Looking for an unforgettable camping holiday? We ask Cool Camping expert Amy Woodland for her recommendations of the most unique places to go camping in the UK.
Pitching a tent, cooking al fresco and sleeping under canvas can be an adventure wherever you decide to go. But throw in a campsite in a truly extraordinary location and you’ll have the makings of a holiday quite unlike anything else – even if you do spend the entire day at the campsite! We’ve asked the experts at coolcamping.com to reveal some of their favourite quirky campsites in the UK, each offering something so special you simply won’t find it anywhere else. The only difficulty? Deciding which to visit first…
There’s no need to head to France for great camping in wine country – you can just jump in the car and drive south west instead. Ten Acres Vineyard offers ten pitches with views across vines in deepest Devon. This charming little place near the village of Winkleigh offers classic camping pitches for tents and up to two campervans as well as three pre-pitched tents for glampers without the gear. You can wander among the vines on a self-guided tour or join amiable host Toby for a tour and tutored tasting. The on-site Wine Shack Shop stocks basic camping supplies alongside bottles of Ten Acres Wine. As dusk falls there’s nothing better than stoking the campfire, uncorking a bottle and drinking in views of the stars with a tipple that couldn’t be more local.
Off-grid camping at Knepp puts you at the heart of one of Europe’s largest rewilding projects. A vast, unfenced 3,500-acre estate is now home to grazing Exmoor ponies, longhorn cattle, Tamworth pigs and free-roaming fallow deer – alongside a few lucky campers at a time. Pitch your tent and you can watch bats at dusk, fall asleep to the sound of nightjars and owls and wake to the dawn chorus. Join a Wildland Safari during the day with Knepp’s knowledgeable guides, looking out for the rare flora and fauna of this conservation hotspot. Campsite facilities stick with a safari style and include open-air hot water showers and baths, composting toilets and a campers’ kitchen. The site also has a number of glamping options and a shop selling produce from the estate and surrounds.
Bircham Windmill must be one of the only campsites in the country where a windy day is good news. When the wind blows, campers can be treated to the sight of the sails turning on this iconic feature of the north Norfolk landscape. It’s one of the only working windmills in the UK and a visitor attraction in its own right – though the sails only turn on certain days. Campers get to pitch in its shadow and benefit from free access to the mill’s tearoom, bakery, garden and play area and have reduced entry to the mill itself. You can also watch as sheep on the small holding are milked every afternoon before picking up some sheep’s milk cheese to go with your freshly baked bread.
In a rare community buy-out, this remote Scottish island, that’s less than six miles long, has been owned by the islanders since 1997 and focuses on eco-friendly living, with its own green energy company that powers the island’s properties. On the northern tip, this tiny campsite has a suitably wild and self-sustaining ethos too. The washing-up sink is outdoors, there’s no electricity and pitches have jaw-dropping views across the sea to the Isle of Rum. Collect fresh organic vegetables from the croft and free-range eggs if the hens are laying. Otherwise, be prepared to take everything you need with you and to leave a little bit of your heart behind!
Wookey Farm is just over two miles from the famous Wookey Hole caves but that’s not what qualifies it as a unique campsite. It’s not its location on the banks of the River Axe or the views of the Mendip Hills either. Set on a working goat farm, this unusual spot lets campers get up close with life’s more unusual livestock, with goats milked daily and a herd of 150 fed together for all to view. Homemade goats’ cheeses are available from the honesty shop (as well as local markets), while goats’ milk ice-cream is only available to campers. A beautiful location and wild swimming in the river that runs beside the site are an added bonus.
Based on their leading guidebooks, Cool Camping now offer an online collection of the very best camping and glamping sites in the UK and Europe, available to book on coolcamping.com