British camping guide: explore the great outdoors near your city
Blackberry Woods Campsite

Heading into the great outdoors doesn’t always have to involve a huge expedition

It can often get a little claustrophobic in Britain’s big cities, and making a break for the countryside every now and then can be good for your piece of mind.

But while you may think that leaving the city requires clearing the schedule and spending hours on the road – there’s usually a small slice of rural life somewhere fairly close.

We’ve picked out the best outdoor locations within an hour of some major UK cities for camping and ‘glamping’ alike.

Bristol

Uplands Treehouse

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This really is a suburban adventure, a break away in Bristol itself. The Uplands Treehouse is located in a tree behind ‘David and Tricia’s house’ and is a far more plush version than you may remember from your childhood.

Once climbing the ladder to the top you’ll find a kingsize bed, kitchen, roaring fire, shower and even a breakfast balcony. This is hardly roughing it, but those views across the treetops as well as the alpaca farm directly below make for an interesting escape.

Uplands, Bristol / more info

Cardiff

Picket Pods

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The Welsh countryside can easily hold its own with any other British location, and this Picket Farm plot is less than an hour’s drive from Cardiff city centre. Located on the site of a working farm, the seven camping ‘pods’ are constructed from timber, complete with a pull-out bed and a small porch out front.

There’s also the Heritage Coastal route nearby, which takes in some of South Wales’ most stunning bays.

Picket Farm, Cowbridge CF71 7PX / more info

Edinburgh

Dundas Castle

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It wouldn’t be Edinburgh if there wasn’t ancient history in your eyeline. Dundas Castle dates back to the 15th century and is now the estate of former MEP Sir Jack Stewart-Clark.

The Tudor-Gothic building now plays host to wedding parties and corporate events, as well as a glamping spot on the grounds of the 400 acre estate within stunning views of the Castle’s Loch.

Dundas Castle, Queensferry, EH30 9SP / more info

Glasgow

Millarochy Bay

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The West of Scotland makes for breathtaking scenery, and the Millarochy Bay campsite nestles you right in the midst of it. Located just under an hour north of the centre of Glasgow, the bay is set on the east short of the iconic Loch Lomond and lends itself to some incredible views.

You’re also at the foot of Ben Lomond, if you fancy tackling nature head-on during your stay.

Bay Balmaha, Milarrochy, G63 0AL / more info

Leeds

Camp Katur
Camp Katur, Leeds

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A campsite in the Yorkshire countryside, drawing inspiration from Icelandic culture (‘Katur’ is Icelandic for ‘Happy’).

The eco-friendly campsite is an hour’s drive north from Leeds, between the towns of Ripon and Bedale, and has a vast range of accommodation available – from tee pees to ‘Hobbit pods’

Kirklington, Carthorpe, Bedale DL8 2LS / more info

London

Lee Valley Campsite
Lee Valley Regional Park

Eleanor Bentall

Finding a slice of rural life is never going to be easy in London, but the Lee Valley location is a little glimpse of it. Located on the edge of the Essex suburb of Sewardstone, Lee Valley offers a lush green space to pitch a tent, as well as slightly more luxurious options too.

There’s walking trails, as well as water activites at the Lee Valley White Water Centre, all within 30 minutes of the big city by public transport.

Sewardstone Road, Chingford, London, E4 7RA / more info

Newcastle

Walkmill Campsite

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The North East of England may be some of the most underappreciated countryside in the UK, and the wilds of Northumberland have plenty to gawp at. The Walkmill Campsite is located near the banks of the River Coquet and is a short distance from the historic Alnwick Castle.

The site has also been awarded the Northumberland Dark Sky Park moniker, for its incredible views of constellations especially during autumn and winter

Warkworth, Northumberland NE65 9AJ / more info

Sheffield

North Lees Campsite

The Steel City is blessed with being on the very edges of the Peak District National Park, which make for a perfect getaway from city life.

The North Lees campsite is located in a sheltered valley in the Peaks and is short ramble away from Stanage Edge, a truly breath-taking cliff side walk.

Hathersage, Hope Valley S32 1BR / more info

Brighton

Blackberry Wood Campsite
Blackberry Woods Campsite

CC / Flickr / Steve Cadman

Located on the cusp of the South Downs National Park, there’s plenty of greenery to pitch your tent in this private wooded glade.

The Sussex campsite can support a maximum of 20 tents, as well as a few quirkier options including a converted helicopter and a double-decker holiday bus.

Streat Lane, Sussex BN6 8RS / more info

More:

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11 things you learn when move from the countryside to the city