Are you one of the thousands that missed out on festival tickets this year? Fear not, there’s a cool new camping trend on the scene and it combines all the joys of a UK festival without the crowded pitches, prices and piles of mud.
If you’re a fan of spending a weekend outdoors with friends and fancy having a go at curating your own mini festival, or if you simply fancy getting a gang together in a beautiful spot that just happens to offer entertainment, then look no further. The folk at www.coolcamping.co.uk have selected five of their finest spots for summer where that dream of minimal crowds and maximum fun in a field can be realised. No wristband required!
Bespoke by Nature, Longtown, Herefordshire
Nestled beneath the Black Mountains and just 25 minutes from the world’s most famous literature festival at Hay, Bespoke by Nature does exactly what it says on the tin. It is quite simply a beautiful site (purely for group gatherings- sleeping up to 30) that offers bespoke experiences; from guided horse rides and mountain biking to cookery workshops and book clubs. Each week an entirely new site pops into life- reflecting the needs of the group. Although guests bring their own tents, the rest is catered for, including meals cooked in the wood-fired oven using fresh farm produce- with no queues in sight! Many a sunny hour can be lost listening to music and dabbling in the stream that borders the camp, before enjoying a tipple in the tipi or songs around the campfire as the sun goes down.
Exclusive hire prices start from £40 per person per night (based on up to 30 sharing) including tent pitch and all meals.
Those after a festival experience with true ‘spirit’ should head to Samlesbury Hall in Lancashire- said to be one of the most haunted houses in Britain. It offers a host of ghostly experiences for glampers including Tudor tours and witch hunts but, fortunately for those after a good night’s kip, a cluster of three modern shepherd huts (sleeping 12 in total) offer a safe place to reside each evening, with en-suite bathrooms and luxurious memory foam mattresses. By day groups can enjoy the wooded site (packed with wild animals and woodland trails) that often offers quirky art fairs and theatre shows. Evenings are best spent gathered around the large firepit for ghost stories or visiting the on-site ice-cream parlour and wafflery. Guests can also hire out the Hall for an evening banquet a la Wilderness Festival.
Exclusive hire prices start from £390 per night (£33 per person) based on up to 12 sharing 3 shepherd huts on a self-catering basis.
Charity owned and run by volunteers this permanent ‘camping village’ sits in a meadow bounded by a river in the Malvern Hills. Surrounded by wild meadows and packed with on-site facilities, this site has everything needed to throw your very own festival for up to 150- complete with accommodation in bell tents or yurts, a licensed bar and a kitchen that serves organic vegetarian food all day. There’s also a snug in the bar for storytelling and sing songs over a cider, a crafty workshop tent for the likes of cookery demos and art lessons and (if little ones are in tow) a covered kid’s area for fun and face painting. Plus, the creative Green & Away team welcome event ideas and go above and beyond to make them happen.
Exclusive hire prices start from £36 per person per night (based on up to 150 sharing) including tent pitch and all vegetarian meals. Bell tents and tipis cost extra.
The Green Escape, Dorking, Surrey
This magical camp is located just 30 miles from Central London, though you’d never know it once you’re surrounded by six acres of peaceful National Trust Woodland. Its seven huts (sleeping up to 20) sit beneath the trees and border a straw bale building that is ideal for communal cooking and wilderness workshops (the likes of bushcraft, willow weaving and permaculture classes can all be arranged). It’s a popular site for off-grid back-to-nature bonding weekends where groups simply switch off, swing in hammocks, enjoy alfresco yoga sessions or organise a sing-alongs around the campfire. If this were Glastonbury you’d be firmly in the Green Futures or Healing Fields!
Exclusive hire prices start from £300 per night (£15 per person) based on up to 20 sharing 7 shepherd huts on a self-catering basis.
Browning Bros, Colchester, Essex
Situated just six miles south west of Colchester, this site not only offers luxury accommodation that sleeps up to 250 but also provides a real sense of fun and imagination, born out of the two brothers’ childhood escapades in the woods beyond their farmhouse. Large groups looking to recreate their own festival will feel right at home here- surrounded by wildflower-strewn clearings, trickling rivers and an eclectic mix of Native American tipis, Mongolian yurts and bell tents strung with bunting (plus a converted grain silo tucked away at the back of the site for those after a little alone time). Well rehearsed at throwing wild gatherings and glamping getaways, there’s plenty to keep groups busy; from fishing, foraging and mountain biking to hosting gargantuan BBQs around a central firepit.
Exclusive hire prices start from £150 per night (£38 per person) based on 4 sharing a tipi or bell tent on a self-catering basis. A two night minimum stay applies.
To book any of the properties featured, please visit www.coolcamping.co.uk