Back to nature at Eco Camp UK, Sussex

Move over glamorous yurts with your flat-screen TVs, real glamping is about going off-grid, getting back to nature and leaving all mod cons behind – welcome to Eco Camp UK

There’s nothing like arriving at a beautiful campsite knowing that you don’t have to spend the next two hours grappling with tent poles and blowing up airbeds. At Eco Camp’s Wild Boar Wood campsite, in the heart of Sussex, all the hard work has been done for you. Just step inside your kitted-out and cosy bell tent within your own woodland clearing, and you’re already camping without having to lift a finger!

Your own private clearing at Wild Boar Wood campsite
Your own private clearing at Wild Boar Wood campsite

A hidden woodland home

Well, it’s not entirely without effort (but that’s all part of the fun). Wild Boar Wood campsite is hidden (literally – directions are only given to guests) within a small wood in the middle of farmland, just outside the village of Horsted Keynes and Ashdown Forest. On arrival, campsite wardens Pete and Amy meet you at the car park with huge wheelbarrows ready to take all of your luggage down the track and into the campsite.

The wood is very pretty – bluebells carpet the ground during springtime – and wildlife takes priority at this sustainable site. Several bell tents are dotted around, each with their own fire pit and eating area. We were there in during a quiet mid-week but the campsite does get busy at weekends and during holidays, although most tents are quite private from neighbouring campers.

Furnished bell tents and campfires

The campsite boasts flushing loos and hot water ‘bucket showers’, plus washing up facilities. As expected, everyone is encouraged to use water (especially hot water) wisely, and make use of the recycling and composting bins. A small shed houses information and maps about the local area, plus lots of books to borrow during your stay. Amy and Pete are incredibly helpful and friendly, and live on-site in their own caravan. They’re happy to chat about the bird life and other wildlife their share their woodland home with (and help light a fire if, like us, those bush craft skills desert you!).

Our bell tent was furnished with a double memory foam mattress, spare beds (although we moved in our own travel cot), crockery, cutlery and cooking equipment, wind-up torches and lamps. The ‘dining’ area was large with a fire pit for cooking plus a small camp stove, table and chairs – the area was sheltered with a tarpaulin (useful as we experienced some light showers during our stay, although not that noticeable through the tree canopy).

There are several farm shops nearby so you can purchase local meats, vegetables and diary products (plenty of choice for the campfire).

A heritage railway to visit

One surprise treat found at this camp’s location, is the heritage Bluebell Railway. Steam trains run daily along the track at the far side of an adjoining field – give them a wave from the campsite and you may even get a ‘toot’ back! The Bluebell Railway stations (of Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes) are a short drive away. You can buy a ticket to ride the train, or (as we did) purchase a station-only ticket (just £3 for adults) and watch old steam trains arriving and departing. Old locomotives are also available to view inside the station sheds.

The surrounding area is all bucolic countryside, farmland and forest so perfect for country walks and basic exploring. Ashdown Forest is famous as the setting for Winnie the Pooh – you can even find ‘Pooh bridge’ to play a game of authentic ‘Pooh Sticks’.

A bell tent at Wild Boar Wood in mid-week costs £65 for two people per night, rising to £90 at weekends (extra child £12 per night, under 3s go free). For booking and more information visit

Go glamping…at home! The Tiipii Bed reviewed

We hope you’ve spent summer camping or glamping, but now that autumn is here how can you recreate that feel at home? The ingenious Tiipii Bed may be the answer… We’ve been putting this innovative hammock through its paces.

Tiipii Bed

It’s no suprise that the Tiipii is an Australian creation (and now available to buy in the UK) – your own floating ‘chill out zone’ encourages some laid back relaxation time.

The practicalities

Best described as a cross between a hammock and a swing chair, the Tiipii Bed is surprisingly large once assembled. Thankfully, assembly is relatively easy – simply unfurl from its carry bag and feed the light-weight curved poles through the pockets until you have a rigid circular base. The Tiipii Bed is now ready to hang.

Hanging is a little trickier. Due to its size, you need it to hang so the base is at least a metre from the ground, and in a space wide enough to accommodate its 180cm base. You’ll want to be able to get a good ‘swing’ going when you’re in there so the clearer the space the better. The top of the Tiipii has an eyelet for you to attach to a sturdy chain or thick rope to hang it (the only bug bear is that the kit doesn’t include this essential piece leaving you to either buy something or scrabble about in the loft to find something suitable!).

Tiipii Bed indoors - ready for cushions, net and fairy lights
Tiipii Bed indoors – ready for cushions, net and fairy lights

Where to hang your Tiipii Bed

A small issue we had was finding somewhere safe and suitable to hang the Tiipii. Ideally, it works best outside – lying, gently swinging in the sun is what this hammock was made for. You do need a strong tree branch, pergoda or arch (don’t forget, the Tiipii Bed is designed to support more than one person and up to 170kg), and one that has the right amount of space around it.

Unfortunately, we’ve had to hang it inside (from a solid eyelet fixed in the ceiling of our garden room), but the Tiipii is still a fun and indulgent piece of ‘furniture’ to have indoors. If you wrap the mosquito net (included) around the ropes, and decorate with fairy lights, you’ve got yourself the perfect little hideaway – a way to bring some outdoor R&R indoors during the cooler months!

Tiipii Bed

A mobile ‘chill out zone’

The Tiipii Bed is surprisingly light and not at all cumbersome considering its size. It can be packed away into a small carry bag making it perfect to take on camping trips or if you’re renting a cottage or villa (just don’t forget to pack your extra bit of rope, hook or chain and hope that your destination has a suitable hanging place…).

What we’ve been up to in the Tiipii Bed…

  • Reading
  • Swinging in the sun (through the glass doors)
  • Cloud watching
  • Working on the laptop
  • Playing with the little one  (it makes a great drum!)
  • Sleeping
  • Thinking of how to hang it outside…


Verdict: We love this and think the Tiipii Bed is better than a hammock or swing chair (you can sit and lie down in this one). It’s a stylish design in attractive colours so will look good wherever you hang it. It works well both indoors and outdoors – but a slight shame that you may find hanging positions to be limited. We just know that it’s going to be hard to give it back…!

The Tiipii Bed is £199 (with £5 off if you sign-up to the newsletter) and available in natural white, taupe and green. To buy, and for more information (and envy-inducing pictures!) visit


Be a happy camper at Camp Katur, Yorkshire

There’s still time for a camping holiday this summer and this imaginative glampsite in North Yorkshire really will fill you with ‘katur’ (that’s Icelandic for happiness, by the way…)

glamping at Camp Katur, Yorkshire
glamping at Camp Katur, Yorkshire

Camp Katur glamping village is located within 250 acres of a country estate in Bedale, North Yorkshire. ‘Katur’ embraces the whole ethos of this glampsite and as you wind your way amongst the woodland into the heart of Camp Katur you will be struck by the beautiful setting and the little surprises around every corner.

Accomodation – from ‘hobbit pods’ to geodomes

The site is home to an array of glamping abodes including woodland hobbit pods; bell tents; tipis; en-suite safari tents; the UK’s only clear 360 degree panoramic unidome and (new for 2015) Geodomes.

Facilities and activities

You can make the most of al fresco dining as an outdoor barbecue is available with each accommodation. Or use the communal kitchen, the licensed Orangery Cafe (open weekends and during school holidyas only), or for something a little bit different there is the ‘Podfather’; a Nordic BBQ cabin where a family or group of friends can enjoy an indoor BBQ in the woods, whatever the weather.

meadows at Camp Katur, Yorkshire
meadows at Camp Katur, Yorkshire

Hammocks are scattered throughout the trees for lazy days, and little ones will have a blast in the toy den hidden in the woods. The centre of the glamping village is dedicated to a large communal campfire complete with musical instruments (get the guitar…!) and (another new addition for the 2015 season) the sixteen foot communal tipi for all the guests.

Camp Katur is set in the Camp Hill Manor Estate in North Yorkshire which boasts an array of activities, including an adventure playground with shelter building, woodland walks and activity trails, segway treks, quad biking, horse riding, cycle tracks, a 200m zip wire and a treetops high rope course. After a fun-filled day, guests can also enjoy the outdoor eco spa that includes a hand crafted wood fired hot tub and sauna made from Siberian spruce.

There really is something for everyone. You can pack your stay full of activities or just relax and enjoy the stunning surroundings, so we recommend that you ditch your smart phone, turn off you tablet and reconnect with the great outdoors! So if you are looking to discover your outdoor happiness, Camp Katur glamping village could be for you.

Camp Katur, Yorkshire
Camp Katur, Yorkshire

Recommended for… Families or groups of friends to enjoy all the communal spaces and activites with

Be aware that… We can never rely on the Yorkshire climate so a pair of wellies and an extra blanket are recommended!

Glamping accommodation is available from £20 per person per night based on two people sharing. There is a minimum requirement of a two night stay except Sundays when one night is available. Extra facilities such as the Eco-spa and BBQ ‘podfather’ hut need to be pre booked at an extra cost.

Dogs are welcome at Camp Katur with an additional charge of £15.00 each and there are stabling facilities for a break with your horse.

For booking and further information call 01845 202 100 or visit

Go glamping on Rocket Farm, Cornwall

Fancy a few days in a luxury bell tent in your own organic meadow? You could be living the good life in this secluded Cornish beauty spot…

Your relaxing break begins the moment you set foot on Rocket Farm, with a luxury five metre bell tent ready and waiting for you in your own secluded acre of private organic meadow. Get ready to breathe in the freshest air, throw some logs on the camp fire and enjoy a magical camping experience.

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There’s no need for you to buy or own any camping kit at all, as your large bell tent boasts a real double bed, two single beds, bed linen, duvets and comfy quilts. Other luxurious touches include a private hot shower and eco composting toilet.


Rocket Farm has great green credentials so during your stay you’ll benefit from solar lighting and a private eco (warm) shower and eco toilet for your exclusive use.

It’s also a foodie’s paradise, with your very own friendly free-range chickens to look after during your stay, laying fresh eggs for you to enjoy alongside a salad and veg patch bursting with tasty treats. Fire up your wood-burning stove and use the pots, pans, plates and cutlery supplied to eat delicious fresh food under the stars.

What’s nearby in South Cornwall?

Located near the pretty village of Gweek, at the top of the beautiful Helford River, this low impact boutique campsite is a stone’s throw from some of South Cornwall’s most breath-taking views. Whether you fancy rock pooling, swimming, sunbathing, surfing or sailing, you’ll be spoilt for choice. There are beautiful beaches galore a short drive away, from wide stretches of white sand to tiny coves you can have all to yourself.

Recommended for… Rocket Farm is perfect for families with children of any age, as there is plenty of space to explore and play. With an acre of private meadow for boutique campers, it’s also perfect for adults looking to switch off from work for a few days.

Be aware that… Livestock including sheep, cattle and chickens live on the farm and neighbouring fields, therefore guests are not permitted to bring pets.

Price and availability: Rocket Farm Boutique Camping prices start from £300 for long weekends and short breaks. The campsite is open from the beginning of June until the end of September. Visit to find out more about holidays from Rocket Farm, home to Rocket Gardens.

6 of the best… Yurts and Bell Tents

For the ultimate in camping (or rather ‘glamping’) choose one of these luxury yurts and bell tents for a memorable night under canvas…

Lake Yurt, Poundsgate, Devon

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Perched on the edge of a small lake, surrounded by woodland, sits this pretty and traditional Mongolian yurt. Perfect for couples or a family, it can sleep up to 5 (it has a double bed and futon). The yurt comes with a well-equipped kitchen, woodburner and cosy interiors to keep you warm, plus laterns and candles for romantic lighting (there’s no electricity). The site contains one other yurt but you’re guaranteed privacy and a peaceful stay. Dartmoor National Park is close-by for walking, horse-riding, and cycling.

Bath Bell Tents, Timsbury, Somerset

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This is the bell tent that comes to you! The owners will pitch up the tent at the location of your choice within one hour from Bath. The luxury tent comes fully equipped with everything you need for a unique stay including comfy airbeds, bedding, rugs, throws, cushions, solar-powered lights and a lovely tealight chandelier. If there’s a large group of you, you can book the full four sleeping tents and create your own bell tent camp!

Bluebell Yurt, Goonhavern, Cornwall

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This cute little yurt has been lovingly furnished with beautiful rustic wooden furniture, a well-stocked cupboard and fridge, plus flat screen TV. Enjoy breakfast or warm evenings sitting on your private decking area complete with barbeque, or stroll around the camp which boasts an outdoor heated swimming pool, garden and children’s play area. The ‘Woodshed’ contains the camp’s communal kitchen, washing machines and shower facilities. Sleeps up to 4 in a double bed plus two single futons.

Coracle Yurt, Lyme Regis, Dorset

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This special yurt, set within its own private woodland clearing, is for couples or singles only (no kids allowed in this one!). Complete with double bed, luxury bedding, electric blanket, log-burning stove, heated towel rail, reindeer skins and electricity sockets (if you really can’t do without your phone or tablet). The Coracle Yurt, by Crafty Camping, also has its own private decking area with hammock, barbeque and outdoor seating/dining area. Apparently the piping hot tree showers are something to be experienced, particularly in the rain! Try one of the wood craft courses run by Crafty Camping, go trout fishing or explore the Jussaric Coast. This area is also a foodie’s dream with River Cottage Canteen and the Mark Hix Restaurant in the nearby area.

The Wren’s Nest at The Fire Pit, Dereham, Norfolk

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Not technically a yurt or bell tent, this is a ‘bender tent’, beautifully handmade using locally harvested hazel branches. Ignore the unassuming exterior because this really does provide the ‘wow factor’ once you step inside, including an unexpected mezzanine level! With cosy seating and woodburning fire, this two-storey tent sleeps 6-8 people in its double bed, single bed, pull-out sofa bed and triple bunk bed. Extra pitches around the tent can be booked if you want to create your own mini festival. A barbeque, communal fire pit, hot water facilities, natural play area and double decker bus (yes, really) complete the unique experience. A gourmet coffee bar is promised for this year…

Acacia Yurt, Axebridge, Somerset

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This Moroccan-style yurt is glamorously decorated with throws, wall-hangings, cushions and rugs. The yurt comes complete with a log-burning stove, seating/dining area, a double bed and two sofa beds (it sleeps up to four), and all cooking equipment and crockery etc to prepare simple meals on your camping stove or on the outside barbeque. Sip your morning coffee outside your yurt and enjoy the view over Cheddar Gorge, or huddle around the campfire at night sampling the local cider and produce from the neighbouring farm shop.

For the latest prices, availability and booking, click on the hyperlinks or search via


Eco camping in the Sibillini Mountains, Italy

This forest hideaway is a real eco paradise for campers in the mountains of Italy…

750m up and nestled high amongst the trees of Italy’s Parco della Fessa natural forest, the Forest Camp campsite is ready to share its love of eco-responsible culture through outdoor activities and experiences.

Forest Camp, Italy

Everything on the farm-based site is geared towards living a more sustainable lifestyle with campers offered the chance to take part in some great workshops and excursions such as hiking, mountain biking and donkey trekking (no motorised transport here!). A nearby lake also offers the chance to hire kayaks or pedaloes.

This small, friendly and peaceful campsite has room for regular tents, caravans and campervans, and also offers the chance to stay in a Native American-style tipi. The tipis are equipped with beds and bedding, plus basic gas and electricity supplies, and the use of a shower.

With a farmers’ market nearby and barbecues allowed on site, there’s no excuse not to prepare at least one meal of locally-sourced food to enjoy al fresco!

The surrounding area

This beautiful protected area is ideally located for exploring Monti Sibillini, Ascoli Piceno, Macerata, and many medieval villages. The campsite is around 40 minutes from the sea.

Recommended for… Those who love a bit of wild camping (but with some basic amenities thrown in!)

Be aware that… The site is small and peaceful and not for those who want lots of bars, shops and restuarants on their doorstep

‘Good’ credentials:

  • Emphasis on eco-friendly and sustainable living
  • Eco-friendly workshops and activities offered
  • Located in a protected natural area, home to a wealth of wildlife


For more information visit the listing on via Forest Camp, Smerillo

5 of the coolest camping accessories

From staycations to festivals, romantic weekends away to family holidays, we all love camping nowadays! No longer just for earnest outdoor types, camping’s renaissance means a wealth of brilliant kit on the market. Here’s our pick of the coolest camping accessories for your next night under canvas… (click on the images to buy direct from the page)

Solar powered tent – £179.99

Can’t bear to be without your camera, phone or tablet when sleeping in a field? We’ll forgive you tech-heads when you arrive on site  with one of these super cool shelters! These 4-man tents, by Bang Bang Tents, come with a 5W solar panel, lithium solar storage bank, and mobile phone/USB charging adaptors. They are also available in some very swanky designs, including Woodstock, Machu Picchu, Butterfly Collector and Fool on the Hill – never again lose sight of where you’ve pitched up!

‘Moomin’ enamel mug – £16.95

Whether it’s for your morning coffee or a hot toddy around the camp fire, you’ll need a cool set of enamel tin mugs. We love these Moomin designs! Matching plates and cooking kit also available.

Glamping lantern bags – £5.69 (for set of 5)

These pretty lanterns will add a magical atmosphere when the sun goes down. Made of fire resistent paper to hold tea lights there’s enough in one pack to dot them around your temporary ‘garden’.

 ‘VW Campervan’ deckchair – £34.95

You could go for one of those ubiquitous canvas fold-up camping chairs, or a squishy inflatable number (but do you really want something else to pump up along with the airbed?!). Why not go old school with a deckchair? Classic, retro and perfect for relaxing back at the tent, this version boasts a VW campervan print design (polka dots, butterflies and ‘beach rules’ also available).

 ‘Cool Camping Cookbook’ by Jonathan Knight – £9.06

Printed on organically-textured, wood-free paper (yes, really!), this cookbook is bursting with rustic, campfire recipes that taste great al fresco from smokey barbequed mackerel to cakes in a tin. It even includes advice on creating your own fire pit and has a whole chapter dedicated to vegan-friendly recipes.


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New eco glampsite opens in Wye Valley

Fans of vintage caravans, campfires, wild swimming and stunning views should get themselves over to the Wye Valley as a new glamping site opens this month.

Mad Dogs & Vintage Vans is a boutique campsite set in a pretty wildflower meadow with views of the Black Mountains. Guests can choose one of four vintage caravans – quaintly named Gertie, Elsie, Darcy and Gloria (“the girls”!) – that date from the 1930s to 1960s. Each caravan has been lovingly restored and fitted with period details such as vintage crockery and fabrics.

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Owners Jo Pilkington and Sacha Morley met through their children’s school and found they both shared a love of the great outdoors, vintage style and simple, natural pleasures such as camping under starlight, wild swimming and toasting mashmallows over an open fire.


On arrival, guests are greeted with a scrumptious homemade cream tea, but after dark the main draw becomes the communal campfire where campers can come together to cook. If that’s not your thing (or if the weather gets the better of you!), you can order up homemade meals to enjoy back at your caravan.


The ‘shower block’ is made entirely from upcycled materials and is located in a pretty copse nearby with hot water on demand. The whole campsite uses an eco-composting system, and guests are offered organic products free of charge.

Things to do

The glampsite is a tranquil getaway from town and city life so great for family adventures, yoga or writing retreats. Tennis courts are nearby and a wealth of activities including swimming, walking, pony trekking, climbing and canoeing in the Forest of Dean which owners Jo and Sacha are more than happy to help organise for you.

This season you can also join two foraging weekends – May 10-11 and October 11-12 – with “the Carluccio of the Wye Valley” (so says the Guardian) Raoul Van Den Broucke. Raoul will take glampers on a foraging walk to look for wild delicacies which will then be cooked over the campfire back at the site.

The 2014 season runs from April 11 to the end of October.

For booking and further information, visit

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A camping style survival guide

Guest blogger Victoria Moretti gives us her guide to camping in style…

Summer’s not quite over yet and, as Goodtrippers readers have long since known, if you can’t afford that luxury spa resort camping can be a cheap and fun alternative. For the uninitiated, ignore preconceived ideas of mingling with the great unwashed, sleeping on hard floors and dressing in grubby clothes – camping can be a slick and stylish experience when you know how!

Here’s a look at how to make your camping holiday a chic affair…

camp site at night
Gopal Vijayaraghavan, Pofu Camp – Northern Circuit, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution

Choose a good ‘glampsite’

The number one step to nailing a stylish camping experience is to pick the right campsite – a glamping site! Glamping (or ‘glamorous camping’) is gaining ground with plenty of incredible venues to choose from up and down the UK. Instead of the traditional cramped plastic tent you can opt for a grand canvas yurt decked out with a proper bed, dining facilities and sofas.

The glamping experience is all about the finer details – things you wouldn’t expect from a camping holiday: real pillows, soft bed throws, pretty china, scented candles and even free-range eggs laid by the on-site chickens.

Of course, your budget will have a strong influence on the level of glamping you can afford, but even a basic tipi with plenty of space and an open fire is a massive step-up from a 2-man!

Get your camping fashion right

Bar festival goers, typical camping fashion doesn’t have the best reputation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be fashionable when you’re roughing it in the great outdoors. Even the most practical garments – like anoraks and wellies – can be found on the high street in stand-out neons and funky patterns. While tents themselves have had a recent overhaul with Cath Kidston leading the way in pretty designs.

For an effortless camping look, keep things simple with a mix-and-match wardrobe that’s comfortable and elegant. Team skinny jeans or leggings with printed slogan T-shirts, layered with soft cardigans or a denim shirt. Forget hiking boots and opt instead for comfortable hi-tops or (if you’re not venturing anywhere too muddy) gladiator sandals.

When it comes to luggage, try and pack light. Opt for an easy-to-carry patterned rucksack that will not look out of place on those pub lunches but is still a practical choice when you’re rambling across the countryside laden with supplies.

Invest in a dongle

For those who can’t live without mod-cons, having to leave them behind can be the trickiest part of camping. But with digital tablets and mobile broadband an option, you don’t need to cut yourself off from the outside world for long. If you’re going on an extended camping trip, consider packing your laptop and an internet dongle so you can still make the most of the web: being able to get internet may be a welcome diversion on cold and rainy nights, or for when you want to plan which fancy restaurants to head to in advance. (Although we recommend a ‘digital detox’ to be invaluable when on holiday! – Ed.)

Camping may not be for everyone, but with a little preparation it can be done in style. Even the fanciest glamping sites may not have all of the facilities you’d expect from a 5-star hotel, so always go with an open mind and a sense of adventure!