The best 'almost wild' holiday campsites in the UK for families this summer

WILD camping may seem a bit too extreme for novice campers, being out in the open without a toilet or shower.

However, there are a number of "almost wild" campsites around the UK which are perfect for families choosing a domestic holiday this year.

Staycations are booming this summer, with fears that international holidays may be off the cards until August.

Guidebook Almost Wild Camping has revealed the best campsites which have the best of both worlds when it comes to wild camping and more organised campsites.

This means having some accessible facilities such as toilet and shower blocks butwhile still being more immersed in nature with waterfalls and forests not far.

From tiny 10-person campsites to larger sites just a step from the sea, here are some of the best you can still book for the summer.

Bush Farm Wild Camping, Cornwall

There’s a simple camping meadow beside the farmyard at this Cornish site, eight miles from Plymouth, but adventurous campers can pitch anywhere they please on the 200-acre farm.

If you can get there, you can camp there – down by the riverside, in the hilltop trees or overlooking the pond. It’s a 20-minute drive to the beaches of Whitsands Bay.

Book Bush Farm Wild Camping here.

Ace Hideaways, Highlands

Choose from a handful of pitches in the woods, often visited by deer and red squirrels, or hire the rustic shepherd’s cabin at this campsite just north of the Cairngorms National Park.

For a really wild stay there’s whitewater rafting and cliff jumping along the River Findhorn, which rages through a gorge two miles from the campsite.

Book Ace Hideaways here.

Hole Station, Devon

Want to escape the school holiday crowds? This quiet, adult-only campsite is a 30-minute drive from the North Devon coast and feels wonderfully hidden in the wooded grounds of a former railway station.

There’s refreshing river swimming in the nearby River Torridge and three good boozers within easy walking distance. Be careful of the squirrels – they like to steal your food.

Book Hole Station here.

North Rhinns Camping, Dumfries & Galloway

Five miles from Stranraer, this tiny campsite is a popular stopping point for those taking the ferry to Belfast. There are just 10 pitches in the trees in what feels like an extension of the owners garden and campfires and dogs are welcome.

Empty beaches, a lonely lighthouse and undulating cliff walks are within a mile or so of the site, with good fish and chips in Portpatrick.

Book North Rhinns Camping here.

Gill Head Farm, Lake District

This farm at the foot of Blencathra in Cumbria welcomes campervans, caravans and tents in the main campsite with stonking views of the mountains.

But it’s also home to a secret riverside dell for wild campers, over an old railway bridge and down a track. It’s a long walk back to the loo but you can try and top up water from the neighbouring waterfall.

Book Gill Head Farm here.

Smugglers Cove Boatyard, Snowdonia

Forget filling your car with camping gear. It’s a good 400-metre walk to these off-grid pitches nestled along the banks of the Dovey Estuary, with the mountains behind and a nature reserve across the water.

An old boatyard doubles up as a washblock – there are toilets, showers and taps for drinking water – and an old boat doubles as a communal chill-out area.

Book Smugglers Cove Boatyard here.

Pytingwyn Lane, Brecon Beacons

Don’t bother looking on a map, you won’t find this tiny campsite. It’s existed informally for years but has never had a website or email address before now.

On the banks of the River Honddu, it’s good for splashing in summer and you can hang hammocks in the trees. Hike from your tent to Pen-y-crug, an Iron-Age hillfort with good views of Pen-y-fan, the highest mountain in South Wales.

Book Pytingwyn Lane here

Hamperley Hideaways, Shropshire

There are just 10 pitches, a rustic wood cabin and an old army truck for hire at this campsite, opening for the first time in April.

Pitches are individually placed around the 100-acre sheep farm, tucked in the corner of fields, with a firepit at each and views of the Long Mynd and the surrounding Shropshire Hills.

Book Hamperley Hideaways here.

Fire & Stars Woodland Camping, Leicestershire

Pitch tents, hang hammocks or build your own shelter at this campsite in Leicestershire’s National Forest. Facilities are minimal – composting toilets are dotted around but there’s no mains water – and you can pay to use showers in the pub over the road.

Money from the campsite goes towards the upkeep of the wood (money to the pub, presumably, goes towards the upkeep of the nice beer garden and changing cask ales).

Book Fire & Stars Woodland Camping here.

Badgells Wood, Kent

A portacabin acts as reception to this vast woodland campsite: park outside, grab a wheelbarrow then venture into the trees beyond.

Lumps and bumps are actually the remains of trenches, left behind from a World War II training camp, and a few loose tracks lead you into the trees. You can pitch pretty much where you please and campfires are allowed.

Book Badgells Wood here.

You can also camp on the ground of stately homes around the UK from just £7.50 per night.

Or, you can camp next door to a number of pubs this summer.

Last year, caravan parks and campsites let wild patches of tall grass grow between pitches to make sure holidaymakers stayed 2m apart. 

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