We’ve got everything from wild camping and wooden wigwams to luxury safari lodges and vintage shepherd’s huts (and more) down here in the glorious West Country. Read on to discover the best fun in a field…
Middle Stone Farm, Brompton Ralph, Somerset
This 32-acre working farm nestled between Exmoor and The Quantocks is the perfect spot for nature-loving couples, families and groups who like their home comforts. Being in a Dark Sky Reserve, the stars here are awesome. Hunker down in luxury self-contained 3-bed canvas Safari Lodges, the white-washed Deckhouse Cabin (think Little House on the Prairie meets mini cricket pavilion) or Stable Cottage – each with top quality bed linen, BBQs and their own wood-fired hot tub. Pick up organic meat, Exmoor gin, maps, the weekend papers and fresh croissants at their little farm shop. Really family friendly, with a climbing frame, giant tractor wheels and toddler tractors. Say hello to the geese, alpacas and Harold the Exmoor Horn. Only 30 mins from the M5 and Taunton and within easy reach of the fossil-rich Somerset coast, river beaches at Tarr Steps and Wimbleball Lake, surfing at Croyde, castles, steam trains and more.
Botelet, nr Liskeard, Cornwall
An idyllic slice of rural Cornwall, upstream from Fowey and Lostwithiel, Botelet has been farmed by the Tamblyn family for 150 years. Offering a total escape from modern life, there is a range of unique accommodation on offer. The wild camping meadow has three rotating pitches for six people max, while their beautifully decked out yurt sits in a secluded, wild-flower orchard overlooking the valley and the sea beyond. Two holiday cottages are also available, housed in original farm buildings that have been sensitively preserved and stylishly designed. All accommodation is self-catering, but every Monday through the season, Botelet will be laying on a sumptuous spread for their new Breakfast Club. Open to guests and visitors, breakfast features ingredients from the garden and hedgerows and other local, seasonal goodies. And finally, to put the icing on your relaxing retreat, therapeutic massage is available on site in a dedicated treatment room.
Dimpsey Glamping, Blackdown Hills, Somerset
Want to commune with nature and still enjoy all the luxury of a boutique stay? Then book yourselves into this Shepherd’s Hut, pronto! Located on a small family-run farm on the Blackdown Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the Somerset and Devon borders, the Shepherd’s Hut is all vintage chic. Log burner, sheepskin-covered bench seats, day bed, double bed, fairy lights and a little gas hob with a slow-boiling whistling kettle (natch) plus all sorts of quirky bits and bobs. No compost loo here but an en suite bathroom with shower, flushing loo and luxury toiletries. When you’re not soaking in your wood-fired hot tub there are plenty of walks, riding, golf, assorted National Trust properties and the spectacular Jurassic coast all within easy reach. And the name? Dimpsey comes from the West Country name for twilight or dusk, the half light at the end of the day… the ideal time for sipping that glass of fizz.
Stash away the stilettos, snuggle down on the Chesterfield and rela-a-a-a-x in this hip hotel under canvas; you’ve just arrived at Longlands, a multi award-winning glamping destination with five fully-equipped safari lodges sitting in their own secret valley, just a few miles from the North Devon coast. Fire up the wood burning stove, sack off the cooking and dine on scrummy homemade meals, wash it down with wine, local ales and treats from the larder; keep warm beneath Egyptian cotton sheets after you’ve done your ablutions in a proper private toilet and toasty shower room; then drift off to the peaceful soundtrack of the Great Outdoors. The next day, stomp the 17 acres of beautiful countryside, lark around on the boating lake stocked with rainbow trout (yours to catch and cook if you fancy), or relax in the hot tub, with its stonking views. If it’s a rainy day, then book in for a massage in the spa barn and, when the sun comes out make the most of being only 20 minutes from Britain’s Best Beach at Woolacombe, Romantic, family and doggy-friendly, what’s not to love? Read the full review here.
Secret Valley, Goathurst, Somerset
Psst! Let me tell you about the Secret Valley, hidden deep within Somerset’s verdant Quantock Hills. Whatever kind of glamping experience you’re after, this organic farm – free-range chickens, beef cows, miniature donkeys and alpacas, a vineyard and fields of Christmas trees – has it covered. Cosy wooden wigwams with or without hot tubs. Wooden lodges by a lake. Traditional Mongolian yurts (including one sleeping 20) and a giant tipi. Canvas Lotus Belle tents. Romantic Shepherd’s huts for couples with wood-burners and that essential hot tub. No time to be bored: go fishing, play archery tag, boules, skittles, table tennis and croquet. Hop in an open-topped trailer around the farm. Ride a mini tractor in the play barn or table football in the games room. Scale the high ropes, go zorbing, kayaking and canoeing. Hike or bike it around deserted trails. North Somerset’s fossil-rich beaches are close by. Have a massage in the pamper pod. Or just pour another glass of Secret Valley wine and chill.
Special offer: If you book a wigwam or shepherds hut with hot tubs using the code: MuddyStilettosWine on your email confirmation, you’ll get a free bottle of Secret Valley wine and free bucket of logs.
Cornish Tipi Holidays, Port Isaac, Cornwall
The first tipi site in the UK, Cornish Tipis Holidays is special for its secluded lake-side setting and gorgeous North-American-style, cotton canvas tipis. This incredible, away-from-it-all site sits in a wooded valley and surrounds a spring-fed lake that campers can swim, canoe and fish in. Across the 20 acres, there are lots of camping options, including private and more communal pitches and a choice of medium (sleeps 2-3) to extra large tipis (sleeps 6-9 incl. kids), you can also bring your own gear. For evenings spent tipi-side, campfires are positively encouraged but if you fancy treating yourself to a meal out, you’ve got some amazing options nearby including Rick Stein’s Seafood and Michelin Star winners Paul Ainsworth at No6 and Nathan Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen. The on-site Snail’s Pace café is also a great laidback choice, serving up full Cornish breakfasts, clotted cream teas and wood-fired pizzas.
St Ives Glamping, St Ives, Cornwall
Arty, foodie, beautiful St Ives is a firm Muddy favourite (see my guide here) but during peak season it’s bustling to say the least. So what better jumping off point than a quiet, rural campsite just outside of town? This gorgeous glamping spot offers a peaceful retreat, about half an hour’s walk from the centre of St Ives and some of Cornwall’s most spectacular beaches and coastal paths are a flip flop away. The bijou shepherd’s huts and cosy hobbit houses are handcrafted, charming and have everything you need. There’s also a 2-bed barn conversion and beach chalet that sleeps six. Immersed in nature but not without creature comforts, you can enjoy waking up to panoramic views and birdsong and relax in the sauna or woodfired hot tub under the stars at the end of the day.
Sunridge Glamping & Ecopod, South Hams, Devon
Flying the flag for South Devon, we’ve a corker for your consideration – two decadent digs, one gorgeous venue. Step up Sunridge Glamping and Ecopod, hidden away in the South Hams, amidst a miniature private woodland, with its own fishing lake to boot. Choose from rustic, luxury bell tents with the home comfort of having your own proper bed, but still with all the excitement of camping. Or step up the glam-factor a notch and plump for the cute ecopod, complete with hot tub – hello bubbles under the stars! It’s amazing what you can fit in this little beauty, including a swish German kitchen, luxe shower room and underfloor heating. Whichever route you go down, both are fun, glam and a totally fab way to slow down and switch off (don’t panic, there’s electric and wifi if you miss it!)
Coastal Valley Camp & Crafts, Port, Cornwall
Coastal Valley Camp & Crafts is a small family-run campsite with a lovely community feel and bags of atmosphere. Located just a few minutes drive from Porth and the buzz of Watergate Bay, it’s amazing just how peaceful this Muddy award-winning campsite feels. By the time you turn off the single-track road and wind your way past the willow wave, swaying palms and blooming buddleja, the middle-of-nowhere feeling is complete. There are several fun glamping options – including a safari tent, hobbit hut and Airstream – or you can book a simple pitch (there are just 25) beside the babbling stream that runs through the site. If you choose to, you could even park up your car for the duration of your stay, as Porth, Whipsiderry and Watergate Bay beaches are all about a mile’s walk away along country footpaths. Finally, for creative types, co-owner Tanya hosts art and craft workshops during peak season and it is also home to Cornwall’s coolest new yoga festival, Yoga Hub Fest (22-23 Sept).
Little Winnick, Pentewan, Cornwall
Little Winnick is a peaceful, family and dog-friendly campsite on the banks of the River Winnick, three miles from the golden sands of Pentewan Beach. It’s an absolutely perfect spot for exploring this part of South Cornwall, with woodland cycle paths leading to Pentewan, Mevagissey and The Lost Gardens of Heligan, direct from the campsite. The historic village of Charlestown and sailing town of Fowey are on the doorstep and the Eden Project is just a short drive away. And don’t miss a roast at nearby Polgooth Inn! As well as everything to do off site, Little Winnick is a lovely place to while away a few hours by the river, either soaking up the sun tent-side or at one of the family, camp craft sessions held in the site’s idyllic meadow.
Fancy cranking up the fun-factor? No problem! Did you know you can glamp it up at one of Devon’s top family theme parks? Spend time letting off steam at Crealy Adventure Park, then conk out under canvas at Crealy Meadows, a pretty genius proposition if you ask us. Everybody knows that the park is a must-visit if you’ve kids, but have you stopped to consider how the resort (at the right end of the county for incoming visitors) is located within over 100 acres of East Devon countryside? You’ll find a selection of fully-equipped safari tents on-site with cosy beds, kitchens kitted with crockery and some with wood burning stove. Plus, you’ve access to top-notch washing facilities, including underfloor heating and, we kid you not, a bath! With park tickets included and your own secret entrance to the rides next door, you can go and do it all again tomorrow. Fun!
Trevornick, Holywell Bay, Cornwall
Whether you’re a seasoned camper or like a little pre-pitched luxury, this Cornish favourite has it all. Grab a quiet spot to set up camp, reserve a fully kitted out Eurotent or book into one of the swanky new statics or holiday cottages on site. Either way you are perfectly positioned for an outdoorsy family holiday. Trevornick is nestled in the sand dunes, behind Holywell Bay Beach (a regular filming location for Poldark). The short walk to the beach is gorgeous and if you fancy a longer jaunt, you can reach Perranporth, Crantock or Porth Joke along the scenic coast path. When you’re done with the beach, there’s also a large pool, Jacuzzi, treatment room, fun park (far enough away from the pitches, don’t worry), a golf course, woodland and more to keep you busy. Plus Newquay, with its surf beaches and cool cafes, is just a few minutes drive away. Travelling with your pooch? Dogs are welcome at Trevornick and Holywell Bay beach year-round.
Trewan Hall Camping, St. Columb Major, Cornwall
Trewan Hall is a restored, 17th-century manor house and country estate, four miles from the north coast of Cornwall. Just ouside St.Columb Major and perfectly positioned between Padstow and Newquay, the stunning 36-acre grounds include natural woodland and beautifully kept gardens as well as two grassy camping fields. Caravans and motorhomes are welcome but canvas campers dominate and you are welcome to pitch up wherever takes your fancy (within reason). Ideal for families – and dog friendly too – there is a 25 metre, supervised, heated pool, woodland playground for little ones and well stocked camp shop with all the essentials (hot pasties all day, obvs). A haven for wildlife, the site holds a Gold David Bellamy conservation award for its restoration of the land and natural environment.