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The best UK campsites with a folky, festival vibe (minus the mud and crowds)

Eco Retreats 1.jpg

Missed out on the stressful festival ticket lottery? Jonathan Knight, editor of Cool Camping, picks his favourite camping and glamping escapes across the UK complete with a folky festival vibe...

There’s plenty to love about the festival season: the music, the friends, the buoyant summer atmosphere. At the heart of it all is the vast sea of coloured canvas, a maze of tents that make for a temporary village and the social hub of festival life. They do have the odd, mud-spattered downside though, so Cool Camping have decided to ditch the wellies and provide some camping and glamping alternatives for all those folks who missed out on the stressful ticket lottery. You won’t find Kanye chilling in a tent or Pharrell hanging his hat from the campervan door, but these ten sites still know how to channel that festival vibe and they’re open for more than just the weekend, so quit stressing and load up the car.

Barefoot Glamping, Cornwall

From the people behind Glasto’s own Pop-Up Hotel, Barefoot Cornwall is the true luxury experience of festival glamping minus the actual festival! Catering to the A-list with their winning formula of glamping-meets-boutique hotel, this spectacular Cornish location hosts up to 30 deluxe bell tents - bright, elegantly designed rooms, furnished with sofas, tables and chairs, and proper beds. The tents are suited to camping couples, while the mammoth Tenthouse Suite features two bedrooms separated by a central atrium.

Rooms for 2 people starting from £299 | Penquite Farm, Golant, Fowey, Cornwall PL23 1LB | 0845 6250767 | 


La Rosa Campsite Extraordinaire, Yorkshire

Day-Glo psychedelia is the order of the day at Yorkshire’s La Rosa, where camping and the world of kitsch go colourfully hand in hand. Nine vintage caravans each have their own theme, so you can try a night’s Seventies Safari, dig the Elvis digs, or take an acid trip with Barbara Cartland in Psycho Candy. There’s also a circus big top in the higher field - the perfect communal space for your festival themed shindig.

From £60 per van per night | Murk Esk Cottage, Goathland, Whitby, North Yorkshire YO22 5AS | 01947 606981 | 

La Rosa

Wight Bells, Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is a Mecca for summer festivals but if you want to hang out a little longer, then Wight Bells is the one. Bunting and Bell tents are order of the day, with a healthy dose of interior furnishings that seem to have come straight out of a Cath Kidston collection. There are just three tents, so you can grab a group of mates and hire the whole place out and, on the periphery of another campsite, facilities are still plentiful and pristine.

Bell Tents from £145 for a 3 night break | Cheverton Farm, Newport Road, Apse Heath, Sandown, Isle of Wight PO36 9PJ | 07811 706921 | 

Wight Bells

Gimme Shelter, Fife

Could anywhere be more rock and roll than the woods of Scotland? Well, yes, but with its Stones-inspired name and camping areas ‘Strawberry Fields’ and ‘Rising Sun’ it’s clear where this campsite gets its inspiration. Gimme Shelter channels the eco-friendly hippy vibe with just 24 tent pitches, campfires encouraged and timber cottages offering a basic ‘glamping’ space. The real bonus? It’s just half an hour from Edinburgh, making it the perfect fringe beyond the fringe.

Adults from £6 per night | 2 Dales Farm Cottage, Duloch, Nr Dunfermline, Fife KY11 7HR | 07957 264 805 | 

Gimme Shelter

Petruth Paddocks, Somerset

Vast Petruth Paddocks has a live and let live attitude - be it dragging along the kids, strumming a guitar or chilling round the campfire ‘till the wee hours. There are a few different fields and an informal ‘pitch-where-you-like’ attitude so you can choose the space and noise level that suits you. For something special, tipis can be hired and if the views around Cheddar Gorge aren’t enough then Glastonbury Tor is just 20 minutes away - perfect if the Glasto pull is still too strong!

From £8.50 per adult | Petruth Paddocks, Labourham Drove, Cheddar, Somerset, BS27 3XW | 07813 320870 |


Happy Days Retro Vacations, Suffolk

If your definition of festival camping is more 'backstage' than 'stone age', Happy Days Retro Vacations is the one. Their six signature Suffolk-based airstreams are the definition of retro cool. Inside, they feature original wood veneer, kitsch cushions, retro radios and a scattering of bunting, while outside camping is of the quieter type. If you do want a bit of a hoo-ha you can hire out the entire site and make the place your own.

From £270 for 3 night weekend | Wardspring Farm, Leiston Road, Saxmundham, Suffolk IP17 1TG | 01728 603424 | 

Happy Days

Eweleaze Farm, Dorset

Eweleaze truly is the Glastonbury Festival of UK campsites. Advance tickets sell out shortly after going on sale; resident cows are temporarily herded away; the production is super slick and food and drink is available in abundance. The capacity is the largest in the UK, too; over a thousand people a day share this cliff-top location. And like Glastonbury, its faithful fans return every year, won over by a curving Jurassic coastline that's cherry-topped with its own private, shingle beach.

Adults from £7 per night | Eweleaze Farm, Osmington, Dorset DT3 6ED | 01305 833690 |


Wowo, East Sussex

Wowo is light on rules and big on fun and freedom. With smoky campfires, old rope swings and free camping for performing musicians, this is not a site for Nanny-Staters. But go with the flow and it’s the perfect outdoor playground. With tent pitches, yurts, tipis and shepherd’s huts, there’s a space for every level of luxury. Big barbecue gatherings and pizza-making evenings are regular (not compulsory) fixtures, while Saturday night is music night, with lively singsongs around the fire.

Adults from £10 per night | Sheffield Park, East Sussex TN22 3QT | 01825 723414 | 


Kits Coty, Kent

Just an hour’s drive from central London, Kits Coty boats three furnished bell tents and a traditional shepherd’s hut that can be hired out either exclusively or individually. The chic retro décor and a luxury shower cabin with little bottles of toiletries have the green room feel of a main stage artist. If you’re taking over the whole site then bring plenty of meat for the charcoal barbie and plenty of beers for the onsite fridge-freezer.

From £85 per unit per night | Kits Coty Glamping, 84 Collingwood Road, Aylesford, Kent ME20 7ER  01634 685862 |

Kits Coty

Eco Retreats Glamping, Powys

The clue’s in the name at Eco Retreats Glamping and like Glasto’s Healing Field amid the festival frenzy, this is a place to shut out the noise and find your inner melody. An upmarket campsite in the Welsh hills, four fully-equipped tipis boast king-sized beds, log-burning stoves and tea lights scattered on every surface. To get you suitably Zen, enjoy private Reiki healing in the comfort of your own abode or soothing meditation as the sun sets.

From £270 for 3 night weekend | Wardspring Farm, Leiston Road, Saxmundham, Suffolk IP17 1TG | 01728 603424 |

Eco retreats

The 2nd edition of Cool Camping Europe has just been published - available from www.coolcamping.co.uk priced at £16.95



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