The Best British Eccentric Campsites
Dave Johnson | On 18, Sep 2013
Conspiracy theories abound these days, especially now in this Digital Age of easy communication –there are all sorts of weird and wonderful websites, some thought provoking, some spooky and some just downright comical (think lizards masquerading as the Royal family and you know what I mean. And if aliens are not your thing, then there are several other types of campsite that are unusual to say the least. Join us as we chase the White Rabbit and take a look at some of the best campsites in the UK for those who are looking for something that’s a little bit different.
Barge Inn – Honeystreet, Pewsey, Wiltshire
The Barge Inn campsite’s website welcomes visitors with the message “It looks like the Mayans were wrong! The campsite will re-open for Easter 2013*. This is just a taste of things to come – the campsite welcomes bikers, hikers, pilgrims and aliens and is set right in the middle of Wiltshire’s crop circle country, billed as the “world epicentre” for these mysterious and magical patterns. The website is worth a visit just for its comic appeal.
The campsite has room for 50 odd tents and a handful of caravans, so advance booking is advised. Located right beside the Kennet and Avon canal, shower and loo facilities are available and campers are invited to make use of the huge fire pit. The campsite is in the grounds of The Barge Inn at Honeystreet, a 200 year old pub that’s been awarded Crop Circle Pub of the Year for several years running and is a popular pre-solstice stopping point on the way to nearby Stone Henge. Serving a great food menu and boasting alien Abduction green beer, the pub’s walls are decorated with artworks by Rolling Stone Ron Wood. Promising an out of this world experience to campers and visitors alike, this has to be one of the coolest campsites in the UK.
Caerlaverock Estate Campsite– Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
Caerlaverock Estate is on the bank of the River Nith in South West Scotland. Boasting ancient woodlands, mud flats, marshes, pasture and uplands, the Estate is home to a skilfully managed nature reserve managed by Scottish National Heritage and a Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre. The internationally famous wildlife habitat is a major attraction for wildlife lovers from around the world.
There is so much to see and do here – walking, fishing, bird watching and nature tourism activities of all sorts. Birds in the area include warblers, gulls and birds of prey such as merlins, harriers and peregrine falcons. A pair of ospreys regularly spends summer in this area. For the kids, there are insects just about everywhere – encouraged by a range of insect hotels. There are crawlies of all sorts and a variety of butterflies and, for those with patience, dragonflies flitting through the air.
The year round campsite is hard standing and there’s room for 5 caravans only. It’s Camping and Caravan Club certified and club membership is a requirement for booking.
The Orchard Campsite, Wickham Market, Suffolk
The Orchard Campsite is set in more than 8 acres close to the Suffolk Heritage Coast and Rendlesham Forest which is the UK’s version of Roswell, famed for alleged UFO activity. The campsite hosts a number of themed events such as Alien Encounter and Halloween and boasts its own observatory that can be hired for a Star Party. Potential abductees will be lining up like ducks in a row! And if the alien invasion just doesn’t happen on your visit, there’s plenty of fishing in the campsite fishing pond where carp, tench, roach and bream slide through the waters.
Campsite facilities include a modern shower and toilet block with shaving and hairdryer pointes, family washrooms, washing up facilities and fridge and freezer. There’s a Play Area for the kids and a landscaped barbecue area with covered table tennis. Microwave, hot water, washing machine and tumble dryer all combine to make for a comfortable camping experience. Pre-erected tents are available to hire and there’s Bed and Breakfast in the main house. For a totally romantic occasion, there’s a Romany Caravan that can be booked.
The Campsite boasts a shop and off licence selling local produce, including meat and artisan breads. Campers are invited to preorder one of the popular Hampers for Campers which include fresh bread and milk and will be ready at Reception on arrival.
Vintage Vacations – Ashey, Isle of Wight
Vintage Vacations is a campsite with a difference. Located on the Isle of Wight with its holiday resorts, music festivals and rich maritime traditions, the campsite offers accommodation in a collection of vintage American caravans. The Airstreams, Spartans and Vagabonds have all been restored to their original luxurious conditions and revamped for the 21st Century. Bedding and linens are provided and these venerable vehicles provide all the comforts of home with hot water, full size cookers, showers and fully equipped kitchens. Vintage board games add to the ambience of holidays from yesteryear.
There are also several classic British caravans available for hire, though they have fewer on board facilities than their transatlantic counterparts. Each caravan has a picnic bench and deck chairs and there are barbecues and log burners available free of charge. The campsite boasts a separate shower block and an onsite shop selling free range eggs, breakfast packs and handmade vintage items.
Ideally situated for visiting some of the many tourist attractions on the Isle, this really is a chance to step back in time and holiday like the caravan enthusiasts of yesteryear. A great modern holiday with a retro twist.