Boating, biking and bell tent glamping on a farm near the Blackwater Estuary, where good food and walkable pubs are also on the menu.
A few hundred metres from the sailing-boat-dotted salt waters of the Blackwater Estuary in Essex there’s a farm that can do no wrong. It’s home to some of the best fly-fishing in England, has a Michelin-recommended restaurant and an award-winning fine salmon smokehouse – plus a tea room and deli in an old barn space that will charm your socks off. The latest addition to this prime waterside spot? A camping and glamping site, of course.
Set among Chigborough Farm’s 130 acres, the campsite is actually divided into a collection of different areas. There’s a small tent and caravan meadow, a trio of beautiful pre-pitched bell tents and an individual safari tent in a clearing, reached (with a wheelbarrow full of your belongings) on foot. Separately, there’s also a floating cabin, out on one of the farm’s many sparkling lakes (accessed by row boat) and, for all guests, the likes of a games room, a playground and a dining and kitchen space to use.
Nudging the camping meadow, the pre-pitched bell tents have access to all the same facilities – including modern, wet-room-style showers – and are furnished inside with a proper double bed, soft furnishing and all the bedding and towels you need. In summer you can roll straight from your mattress, peel back the creamy canvas of the tent and step out onto the farm, sheltered by hedges on three sites, with views of open farmland and The Essex Wildlife Trust Reserve to the north.
It’s an easy wander to the seaside – part river, part coast really, but very much with a nautical feel – where maritime images adorn the local pub, 400 metres down the road. Walk along the sea wall to find other watering holes or drive the five minutes to the likes of Heybridge and the old market town of Maldon just beyond. Not that you need travel far for fun. By day, pedalos and boats can be hired for tom-foolery on the farm’s lakes and bikes are also available for off-site exploring. Then there’s the deli, the gift shop and that award-winning fishing to try. Why leave to visit anywhere else?
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Rated ★★★★★ over 36 reviews
Perfect - just what I wanted
Suffice it to say that I booked for one night and am staying for 11! For a city girl needing her dose of countryside this site is perfect. I watched I peregrine hover then dive on it's prey, I enjoy hearing and seeing the geese fly over every morning and evening. I like the sound of the wind in the reeds and the nature reserve next door to the site has a wide range of water birds and covids - and owls too. As far as 'm concerned the facilities are great - not too obvious but providing everything I want. I shall be back.
Beautiful natural and unspoilt.
Suffice it to stay that I booked for one night and am staying for eleven! Such a great place to stay. I enjoy the geese flying over and the quack of the ducks and the simplicity of the facilities. but with lots of amenities nearby. Great for someone like me who lives in the city but yearns at time for the countryside. I'll be back!
Beautiful and quiet
We had a lovely 4 days plenty to see and do within a few miles, lovely roomy pitch,and a pretty lake ,where people were enjoying paddle boarding, one to put in the diary
Had a lovely weekend camping. Lots of space and great location.
Lovely location, let down by poor facilities
Chigborough Farm has all the potential to be a great campsite; the location is lovely and pitches are spacious and quiet. What let it down was the facilities, there were insufficient toilets and washing up facilities even with reduced numbers staying due to COVID. Both the toilets and washing up area felt like they could do with a good spruce up as they were pretty poorly maintained and didn’t feel that clean. The new showers on the other hand were great but again there could have been more of them. We were a group of seasoned campers and are used to basic facilities at campsites but these just weren’t to standard.
We stayed here over the Bank Holiday weekend and despite Covid restrictions, pouring rain and lots of strong winds, we had an amazing stay. The lakes themselves are pretty and well kempt. The campsite was flat - seems a simple thing - but makes a big difference when you're pitching tents ! and there was lots to keep 12 - 15 year old kids entertained. We didn't try the pizza oven because there were pubs in walking distance but would give the camp kitchen a go next time. Only down side was the queues for toilets, showers and washing up - and this was when it was not full so a busy sunny weekend could be a challenge. Loved it !
Beautiful and spacious
We stayed for four nights for the first time at Chigborough Farm in August 2020. Having stayed at various other campsites in the past Chigborough has much to recommend it. The pitches are spacious, with the campsite not feeling packed. The children’s playground is a great focal point for the kids to meet and to play in a safe environment. The pizza oven was a great surprise find. We hope to return again next year and would hope that the toilet facilities (which were always clean during our stay) and dishwashing facilities might be further extended to reduce the queues at those busy times. Overall a great campsite!
2 Night Stay
I arrived with my son for a boys camping experience, we had a pitch in the no electric side right near the maze. I felt that the facilities could be better, at busy times they were no loos available as located in the showers with one portaloo which was really a no go! Outdoor showers were fabulous. The Maze was fun but the lakes and the boating fantastic and great communication from the owners. Over the two nights we had two large groups playing music and shouting till way passed midnight ( 10pm curfew was not enforced) Very good location to Heybridge Basin. Overall not a bad site, facilities could have been better.
Beautiful location, lovely facilities especially for families. Sadly we never got to stay the night as we had a nightmare with our tent. The other people staying there were not very helpful and even walked across our tent as we were fighting to put it up. Nobody really offered to help and we felt uncomfortable asking for assistance. The other guests seemed very rude and hostile, we felt like our faces didn't fit. This is very sad as the surroundings were gorgeous, and the pitches really impressed me. Sadly the other people staying there were not nice, but this isn't Chigborough Farms fault.
Great site - stopped overnight but will certainly return for a longer stay!
Enjoyed walking round the lakes and had a lovely meal in the restaurant. Chilled out vibe - thanks for the stay!
Dog Friendly Glamping
Water sports galore - kayaking, SUP and swimming. Great week away on the site. Loads to do and friendly staff.
A lovely place to stay, great for having a dog, lake is so beautiful. Facilities are good, although I would recommend bringing own toilet roll as it often ran out. Outdoor showers were really good. Some pitches were close together with the electric hook ups. Shame there was no freezer to use. Overall, though I would go back.
Fantastic campsite. Great, clean facilities, beautiful site, friendly campers, helpful staff. Absolutely recommend and will be back again soon
Clean toilets, beautiful lake, hassle free camping
Absolutely Amazing place
We did our first camping experience in here and absolutely delighted. It's a lovely quite place around the mini lakes. Facilities were good. Other visitors are very friendly, lovely family environment. We had very good time. I definitely recommend this place to anyone. Many thanks for this opportunity.
Really lovely pod, basic shower facilities.
We stayed in Woodpecker pod which was really lovely and well equipped with comfy beds. The shower and toilet block was very basic. We were disappointed that the cafe/ deli had closed so there was no shop on site. The area is stunning and it’s a few minute walk to the sea wall.
Just got home from a nice weekends camping, lovely site, very well looked after, very clean, and some lovely touches all around. Have just booked some more time away there. Can’t wait to go back.
A great site located in a beautiful area but sanitation and Covid security could be better
We camped in the Willow field which is a great camping field. It’s flat and clean and quiet (away from the children’s playground) and they allow open fires in fire pits (with logs available from the campsite). The setting is beautiful and the surrounding area has lots of opportunities for walks and cycle rides. It’s a four minute walk from W1 pitch in the Willow field to the main toilet/shower block but there are new shower sheds on the Willow field which are great and more convenient. There is also one portaloo on the Willow field but surprisingly there is no running water to wash your hands at the toilet - so you either walk to the main toilet block to wash your hands or you do it back at your tent with whatever washing facilities you’ve brought with you. We witnessed a masked and face shielded cleaner cleaning the main toilet block which, along with the contactless check in gave me a degree of confidence on Covid security, However, to get in and out of the Willow field you need to open a large metal gate and there is no hand sanitiser available there. I didn’t see hand sanitiser anywhere else either so you either carry your own or keep walking back to the main toilet block. There are no hand dryers in the toilet block. The restaurant near the site is really good but otherwise you’d need to be fairly self sufficient with food and drink - which is the whole point of camping isn’t it? !!!
The Grebes nest, floating glamping pod on the lake
We've just left from our two night stay at the Grebes nest and it's been absolutely wonderful. We don't have a single bad thing to say, from the private toilet facility to the rowing boat that was secured to our pod, everything was spotlessly clean. The decor is thoughtful and in keeping with the incredible surroundings. Will definitely recommend to everyone wanting a little unique get away.
The experience was very pleasant and relaxing. It was a well tended site great too for young families.
Bearing in mind we have just had restrictions lifted every body staying there was very responsible, the hosts were Friendly and helpful. Facilities were clean and tidy. Great spot as there is a beach not far from the camp site.
We stayed on the Willow Site (non members) which was nice. Spacious pitches and everything you need close by. The lake really is beautiful and you can hire rowboats which we enjoyed. You can buy some very tasty smoked salmon from the deli on the farm, and there are some nice pubs fairly close by. It's a nice walk along the seawall to get to the Jolly Sailor. The owners were very helpful. Overall we loved it and had a great time at Chigborough Farm.
Lovely weekend away
Had a great time at Chigborough Farms. The eating area with the pizza oven was really charming, and the games room was great for an evening round of pool. The corn maze was another nice touch and the hosts were very friendly. Makes for a perfect weekend getaway from London.
Stayed at the willow campsite lovely campsite good facilities. Great for fishing walks and getting back to nature. The hosts were so helpful couldn’t be more friendly and helpful.
The site has great potential, it’s a lovely location, but there are some real negatives I’m afraid. The lavatory facilities are woeful. There are three unisex loos for the whole site. They double up as wet room showers and are accessed from doors in the games room. This means that there are people playing ping pong on the other side of the partition! Ping balls rolled under the door while I was using the loo. There were often queues for the loos, particularly in the mornings when they were being used for showering. The washing up facilities are horrible. There is an old chipped, stained Belfast sink and no drying rack. The site needs closer supervision. We didn’t see anyone from the management, at all. There was no information available about local attractions, walks etc and no reception area. The rubbish bins were not emptied while we were there, so rubbish was piled up and began to smell. The rubbish bins were located right next to the fresh water tap so collecting drinking water was not a pleasant experience. The management of this site needs to get busy, there is a lot of work to do. This was not shabby chic, it was mucky.
Peaceful setting, great facilities
Stayed in the non club camping on willow farm, you have so much space per pitch, it doesn't feel boxed in. Beautiful walks all over the site. The facilities were great, showers really good, some of the best ones I've used whilst camping.
Lots to do and peaceful
We spent 2 nights on the campsite. Pitches are a generous size and the setting is beautiful. Lots of facilities on site without it being overcrowded or too noisy. Very relaxing and an enjoyable weekend. We walked along the path to the Jolly Sailor pub in Heybridge for some food which was great. The showers / toilets are within the wet room and this meant the bathroom floor was often wet and muddy. More squeegees would be helpful or a mop for people to use to keep it more clean and dry. Other than that it was a great site and would use again.
Weve pitched a tent quite a few times now at Chigborough Fisheries & absolutely loved it! Everytime we’ve been the campsites are very spacious even with a lot of people & whenever we needed something the workers on site were absolutely lovely. It’s such a wonderful place for kids as there’s, trails, a corn maze, fishing, and beautiful lakes around! Definitely will be coming back again and again!
Lovely rural location with good facilities
We loved the fire pits, the lake with its ducks, geese and dragonflies, the maze, the cafe nearby, and the friendly owners.
Lovely lakes, rowing boat great place
Nice camping trip will definitely come again
Blissful visit at this quiet, pretty campsite
We spent an impromptu night at Chigborough in our campervan and wished we could stay longer. It was a secluded flat field with only a couple of other tents in and a real sun trap. We enjoyed the fire bowl and an epic dinner at the Rubino Kitchen just minutes walk away. Will definitely be heading back there to spend more time chilling by the fishing lakes and maybe to sample one of the very luxurious looking bell tents or the floating hut on site. Can’t recommend highly enough!
Lovely stay, toilets & showers were clean
Stayed for 2 nights, only one other tent in the field so plenty of choice of where to pitch the tent. Friendly owners and horses woke you in the morning 🙂. Idyllic location very peaceful.
We have just spent Easter weekend at the campsite and it was everything we could have wanted & more! Lovely location with lakes to walk or cycle around. Plenty of space without a sensible number of pitches so you are not squeezed in. Good showers, lovely outdoor kitchen area, games from. The restaurant is amazing! We will definitely be back. Highly recommended.
Chilled out, beautiful experience
Lovely relaxed campsite surrounded by beautiful lakes and more daisies than I've ever seen! Would definitely go back
All of it
I went camping here at the weekend the owner’s have put a lot of thought into this place and I would definitely go back the only thing that recked the weekend was the weather constant rain for two day’s but the owner still went the extra mile well done owner’s
Relaxing holiday in a peaceful setting
We stayed in the kingfisher tent which was very comfortable and close to the amenities. Sam and her family were friendly, helpful and accommodating. The communal tent that was pitched in the field was really useful for cooking and under cover dining. The games room was well equipped, toilets clean, fab pizza oven , lovely grounds. Overall a great time away with the family. Thank you Sam and family!
We stayed here for two nights at Kingfisher and the weather was very warm the tent is warm and comfortable and toilets and showers are clean there is also a great games room where you can play table tennis
Camping in style - Tranquil Essex oasis
We booked the Oystercatcher and Pheasant bell tents for two nights. The tents were really spacious and the beds were very comfortable. Facilities were great. It was great arriving and not having to pitch our tents as the camp was already set up. We loved the fact there were no cars on the glamping site and we ferried our belongings from the car park to the tents in a wheelbarrow. The owner was also extremely helpful in carrying our kit on her motorised buggy. Leaving us with lots of information on where to go and what to do. We loved the little touches on the site; the solar lamps, complimentary wood basket and fire pits and what to do and where to go. We had the field to ourselves (two families with young children) the first night. It was very peaceful and exclusive! We had a very relaxing and enjoyable weekend. I'm a converted glamper! We will definitely be back.
Response from Chigborough Farm
Thank you for your kind comments. We are so glad you enjoyed your stay at Chigborough and hope to see you again soon.