My Top 5 Campsites to head to with Friends
by Harriet Sweet
I love camping with friends, mostly because it’s ridiculously fun and reminds me of childhood holidays, but also because it’s inclusive – not everyone can afford to hire a cottage for the weekend, but sharing a large tent works out incredibly good value, and you’re sure to have a good time. Tents are natural amplifiers and groups can get a bit noisy, so you need to find somewhere where you can have a good time without upsetting the neighbours; bigger campsites often have separate areas for families or designated “quiet fields” where playing your guitar at 2am is not welcome, so make sure you tell the owner you’re part of an adult group when you book.
The best campsites for groups of friends have great pubs nearby, and plenty of activities like surfing, cycling or walking that everyone can enjoy. At some point you’re going to want to get some sleep, so don’t forget your earplugs!
Here are my top five campsites for groups of friends:
5. Vallis Veg, Frome
This working veg farm is a great spot for a wild camping break, and they’ve allocated a separate field for groups so you don’t bother any of the families and couples who have also discovered this lovely location. The camping is a bit wild and rural and the facilities are pretty basic (running water, but no showers), but there’s plenty of space and they don’t mind if you have a campfire. There’s lots to do nearby too – the village of Mells is well worth the 7km walk, and Frome is a gorgeous Somerset market town with lovely pubs and restaurants.
4. Vintage Vacations, Isle of Wight
If cost isn’t a barrier, the brilliant Airstream caravans at Vintage Vacations are a pretty cool way to spend a weekend with friends, dotted around a field with their own picnic table and plenty of space. If a vintage Airstream isn’t your thing, there are a range of converted shacks that each offer a unique holiday experience, all sleeping anything from two to six people. The Isle of Wight is a great place to go for a break with friends, with loads to do and plenty of countryside and coastline to explore.
3. Gwern Gof Isaf, Snowdonia
This lovely campsite on a traditional Welsh hill farm is well worth the trek to Snowdonia, and is brilliant for a group getaway. It has a couple of bunkhouses too if you don’t fancy sleeping under canvas, and there’s loads to do nearby, from hiking or mountain biking in the mountains to high speed zip wire adventures at Zip World just a few miles up the road. The site accepts tents, caravans or motorhomes, with great pubs nearby too.
2. The Meadows, St Austell, Cornwall
This Cornish campsite is adults only, and great for a group trip if you’re looking for somewhere a bit cool and quirky. Campervans, tents, caravans and motorhomes are all fine, and they’ve got a few vintage caravans for hire too. You can bring dogs, and anyone who arrives by bike or on foot gets a 25% discount. There are loads of lovely walks, cycles and pubs nearby, and they actively encourage you to light a campfire and get back to nature.
1. Ten Acres Vineyard, Devon
Wine and camping – what’s not to love? This Devon vineyard is halfway between Dartmoore and Exmoor, and has a 1-acre field for camping. There are only ten camping spots, so you’ll need to be an early bird if you want to book – seven of the spots are allocated for your own tents or camper vans, and the other three are unfurnished bell tents that sleep up to six, so great for a group. You’ll still need to bring all your camping gear, but you’ll find a big tent all ready to go, and it’s a good value option too. The onsite Wine Shack sells wine, apple juice and local Devon crafts and produce.