Get closer to nature, taste the salt on your lips, and have an adventure in one of our favourite glampsites by the sea this summer. You don’t have to forgo comfort or luxury, either. You can stay in a camping pod with underfloor heating at a vineyard in Yorkshire with the sea surrounding you on three sides, or climb in the hot tub alongside a 1970s Airstream in Devon. If you want to be a little more off-grid, why not try a new campervan site for one on the stunning Northumberland coastline? Whether you want to commune with the dinosaurs on a Dorset beach or hang out in a luxury vintage-horse box in Northern Ireland, how better to start the summer with a bang than trying something a little different? Enjoy!
1. Stay in an Airstream at Woolacombe
This iconic vintage 1974 Airstream Argosy, carefully kitted out with all mod cons, a hot tub and central heating, has sea views over Woolacombe and its three-mile wide sandy beach. The surfing beaches of Croyde and Saunton Sands are a wander down the South West Coast Path too, and the popular Victorian harbour town of Ilfracombe is close by, as are plenty of great cycling and mountain-biking trails.
How much? A week’s self-catering stay costs from £245pp. Sleeps two.
How to book: Call 01237 426287 or go to holidaycottages.co.uk/cottage/82548-highlands-airstream-at-woolacombe.
2. Be by yourself on Northumberland’s wild coast
This off-grid camping experience permits only one campervan in each location. There are no electric hook-ups or facilities but it also means complete privacy, no noise pollution or light pollution – just total immersion in nature. Try out Dunstan Hill, with views of Dunstanburgh Castle. Or park a little further up the coastline at Elwick, 100 yards from the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve.
How much? From £25 per night.
How to book: Go to wildwithconsent.com/locations/dunstan-hill or wildwithconsent.com/locations/elwick.
3. Follow in the footsteps of giants in a tipi in Padstow
These eight tipis come with the wow-factor view. Peeping over the sea stacks of Bedruthan Steps (Bedruthan is a legendary giant who used the steps to make his way across the bay, don’t you know…) you are treated to the spectacular sight of the Atlantic and the North Cornish coastline. Listed as a Dark Sky Discovery Site, the adults-only campsite is known for being one of two of the best places in the UK to view the Milky Way.
How much? A two-person tipi costs from £130 per night.
How to book: Call 07769 208607 or go to coolcamping.com.
4. Horse around on the Coast of Northern Ireland
On the windswept north coast of Northern Ireland, just inland from the rugged Glens of Antrim and the magical Giant’s Causeway (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) sits a vintage horse box that’s now a luxurious hideaway for two, beautifully secluded amongst private, hen-dotted farmland. A short scenic ride on a heritage railway and you’re in Portrush, one of the most famous resort towns of Ireland, which features three Blue Flag beaches.
How much? From £120 a night for two people.
How to book: Call 07872 972020 or visit hostunusual.com.
5. Go organic on Orkney
Settle down in a 14ft Kyrgyzstan-style yurt with a custom-made wooden floor, woodburning stove and double bed looking south and east towards the sea and get back to nature on an organic six-hectare horticulture and animal smallholding on South Ronaldsay in the Orkney Islands. Make a pilgrimage to the tiny chapel, built by Italian POWs held here during World War II and take in the spectacular painted interior of the chapel. An even shorter walk away, you’ll find a cute sandy beach, the starting point of a 10-mile circular hike.
How much? Four people staying for four nights costs from £198.
How to book: Call 01856 831556 or book at coolcamping.com.
6. Go bird watching in a shepherd’s hut in Guernsey
Camp de Rêves Glampsite is French for ‘field of dreams’ and is set in one of the most beautiful parts of Guernsey, with panoramic west-coast sea views and sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean. The fields surrounding Camp de Rêves are home to numerous different species of birds, both local and migrating, from little egrets to marsh harriers which come to feed on the flora and fauna in the protected Ramsar area. The two shepherd’s huts have views from Rocquaine to Lihou and are within 10 minutes’ walk of the local bays – perfect for swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding.
How much? Two-night (minimum stay) for two adults sharing from £165 per night.
How to book: Call 07781 415640 or browse online at guernseyglamping.com.
7. Drink Yorkshire wine in Flamborough
Surrounded by the sea on three sides, eight luxury glamping pods nestle next to a newly planted vineyard in Flamborough, East Yorkshire. (Yes! A vineyard, in Yorkshire!) Explore the five beaches nearby on the heritage coast with its iconic lighthouses – great for walks and rockpooling. Each pod has its own bathroom, kitchen and living space, plus underfloor heating. Don’t miss the Bempton Cliffs, home to one of the UK’s top wildlife spectacles of half a million seabirds gathering between March and October on towering chalk cliffs.
How much? Prices from £250 for two adults, for two nights.
How to book: Call 07922 598867 or visit flamboroughgv.co.uk.
8. Enjoy candle-lit life on a Devon farm
Located just outside the pretty village of Kingswear in the South Hams countryside, Fountain Violet Farm has amazing sea views across Mill Bay Cove. Roomy safari tents with en-suite loos – lit by candles and oil lamps, heated by log burners – are your base while you kayak, paddleboard, and sail along the River Dart and out in the bay. For a slice of history head over to the Greenway House and Garden, the 1950s summer home of author Agatha Christie and her family.
How much? Prices from £450 for a three-night stay for a maximum of six guests (up to five adults).
How to book: Call 01420 80804 or go to featherdown.co.uk/fountain-violet-farm-dartmouth-devon.
9. Camp on a Beach on a magical island
On the most south-westerly edge of the Isles of Scilly (often compared to the Caribbean thanks to their turquoise waters), St Agnes is only one mile across and an island of wonderful contrasts, from rocky outcrops on its exposed west side to magical beaches in its more sheltered coves. Troytown Farm campsite is a small family-run site on what’s thought to be the UK’s smallest dairy farm, offering traditional tent camping or luxury glamping, right on the beach, offering panoramic Atlantic Ocean views.
How much? Bell tents are priced from £54 per night for two people.
How to book: Call 01720 422360 or see troytown.co.uk. For more general information on the Isles of Scilly, see visitislesofscilly.com.
10. Immerse yourself in history at the Tamar Hut in Cornwall
Overlooking the Rame Peninsula in Cornwall, Tamar Hut is a shepherd’s hut set in the 855-acre in Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, with its formal gardens and nine-mile coastal path. Discover the 1200BC Bronze Age burial mound that shelters the hut from the wind or commune with fallow deer whose ancestors were donated by Henry VIII.
How much? Sleeps up to four guests – two on a double fold-out bed, and two on single bunk beds. From £98 per night.
How to book: Call 01348 830922 or go to qualityunearthed.co.uk.
11. Sleep on a School Bus in Sussex
Perched in a private rural spot in the South Downs National Park, less than a mile from iconic Beachy Head and the start of the South Downs Way, Skoolie Stays offers a unique opportunity to experience the glorious Sussex countryside and coastal views from a quirky converted, vintage, yellow All-American school bus. In nearby Seven Sisters Country Park, with its world-famous white chalk cliffs, you can also spend your nights star-gazing as the park is an International Dark Skies Reserve.
How much? From £370 for a three-night stay in May for two people.
How to book: Call 07883 411117 or go to coolcamping.com.
12. Commune with dinosaurs on the Dorset Coast
Situated in a secluded valley, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, on a half mile of private beach and cliffs, which forms part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, Eweleaze Farm is a small organic farm on the South Dorset coast. The luxury bell tents with extensive sea views sit above a sheltered bay, perfect for snorkelling and swimming. With rockpools and an abundance of fossils, it’s the perfect beach for the kids to commune with dinosaurs while you barbecue on the beach. Fires allowed.
How much? Bell tents for up to four people cost from £80 night.
How to book: Call 01305 833690 or book online at eweleaze.co.uk.
Looking for more camping inspiration? Find out more about the 10 best coastal camping and glamping sites in Cornwall or discover vintage vehicles to stay in beside the sea. Pick up the latest copy of coast magazine for more staycation ideas and recommendations.