If you’re already planning where to pitch your tent this summer and dreaming of nights under canvas, here are just a few of the National Trust’s campsites across the country where you can get away from it all and enjoy sleeping beneath the stars.
Under the stars. © National Trust Images/Joe Cornish
Best for cycling action
Walking beside the River Wharfe at Buckden, Yorkshire Dales. ©National Trust Images/Ben Selway
Buckden, Yorkshire Dales
Visitors on a tour at Dolaucothi Gold Mines, Carmarthenshire. ©National Trust Images/John Millar
You couldn’t be closer to the action staying here. Stage one of the Tour de France route weaves right through the Trust’s land in the Dales and right by this campsite. Not only will you have a front row seat, there’ll also be a big screen so you don’t miss any of the action. Buckden pop up campsite is the perfect base to watch the cyclists head through to Cray and the first climb of the race. Food and drink will be available all day so you can be sure to get your morning coffee and muffin, an ice-cream while watching the race and even a hog roast to eat under the stars. Visit the information point for cycling routes and bike repairs and definitely don’t miss the onsite bar which will be stocked with plenty of beer. 3 – 6 July 2014.
Highertown Campsite, Cornwall. ©National Trust Images/John Millar
For more information, call 01729 830 416
Wasdale Head campsite, Cumbria. ©National Trust Images/Joe Cornish
Best for going for gold
Dolaucothi Gold Mine, Carmarthenshire
Set in the attractive woodland of the Dolaucothi Estate in South Wales this twin-level site is right next to the River Cothi. Campers will enjoy getting back to nature with the magical wildflowers and birds, including the rare Red Kite. The River Cothi is also one of the best spots in the world for sewin (sea trout) fishing, so don’t forget to pack your rod. Dolaucothi is a great place do some star gazing as well. The nearby Brecon Beacons was recently designated International Dark Sky status making it the world’s fifth Dark Sky reserve. A visit to the nearby gold mines is another must-do. Guided tours reveal the complex of pits left by the Romans nearly 2,000 years ago. The story of the mine, which continued work up until 1938, is revealed in the main yard, where 1930s mining machinery and an exhibition bring the history of gold mining to life. To round off your day there’s the opportunity to even try your own luck at gold panning. Opens 19 Mar-1 Nov 2014. For more information, call 01558 650 809.
Best for coastal calm
Highertown Farm Campsite, Cornwall
Perfect for beach lovers, the Highertown Farm campsite is a short walk from a secluded beach and set within a stunning coastal landscape that is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. With installed solar water panels and composting toilets Highertown is one of the Trust’s greenest campsites. Also within easy reach are the charming coastal villages and towns of Polperro, Fowey and Looe. The campsite also offers quick access to the South West Coast Path and the beautiful beaches and coves of Lantivet and Lantic Bays. Lanhydrock is also close by and as one of the most complete nineteenth century country houses in England. Discover two sides of Victorian life: from the kitchens, nurseries and servants’ quarters, which offer a thrilling glimpse into life ‘below stairs’, to the luxurious family areas, elegant dining room and spacious bedrooms which reveal the comforts of ‘upstairs’ living. The estate is well worth exploring too, with ancient woodlands and tranquil riverside paths. Open from 4 April to 31 October 2014. For more information, call 01208 265 211.
Best for getting away from it all
Wasdale Head, Cumbria
Voted the nation’s favourite in ITV’s Britain’s Favourite View, Wasdale campsite lies under England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike. It is situated at the head of the beautiful Wastwater Lake, which is nearly three miles long and almost half a mile wide – making Wasdale one of the few campsites in the world that offers such a remote location for setting up camp. And if you’re looking to try something a bit different this year, why not try glamping out in one of the camping pods? Locally sourced materials provide an attractive, dry and spacious camping area. If you’re feeling adventurous, have a go at canoeing, rock climbing or gorge scrambling or learn how to improve your night navigation skills. For a much needed break head to the sandy beaches at Silecroft, Millom and Drigg to replenish your energy after a hard day on the fells. Open all year. For more information, call 015394 638 62.
Best for wigwams and pods
Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire
Situated in the heart of Robin Hood country, Clumber Park is the northern gateway to Sherwood Forest. Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, campers at Clumber will be spoilt for choice. Walkers can enjoy the four mile route around the serpentine lake; taking a break on the eighteenth century bridge – a perfect place for bird spotting. Cyclists, young and old, can tackle the routes through the park with bike hire available, and you can even enjoy boat and tractor rides. If you prefer sleeping in the great outdoors without the hassle of putting up a tent you can stay in a camping pod. They sleep up to five adults and are warm, cosy and ready to enjoy the minute you arrive. If you fancy something a bit more glamorous why not opt for a wigwam. They sleep up to five people and are comfortably equipped for your glamping adventure and you can sleep easy knowing that your bed for the night will be cosy, warm and snug. Open all year. For more information, call 01909 484 758.
Best for wild sleepovers in the city
Morden Hall Park, London
Visit Morden Hall Park, a green oasis in London, and take part in a really wild camping trip. When you step through the gates, you’d be forgiven for imagining yourself to be in the middle of the English countryside. Surrounded by meadows, trees and the gentle sounds of birdsong and running water, the park offers a rare sense of discovery and a chance to get away from it all. Make sure you have your camping gear and walking boots ready for an afternoon of nature activities, before going on a night walk and sharing stories around the campfire whilst you toast marshmallows. Happy campers will be kept well fed with tea, dinner and breakfast cooked with locally sourced ingredients. So gather your tent pegs and your snuggly sleeping bag and set up camp for a weekend of fun. 9 August, 1pm until 10 August, 12pm. Price: Adult £20, Child: £15. Booking essential. For more information, call 020 8545 6850.
Best for hillside hideaways
Etherley Farm, Surrey
This small campsite can be found at the foot of Leith Hill, the highest point in south-east England. Well worth the climb, the hill is crowned by an eighteenth century gothic tower, with beautiful views north to London and south to the English Channel. A short distance away, there’s a chance to experience the glamour of the Edwardian upper classes and life in the roaring twenties. Home to Mrs Ronald Greville, Polesden Lacey is complete with all the objects from her celebrated house parties. The grounds include a croquet lawn that can still be played on today and beautiful gardens. You can also discover Clandon Park nearby, a Palladian mansion with grand marble hall, porcelain collection and unique Maori meeting house. For more information, call 01306 621 423.
Best for wildlife wonders
Houghton Mill, Cambridgeshire
Nestling on the banks of the River Ouse overlooking the last working mill on this river, Houghton Mill offers a great place to pitch up your tent. The perfect spot for wildlife enthusiasts, the meadows around the mill are home to many plants and animals. The undergrowth provides cover for mice and voles, while dragonflies and butterflies will dart about in the tall grasses, and near the riverside you might even be lucky enough to spot the unusual Banded Demoiselle. And no stay is complete without a trip to the famous Mill which even featured in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Set over five storeys, the Mill includes lots of hands-on exhibits for all the family. Touch the displays and have a go at grinding your own flour, hear the building creak under the strain of the waterwheel, and don’t forget to try the tasty scones. There are also plenty of pubs, historic houses, walks and scenery to enjoy on your doorstep. Open 3 April – 9 November 2014. For more information, call 01480 466 716.
Best for family adventures
Nostell Priory Holiday Park, Yorkshire
This magical woodland holiday park is perfect for families, with pitches for fifty touring caravans, four motor homes and six tents. There’s also a small shop and play area on site. Visitors to the Priory can explore 300 acres of parkland with a range of walks and views. You’ll be spoilt for choice for something to do on this holiday with lakeside walks, a newly planted orchard and the adventure playground to keep the kids entertained. If you’re feeling adventurous you can get up close to the wildlife and explore Nostell using paddle power. Back by popular demand; look out for canoeing sessions on the Middle Lake. If you prefer to stay on land, join the digital treasure hunt and find the caches dotted in the grounds. Open from 1 March – 31 October 2014. Advanced booking is advisable. For more information, call 01924 863 938.
Best for walkers
Upper Booth Farm, Derbyshire
An ideal base to explore the Peak District, Upper Booth campsite is situated on a working-hill farm on the National Trust’s High Peak Estate, in the heart of the National Park. Perfect for walkers, there are both places for leisurely strolls or more challenging routes available, with campers also being able find out more about the farms sustainable land management from the Helliwell family. Nearby, visitors can find the Longshaw Estate, offering scenic views of the Derwent Valley and Peak District. Delve deep into Longshaw’s hidden places for balancing adventures in the woods and tunnels in the rhododendrons, and doors into imaginary places. Also close by is the beautiful house and parkland of Lyme Park, surrounded by gardens, moorland and deer park. Open February – November 2014. Advisable to book well in advance for summer weekends and Bank Holidays. For more information, call 01433 670 250.
For more information on camping with the National Trust, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays/camping/