While yesterday’s press briefing was undoubtedly disappointing for those wanting to travel abroad, the domestic tourism industry was given a boost with the news that step two of the lockdown exit roadmap will proceed as planned from April 12.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson once again warned against booking foreign holidays, but it seems everything is on track for a reopening within England, meaning that camping will be possible from April 12, and that public facilities at campsites will be allowed to reopen from May 17.
With international travel still so up in the air, the news appears to have sparked a wave of demand for camping holidays, with many campsites across the country now fully booked. We spoke to 30 of Telegraph Travel's top-rated UK campsites this morning – only six still have any availability for the late May Bank Holiday weekend. Of the ones we spoke to, many cited that their phone lines had been “ringing off the hook” this morning, following the government briefing yesterday.
Others have attempted to get some peace from ardent campers with voice recordings informing those on the line of their unavailable dates (the entirety of the summer season for some), and requesting anyone waiting to get through hang up should the dates they want be unavailable.
The six campsites listed below are some of our top camping picks across the UK, and they still have availability – for now.
1. Trehenlliw Farm, Pembrokeshire
This site is located in 115 acres of farmland and is surrounded by the Carnllidid and Penberi mountains. Camping here will give you access to an area of the Welsh coastline laden with pebble-free beaches, including popular surfing beach, Whitesands Bay, which lies a scant mile away. Writer Clover Stroud also recommends taking “a boat to Ramsey Island for some seal and dolphin spotting”, but “if you want a break from the sea, you can walk to the exquisite tiny city of St David's, with its beautiful cathedral, in about 10 minutes”. The facilities on site are a little basic, but include shower blocks, free hot water and washing-up sinks, and the campsite is now providing outdoor activities, including coasteering, surfing and sea kayaking, through the Real Adventure Company.
Price: £10–£18 per pitch
Contact: 07421831462; firstname.lastname@example.org; campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk
2. Ruberslaw Wild Woods Camping, Scottish Borders
“Ruberslaw is a truly unique place to camp,” writes Jonathan Knight of this beautiful site set within 500 acres of “pristine” upland in the Teviot Valley Special Landscape Area. The site is expansive, which is probably why it still has a few precious spaces left in late May. Tent campers can pitch within the Edwardian walled garden and orchard, or opt for a remote spot out on the hillside. “Four fully furnished safari tents offer even more seclusion in the surrounding woodland,” added Knight, highlighting that “walking and mountain biking are the key draws here – or you could just head to the Edwardian glasshouse and relax beside the wood-fired stove.”
Price: a pitch and two people from £28 per night.
Contact: 01450 870092; ruberslaw.co.uk
3. Pleasant Streams Farm, Cornwall
Perfectly sited a few miles from Mevagissey Bay, Pentewan Beach and the Lost Gardens of Heligan, this family-run campsite is also recommended by travel expert Jonathan Knight who describes it as “well placed for exploring Cornwall but far enough inland (and down minor back roads) to avoid the crowds.” There are streams, a boating pond and “a clutch” of farm animals – pigs, goats and ducks – and, though facilities are basic, new toilets were added last year, and a meadow added this summer means there is still space left.
Price: A pitch and two people from £18 per night.
Contact: 01726 74837; cornwallfarmcamping.co.uk
4. Petruth Paddocks, Somerset
Campfires are encouraged in this simple, but utterly charming meadow camping spot near Cheddar Gorge. Spend your days exploring Strawberry Line – the excellent 10-mile cycle route that starts within meters of the campsite – then swing by the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company to get a taste of some of the local bounty this region is famed for. Showers can be found in luxuriously spacious cabins and, at the centre of the site, an open-top vintage Land Rover has been converted to a children’s playground.
Price: a pitch and two people from £24 per night.
Contact: 01934 257055; petruthpaddocks.co.uk
5. Drymen Camping, Stirlingshire
This Stirlingshire spot is “virtually an obligatory stopping point for walkers on the epic West Highland Way”, which runs directly past the campsite, writes our travel expert. It’s a “tranquil” site, with 30 flat grass pitches spread across a “tree-dotted field, with expansive views of the surrounding rolling fields”. Two basic wooden pods and a further two more comfortable geopods are available for those without tents.
Price: A pitch and two people from £16 per night.
Contact: 07494 144064; drymencamping.co.uk
6. Gibraltar Farm Campsite, Lancashire
Those staying at Gibraltar Farm in Silverdale will be treated to views of Morecambe Bay, which lies just beyond the low wall on the edge of the camping field. The bay stretches for miles along the northwest coast – “it's great for swimming, but watch out for the fast-rising tide” warns Clover Stroud. Just a mile from the site is Jenny Brown's Point, a popular viewpoint and birdwatching spot overlooking the sands of the bay. “There's also a RSPB reserve nearby at Leighton Moss, with access to coastal lagoons and nature trails,” adds Stroud. Facilities include a new shower and toilet block, clean lavatories, and hookups. There is also a separate site of 10 acres of ancient woodland that can be booked as a private camp. Those keen to stay should book sooner rather than later – availability is very limited.
Price: 2/3 person tent from £16 per night; 4/5 berth, £18.
Contact: 01524 701736/07760 781929; gibfarm.weebly.com