The best foodie campsites in the UK for gourmet glamping

With barbecue banquets, wood-fired feasts and kitchen gardens, glamping has gone gastronomic. Here are the tastiest pitches...

Olivia Walmsley goes camping near Lewes in East Sussex
Get back to nature with these gourmet camping spots Credit: Christopher Pledger

‘People are in touch with the instinct to eat together now more than ever, and cooking outside creates an environment where they can stay in their bubbles, but still enjoy a communal experience,” says Mark Griffiths (known as Griff), who set up Woodfire Camping on the Westerlands farm estate near Petworth in West Sussex with his wife Stella Gurney in 2018 – swapping Brixton for the South Downs. “I think a big part of its popularity is due to ­biophilia, our innate craving to be surrounded by and connected to nature, amplified after so much time indoors.”

Camping has gone gourmet of late. Besides the joys of sleeping under canopy and stars, many sites now offer the opportunity to sample produce grown on site or nearby – no need for a last-minute supermarket dash; instead, barbecue lamb reared in the surrounding fields over the brazier, or raid on-site farm shops ­before you build a crackling campfire.

“Being outside, where children are free to play, eating food from the land that surrounds you, is incredibly relaxing,” says Griff. “Our food vision was influenced by trips to Italy. We stayed on agriturismi farms in Tuscany, smallholdings where the food is all sourced locally.”

Stella and Griff prepare breakfast and dinner for up to 100 people over woodfire and charcoal or in the pot, taking cues from Mexican and Argentinian cooking and South African potjiekos. His specials include summer beef stews with gremolata and flatbreads, tortillas, eight-hour slow-cooked pork belly, hot-smoked fish, foraged salads and whole cooked asado lamb. For breakfast: bacon sarnies and avocado bagels.

“This season, we’ve introduced outdoor feasts – ticketed events featuring guest chefs that offer a three-course meal of locally sourced and foraged food, followed by a night’s camping and breakfast. We source our food as much as possible from the farm we’re located on, including Suffolk lamb and Dexters beef,” Griff says. “Our salads and vegetables are from the kitchen garden, and game is supplied by local gamekeepers, eggs from a few miles down the road from Hallgate Farm.” Campers keep track of their food and wood consumption, and pay at the end.

Campfire cookery also means you can sit back and have a drink; Woodfire’s sommelier, Richard Hamblin of More Wine (morewine.co.uk), provides the sustainable, eco-friendly bag-in-a-box wines at Woodfire.

Mark 'Griff' Griffiths and his wife Stella at Woodfire Credit:  Andrew Crowley

“A lot of the pleasure this year has come from seeing how much kids enjoy the release of pressure that comes with being outside. They become more curious, and try new foods. We deliberately don’t do a kids’ menu; it’s like French street markets, where the children are just as involved as the adults.”

Hosting 33 pitches at a time (including pre-pitched vintage and Zempire tents), with availability in August and September, Woodfire is an eco-campsite with compost loos and hot showers. For a grass tent pitch, adults pay £19pp per night (£7 per child 3+). Westerlands Estate, Graffham, Petworth GU28 0QJ; 01798 320021; woodfire.co.uk

Mark Griffith’s tips for campfire cooking

  • Don’t buy cheap, instant charcoal from the garage; think about sourcing sustainable dried wood and seasoned logs, which will burn better and won’t taste of petrol, giving off a better heat and flavour
  • When you start cooking over different types of wood, you start to appreciate their different aromas and flavours; cooking over oak has a different taste to apple, pear or cherry wood, so the wood itself becomes a key ingredient.
  • Use newspaper rather than magazines for tinder – they’re made with kaolin, a type of clay that gives the pages a glossy sheen but doesn’t burn well, and creates a lot of ash. If you’re having trouble lighting the paper, try separating the ply of a torn piece of kitchen or toilet roll, loosely scrunching it and putting it beneath the tinder.
  • Prep in advance: it’s easier to make marinades at home or pack ingredients such as salts and spices in advance when you’re planning on going away camping. If you can keep things cold until you arrive, then you’re good to go. I often use a Spanish-style paprika and garlic marinade, which works with all sorts of different meats.
  • It’s easy to burn food directly over a flaming heat. It works better to cook slowly, rather than try to blast it.
SOUTH WEST

Abbey Home Farm, Gloucestershire

Credit: Abbey Home Farm

Will and Hilary Chester-Master are best known for their award-winning organic farm shop; the family-friendly, immaculate car- and-dog-free Green Field campsite is a five-minute walk away. There are braziers for cooking over charcoal, and pitches for up to 40 families with “tons of space”, but numbers are more limited this year to ensure ample room. With supplies of ethically reared produce available from the farm shop and café (including the farm’s own vegetables, fruit, bread, meat and dairy, plus camping essentials such as ice cream and toilet roll), you won’t go hungry. The café has Wi-Fi and outdoor seating, and offers lunch, coffee and home-made cakes all day. Weekday and Saturday lunches are vegetarian, while Sunday lunch includes a meat roast straight from the farm. The Magical Glade is a private, secluded spot that hosts up to eight campers (well-suited to two families or four couples) and there are also yurts, Cotswold stone cottages and a romantic “Hut by the Pond” for those who are averse to sleeping in tents. For a pitch, over-12s and adults pay £7 per person, £3 for children under-12.

Abbey Home Farm, Burford Rd, Cirencester GL7 5HF; 01285 640441; theorganicfarmshop.co.uk

Wookey Farm, Somerset

This family- and dog-friendly eco-campsite near Wells and Cheddar Gorge in Somerset is a working goat farm. Owners Ian and Sarah Davies have 150 goats, mostly British Toggenburgs. You can watch the goats being milked: their produce – milk, yogurt, ice cream and cheeses, including Yarley (“goat halloumi”) and Ebbor gorge, a creamy goat brie – is sold at local farmers’ markets, but also from their teeny-tiny converted horse box farm shop.

The farm’s own goat, lamb and pork meat is also available, and eggs when the hens are laying. There are no showers, but campfires are permitted in designated areas next to the pitches, which border the River Axe, should you fancy having a dip after a turn on the tyre swings that hang from the oaks on the banks. Prices start at £14.50 for a small pitch.

Wookey Farm, Monks Ford, Wells BA5 1DT; 01749 671859; wookeyfarm.com

Huntstile Organic Farm, Somerset

Hunstile Farm Shop Credit: Hunstile Organic Farm

As well as their 14th-century farmhouse B&B at the foot of the Quantock Hills, John and Lizzie Ridout offer camping, glamping and gipsy wagons in the orchard and field adjacent to their organic farm, farm shop and café near Bridgwater. Home-grown veg, and Gloucestershire Old Spot sausages from their livestock are also on the menu. The Ridouts make butter and cream in their microdairy, from milk produced by their pedigree Dairy Shorthorn cows, Daisy, Buttercup and Marigold. Breakfast hampers, bread, fruit, milk, butter, eggs, bacon and drinks are all available from the shop. At the Garden Room Café, the Thursday night plat du jour supper menu and pizza buffets go down a storm; as does the Nathaniel’s Bakery sourdough. Stream Farm provides the organic trout, yet more veg from Stowey Rocks Organic Farm, and freshly caught crab from Kingfisher of Brixham. “Somerset is usually the county everyone drives through to get to Devon and Cornwall, but it’s packed with wonderful stuff,” says Lizzie. There are 10 tent pitches: £25 per night for two, then £6 per person per night per extra adult. Children £2, dogs £3 per night.

Huntstile Organic Farm, Huntstile, Goathurst, Bridgwater TA5 2DQ; 01278 662358; huntstileorganicfarm.co.uk

Ten Acres Vineyard, Devon

A secluded 15-pitch site amid the ripening grapes of a working vineyard. Buy a bottle at reception (“The Devon Wine Shack”) and stock up on home-made apple juice before you gear up for a tour of the vineyard overlooking the Dartmoor National Park and a guided wine-tasting, featuring its champagne-method sparkling white, Wild Goose, served chilled. Vino aside, there’s also the nearby waterfall at Lydford Gorge to explore. Dogs welcome. From £8 per night (£30 for glamping).

Torrington Rd, Winkleigh EX19 8EY; 01837 83892; tenacresvineyard
camping.co.uk

Canvas and Cadence, Somerset

This new site beside a peaceful lake, which opened on Aug 7, puts the emphasis on well-being. Fine food plays an important role, with daily artisan food hampers filled with cheese, fruit and charcuterie for grazing and local produce from the 
on-site deli.

Start the day with freshly-baked breakfast pastries and relax into the evening with wood-fired pizzas, a pop-up bar and a schedule of food trucks featuring Greek and Thai street food regularly drop by for lakeside feasting. There are also drinks at the bar by the water; draught beer, champagne and cocktails. Book online at pitchup.com; camping pitches from £60 per night for two people, £100 per night for a bell tent by the lake.

Marston Estate, Tuckmarsh Lane, Frome BA11 5BP; canvasandcadence.com

SOUTH-EAST & EAST

Etherley Farm, Surrey

Credit: Etherley Farm

At the foot of Leith Hill in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and surrounded by National Trust woodland, Etherley Farm produces lamb, hogget and mutton from North of England Mules and two rams (Suffolk and Dorset Down). Its Sussex beef is reared slowly, grazing on grassland, and is hung for three weeks. The excellent beef boxes, cuts and burgers make campfire cookery easy. The shop also sells free-range produce, logs and camping essentials, including milk and bacon, and its own honey, from the bees in the orchard. The nearest pub is The Parrot, Forest Green, a 10- to 15-minute walk away, if a pitch and pint is what you seek. Pitches available from £10.50pp per night.

Leith Hill Lane, Ockley, Dorking RH5 5PA; 01306 621500; 
 etherleyfarm.co.uk

Dernwood Farm, East Sussex

Credit: Dernwood Farm

A family- and dog-friendly campsite set in 70 acres of ancient woodland, with bell and safari tents, a gipsy caravan and a shepherd’s hut, as well as pitches. Beef from pedigree Sussex cattle and pork from traditional breeds (pre-order burgers, sausages, bacon and steak) are all available from the farm shop. Two Sisters Deli will deliver breakfast or picnic hampers and grazing boards with charcuterie, cherry tomatoes and Sussex cheeses. “All our glamping options have tripods and Dutch ovens which cook a mean stew, and we always have diced beef and diced lamb available for braising,” says owner Amanda Norman. Glamping pitches and weekend wild camping pitches are now fully booked until September, although midweek wild camping pitches are available. From £10 per tent pitch per night.

Dern Lane, Heathfield TN21 0PN; dernwoodfarm.co.uk

Chadwell Hill Farm, Buckinghamshire

Credit: Chadwell Hill Farm

Originally part of the Rothchild estate, the farm has added three furnished bell tents to its accommodation offering (a B&B and a shepherd’s hut) this summer. “We produce our own Dexter beef, pork and free-range duck and hen eggs as well as fruit and veg from our kitchen garden,” says co-owner Nicola Coates. “We’ve teamed up with local chef Daniel Bailey, who can cook a gourmet barbecue for glamping guests. He also runs classes on barbecue cooking, for those who are less experienced.” Wash it down with pressed apple and pear juice from the orchard; glamping tents average £100 per night.

Lower Icknield Way, Longwick, Princes Risborough HP27 9RL; 07414 984599; chadwellhillfarm.co.uk

The Secret Campsite, East Sussex

Tim and Lisa Bullen started the nine-acre Secret Campsite in 2012 on the site of a former garden centre near Lewes. An abundance of edibles – fruits, nuts and leaves – grow free for the picking: depending on the season, you’ll find plums, cherries, damsons, chestnuts, hazelnuts, artichokes, figs, cardoons and much more. Tim has a degree in agriculture, focused on organic farming. “The campsite is also about creating space for wildlife – dormice, great crested newts, adders – and for us is a great way of spreading the word that we need to look after the natural world,” he says. You can pre-order meat boxes from Townings Farm to grill by your pitch. Firestands “from a blacksmith up the road”, stoves, Dutch ovens and charcoal are on hand. They are fully booked for August, though September is good for foraging. Tent pitches from £20pp per night.

Brickyard Farm, Town Littleworth Road, Lewes BN8 4TD; 
 thesecretcampsite.co.uk

Wowo, East Sussex

Credit: Wowo campsite

Wowo on Wapsbourne Manor Farm specialises in family fun and activities: the shop is filled with low-food-mileage produce, from seasonal farm grown veg to Paynes pure English honey and The Sussex Kitchen’s award-winning artisan bread. Street food pop-ups include Curry Love (think Punjabi masala, lentil samosas and smoky pineapple pickle) on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and Pizza Cuchina on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Campfires are encouraged in the fire pits provided. Yurts from £96 per night, minimum two-night stay.

Wapsbourne Manor Farm, Sheffield Park, Uckfield TN22 3QT; 01825 723414; wowo.co.uk

Bodiam Boating Station, Kent

Vanessa Ferrett and Alex Bolton have run a campsite alongside the Lime Wharf Café restaurant and Bodiam Boating Station (which offers kayak, canoe and stand-up paddleboard hire, as well as river cruises to Bodiam Castle) for eight years. Lime Wharf Café usually has 60 seats inside and 100 seats outside; the food they serve is seasonal, and there are Spanish influences. They sell Brindisa Spanish produce, and usually run a selection of paella courses and tapas evenings. Plus, there are barbecues in the outdoor kitchen and cocktail bar. Social distancing measures have been put in place; Ferrett says that boat and camping bookings are up tenfold so far this year. There are 25 pitches on the 1.5-acre plot in the High Weald AONB; £30 per pitch per night.

Riverside Cottage, Station Rd, Northiam, Rye, Cranbrook TN31 6FE; bodiamboatingstation.co.uk; 
limewharfcafe.co.uk

MIDLANDS AND NORTH

The Cud Life, Yorkshire

A member of Farm Stay UK (which specialises in glamping and B&B accommodation on farms; farmstay.co.uk), The Cud Life is five minutes from Harrogate, and has two self-catering cottages and a campsite, open all year. The on-site Cookshop (which specialises in food gifts and cookware; cookingfantastic.co.uk) also sells milk, Kendall’s Farm Butchers meat and KD Fruiterers fruit and veg for campfire cookery. £20 per pitch, per night in high season and £15 per night November-April.

The Cud Life, Ripon Rd, Killinghall, Harrogate HG3 2AU; 01423 565855; thecudlife.co.uk

Syke Farm, Cumbria

Proximity to the picture-perfect village of Buttermere and the tranquil old corn mill town of Millbeck is a draw for those who stay at this quiet, relaxed Lake District campsite, as of course are lakes, mountains and walks – but so is the famed Buttermere Ayrshire’s ice cream, served in the Syke Farm Tearoom and prepared fresh each day with milk from the farm’s herd of Ayrshire cows. The tea room also offers a “Campers Full English Breakfast” from £5. Adult pitches from £8 per night.

Syke Farm Cottage, Buttermere, Cockermouth CA13 9XA; 017687 70222; sykefarmcampsite.com

Low Sizergh Barn, Cumbria

Low Sizergh Barn is one of the best-known farm shops in Cumbria, and has just opened a campsite on the 341-acre organic farm – new for 2020. Those who stay at the family-run caravan and campsite can enjoy raw milk from the raw milk vending machine straight from the herd of dairy herd of Holsteins, Swedish Reds and Montbeliardes.

Stock up on free-range eggs with rich yellow yolks, and cheeses made with milk from the herd by Chris Sandham of Rostock Dairy: Kendal Creamy and Kendal Crumbly, raid the deli counter for a picnic provisions and relax over a breakfast of Cumberland sausages 
in the café. There are 10 pitches for tents, five for caravan pitches and a luxury wooden camping pod, which sleeps four. Camping pitches from £15pp per night.

Low Sizergh Farm Sizergh, Kendal LA8 8AE; 01539 560426; lowsizerghbarn.co.uk

Peake’s Retreats, Staffordshire

The Mongolian yurts at Peake’s Retreats in Staffordshire offer hot tubs, a picnic area and bar, while the “Finnish BBQ hut” is stocked with a selection of barbecue items supplied to order, direct from the award-winning Denstone Hall Farm Shop nearby (denstonehall.co.uk). The yurts sleep up to six guests, and each has a fire pit and cooking tripod outside, and a portable barbecue available for outdoor use – and a wood-burning stove inside, for heat and for cooking on colder nights. From £140 per night based on two adults sharing, July-October.

Gate Farm, Hanbury Road, Anslow, Burton upon Trent DE13 9QT; 07725 403070; peakesretreats.co.uk

Dale Farm Rural Campsite, Derbyshire

This campsite and working farm nestled in the Peak District’s Great Longstone has fire pits available to rent, while the on-site farm shop sells the farm’s beef, hogget and pork, along with home-made cakes, eggs, firewood and kindling. There are two pubs within easy walking distance: The Crispin Inn and The White Lion.

Moor Road, Great Longstone, Bakewell DE45 1UA; 0333 050 3440; dale.farm

SCOTLAND

Harvest Moon, East Lothian

Credit: Harvest Moon

You can pick up black pudding sausage, and supplies of Thistly Cross cider and Belhaven Beer at the farm shop. There are pizza ovens, barbecues, bonfires and campfire cooking – use the lobster pots to catch your own crab and lobster, and go fishing off nearby Tyninghame beach.

The Lobster Shack in North Berwick is a short drive away for line-caught mackerel and a crisp glass of wine; stop at the Bostock Bakery for bread and pastries. Fuel up to enjoy the Scottish outdoors – Coast to Coast Surf School is nearby, and bike rental is available from Belhaven Bikes. The average price is £140 per night for a treehouse or cabin sleeping six-eight people, featuring wood-burners, en suite WC and hot showers.

Lochhouses Farm, Tyninghame, East Lothian, EH42 1XP; harvestmoonholidays.com

WALES

Naturesbase, Ceredigion

Credit: Natures Base

At Naturesbase, co-owners Gyles and Alison Morris grow and sell their produce, including salad, tomatoes, eggs, lamb and sausages. Visitors feed the animals and learn how to forage and make nettle pancakes as part of the family bushcraft course. “Once a week, we fire up the pizza oven and make pizzas with visitors, topped with wild garlic, local ham and our favourite Welsh hafod cheese from the Holden Farm Dairy,” says Gyles. The 10 pitches are surrounded by wildflowers and trees; each one comes with its own fire pit (fire grids are provided; if you’re new to campfire cooking and nervous, the Morrises will be happy to help get you started). If tents aren’t your thing, there are also three lodges and a shepherd’s hut.

A small shop on-site sells homemade cakes, craft beers and wine. The Goat Barn bar usually opens once or twice a week to visitors and for the public out of season, and birthday cakes can be made to order. Twice a week, there’s a “Big Barn Breakfast” using as much of their produce as is possible. Outside the holiday season, the whole site can be rented with either catered or self-catering options for events, family gatherings and small weddings. £25 per pitch per night for two.

Naturesbase Holidays, Tyngwndwn Farm, Lampeter, Cilcennin SA48 8RJ; 01570 471795; naturesbase.co.uk

Cowpots Camping, Carmarthenshire

Family-run Pen Back Farm has a licensed on-site wood-fired pizzeria and ice cream parlour, The Cowshed, with scoops made from the milk of the 11 Jersey cows that graze on the land surrounding the camping meadow 
 (these are best washed down with a beer from the local Wild Horse Brewing Co).

There’s woodland, too, if you fancy a 20-minute stroll among the trees. The 10 pitches on the 11-acre “Tree Field” centred around an old oak tree are available from £35 for two adults camping, or £40 for campervans for two; adults additional adults £7 per person per night, children £6 per night.

Pen Back Farm, Ciffig, Whitland SA34 0N; cowpotscamping.co.uk

Penbedw Estate, Flintshire

Penbedw is a 2,500-acre family-run farm known for Welsh lamb with Protected Geographical Indication: it launched Sunday roast and barbecue meat boxes in lockdown. You can glamp there through to December, surrounded by mountain and woodland: there are two yurts located at the top of Moel Arthur, an Iron Age hill fort, which can host up to six – linen sheets and towels are provided. The yurts are kitted out with cutlery, glass crockery and cooking utensils, with their own firepits, instant gas barbecues, kettles and seating area. There is a small kitchen behind the yurts with an individual shower and toilet for each yurt. A log cabin, “the Piggery”, sleeps two in a double bed, and it can accommodate two more people on a futon (£110 per night). Prices for a yurt on a weekday start at £100 per night.

Penbedw, Nannerch, Mold CH7 5QT; penbedwestate.com/glamping

What to cook when you get there

Griff’s 
beef stew

I cook this in big cast-iron pots over fire, but a cast-iron pan on the stove works well, too. Try it with gremolata (finely chopped garlic, rosemary and lemon zest) on top.

SERVES

Four to five

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp beef dripping or lard
  • 700g beef shin
  • 300g ox cheek
  • 2-3 big onions, thickly sliced
  • About 8 sprigs of thyme
  • A handful of sage leaves
  • 4 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
  • 8 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 x 75cl bottle of red wine
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée
  • 500ml beef stock

METHOD

  1. Heat the dripping in a large pan to melt. Season the beef and add it with the ox cheek to the hot dripping. Brown all over.
  2. Take out the meat and set it aside, then add the onion to the pan with a generous amount of salt and some oil/dripping. Cook, lid on, really slowly for an hour until sweet but not burned.
  3. Add the herbs, celery and carrots and cook, lid on, for 20 minutes or until soft. Add the meat to the pan and increase the heat.
  4. Add the wine, tomato purée and stock. Simmer, lid on, for at least four hours.

Campfire flatbreads

Credit: Andrew Crowley

SERVES

Eight to 10

INGREDIENTS

  • 650ml warm water
  • 1 tbsp brown caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 15g yeast
  • 800g 00 flour (doppio zero)
  • 200g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Mix the water, sugar, oil and yeast until foamy.
  2. Tip the flours on to a clean worktop and add the salt. Make a well in the middle and start to pour in the yeast water. Mix with a fork until you have a thick mixture, then use your hands to knead the dough until it is thick and shiny.
  3. Leave for 90 minutes then push out the air. Leave again for 30 minutes then take a handful of dough and roll and flatten (on a floured surface) into a flatbread.
  4. Cook over a hot grill for about two minutes. Really hot charcoal and a low grill are crucial so the bread puffs up. As it fills with air flip it over to char the other side. Repeat with the rest of the dough.