1. Campfires, bushcraft and stargazing
Trellyn Woodland Campsite’s location is hard to beat. Not only does it lie within 10 miles of a dozen coves and beaches and barely 100 yards from the Pembrokeshire Coast Path at Abercastle, but you are also within easy striking distance of St David’s, Ramsey Island (Henylls ( ). The campsite itself has plenty to keep you occupied, whether it’s stargazing around the campfire or learning how to make fire yourself on one of Trellyn’s three-hour ) and the reconstructed Iron Age hill fort of Castell bushcraft courses (from £15 per person). There are just five pitches, each with its own picnic table and campfire, while the Dragon Tipi has a double bed, two futons and a separate campfire kitchen. Upping the glampingstakes, the yurts have oak floors and handcrafted furniture, while the modern and spaciousgeodomes have panoramic windows and wood-burning stoves.
Best for kids aged: 6–12 years.
Price: Pitches £250, Family yurts from £690 – £840 (all sleep four to six)
More info: Trellyn
2. Seaside glamping
Choose between luxury tree houses and safari tents at Harvest Moon Holidays’ fabulous newglamping site on Lochhouses Farm, adjoining the John Muir Country Park, east of Edinburgh. With sweeping views across sand dunes towards gannet-festooned Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth, this is a great spot for free spirited families who love the great outdoors. The big empty beaches are irresistible, whether you’ve brought a bucket and spade or your own horse (£12 per night). Onsite there’s a farm shop, campfire and a kids’ corner with ducks, rabbits, lambs and other cuddlies. Boasting an internal area of 40sq m, the seven safari tents sleep up to eight and feature en suite toilets and hot showers, a fully equipped kitchen with Belfast sink, pine dresser and wood-burning stove, plus a lounge/dining area that opens onto a covered veranda. The seven tree houses are actually cabins on stilts just 2m off the ground, but they are just as stylish and beautifully furnished as the safari tents, with covered walkways connecting the sleeping and living areas. Kids love the integral hammock and swings.
Best for kids aged: toddlers to 12.
Price: Luxury Safari Tents from £660 -£960 per week (June-September) Tree houses from £785-£1140 per week (June-September)
More info: Harvest Moon Holidays
3. Eco-friendly camping gets serious
Forget inflatable mattresses and damp flysheets – inside The Really Green Holiday Company’s fabulous family yurts (sleeping up to six) at Freshwater Bay on the Isle of Wight, you’ll find a four-poster bed, a double futon or day bed, wardrobe, dresser and other home comforts, all on a raised wooden floor strewn with rugs and mats. A circular skylight promises dreamy stargazing, while a wood-burning stove keeps everything cosy. Each yurt also has an outdoor brazier – ideal for barbecues – while the undercover communal Dome has plenty of space for cooking if the weather turns against you. A lot of thought has gone into making this campsite as eco-friendly as possible – firewood is gathered from sustainable woodland and there are solar-powered lights and super-e?cient composting toilets. Organic herbs and vegetables are grown onsite for campers to use, and there’s an excellent farm shop nearby that sells local cheeses, sausages, ice-cream and other Isle of Wight goodies. As well as fine beaches at Sandown, Ryde and Ventnor, the Isle of Wight is crammed with family attractions, from falconry displays and red squirrel safaris at Robin Hill Countryside Adventure Park (robin-hill.com) to time travel back to the Jurassic Age at Dinosaur Isle (dinosaurisle.com).
Best for kids aged: toddlers to early teens.
Price: From £375 to £645 per week for a 16ft yurt (sleeps ?ve), or £410 to £705 per week for an 18ft yurt (sleeps six).
More info: The Really Green Holiday Company
4. Castaway island camping
The Isles of Scilly are the nearest thing in the UK to the islands of the Caribbean or even the Indian Ocean. They exude a nostalgia for a slower pace of life, where kids are free to roam (there are just a few cars on the main island of St Mary’s and none on the other islands) and enjoy the natural environment. Highlights include a picnic on a sandy beach, the perfect pub lunch and some sleepy stargazing. There are five campsites to choose from: two on St Mary’s and one each on St Martin’s, Bryher and St Agnes. Some have their own beaches, some are exposed to the elements and some are on a farm such as Peninnis Farm Luxury Camping on St Mary’s, which has seven spacious, custom-designed safari tents all fully furnished with kitchens with wood-burning stoves, comfortable bedrooms and stylish shower rooms. Kids can lend a hand on the working farm and collect eggs for breakfast. Hugh Town, the harbour and many of the island’s beaches are just a five-minute walk away. Alternatively, catch the boat to Bryher for a truly rugged, small-island camping adventure. Bryher Campsite has a well-stocked shop and the glorious Hell Bay Hotel is just down the road if you fancy a taste of five-star lunch. Seal snorkelling is the ‘in’ thing to do in the Scillies where you and your kids (minimum age eight) can get up close to Atlantic grey seals, (scillysealsnorkelling.com).
Best for kids aged: 4–12 years.
Price: June Discount – 20% off all bookings between 30th May – 26th June. Week stays from 27th June – 13th July £1,123.00 per tent
More info: Peninnis Farm Luxury Camping
5. Enchanting yurt village
The Park at Mawgan Porth in north Cornwall is a find. Tucked in a valley behind the expansive Mawgan Porth Beach, this thoughtful reinterpretation of a holiday park has everything from airstream trailers to eco-homes. The yurt village is a highlight with five Mongolian-style yurts decked out with wood burners, reclaimed wood beds and driftwood lamp stands (yes, there is electricity). Surrounded by beautiful pines and clever planting, there’s a hot tub and upturned boat as an outdoor shower, a communal kitchen with quirky reclaimed furniture, cute blue shepherds’ huts as showers and toilets, and a small laundry. There’s even an outdoor clay oven with superb valley views. The Park has a laidback, surfer vibe café run by the affable Babs and Scotty, who serve up home-cooked artisan breads, antipasti and slow-cooked cob-oven lamb. As well as an indoor pool, there’s a delightful outdoor pool surrounded by stylish blue loungers and mini palm trees. Every Thursday afternoon kids can join a Park Rangers expedition (£12 per child) with marine biologist and former lifeguard Karl Fice-Thompson, a lovely bear of a man who teaches the kids about the flags on the beach before taking them down onto Mawgan Porth Beach at low tide where he dives into rockpools to catch crabs (which he eats raw), blennies, Cornish sea-slugs and breadcrumb sponge. His passion for the environment is infectious and it all ends with a fire-building adventure in a beach cave with mussels cooked fresh off the rocks and marshmallows on sticks. You can also book a family surf lesson with Kingsurf or hire a bike from GoByCycle and follow the glorious six-mile Camel Trail.
Best for kids aged: babies and teens.
Price: Late aviavlity offer for May June 2015-£79 per night (min 2 nights) Large Yurts for a family of 4 range from 750-1000 per week
More info: Mawgan Porth
6. Safari chic with wellies
There are dozens of Feather Down Farms scattered throughout the UK, and Boswarthen Farm near Penzance in Cornwall – with views of the Lizard and St Michael’s Mount – is typical of the company’s spot-on family-friendly formula of combining luxury camping with working farms. Its six Feather Down tents have everything from a wood stove, oil lanterns, dining table and chairs to three bedrooms (including a secret den for kids), a flush toilet and kitchen sink. Outside, there’s a clay oven for baking potatoes or pizzas and an honesty shop stocked with local produce, a range of food hampers and barbecue packs. Boswarthen Farm also has hot tubs, a farm trail and maize maze. You can even rent your own private chicken coop – kids scampering outside in pyjamas and wellies collecting eggs is an early-morning ritual at most Feather Down Farms. At Boswarthen, there are also pygmy goats to pet. Farmer Nicholls might need a hand feeding the calves, and then there’s the swallows’ nest to check out in the barn… With your car parked out of sight (and mind) in the farmyard, and with no electricity to bring radio, television or computer games crashing into your consciousness, time at Boswarthen Farm ebbs and flows to a relaxing, rural rhythm. Later in the day, you might plan a picnic or cycle ride, play hide and seek or set off on a pilgrimage to St Michael’s Mount or the Tate Gallery in St Ives. Some of Cornwall’s finest surf beaches, such as Porthcurno and Whitesand Bay, are also nearby. The best rockpooling can be found atPorthgwarra and Cape Cornwall.
Best for kids aged: toddlers to 12.
Price: From £469 to £1,029 per week, £325 to £685 per weekend
More info: featherdown
7. If you go down to the woods
This is not glamping. It’s ‘real camping made easy’. At least that’s how the owners of Wild Boar Wood Campsite, a leafy retreat in West Sussex, prefer to describe their nine fully equipped bell tents. The luxury here is not about hot tubs or feather duvets, but a chance to really get away from it all. Apart from the occasional shrill whistle from the Bluebell Line as it trundles past the edge of the five-acre wood, this is back-to-nature camping, complete with a full cast of wildlife. In fact, the campsite is so secluded that you won’t even be told its exact location until your booking is confirmed. Each of the pre-erected tents is equipped with beds and cooking equipment. The onsite warden ensures everyone’s a happy camper – whether it’s delivering firewood for your barbecue or offering advice on days out. Nearby family-friendly attractions include Bodiam Castleand the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum.
Best for kids aged: 6 and over.
Price: Ready erected tents from 630 for six nights for a family of two adults and two children.
More info: Eco Camp UK
8. A Hebridean walk on the wild side
With wonderful views over the Sound of Mull and across Loch Linnhe towards Ben Nevis, Shieling Holidays’ grassy campsite on the Isle of Mull is a short stroll from the ferry pier at Craignure. You can watch the CalMac ferry coming and going from Oban and listen out for the whistle of the narrow-gauge steam train that trundles back and forth between Craignure and Torosay Castle. There’s even the possibility of glimpsing seals, porpoises and otters from your tent, although you’ll get a better chance of seeing wildlife, including eagles, on a safari with Island Encounters. Named after the summer cottages of Highland shepherds, white canvas tents known as shielings bring a touch of original glamping to the site with their carpets, wood-burning stoves, real beds (up to six per tent) and self-contained bathrooms and kitchens. All you need to bring is bedding, cooking and eating utensils – or, if you prefer to travel a bit lighter, you can hire them from the campsite.
Best for kids aged: 4–12 years.
Price: Tent pitches £33 per night for family of four and standard shielings £37 per night (minimum 2 nights)
More info: Shieling Holidays
9. Traditional camping and glamping on the shores of lake windermere
There’s plenty of choice for family campers at the beautiful Low Wray Campsite on the quiet western shore of Lake Windermere. Purists can pitch their tents within a toe dabble of the lake,while those who prefer not to grapple with guy ropes and tent poles can opt for various glampingoptions, from wooden camping pods and gypsy caravans to tepees and yurts. Facilities at Low Wray are superb. As well as refurbished toilet and shower blocks, the campsite off ers children’s activity packs, an orienteering course, a bird hide and picnic area, as well as a lakeshore footpath to Wray Castle. Bikes are also available for hire and there are boat trips to Ambleside and Bowness.
Best for kids aged: 8–15 years.
Price: Tent pitches from £25.25 per night;
family pod from £40 per night; tepees from £460 per
week; bell tents from £355 per week; yurts from
£385 per week; gypsy caravans from £335 per week.
More info: National Trust
10. A den-building paradise
Woodland Tipis and Yurts is located on a farm in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Little Dewchurch, Herefordshire. It has six Mongolian yurts and three traditional Sioux Native American tepees tucked into woods less than a mile from the River Wye. It’s the kind of place where youngsters can run wild with the woodland fairies, building them miniature wigwams of sticks and leaves decorated with petals and feathers.
The six-acre ancient woodland is also a den-builder’s paradise. Hop over a stile and you find yourself on a grassy hillside that’s ideal for picnics. Each tepee or yurt sleeps up to six people, has an outdoor fire pit, picnic table and hammock. Inside, there’s a cosy jumble of rugs, sheepskins and mattresses, plus a king-size bed and a wood-burning stove. In addition to the two well-equipped kitchen shelters, there are separate bake houses with traditional earth ovens – perfect for making pizzas.
Best for kids aged: toddlers to teens.
Price: Three-night weekend from £295
per tepee or £310 per yurt; four-night mid-week
break from £390 per tepee or £420 per yurt;
two-night weekend breaks available outside
school holidays for £200.
More info: Woodland Tipis