Camping has to be one of my all-time favourite pastimes. Yes, there have been times when I’ve been clinging on to the tent at 2am in gale force winds. Yes, there have been times when I’ve been taping together broken tent poles and sealing leaky roofs. However, this is what makes camping great isn’t it?!!
I love the outdoor experience – listening to the rain pitter pattering on the roof, cocooned snugly in my sleeping bag, or relaxing in the deckchair and enjoying just being closer to nature. The TIG family have tried and tested many campsites over the years and here are our top 3 in the UK so far…which are going to be difficult to beat!
What’s the idea: Camping at 1 of 3 of my favourite campsites!
Who for: The whole family
#1: Cae du Campsite
Where is it: Rhoslefain, Tywyn, Gwynedd LL36 9ND
Cost: Tent and 2 adults £10, family £15 and single £6–10. Dogs on leads are welcome.
When is it open: March – October
Facilities: Hot and cold water, toilets, showers, laundry, and dishwashing facilities, but no electric hook-ups. Campfires are allowed.
For more information: Check out the Cae Du Campsite page at Cool Camping
This is definitely by far my number one campsite for a long weekend, which I would really like to keep as my little secret! It’s such a peaceful, idyllic place where all you can hear are grazing sheep and waves crashing on the shore. It has the most incredible coastal views to wake up to and if you rise early enough you might be able to see the dolphins swimming past…don’t forget your binoculars! You can walk along the stoney beach and dip your toes in the icy sea water. It’s also worth mentioning this campsite is perfectly positioned to watch the sunset – totally magical.
I especially love this place as camp fires are allowed here which is quite rare in today’s camping world. The farmer even sells homemade lamb and mint burgers which are just delicious!
Tywyn is a great little village too with so much to see and do in the area, from scenic train rides, beautiful walks, great pubs, crazy golf, the famous honey ice cream factory shop and so much more.
Due to the exposure of this campsite, the only downside can be the wind! We have had to wrestle with our tent through the night on many occasions to ensure it remains in one piece and upright. I highly recommend that you look ahead at the weather forecast before making this trip!
We have tried and tested so many campsites throughout the UK, but we have always come back to Cae Du, there is nothing quite like it for breathtaking scenery and location. If you want to relax, unwind and get away from it all then this is the place to escape to…just check the weather before you travel!
#2: Thistledown Campsite
Where is it: Tinkley Lane, Nympsfield, Gloucestershire GL10 3UH
Cost: It works slightly differently here, you pay per tent, and per adult or child. For example in their 2nd pasture, two adults (£7 each) in one tent (£10) costs £24 per night. Visit their website here for prices
When is it open: Weather dependent, usually April – October
Facilities: Composting toilets, hot showers and hot washing-up sinks. Visit their website here for a full list of facilities
For more information: Check out the Thistledown campsite website or visit Cool Camping for reviews
This campsite offers a very different experience from Cae Du and one which I absolutely loved when we visited the Cotswolds for the first time last year. We went in May just after a bank holiday weekend so it was extremely quiet. I think there was only us with two other tents, which made it blissfully peaceful. There are 3 main camping areas on this 70-acre site; the Elderflower Orchard where cars are allowed, and the car-free 2nd and 3rd pastures. We opted for the bottom of the 3rd pasture which we had all to ourselves.
We didn’t let the steep hill put us off, but grabbed the nearest wheelbarrow and transported our worldly belongings down and set up camp. For a small fee, you can always cadge a lift on the buggy! Thistledown also allow campfires in the pre-dug fire pits which is certainly a plus point. The facilities were fabulous too, really clean and well maintained – the log cabin toilets are quite luxurious to say they are composting toilets! It also worth saying that the staff here are just fantastic, really friendly, welcoming and nothing is too much trouble.
We were provided with a map of the site on arrival and we took an evening stroll exploring the farm and the beautiful bluebell woodland which is dotted with sculptures and land art.
There is also an on site farm shop full of tasty local produce so you don’t need to take too much food with you! On site they also have a wealth of wildlife and farm animals, keep a look out for pigs, goats, sheep, and take a trip to their badger lookout point too. Needless to say, this is a real haven for families with young children, with so much space for them to run and play in complete freedom and safety.
There is also plenty to do in the area, Woodchester park is just next door. Nailsworth is a beautiful town just 5 minutes drive away. I highly recommend you visit the bakery Hobbs House Bakery – we went for breakfast, lunch and mid afternoon cake – absolutely loved it! Stroud is also good for an afternoon out to look round the gift shops, delis and cafes.
Whilst we were at the campsite they were in the process of building a pizza oven, this is going to be a fantastic touch to an already outstanding campsite. Thistledown is a great base for a relaxing break which includes wonderful scenery, beautiful walks and a plethora of stunning local towns to visit.
#3: Grinton Lodge Youth Hostel
Where is it: Richmond, North Yorkshire
Cost: From £12 a night per tent
Facilities: Space for 8 tents, also 5 pods available. Showers, toilet/washing cubicles, a kitchen, dining-room, lounge (with games and children’s toys), and a games room with pool and table football. Plus, a full English breakfast if desired!
For more information: Visit Cool Places website or reviews can be found on Trip Advisor here
This is just an amazing place, set in the grounds of a lovely old, but superbly refurbished lodge, perched on a hill and surrounded by breathtaking scenery and wildlife. The camping pitches are found in the garden area, where there is a little park and football nets, and of course, fabulous views. The drawback was that we had to make several journeys carrying all our stuff from the car, but then, you can’t have everything!
We went for the bank holiday weekend, and were surprisingly joined by only 2 other tents for the whole time. The facilities were fantastic with lovely free showers, toilet/washing cubicles, a kitchen, dining-room, lounge (with games and children’s toys), and a games room with pool and table football. We treated ourselves to a cooked breakfast on the last morning – and at only £4.95 was incredible value – certainly as good as any hotel, with cereals, grapefruit, juices, yoghurts, ham, cheese, warm bread rolls, croissants, fruit, and a full cooked choice.
We felt that our tent was in a better position than the pods, which although well set out, were in quite a shady area, and did not have our spectacular views.
Fires are permitted, which is definitely an essential for us – you can’t beat toasted marshmallows and hot drinks round the fire before bed!
We chose this site particularly for our reluctant camper friends, and it definitely delivered, enjoying the experience of sleeping under the stars, but with home comforts not too far away. Perfect!
Do you have a favourite campsite you think the TIG family should try?
Share your best camping experiences below…