When it comes to the great outdoors it’s never too early to start thinking about camping holidays. Here at Amamaya Clothing we can’t think of any way better to enjoy fresh air and nature than pitching a tent beneath the stars and sitting snug around the campfire in our adventure clothes. And, thankfully, we’ve found that the folks at coolcamping.com have a similar love for all things adventure. So, as we pen our plans for next year’s family holiday, we ask editor of the Cool Camping Kids guidebook, James Warner Smith, for his best family campsites to book in advance for 2018…
The Paddock, Lancashire
With just 10 camping pitches and a handful of glamping options, this family-run campsite is utterly enchanting, with tea-light lanterns lining the pathways at night and campfires encouraged. Set on a working farm with cows, sheep and an exceptionally friendly donkey, The Paddock only opened in 2016, so facilities are wonderfully modern and family-friendly. The nearby town of Ramsbottom, meanwhile – a 15-minute walk away – has plenty of history to offer, plus a host of fantastic eateries and quirky annual events that include the World Black Pudding Throwing Championships.
Dunes at Whitesands Campsite, Pembrokeshire
Despite five acres of space, this back-to-basics campsite has just ten spacious tent pitches, each one mown into the long wild grass and divided by the gorse and heather that gives the site its rugged appeal. Every pitch has a picnic table, firepit and private loo, while rare breed balwen sheep watch you kindle the campfire from a neighbouring field. Set just a few hundred yards from one of the UK’s finest beaches, Whitesands – renowned for its surfing – the campsite books out months in advance during summer. Bag one of the pitches, though, and you won’t be disappointed. Kayaks, surfboards and beach gear are available to borrow too.
Birds & Bees Campsite, Suffolk
Know the difference between a red admiral butterfly and a common holy blue? Recognise a chaffinch from a song thrush? As the name suggests, this wild, car-free campsite is all about immersing yourself in nature and enjoying the birds, butterflies and bugs of Eastern Suffolk. 15 tent pitches have been mown into the long, green-blonde grass, connected via weaving pathways that meander across the field. All eventually emerge at a facilities block and reception building (The Beehive) inside an old dairy barn by the campsite entrance. And, if the kids aren’t absorbed in endless games of hide-and-seek, some of the best beaches in East Anglia are less than half an hour away.
Greenhillock Glamping, Angus
Few places strike the balance between basic camping and family-friendly amenities quite like Greenhillock in Scotland. Facilities aren’t overly fancy but children are well catered for with a special ‘shack’ for arts and crafts and a ‘bug zone’ with nets, microscopes and information to help identify findings from the campsite pond. Campfires are permitted and the neighbouring woodland is well suited to nature walks and den building competitions. Parents, meanwhile, can make use of the field kitchen – a communal cooking and chill-out area housed in an ingeniously converted stable – while those who rally want to take it easy can book go glamping in a bell tent with proper double beds.
Rural Relaxing, Leicestershire
Take any classical portrayal of a rural English village and the scene won’t be far different from Medbourne in Leicestershire. Down lanes thronged with cow parsley and buttercups, the setting for Rural Relaxing Campsite feels secluded without being isolated. It’s a five-minute stroll to the riverside pub and tea rooms – just past the 12th-century church reached via a medieval stone bridge – while, directly opposite the campsite, weekend games of cricket add spatters of applause and cries of “howzat!” to proceedings. Picnic benches, barbecues and garden furniture are all available to use and campfires are permitted. There’s also an excellent new coffee shack for your morning cuppa.
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