Welsummer Camping, Kent
Based in Maidstone, on the edge of the Kent Downs, Welsummer Camping is just an hour’s drive from London. If you’re after rustic charm – ramshackle wooded areas, grassy meadows, flower garlands, handpainted signs – look no further. There are pitches in the more rugged woodland areas, as well as meadow pitches – each with a campfire spot – where you’ll be open to the elements. The on-site shop offers fresh coffee, seasonal elderflower cordial, basil and redcurrants from the garden, free-range eggs and homemade bread.
Small tent (up to 4 people) £20, large tent (up to 6 people) £30, Bell tents: £80 per night (sleeps four); Chalk House, Lenham Road, Harrietsham, Kent, ME17 1NQ; bookapitchatwelsummer@gmail.com; 01622 843 051

WoWo campsite, Sussex
This family-run site set on Wapsbourne Farm, in the depths of the Sussex countryside, has a strong emphasis on green living; the daughter Alice, a self-proclaimed ‘eco warrior’, runs an educational centre at WoWo. As well as glamping and camping pitches, they offer foraging and wild herbalism, astronomy and bushcraft workshops. Campers are given homemade soup with freshly-baked bread from the clay oven on Saturday nights but there are also pubs within a couple of miles.
Standard camping is £10 per adult, £5 per child, with a two-night minimum stay on weekends. Glamping in kitted-out shepherd’s huts or yurts from £160 for two nights; Wapsbourne Manor, Sheffield Park, Uckfield, East Sussex, TN22 3QT.
To book: camping@wowo.co.uk / 01825723414

Wild camping in Scotland
Who knew that following the Land Reform Act 2003, it became legal to camp on most unenclosed land in Scotland? This means that you can pitch up on the grassy dunes of Horgabost beach on the Isle of Harris, metres from the golden sand, or near the ruins of Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire. The only rule is that you follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, which includes leaving no trace, burying your toilet waste and avoiding overcrowding by moving on to another location. Who wants neighbours when you’re wild camping, anyway?
Free; visitscotland.com

The Secret Garden Touring Park, Cambridgeshire
On a summer’s evening at The Secret Garden campsite, flames from the fire pits set off a hazy glow above the meadows, campers sing and play guitars and children excitedly toast marshmallows. Sound idyllic? It is. This intimate plot has three camping areas offering 20 or so pitches in total, each with a designated fire pit. But campers are invited to use the communal BBQ area and after a few of the beers brewed onsite at the Mile Tree microbrewery, you might be feeling rather more sociable.
£17 per night, per pitch (one family); Mile Tree Lane, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, PE13 4TR
To book: thesecretgardentouringpark@btconnect.com / 01945585044

Lee Valley Campsite, Sewardstone
With 26 miles of traffic-free trails for cycling or walking, this campsite offers an escape from the city, while you’re still – technically – in the city. It lies just south of the 1000-acre River Lee Country Park, boasting rare wildlife and white water rafting, and west of Epping Forest – great for long, rambling walks under the shade of the trees. Bring your own tent, hire a cocoon – with beds, heating lighting and a kettle – or go all out and get yourself a cabin with a double bed, bunk beds and a sofa.
Standard camping is £7 for adults (low season), £2.50 for kids – with a minimum charge of £14 per pitch. Cocoons (sleep 2) from £30 per night, woodland cabin (sleeps 4) from £45; Sewardstone Road, Chingford,
E4 7RA
To book: sewardstonecampsite@leevalleypark.org.uk / 020 8529 5689; visitleevalley.org.uk

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