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Best family camping holidays

Best family camping holidayschildren-music-tipi-campingdomaine-slidesChy-Aber log cabin, Liskeard

By Mark Hodson, Sunday Times Travel Writer and Editor of 101 Holidays

There’s nothing quite like a camping holiday. It’s a raw thrill to get back to nature and escape the cosy routine of our 21st-century lives. For adults there may be a nostalgia for their own childhood holidays, or perhaps for a golden era of innocence that never quite existed. For children it is the chance to run about in woods, play in streams and perhaps stay up late around a camp fire.

There are many different ways of camping, and options for all budgets. You can pack your own tent, rent a luxury tent, stay in a caravan or mobile home. You can do it in a field in Hampshire or venture abroad. Here are our recommendations for the best family camping holidays.

Note: all the travel companies featured are personally recommended by our team of specialist editors.
Glamping in Cornwall

Camping holidays in Britain

As camping becomes increasingly popular at home, the number of options is growing rapidly.

If you don’t want to pitch a soggy tent in a farmer’s field, you need a spot of glamping (that’s glamorous camping, of course). For example, head down to Crantock Beach near Newquay in Cornwall where you’ll find Trevella Park, which has great facilities including a heated outdoor pool, adventure playground, fishing lakes and nature trails.

It previously offered only holiday homes but now has a range of tepees, safari tents and bell tents. Each is equipped with comfy beds, duvets, furniture and, outside the safari tents, decking and dining facilities too. They sleep 4 – 6. See the latest offers.

If you want a more rural experience, but don’t want to forgo comfort, check out Feather Down Farms which offers luxury fixed tents set on real working farms. The spacious tents are gorgeous with wood floors, proper beds, duvets and a wood-fired stove, and the settings are all beautiful. Activities might include collecting eggs, taking a Farm Tour, walking a nature trail or exploring by bike.

If you want to be out in the wilds, but don’t want to sleep under canvas, how about renting a log cabin in Cornwall. They vary in size from one bedroom to four bedrooms, with popular options including Copper Mine Lodge in Camborne, where facilities include a heated indoor pool, mountain bikes and kayak hire, and the beautifully secluded Nuthatch Lodge near Looe.

See our editors’ guide to the best unusual family holidays.

Trekemlets Lodge, LauncestonGorgeous beaches and pretty towns

Camping holidays in Europe

You don’t need to venture far across the Channel to find a huge choice of continental options. The French love their holiday parcs which are like huge well-organised campsites with a choice of accommodation including tents, mobile homes and even wood cabins. Usually they have a swimming pool, playgrounds, a restaurant and a shop, and many are close to great beaches. Siblu has one of the best selections.

Another option is Pierre & Vacances Holiday Villages which has locations across France and Spain. We recommend the 4-star Belle Dune Holiday Village just an hour’s drive from Calais. It is located on the coast between lakes and sand dunes and boasts indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, a 18-hole golf course, pedalos, a kids’ club and petting farm.

See more of our editors’ tips for the best family holidays in France.

Other ideas

Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? Here are some other ideas along similar lines.

Hunt for fossils and explore characterful pubs on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset. Check out these cottages.

How about a working farm holiday in the West Country? Like your own independence? Rent a cottage in Devon or go boating on the Norfolk Broads – a lovely way to enjoy the gentle countryside of East Anglia.

If you’re a single parent, see this selection of single parent holidays from Single With Kids.

Take a summer holiday in the French Alps. It’s surprisingly good value, particularly if you opt to drive.

If money’s no object, how about camping in the bush in Tanzania? Sleep in a family tent at Selous Impala Camp, where elephants roam free, and you will take game drives to see lion, giraffe and hippo.

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