As the January Blues set in and people begin to look at the year ahead, we’ve started thinking about holidays in the year to come. To provide some added inspiration, we asked the experts at Cool Camping for their pick of the year’s best campsites where campfires aren’t just permitted, but positively encouraged…
Rural Relaxing, Leicestershire
Opposite the cricket club on the edge of Medbourne – a traditional English village with a pub, post office, tea rooms and 12th-century church – this family-run campsite has around 20 grass pitches for tents and campervans. Picnic tables, garden furniture and fire-pits are available to use, with an on-site coffee shack that sells marshmallows for your campfire.
North Rhinns Camping, Dumfries & Galloway
Far enough inland to be sheltered from the wind but within easy walking distance of Scotland’s west coast, this tiny campsite has been in Cool Camping’s guidebooks for years. Reclaimed from brambles and bracken, today’s patchwork of individual pitches – some in the trees, others with open views – offer a different setting at every turn. Campfires are more than welcome (one previous visitor even paid in logs rather than cash) and dogs are permitted too.
Chase Camping, Staffordshire
This newly opened campsite in Cannock Chase is just a hundred metres from the Birches Valley Forest Visitor Centre, home to some of the most renowned mountain biking routes in the UK. Unsurprisingly, you’ll find most campers here have brought their bikes along and there’s a wonderfully friendly, live-and-let-live atmosphere to the place. Fire-pits are available to hire and logs can be bought by the bag load. Visit nearby Haywood Park Farm for the freshest meats to grill.
New Farm Holidays, Lincolnshire
Just south of the Lincolnshire Wolds this popular pond-side campsite, recently recommended by The Telegraph, has just a handful of camping pitches and four year-round glamping pods. Every pitch has its own fire-pit and guests can have ready-prepped meals delivered from the farm – all you have to do is heat it over the campfire. Choose from the open field or their woodland spots and make the most of local footpaths with a stroll to the nearby Royal Oak pub.
Fairlinch Camping, Devon
Open for just 28 days every summer, this pop-up campsite in North Devon boasts one of the most sought-after locations in the South West between Saunton Sands beach and the pretty town of Braunton. Walk from your tent through the vast marram-covered dunes to the beach, where you can enjoy surfing, paddle boarding and swimming, before snoozing at night around the fire. There’s no on-site shop but ample places to buy s’mores ingredients in town.
Into the Sticks, Pembrokeshire
This hidden, off-grid campsite in rural Pembrokeshire is all about getting back to basics. Wildlife abounds in the heather and bracken that surrounds the main meadow – where only tents are allowed – and information is provided for children to help identify birds and bugs. There’s a campfire-pit at every pitch, while a camper’s barn, with ping-pong, sofas, musical instruments and a small library, has rainy days covered.
Canal Camping, Norfolk
No visit to the Norfolk Broads is complete without a paddle on the famous lakes and waterways that have formed the unique landscape. So a stay at Canal Camping, directly on the banks of Dilham Canal, is the perfect place to start. Canoes and kayaks are almost as prevalent here as bikes, with families filling the place during school holidays, and the sound of crackling campfires and laughing children provides the usual soundtrack. An OS map on the wash-block wall helps you get your bearings for exploring the region, be that by boat, bike or in the car.
Greenhillock Glamping, Angus
Despite the name, this family-friendly campsite in Eastern Scotland has more camping pitches than glamping (though five furnished bell tents are available to book). Campfires are permitted in the fire-pits provided, raised to protect the grass that grows wild across much of the campsite. Tent pitches have been carefully mown in amongst it, connected via weaving pathways, while woods, a pond and a kitchen shack also break up the space.
The Paddock, Lancashire
On the outskirts of lively Ramsbottom – a town that hosts such novelties as the World Black Pudding Throwing Championships – The Paddock is a new campsite with around 10 camping pitches and extra glamping options, including yurts and bell tents. With playful donkeys to pet and free-range hens eggs to collect, the farm has a wonderfully homespun feel, while bunting abounds and jam-jar lanterns light up the paths. Along with individual fire-pits, The Paddock has a regular communal fire too.
Cuckoo Camping, Brecon Beacons
Campfires don’t just offer fun for the family, in the Brecon Beacons National Park, this adults-only campsite is all about peace, quiet and nights around the flames enjoying the sounds of nature and starry nights. A hot spot for hikers, many campers here are stopping over during multi-day walks and only tents are permitted on the 15 grass camping pitches. A camp kitchen has a fridge, freezer, microwave and kettle but extra large pans are available so you can cook directly over your campfire too.