Smugglers Cove, Aberdyfi, Gwynedd
On the shore of the Dyfi estuary, Smugglers Cove’s three secluded pitches are some of the most fortunately situated in the country. Across the sands and water sits the RSPB’s Ynys-hir nature reserve (as seen on BBC’s Springwatch), home to lapwings, redshanks and, most dramatically of all, ospreys. A beached boat called The Boy John provides a communal area for campers or funky glamping accommodation. And if you can bear to leave, the beach at Aberdyfi and dunes beyond are magnificent.
• From £20 for a two-person tent (maximum 5 people per pitch); hoping to open from early August, smugglerscove.info
Fallow Fields Camping, Eastry, Kent
There are probably worse things in life than being surrounded by apple and pear orchards in a dip of the North Kent Downs. The owners have gone to town on safety here: so expect a guaranteed 10m space between pitches, extra loos and showers, a twice-daily deep clean and antibacterial foggers. If you want to go fancy, there are 15 furnished bell tents for hire (and two unfurnished if you want to go fancy but with your own gear). Close by the coastal towns of Deal and Ramsgate await exploration with the long sweep of Sandwich Bay between them.
• Adult £10-£13, child £7-8, open from 4 July (mostly midweek availability), fallowfieldscamping.com
Coastal Valley, Newquay, Cornwall
Fresh from an impressive multiple-award haul for 2019/20, Coastal Valley is a sanctuary – once on the site you’ll not see a house or indeed even a car. The silence is filled instead with birdsong and the plashing of a brook. Watergate Bay with its two-mile long sandy beach is within easy hiking distance, or you can take to the South West Coast Path. However, the site’s farm shop is chock-full of locally-produced delicacies and essential supplies if you just want to chill. Measures to keep campers safe include a minimum seven-night stay but that merely saves you from the disappointment of having to leave earlier.
• One-week pitch (two adults) £182, opens 4 July, coastalvalley.co.uk
Strawfields, West Stowford Barton, Devon
Within easy striking distance of Ilfracombe, Woolacombe and the two-mile stretch of sandy beach at Morte Bay, Strawfields is a pleasingly tiny campsite of two cosy little fields, replete with rustic wooden bridges over streams. Capacity has been reduced to eight pitches to enable physical distancing, so you can relax and enjoy the menagerie of four-legged beasts that live here, including alpacas, pygmy goats, Kune Kune pigs and Shetland ponies. Those seeking a little more luxury can book one of the two new yurts or four shepherd’s huts (and if even that’s too outdoorsy, there’s a holiday cottage, too).
• Pitch (including 2 adults) £20, child £5, open from 4 July, strawfields.co.uk
Whitehorse Campsite, near Weymouth, Dorset
Named after the gargantuan limestone figure of the Osmington White Horse beneath whose hooves the campsite sits, this pop-up site’s laid-back choose-your-own-pitch ethos means you should be able to escape any madding crowds. In an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) with green rolling vistas, Whitehorse is a mile from the sea as the gull swoops, while Weymouth is just down the road. Walkers are spoiled for choice, with the signposted Hardy Way, South Dorset Ridgeway and South West Coast Path all running close by.
• Adult £10, child (5-14) £2.50, open 24-26 July, 31 July–2 August, 7–31 August, whitehorsecampsite.co.uk
Bircham Windmill, Great Bircham, Norfolk
There’s something soothing about a windmill, especially a grand, graceful one like Bircham. Below its sails an extra field is being prepared for camping this summer so there should be lots of space among the site’s almond, cherry, nectarine, pear and plum trees. In Norfolk’s north-west corner, it’s ideal for exploring both the western end of the Norfolk Coast AONB and the beaches running down The Wash. The windmill – fully restored and working – will be opening to visitors, and you can buy bread and cakes fresh from the adjoining bakery.
• Pitches from £20, open 4 July to 30 September, birchamwindmill.co.uk
Ostler’s Wood, Stickney, Lincolnshire
Hidden away in rural Lincolnshire and run by a family that has farmed in these parts since the 1700s, Ostler’s Wood makes a fine base for hitting the lesser-visited coastline between Boston and Skegness. There are bell tents and deluxe pods, while campers have two equally appealing venues in which to pitch: a generously-sized field fit for spreading out in and enjoying views of the neighbouring countryside, or a brand new woodland area to hide away in and forget the world outside. Both come with fire pits so you can rustle up something tasty after a long day walking the shore.
• Woodland pitch £25, field pitch £19 (minimum stay two nights), open 4 July, newfarmholidays.co.uk
Ffynnonddewi Camping, near Solva, Pembrokeshire
With four hectares of land but only 15 pitches, there’s no excuse for not getting away from it all (and everybody else) at Ffynnonddewi. There are fire pits available to keep you warm while stargazing (the Newgale Beach Dark Sky Discovery Site is nearby) and eco-friendly touches, such as solar power for lighting and phone charging. Down the hill is the ancient village of Solva, ranged snugly around its natural harbour, and a wonderful leg-stretching section of the Wales Coast Path leading westwards to the pocket-size city of St David’s.
• Adult £12, child (5–15) £3, hoping to open from 13 July, ffynnonddewicamping.co.uk
Fortrose Bay Campsite, Fortrose, Ross-shire
Between the Firths of Cromarty and Moray, the Black Isle is a beguiling corner of north-east Scotland (and not an island at all but a peninsula). Below Mount Eagle, with its back to the historic village of Fortrose, the beachside campsite enjoys views over the firth to Inverness. The strand is perfect for watching bottlenose dolphins or for a campfire while the sun sets over the mountains. And while it should be noted that shared facilities will remain closed (so bring a loo), you can probably leave your insect repellent at home – the Black Isle is practically midge-free.
• Pitch (including 2 adults) £22; taking bookings for 15 July to 31 October, fortrosebaycampsite.co.uk
Kinloch Campsite, Dunvegan, Isle of Skye
Beneath the hulking flat-topped peaks known as MacLeod’s Tables, this former croft sits at the head of Loch Dunvegan. The campsite makes for a tranquil spot in which to relax and count the seals or do some bird-watching, maybe even spotting one of the eagles that fly past from time to time. A few steps away is the attractive village of Dunvegan, with its famous (though currently closed) castle and gardens. Beyond, lies the rugged north coast of Skye – a perfect place to lose yourself among rocky cliffs, choppy seas and tiny islands.
• Pitch £4, adult £10, 3–15s £6, taking bookings for 15 July, kinloch-campsite.co.uk