Four great National Trust destinations for camping
Wakehurst Place & Kew Gardens
Haywards Heath, East Sussex
The country estate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Wakehurst Place is one of the National Trust’s most popular sites. The gardens hold international significance, as they have conserved seeds from ten percent of the world’s plant species. For those not interested in the science though, the real reason to go is to wander around the sheer beauty of the grounds, containing natural woodlands and lakes, and the stunning Elizabethan house.
Camp at: Heaven Farm
Situated in the East Sussex countryside, Heaven Farm is a perfect retreat after a long day's exploring. With its own tearooms, farm museum and nature trail, there’s lots to keep families busy. There’s also a craft shop selling pottery – perfect to pick up a few gifts. Of course if you’ve had a busy day taking in all that East Sussex has to offer you can always just retreat back to the quiet and spacious campsite and just soak in the beauty of the countryside. Contact the site directly for prices.
Originally the home of Lord Armstrong, the Victorian inventor, Cragside was the first house in the world to be lit by electricity. A wonder of its age, it is still full of his incredible gadgets – many of which still work. The beautiful grounds are also home to one of the largest rock gardens in Europe, which leads down to the Iron Bridge and the formal garden. There’s also an adventure play area and a labyrinth in the rhododendron forest that children will love.
Camp at: Clennell Hall Riverside Holiday Park
Set in the stunning Northumberland National Park, Clennell Hall is a great place to visit for a quiet country break. The campsite itself is fairly basic with laundry/washroom facilities and electricity and gas, but that’s all part of its charm. Here you’ll be fully immersed in nature, surrounded by gorgeous countryside and fascinating fauna. The park has fishing opportunities and a children’s play area, and dogs are welcome provided they are on a lead. Go at the right time and you’ll also find an abundance of country shows and fairs. Prices start at £24 for a pitch (two adults, electricity included).
The family home of Winston Churchill serves as a tribute, and a window into the family life of the author, artist and former Prime Minister. The rooms remain largely unchanged, filled with books and pictures that demonstrate his varied interests and furniture chosen by his wife Clementine. The lakes in the garden were created by the family, as was the Marycot, a playhouse he designed for his youngest daughter. Outside, the house is encased within exquisite hillside gardens, beyond which woodland provides a play area for children, and there are plenty of trails to go for long country walks.
Oldbury is a well-equipped campsite just off the M25/M26 intersection but don’t worry, once you’re there you’d never know. It sits on the hill of a former Iron Age fort, accessible by two circular walks in the midst of mature woodland, with the Crown Point Inn just half a mile away. There’s a lot to see and do nearby, from Sevenoaks shopping centre and leisure facilities to the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, so the whole family will be kept entertained. Prices start from £21.15 for a pitch (two adults, electricity included).
Ripon, North Yorkshire
Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire offers a rare opportunity to experience over 900 years of England’s heritage in a day. The incredible Cistercian Abbey dates from the 12th century, and is not to be missed. Lying alongside it are a medieval deer park, a Jacobean Hall, and a Victorian Church, not to mention the 18th Century Water Garden, decorated with Neo-classical statues. A visit to Fountains Abbey provides a truly rich experience, filled with history and beauty.
Camp at: Woodhouse Farm
Explore the Yorkshire Dales from the family owned Woodhouse Farm, offering extensive facilities including a restaurant serving locally sourced produce and a shop. In addition there are two fishing lakes, cycle tracks and children’s play forts. There’s plenty to do both on the campsite and nearby, or you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the countryside. Prices start from £16 per pitch (four adults, electricity included).
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