible. There’s no chance of anyone getting bored or fed up anytime soon! Kids can make a splash in the Pirate Ship Lake, competitive kids (and big kids) can take on the assault course, slides, there’s also the Play Fort, Agility Trail, Climbing Pods and Pump Track, plus loads of other activities. Surprisingly, all of this is included in the pitch price.

They also have Dare Devil Activities that run during certain times of the year and are available at extra cost. These activities are more adrenaline-fuelled experiences and include a Mega Zip Wire, Water Zorbs, High Ropes Course, Canoeing, Kayaking and Indoor Bouldering.

It goes without saying that after all the fun and excitement, refuelling is essential. A perfect opportunity for the adults in the party to sit and enjoy a cold drink, or some locally sourced food at the onsite café bar. So, there are certainly moments of calm to be had here, if that is more to your taste. And the park’s location is undeniably made for moments like this, with the tree-lined River Dart running through the site it really is beautiful.

The fact of the matter is, there is so much to enjoy and in a stunning location too. The park caters for all family members, toddlers, children, adults, those looking for activities to do, those looking to put their feet up, those wanting to relax and those looking to explore. Camping holidays should be what we want to make of them, give us the options and let us decide how we spend our time. River Dart Country Park  gives the visitor those choices and much more, that’s what makes it so uniquely special.

Find out more here: River Dart Country Park