From golfing getaways to pampering paradises, superb staycation campsites that go above and beyond tents in a field
FROM an on-site hypnotherapist to a zoo full of wild animals, UK campsites are pulling out all the stops for what is expected be the biggest staycation summer ever.
The AA Caravan and Camping Guide 2021, which rates the country’s best campsites, has awarded Platinum Pennants to 45 sites that go above and beyond with features not often found elsewhere.
Are you after a kid-friendly getaway with an epic pirate playground?
Or maybe a campsite dotted with lakes for angling?
Jacob Lewis picks ten of his favourite Platinum Pennant award winners, each offering something different.
Proper pizzas – Clippesby Hall, Norfolk
IF we can’t get to pizzarias of Italy this year, then how about . . . Norfolk.
The restaurant at the brand new Basecamp amenity area on this country house estate serves up delicious pizzas cooked in a proper pizza oven.
There’s also full English breakfast, light lunches, gourmet burgers, fish and chips and Sunday roasts on the menu.
Guests will find plenty of privacy on site with secluded pitches hidden among the trees or in sheltered sunny glades.
As well as its fab restaurant, the Basecamp holds the reception, a stylish bar, well-stocked mini-market, ping-pong table and mini golf.
Open year-round are pine lodges, cottages and a new shepherd’s hut.
Electric pitches from £16 per night at clippesbyhall.com.
Kid-free zone – Old Oaks Touring and Glamping, Glastonbury, Somerset
COUPLES seeking solitude need look no further than this adults-only paradise with large, landscaped pitches and wonderful views.
Enjoy walking, cycling, fishing and touring or relaxing amid the abundant wildlife near the village of Glastonbury.
A well-stocked shop sells locally-sourced produce and home-baked cakes.
There’s a smart shower block with sparkling wet rooms, as well as wifi, free walking and cycling maps, a half-acre fishing lake and a daily mini bus service to nearby towns.
Glamping is available in heated wooden camping cabins, a shepherd’s hut or mini lodge.
Pitches are from £26.90 per night at theoldoaks.co.uk.
Epic playground – Trevalgan Touring Park, St Ives, Cornwall
WHILE kids can have adventures in the pirate ship playground, parents get to enjoy all the practical touches that make holidaying a breeze at this family-friendly park.
The site also has a sports area for ball games and kite-flying, and for rainy days there is a games room with table tennis, pool tables and table football.
The upmarket toilet facilities boast family rooms with underfloor heating, two half-size baths (for children five years and under) complete with shower hoses to rinse soapy hair, baby changing tables and a fully-equipped laundry room.
On the coast between St Ives and Zennor, the park has great sea views with a regular bus service connecting it with St Ives from late May to September.
Pitches are from £18.50 per night at trevalgantouringpark.co.uk.
Wild animals – Durrell Wildlife Camp, Jersey
THE campsite is part of Jersey Zoo, which guests have free access to, including its cafe, which serves breakfasts, lunches and early evening meals, plus takeaway pizzas and Thai food.
The site consists of 12 en-suite canvas geo-domes which each have a king-size bed, two singles, a wood-burning stove and clothing storage space.
Set on wooden decking, the domes have their own additional pod with high-quality loo, basin and shower plus a spacious, fully-equipped kitchen.
Table and chairs on the decking can be brought into the kitchen if the weather’s off.
Small tipis are available for extra kids or guests.
Pods from £160 per night based on three-night minimum stay at durrell.org.
Pampering heaven – Plassey Leisure Park, Eyton, Wrexham
NOT many campsites offer teeth-whitening and a massage parlour on site but Plassey is not your ordinary pitch.
The Welsh getaway offers everything from hypnotherapy to hair cuts at its expansive retail complex.
With pampering possibilities to match the finest 5H hotel, you’ll find jewellers, personal trainers, micro-brewers and even an ear care specialist in a series of Edwardian farm buildings.
Besides the retail therapy, the site boasts a huge castle adventure playground, indoor pool, five fishing ponds, a nine-hole golf course and driving range.
Luxury digs includes deluxe touring pitches, lodges and safari tents with wood-burning stoves and outdoor hot tubs at this dairy farm-turned-holiday resort.
Pitches from £22.40 per night.
Colourful grounds – Ross Park, Newton Abbot, Devon
GREEN-fingered holidaymakers can take home inspiration from the grounds at Ross Park in Devon.
Flower displays, a conservation walk through glorious wildflower meadows and a tropical conservatory make this a colourful place to pitch up.
There’s even an aromatic flower walk to the high-quality loo block (which includes excellent family rooms).
It also boasts views of Dartmoor, a nature trail, dog grooming area and six fully serviced pitches, along with a restaurant for all tastes and budgets.
Home-grown produce and honey are sold in the shop.
Pitches are from £20.50 per night at rossparkcaravanpark.co.uk.
Golfing getaway – Oakdown Country Holiday Park, Devon
THERE aren’t many campsites that has a nine-hole golf course on site.
It may be small but the course offers plenty of charm and is perfect for any age.
The “green keeper”, Jason, takes pride in the golf course, which receives great customer feedback.
All 50 pitches are grouped in groves surrounded by shrubs, with a dog wash facility and a shop and café.
The glamping options are wooden pods and two shepherd’s huts.
There’s even a bespoke dog wash, dubbed Clean Paws Dog Spa, complete with bath, hot water shower and hair dryer – all free to use for a pet-friendly getaway.
Non-serviced pitches are from £15 per night at oakdown.co.uk.
Epic pitches – Concierge Camping, West Sussex
LEAVE the awning at home and pull up at an Emperor pitch at this West Sussex site complete with a ready-made safari tent with a fully equipped kitchen.
It comes with a fridge-freezer, dish-washer, sink unit, dining area, log burning stove and a huge telly.
All of the 27 spacious and fully serviced hardstanding pitches are landscaped for privacy, while the award-winning loos offer granite-topped wash areas, complimentary toiletries and high-quality showers.
Safari lodges are also available with underfloor heating, a state-of-the-art cooker and well-appointed kitchen with fridge, freezer and dishwasher.
Caravan pitches are from £32 per night at conciergecamping.co.uk.
Woodland walks – Wareham Forest Tourist Park, Dorset
A WOODLAND within the tranquil Wareham Forest, this tourist park is one for the walkers.
With its many paths and proximity to Poole, Dorchester and the Purbeck coast there is plenty of opportunity to pootle around the rolling Dorset hills.
There are two luxury loo blocks, with combined washbasin and toilets for total privacy.
A heated outdoor pool, off-licence, shop and games room add to the fun.
There is a bike wash and a separate dog wash with hot water.
Touring areas offer excellent security, including barriers and CCTV.
Pitches are from £13.95 per night at warehamforest.co.uk.
Fantastic fishing – Eye Kettleby, Leicestershire
OFFERING eight fishing lakes, this secluded site outside of Melton Mowbray, is the hideaway of choice for coarse fishing fans.
And hikers can stretch their legs on long, well-signposted walks among the wildlife and natural scenery.
Accommodation includes lodges, a glamping forest and touring fields.
Touring pitches are fully serviced and divided by mature hedges for extra privacy.
The amenity block offers top-notch fixtures, fittings and privacy.
A large Scandinavian log building called the Clubhouse has a reception, shop and cafe with regular evening entertainment.
Pitches are from £26 per night at eyekettlebylakes.com.
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