May 23, 2024

Home for the Holidays

You don’t have to travel far - or spend lots of money - to embark on a summertime adventure. Angelina Villa-Clarke finds the best camping spots in Surrey, for a holiday to remember.

Fun on the farm: The Barn KT9, Chessington

Tucked away on the 220-acre Rushett Farm, The Barn KT9 is already a local favourite with dog walkers, ramblers and fans of its artisan coffee and cakes. As the weather gets warmer, you can also spend the night camping (bring your own tent from £12 per night) or glamping in one of the farm’s cosy bell tents, complete with king-sized beds and fresh linen and towels. While there is no electricity, there are hot showers, flushing loos and wild nature all around: fall asleep after a night stargazing around the fire pit and wake up to the sound of skylarks. Throughout the summer, the farm hosts pop-up food events and there is a full diary of yoga, sound baths and fitness classes in a converted barn. It’s difficult to accept that the peaceful location is just a few miles away from central London. “We’re in the middle of nowhere, yet in the middle of everywhere,” say the owners.
From £130 per night for a fully-furnished bell tent;

Yomping from a yurt: Surrey Hills Yurts, Westcott

Found in a flower meadow, this eco-friendly holiday site is dotted with four furnished yurts and two bell tents. Inside each, you’ll find hand-carved beds, wood-burners and candle lanterns, as well as thoughtful touches such as patchwork quilts and biodegradable toiletries. Don’t be surprised to see Sussex Cows, Gloucester Old Spot Pigs and plenty of chickens roaming around from the adjacent farm. Found in the heart of the picturesque Surrey Hills, there is lots to explore (ask about the guided walks). The owners also offer lessons in traditional crafts, such as willow sculpting, and there is a diary of activities, including foraging lessons and yoga sessions.
Yurts are from £380 for a two-night stay;

Glam up your garden: The Cosy Corner Company

Maybe your holiday plans have escaped you this year – or perhaps you simply want a night of fun with the little ones – so why not set up a chic camp in your garden? You can hire a vintage-style bell tent from Surrey-based business, The Cosy Corner Company. For special occasions, you can arrange for the tent to be dressed with fairy lights, scatter cushions and decorations. Themes include ‘boho chic’, with tents adorned with flower garlands and rattan mats, and ‘adventurers’, which sees the tent set up as if you are camping in the wilderness. Ideal for teen sleepovers, birthday parties, or for a family bonding night sleeping under the stars. The best thing is, your kitchen and bathroom are just a few steps away.
A ‘blank canvas’ tent is £150 for an overnight hire;

Slumber like a shepherd: Farmhouse Garden, Thursley, Godalming

Step back to bygone days with a stay in this charming shepherd’s hut located in an Area of Outstanding Beauty near Godalming. The self-contained mini-home is on Lockhurst Hatch working farm and features pastel-coloured interiors, vintage accessories and a wood-burning stove. You can spend your days hiking or mountain biking – the Devil’s Punch Bowl, Thursley National Nature Reserve and Frensham Ponds are all in reach. En route, stop off for refreshments at one of the many local pubs, such as Gomshall Mill, which dates back to the 11th century. On your return, it’s time to stoke up the BBQ, and survey Surrey’s pretty countryside while sat on the old-fashioned rocking chair. Blissful.
A seven-night stay, for up to two people and one pet costs from £415;

Pitch perfect: Alderstead Heath Club Campsite, Redhill

Meander through ancient wooded countryside and you’ll come to Alderstead Heath – a quiet haven close to the North Downs and Pilgrims Way. The site is ideal for camping, with pitches found amid the trees, and a perfect spot if you have a caravan or motorhome (if you are a member of the Caravan and Motorhome Club, don’t forget to check for special offers). On-site, there are washroom and laundry facilities, while the location makes it ideal for walkers, who can access the Downlands Circular Walk from here, while golfers can tee off at one of the several golf courses nearby. Check out The Fox, an 18th-century village pub, in nearby Caterham, for the best crowd-pleasing dishes and Sunday roasts around.
From £19.90 per night for a pitch;

A historic haven: Embers Camping at Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham

You might not be able to sleep in Margaret Greville’s bedroom, the last owner of Polesden Lacey, but you can sleep in the ‘secret’ campsite found on the grounds of the historic house. Book one of the pre-pitched safari bell tents or simply bring your own. Equipped with modern wash facilities (complete with heated floors), a snack bar and campfires; new this year is a bar, perfect to order a sundowner plus stone-fired pizzas are cooked on site (be sure to pre-order). Little ones can play in the adventure playground while nature lovers can explore the many trails through the 1,400 acre-estate. Pitch fees include entry to Polesden Lacey so you can soak up the history within the house.
Pitch fees from £15 per adult; bell tents are from £40, two-night minimum stay;

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