Londoners are pretty lucky when it comes to wild and green spaces, but it’s always good to escape the city and explore further afield. While staying in a literal field, particularly after the long months of lockdown. But you don’t have to travel too far to have an adventure and explore nature at these camping sites near London.
There are plenty of campsites within an hour or two of central London. Here’s our roundup of some of the best countryside sites to suit different budgets and tastes. So whether you’re after eco-sites or escapes to vintage cabins, glamping or just simple spots for your own tent for weekend getaways and family holidays, you should find what you’re looking for. Although many campsites are dog-friendly, please check whether pets are allowed before you pitch up.
Lee Valley Camping, Essex
One of the closest campsites to London (in fact, parts of it are actually in the city), is Lee Valley. It’s a huge area that spans Hertfordshire, Essex, and greater London, and has not one but four sites to pick from (including two with caravan parks). Plus a whole lot of outdoor activities to boot, including horse riding, white water rafting, and fishing. Each site is catered to a particular type of camping, so let that be your guide.
Where: Multiple sites across Essex, Hertfordshire and London
Facilities: See each site for details.
- Lee Valley Almost Wild Campsite, Broxbourne: From £40.00 per night (for non-electric grass tent pitches)
- Lee Valley Campsite, Sewardstone: From 15.50 per night (electric tent or motorhome pitches) to £51.00 per night (woodland cabin for four)
- Lee Valley Camping & Caravan Park, Dobbs Weir (Herts): From £15.50 per night (electric tent or motorhome pitches) to £103.00 per night (two-bedroom safari tent, sleeps five)
- Lee Valley Camping & Caravan Park, Edmonton: From £15.50 per night (electric tent or motorhome pitches) to £51.00 per night (woodland cabin for four)
Nut Plat Retreat, Kent
For some rustic, cosy, cabin-in-the-woods escapism, visit Nut Plat Retreat. It’s a vintage glamping site in a rural hamlet in Tonbridge, just 45 minutes outside London. Situated on the grounds of an 18th-century farmhouse, there are only two small “Living Vans”—restored wooden shepherd huts, which are now chic tiny houses. Both vans “Ransoms” and “Bomford” sleep two (double beds) with a fold-down table and chairs.
It’s an eco and off-grid site with a wood-fired hot tub. Torches and wellies (and a raincoat, this is England afterall) are recommended. But it’s a stylish way to disconnect. Each van has its own area with separate kitchens, showers and barbeque. And if you don’t want to unplug completely, you can charge phones, tablets, etc., in the main barn.
The area is great for going on long country walks, visiting heritage sites including Old Soar Manor and Igtham Mote and unwinding in local pubs. The set-up definitely has a romantic getaway vibe, but guests can bring friends or older children (kidults, as the website calls them) in a separate tent if they wish, for an additional cost.
Facilities: Cabins, outdoor cooking, hot tub
Costs: From £90.00 per night (for two)
Nut Plat Retreat
Alde Garden, Sussex
A coastal retreat and a semi-wild camping trip all rolled into one. Nestled in a secret garden, about two hours from London by train, Alde is a tiny campsite that combines glamping with tent pitches. It’s a short drive to the beach too. Camping space is limited to the teeny wildlife garden that has room for five small tent pitches. You won’t need much camping gear though because there are communal wash and cook areas.
On the glamping side are yurts, which can accommodate up to five bell tents (and sleep up to five), a cute old wooden caravan, a hut on stilts, and a cottage.
The venue does seem to be targeting couples and families, so that’s worth bearing in mind if you want to go with friends or solo (but that’s not to say other groups or individuals aren’t welcome!)
Facilities: Cabins, outdoor cooking, solar lighting
Camping cost: From £19.00 (single pitch)/ £30.40 (double pitch) per night
Glamping cost: From £215.00 for three nights (sleeps up to five)
Eco-camping at Wild Boar Wood, Sussex
Go off grid in a private woodland near Haywards Heath. It’s on the same train line as Brighton, so you could easily combine rural and coastal wandering on a weekend mini break or short holiday. Community is at the heart of Wild Boar Wood, with group glamping, communal campfires, and camp games for kids and adults, including den building. It’s a place for people from different generations to come together, surrounded by beautiful ancient woodland.
Choose between bell tents or group glamping, but leave the battery-powered speakers behind—there’s a no amplified music policy, which is pretty standard everywhere you go.
Facilities: Bell tents, outdoor showers, fire pits, eco-toilets, communal camp areas, washing up & hot water areas, renewable energy
Costs: Bell tents £95.00 per night (midweek) or £110.00
Wild Boar Wood
Aldenham Country Park, Hertfordshire
Stay on a country park and farm that’s only 12 miles outside central London. Aldenham Country Park is a huge site that is also home to 100 Aker Wood (for Winnie the Pooh fans). Its large size makes it a good option for both camping and glamping. Wild camping pitches are available from around £10.00 per night.
For glamping, you can also hire bell tents, which sleep up to five people for £367.50, which includes extras such as bed linen, a fire pit and barbecue (both with fire lighting starter kits). Also there is a basic Bell Tent hire price of £100.00 for one or two nights.
One thing that stands out about Aldenham is that it seems to cater for solo visitors as well as families and couples.
Costs: Single cabins cost from £80.00 and doubles from £150.00 for one or two nights.
Facilities: Wild camping, glamping, outdoor showers, fire pits, eco toilets, cooking areas, washing up & hot water areas, renewable energy
Aldenham Country Park
North Hill Farm, Herts
North Hill Farm is one of the closest campsites to London. Nestled in the Chess Valley, it’s a countryside escape you can get to from London Underground. It’s about a mile away from Chorleywood on the Metropolitan line, so you can go from central London to a cosy cabin in the woods in around an hour. And cosy is definitely the vibe here, you can stay in cute huts shaped like owls, beehives or sleep in a treehouse in the Squirrel Run.
Some of the huts come with lots of luxe extras including hot tubs and even smart TVs. But you can eschew the extras and just enjoy a chance to unplug in the smaller, more rustic accommodation, like the Dinky Disc which is a cosy pod, overlooking the valley and unlimited plays of Disc Golf. For the uninitiated (including us, to be honest), it’s a golf-like game, but instead of playing with a club and ball, you throw a mental disc into a basket. There are plenty of activities to do outside of the farm too, from long walks in the Chess Valley to cycling and indoor skiing and snowboarding in Hemel Hempstead, which is about a 20 minute car journey.
Facilities: Glamping huts, indoor and outdoor showers and baths, fire pits, BBQ areas, self-catering kitchenettes
Website: https://www.northhillfarm.co.uk/ (see also https://staglodges.co.uk/ for family units on the same site)
Costs: Prices range from £180.00 – £330.00 per night, for groups of up to 5 people.
North Hill Farm
Luna Domes, Edenbridge, Kent
Glamping sites seem to be trying to outdo themselves on the quirky outdoor accommodation front. For something slightly futuristic, or to feel like you’re spending a night in the Eden project, without the long travel time, visit Luna Domes in Kent. A relative newcomer, the idea was only conceived in 2020, given that they’re opening a second site in the South West – domes are clearly proving popular with happy glampers.
And we can see why. The dome structure is a pretty magical way to spend a night under the stars, with views of nature all around. They’re the boutique hotel of the glamping world, and that’s reflected in the cost. But if you fancy treating yourself to a getaway with private balconies and most of the amenities you’d find in a hotel while connecting with nature – then check it out. The domes are all situated within the grounds of an old manor house, and there’s lots to see in the area including Hever Castle, Penshurst place, and Kingdom Nature Resort. It seems to be targeting groups over families, solos or couples, but select domes are pet friendly too, if you want to bring your dog.
Facilities: Glamping domes, private parking, fast-speed Wifi, dining areas, BBQ with utensils, media console and charging.
Costs: From £300.00 per night
The Secret Campsite, Lewes, Sussex
More of a charming hideaway than the name suggests, The Secret Campsite is a secluded, quiet campsite surrounded by woodland — you might just spot glow-worms, sparrow hawks and deer on your visit. The emphasis is on quiet connection to nature, with 19 pitches and a maximum of seven guests per pitch (maximum of four adults). To minimise the impact on its surroundings, the site is also dog-free and there is no music allowed. It may sound strict, but it’s designed to help visitors of all species enjoy a peaceful time in the countryside. The site is a good option for people who like the idea of wild camping in theory, but prefer 21st century amenities like running water and decent loos.
If you don’t fancy lugging too much camping gear to East Sussex, you can stay in one of the ‘secret shelters’ the Tree Tent, the Okra or the Gridshell. All of which look incredibly cosy, and are pretty decently-priced for glamping.
Facilities: Solar powered hot showers, electric car charging point, freezers, wheelbarrows for transferring gear, firewood
Costs: Camping pitches from £24.00 per night, glamping from £135.00 per night (sleeping 3-4 people)
The Secret Campsite
Wingbury Farm Glamping, Buckinghamshire
Wingbury Farm is nestled in the village of Wingrave, close to Aylesbury. It’s a great spot for exploring the Chilterns by day, and sleeping under the stars in comfort by night. The small farm offers three glamping pods, which are all solar powered and have their own hot tubs. Each pod sleeps four and is equipped with dining nooks, kitchens, fridges, freezers and smart tv’s. Beyond the pods, there is plenty to do in the Buckinghamshire countryside including hiking, cycling and visiting an Alpaca farm.
Facilities: Solar power pods, en suite bathrooms, toiletries, hot tubs, kitchens, bedding, BBQ, heating, WIFI
Costs: £140.00 – £160.00 per night
Wingbury Farm Glamping
This article was first published in June 2019, last update May 2023