Happy Campers! 11 Sussex camping and glamping hotspots
Whether you want an off-grid break in a woodland glade, family fun by the beach or a luxury back to nature getaway, we've got your summer of camping and glamping covered with these gems.
All being well, we should be on for staycays in the UK from May and many sites are taking bookings now – and getting booked up quick-smart! Most of us will be keeping it local for the summer, so here’s where to book in Sussex for back-to-nature breaks and upmarket glamping with (most) mod cons.
The Yurt at The Garden House Sussex, near Fittleworth
Enjoy glamping at its finest in this gorgeously authentic Mongolian yurt located in a walled garden in the tiny hamlet of Coates, near Fittleworth. Fully furnished with luxe accessories sourced from around the world, and fully kitted-out with a log burner, trivet and Dutch oven, shower and toilet, and everything else you need for outdoor living in style and comfort. Sleeps two adults, children 8+ can be accommodated on floor mats. Close to the South Downs and ideally located for exploring nearby Petworth, Midhurst, Arundel, Chichester and further afield.
The Secret Campsite, near Lewes
So well-publicised does it even still count as a secret? This site is a staple in local and national camping round-ups for a reason, it’s all about the Real Camping, campfires under inky black skies and doing Nothing Much. Only when you’re surrounded by wildlife drawn by the peace and serenity, whether that’s butterflies by day or glow worms by night, does it even count as Nothing Much? With no cars, dogs, music or groups in the meadow it’s definitely a pared-back experience but the hot showers and proper toilets will spare you the more earthy aspects of getting back to nature. Glampers can hire a tree tent or gridshell. Lewes is nearby if you want a day out, but you’re not coming here for the culture really, are you?
Wowo Campsite, Sheffield Park
A real family favourite, Waspbourne Manor or Wowo as it’s affectionately known has a plum location with Pellingford Brook running right through the site itself. Families, dogs and groups are all welcome, choose from bog- standard camping to a more upmarket experience on the Tipi Trail, or go full-on glamping in a yurt or shepherd’s hut. Nearby is National Trust property Sheffield Park, the Bluebell Railway and there’s often events and workshops on-site. An on-site shop sells the basics, although ‘the basics’ includes organic locally-sourced meat, eggs and veg, artisan breads and alcoholic and soft drinks from local suppliers.
Blackberry Wood, near Ditchling
What’ll it be then, a tent, a treehouse, a cabin, a fire engine or a, er, helicopter? Blackberry Wood certainly ticks the box for quirky and the kids will love it. Perfect for campers and glampers alike, this site just outside Ditchling, East Sussex sits nestled at the bottom of the South Downs for glorious views. Choose from secluded woodland glades or take a walk on the Blackberry Wood Wildside for a more basic, close-to-nature experience. Just seven miles from Brighton, you won’t be short of things to do.
Knepp Wildland Camping, Dial Post
Camp out at one of the biggest and most significant rewilding projects in the UK. Pitch up in a glorious wildflower meadow with on-site flushing eco-toilets and showers, and even hot open-air baths. Or wander to the luxury mains showers and toilets, they’re just a short walk away. Go wild swimming in the campsite pond, and explore the estate with its rich and diverse variety of free-roaming grazing animals and rare wildlife – and if that weren’t enough you can also see the first wild white stork chicks to hatch in the UK in 600 years, right here at Knepp. If you fancy glamping it up, book a hut, yurt or treehouse. No under 12s.
Sumners Ponds, Barns Green, near Horsham
A really tranquil, peaceful spot and very well-served for angling types! This working farm and fishing lake also makes a perfect family-friendly campsite and the onsite Cafe by the Lake is a restaurant, bar and one-stop shop for food and drink, including takeaway. Choose from four different sites, including the Bluebell Park which is ideal for families and has an onsite playground, and various glamping options, including lakeside log cabins and shepherd’s huts. Barns Green is one of the quietest and quaintest Sussex villages, not far from Horsham and within reach of many local attractions including Fisher’s Farm Park.
Dogwood Glamping, Brede, East Sussex
Choose from a yurt, a cabin or a bell tent at this small and secluded site, close to Rye, Battle and Hastings. Each cosy abode is bursting with luxury facilities like wood-burning stoves, jute carpet, a meditation deck and even a writing desk! We’re particularly keen on the bell tent, surrounded by its own private woodland. Traditional camping at neighbouring Dogwood Cottage Campsite. It’s quite small, organic and sustainable where possible, but there’s still hot showers and toilets – phew. Brede is a pretty East Sussex village with two pubs, both dog-friendly, and mod cons await in nearby Hastings. Busses to Hastings and Rye head out from just outside the campsite
Scotts Farm, West Wittering
A big, family-friendly campsite with a large play area, this isn’t so much a secluded back-to-nature break as beachside camping. Glorious sandy West Wittering, one of the most unspoiled and beautiful beaches on the Sussex coast, is just ten minutes away. Also nearby is picturesque East Wittering is a quintessential seaside village packed full of cafes, gift shops and local produce. And for culture, head into Chichester for history, heritage and fine dining. The site itself is fairly back to basics but with plenty of toilets and showers, and even a dog shower! There’s also WiFi. Or glamp in a shepherd’s hut.
Concierge Camping, West Ashling
This award-winning, high-end site sits within the Ratham Estate near Chichester. Originating in the 15th century, it’s even mentioned in the Domesday book – how’s that for a fact to chuck around while you toast marshmallows? Choose from 27 fully serviced hardstanding pitches, or book an Emperor pitch which comes complete with day living tent fully stocked with a fridge/freezer, granite kitchen worktops and a sink, and even a dishwasher. A log burner will keep you cosy. Go for the full-on glamping experience at one of the safari lodges, and enjoy underfloor heating, electricity, WiFi, TV, a dishwasher and a fully plumbed-in bathroom with rainforest shower. Location-wise Goodwood, Petworth, Chichester and Arundel are all on your doorstep.
Pop-Up’s Little Secret, the Hop and Hare Farm, near Hastings
This gorgeous, tucked-away secret site has popped up near Hastings old town, making it the perfect hideaway for easy access to Camber Sands at Rye if you’d rather avoid the busy holiday park vibe. Camp in a meadow or woodland, enjoy a babbling brook running through the site, or even book a stay in a bell tent or tree tent. This quirky camping company sets up shop in a different location every year, so grab this one while it’s still there! This is a quieter and more back-to-nature site full of wildlife and unspoiled habitats, and kids will be entertained by hammocks, swing seats, an onsite geocache and the stream rather than play equipment.
Fox Wood Camping, Patching
A woodland campsite that specialises in families and couples – no adult only groups are allowed. Expect a wholesome and tranquil experience with kids running wild in the woods and space galore for walking, mountain biking and other outdoor activities. There are three pubs within walking distance, or hop in the car and explore Worthing, Arundel or Brighton. There’s no glamping and it’s off-grid which means composting toilets, but there are showers and a washing-up block too.