5 places to recreate your own UK camping festival experience
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Festival season is back on (ish) — as in, we can watch highlights of festivals past on TV.
Lockdown measures and COVID-19 means that festival fans are missing out on camping, music and general hedonism this year, making do with virtual online DJ sets and some socially-distanced drinks when the pubs open on 4 July.
For some, this may not be enough to scratch the festival itch though. Camping is a great way to socialise with a few other people in a socially-distanced way, as well as being outdoors and able to listen to your favourite tunes without bothering your neighbours.
There are loads of great campsites throughout the U.K. where you can recreate your favourite festival. If you’re after the Glastonbury vibe or something a bit more upmarket like Wilderness, there are plenty of options.
Here are our top picks where you can have a unique festival experience of your own.
1. Old Oaks Touring Park — Glastonbury, Somerset
The closest campsite to Glastonbury in Somerset is an award-winning five-star camping and glamping site just for adults. You can either bring your own tent, campervan or motor home or choose from various onsite accommodation. It’s peaceful, so you can just kick back and relax, or explore the local area with a spot of fishing or cycling. Nearby is also Glastonbury Tor, which is just 10 minutes walk from the high street, where you can shop for all your new age and spiritual needs.
For those who want something a bit more comfortable, the glamping option offers cabins, luxury shepherd huts and cedar lodges with private hot tubs. This site reopens on 4 July and is available to book online.
Prices are from £23.50 per night for standard pitches and from £65 per night for the glamping option.
How to get there: By car, leave the M5 at junction 23 then take the A39 towards Glastonbury. The nearest train station is Bath and then you can take a bus to Wells.
2. Bladon Chains Caravan Club Site — Woodstock, Oxfordshire
Situated on the Blenheim Estate, this camping site is for those who prefer the more high-brow experience of Wilderness festival, which usually takes place at Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire. David Cameron, who lives nearby, is a fan — remember his selfies a few years ago?
On the must-do list are visiting Blenheim Palace, which is home to the Duke of Marlborough, walking to Bladon Church to see Sir Winston Churchill’s grave as well as a day trip to Oxford. You’re also just a short drive from the beautiful Cotswolds. Families are welcome as well as pets, but one thing to note is there is limited mobile reception onsite, in case you plan on working during your trip.
Prices are from £25.30 per night for two adults.
How to get there: If driving, take junction 8 on the M40 then the A40 to Bladon. The nearest train station is Oxford and then a bus to Woodstock.
3. Cliff House Holiday Park – Southwold, Suffolk
If you’re missing Latitude festival in Henham Park this year in Suffolk, then this campsite is right near where the action would have been. The 30-acre woodland site is family-friendly and close to the beach as well as having an onsite bar. It might be a large site, but reviews promise it has a small scale feel to it where you can cycle around with ease.
The facilities are spacious, modern and there are erected tipis if you are looking for more of a luxury experience. There are some beautiful walks as well as crabbing to try in Walberswick, a fun family activity, which is a 10-minute drive away. After that, you can walk into Southwold and go back in time playing the vintage penny slot machines on the pier.
Prices are from £17 for two people per night including electric hook up.
How to get there: Heading north on the A12 from Ipswich, turn right at the sign for Westleton and Dunwich and follow the signs for the campsite. The nearest train station is Lowestoft.
4. Grange Farm Brighstone Bay — Isle of Wight
Even though there was no Isle of Wight festival this year, there is nothing stopping you from taking a trip to the lovely island for some festival-inspired camping on the cliff top and enjoying panoramic sea views and beautiful sunrises. Grange Farm Brighstone Bay is ideal for families, as it is situated on a farm with unusual animals such as micro pigs and alpacas. Accommodation offerings include static caravans, camping pods, cottage/barn conversions and campsites — and it’s a lot cheaper than if you were at the Isle of Wight festival. Make sure you bring strong tent pegs if camping, as the winds can be a little strong on this site. But again, worth it for the views and the privacy for that all-night party.
Groups and dogs are welcome, and even better, you are allowed to make a campfire on the beach below. Whilst you are here, try a spot of surfing, kite-surfing or paragliding during the day and try the local wine from Adgestone Vineyard in the evening.
Prices are from £20 for two adults per night camping.
How to get there: The ferry to the Isle of Wight goes from Portsmouth, Portsmouth Harbour or Lymington.
5. Hendra Croft Farm Camping and Glamping — Newquay, Cornwall
Newquay is home to Boardmasters festival, the biggest surf and music festival in the U.K. Whilst there is no festival this year, there is no reason why you can’t enjoy a spot of wellbeing and surfing whilst camping in one of the most beautiful spots around.
Located on a working farm, Hendra Croft offers standard camping but also has a glamping option with bell tents, which includes beds, lighting and electricity with your own personal lockable toilet. The nice touch is the Cornish cream tea that you get on arrival, and there is even an option of going half board so you don’t need to worry about prepping your own food. It’s open from 4 July.
Prices are from £25 per night for a pitch or from £300 for a four-night glamping pitch.
How to get there: Driving will take approximately four hours and 30 minutes from London via the M4 and M5. The nearest train station is Newquay.
This year, we will have to go without festivals, but there is nothing stopping you mimicking the feeling with friends or family in one of these locations. Do your research on camping if you are a novice so you know what to pack and, more importantly, what to expect. Most camping sites in the U.K. are open from 4 July, but make sure you check the individual websites. A tip if you don’t want to buy camping equipment is to hire it. There are many vendors that offer everything from tents to lighting to cooking equipment.
Featured photo by Juan Cardenas/EyeEm/Getty Images