Swallowtails

UK England East Anglia Norfolk Holt

  • 10+ metres between camping pitches
  • Staggered showering times
  • Distance markers in shared facilities
  • Contactless check in
  • Deep cleaning of shared facilities
  • Deep clean between glamping guests
  • Individual toilets for glamping accommodation
  • Individual toilets per camping pitch
  • Children’s playground
  • Campfires allowed
  • Groups welcome
  • Campfires Allowed
  • Short walk to pub
  • Beaches nearby
  • Good walks nearby
  • Beaches
  • Short walk to the pub
  • Walking
A 'best of both worlds' glamping and camping site in Norfolk with a secluded feel yet ample attractions just a stroll beyond the hedge-line

We love the kind of campsites that feel utterly remote. Where long narrow roads lead you seemingly into nowhere and nights have a silence that’s only disturbed by the hooting of owls and rustling of rabbits. But even better is a campsite with all the same winning traits – back-to-nature freedom, dark starry nights and that semi-wilderness feel – yet when you set out beyond the bushy boundaries you discover that, actually, civilization is within incredibly easy reach. It’s precisely this category that Swallowtails falls into.

A mile outside of Holt in the countryside of the North Norfolk Coast AONB, Swallowtails is a ‘best of both worlds’ sort of location. The Georgian town is within easy walking distance (and home to a host of excellent eateries), while the expansive coastline, a collection of beaches, dunes and marshland, is speedily reached by bike or car. It’s all very immediate, accessible and on your doorstep, yet the site still feels distant and cut off. Mature trees surround every side of the camping meadows – a flat, grassy glade without electrical hook-ups – and kids are encouraged to build dens in the woods or head out in search of wildlife. The space is, in fact, owned by the Holt Hall Outdoor Learning Centre, so the ‘get kids active’ ethos should come as no surprise.

It’s not just the location that offers options, though. Whether you’re a traditional tenter, a campervan couple or a family in need of more high-end luxury options they have an adequate array to suit. The regular pitches offer ample room, with small hiker’s tents intermingled with larger family tunnels, and raised firepits are allowed. Luxury, meanwhile, comes in the form of fully furnished yurts, featuring king sized beds, wood burning stoves and a family sized gas BBQ. Bedding, towels, tea towels, rugs and blankets are all provided, as is a six-person wicker picnic hamper full of all the crockery, cutlery and utensils you could possibly need.

Offsite the most obvious distraction is the coast. Nearby Blakeney is a family favourite, owing to the ferries that chug out to Blakeney Point where a 500-strong colony of common and grey seals reside. And the beach beyond Salthouse also offers something slightly different – it is one of very few pebble beaches along this sandy stretch of coast and a fantastic place to watch the waves crash on stormier days. Despite all this, and Holt’s walkable accessibility, it’s not uncommon to spend much of your time at the campsite itself. Art workshops, nature activities, pizza oven building, foraging and apple pressing are just a small collection of the wide-ranging activities the campsite offers, as well as three special food nights a week during school summer holidays (two for pizza making, one for Asian street food). The real question you end up asking by the end of you stay is whether you came to visit Norfolk or simply to visit Swallowtails itself? To us, there’s not really a wrong answer!

Our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee

Book with complete confidence at Swallowtails with the Cool Camping Coronavirus Booking Guarantee. We guarantee the following clear policy for your booking:

  • A low deposit of 20% to secure your booking
  • Balance due 10 days before your holiday
  • Complete flexibility to move bookings for up to 18 months in the event of Coronavirus restrictions
  • Due to the flexibility provided we are unable to offer refunds
  • This guarantee supersedes any other policies

Click here to read the full terms

Details

Facilities

Toilets, showers, children's play area, table tennis, badminton and a small football pitch, supplies shack, freezers for re-freezing cool blocks, washing up hut, a lake with a pond dipping platform (and nets/trays to borrow), woodland and a den building area. 2 kids' activity days a week, nightly communal campfires, bat walks, nature walks and art workshops, plus 3 food nights a week during summer school holidays (2 pizza nights, 1 Asian street food night). See website for further activities information. Luxury yurts include a king-sized bed and daybed (which doubles as a sofa) with a pull out single mattress trundle (bedding and towels provided); a wood burning stove, gas BBQ, candles and lighting, water dispenser and a hamper with all the cooking wares you could possibly need for self catering.

Suitable For

Glampers, campers, campervans, well-behaved groups of friends – yes. Dogs, groups larger than 20 people (unless exclusively booking the whole site) – no. Swallowtails can also be an event or retreat venue where the whole site can be hired.

Nearby

The Norfolk Coast Cycleway extends all the way around the coast and the Holt Explorer Route is close to the campsite, picked up from the end of Kelling Road. The route includes the Wildflower Centre at Natural Surroundings (01263 711091) and the charming Glandford Shell Museum (01263 740081). The campsite can often organise cycle hire through Huff and Puff Cycle Hire (07500 865095) if you enquire in advance. Walkers will enjoy a footpath from Holt that takes you to the rare salt marshes of Cley and beyond to Blakeney Point where you can get up close to the seal colonies. It also links up with the extensive North Norfolk Coast Path. There are a number of delightful woodland walks close by too, including Holt Country Park (01263 513811) and the National Trust properties of Sheringham Park (01263 820550), Felbrigg Hall (01263 837444) and Blickling Hall, home of Ann Bolynn (01263 738030). Perhaps most importantly, however, are the beaches. Sheringham is a family favourite, backed by the traditional seaside town, and West Runton (great for rockpooling), Cromer (great for crabbing off the pier) and Overstrand beaches are also close by. It's a 40 minute drive to Norwich, the same to the Norfolk Broads and around the same to popular family attraction BeWilderwood (01692 633033).

Food & Drink

Monday night hosts an Asian streetfood night in the school summer holidays and Tuesday and Friday nights are pizza nights at Swallowtails – campers make their own pizzas and cook them in the earth ovens. Swallowtails also often sell local ciders and ales in the supplies shack, along with milk and other essentials. Elsewhere, Holt is within easy walking distance and has everything you need. The Owl Café (01263 713232) is a quaint little tea room serving homemade food throughout the day or try Byfords (01263 711400), a well known establishment in Holt, offering everything from tea and cake through to a 3 course meals. Open 7 days a week, Byford’s is located in what is thought to be the oldest building in Holt. Bakers & Larner (01263 712244) is another staple of the village, a fantastic food hall selling local produce and food from around the world, while, right in the centre of town, The Watermark Wine Bar & Restaurant (01263 710790) serves a varied menu throughout the day and plenty of wine for the evening! With kids, head to Letheringsett, where The King’s Head (01263 712691) has a huge garden for little ones to run wild in.

Opening Times

Easter–end of October (weekends only during term time).

Why book with Cool Camping?

  • Coronavirus Booking Guarantee
  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

The Owner Says

Swallowtails ticks all the boxes for the perfect camping holiday. Situated just a couple of miles from the beautiful North Norfolk coastline yet close to the vibrant town of Holt with its many array of gastro pubs, galleries, antique shops and the well known food hall, Bakers and Larners. The site is hidden away within the tranquil woodland glade of Holt Hall Environmental Outdoor Learning Centre, well away from any roads. Unfortunately no dogs allowed. We are a couple who have lived in Norfolk since moving from London in 2005. In Freya’s case, it was a return to her home county after an eleven year absence in London studying and working as a scenic artist for theatre, film and television. We are environmentally minded and try to limit our impact on the environment as much as possible. We spend a lot of time at the campsite with our two children during the time that the campsite is open and really enjoy getting to know our guests.

Video Tour

Accommodation

16 camping pitches (no electrical hook-ups), 5 luxury yurts for hire (4 sleeping up to 6 people, 1 sleeping up to 8) and a luxury Lotus Belle tent (sleeping 4).

Bluebell 6M (no charging points)

Bell tent Sleeps 4
6m Self Catering Luxury 'Lotus Belle' Tent. There is a wood burning stove with space on top to boil your kettle (also provided). You also have a large family sized gas BBQ. All bedding, towels, tea towels are provided.

Stargazer - Extra Large Luxury Yurt

Yurt or Ger Sleeps 6
Our stylish extra large luxury yurt has a king sized beds and 2 single daybeds with pull out single mattress trundles and sleeps 6 people - any additional people (up to 2 additional people) above 6 people, will be sleeping on camp beds with bedding provided. All yurts are felt insulated to keep you cosy in the night and cool in the day.

Meadowsweet Luxury Yurt

Yurt or Ger Sleeps 5 4 Available
Our stylish luxury yurts have king sized beds and single daybeds with pull out single mattress trundles and sleep 4 people. Any additional people (up to 1 extra person) above 4 people, will be sleeping on a camp bed with bedding provided. All yurts are felt insulated to keep you cosy in the night and cool in the day.

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Location

Contact Swallowtails, Swallowtails Retreat, Rudds Farm, Plantation Lane, Swanton Novers, NR242RF

Show Map

Getting There

From the A148, turn down the High Street and follow the road past the garage. As the road veers left, take the left turning (Kelling Road) signposted 'Holt Hall'. At the edge of the town where the town meets the countryside, turn left down a long drive with a white picket fencing at the entrance of Holt Hall. Follow signs for 'Swallowtails' around to your right as you near the main house. Report to Reception/Supplies Shack on arrival. The Coasthopper bus service (01553 776980) offers a whole day ticket allowing you to jump on and off at any point and runs all the way along the North Norfolk coastal road. The closest bus stop is in Weybourne which is just up the road from the campsite. The North Norfolk Railway Line (01263 820800; known locally as the Poppy Line) starts close by at Holt Train Station (01263 710480) destined for the seaside town of Sheringham. There are regular trains to Norwich and beyond from Sheringham. Alternatively, the Bure Valley Miniature Railway (01263 733858) departs from town of Aylsham and takes you to Wroxham at the heart of the Norfolk Broads.

Reviews

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Rated ★★★★★ over 5 reviews

★★★★☆

Great tent - comfortable and easy enough for family with young children to enjoy all the best bits of camping.

We had booked a yurt. On arrival we realised that the change to the pop-up retreat site meant that this had been altered to a lotus bell tent. However the tent met our needs perfectly - very comfortable beds, wood-burning stove, breakfast table and decent plates, cups etc being the main luxuries. The bank holiday weather was hit and miss, so the extra comfort was much appreciated. We managed to get the gas bbq lit after some effort and problem solving in the windy conditions and it did the job cooking simple meals. There are also local options for eating out, including a great chip shop in holt. The chemical toilets were pretty standard and were fine for the three days of our stay - it was good that each family had there own dedicated portaloo. The private shower in an events trailer was surprisingly good. Really nice country walks nearby and the coast is 30 mins drive. The site felt safe for our young children (with sensible precautions). The initial verbal instructions on arrival from our host were friendly but a little rushed and confused. However, anything we didn't catch first time we managed to work out. The main area that could be improved is probably communication. The instructions and the details/pictures on the website all relate to the previous site. The reality of the new site is quite different. We didn't mind too much, since it is in the context of the owner's business having to adapt to difficult circumstances - if the change is long term, I would hope that they amend their advertising for the next season to make it more representative. Overall we would recommend the holiday we had to anyone - particularly young families. The main issue for my family now is that we have set the bar so high at our first attempt for future camping trips with the kids.
★★★★★

well equipped and peaceful break in beautiful surroundings

This was a wonderful holiday in beautiful surroundings I am not a camper so always a bit apprehensive of going to a tent- I needn't of worried - we hired a bell tent, which was amazing - everything you needed was there including a stove, BBQ and raised fire pit - Also we had access to private toilet and shower The tents really were home from home - spacious warm and furnished beautifully Very well managed and the space for each family was huge. The location was very good too - very centrally located for all the places you would want to visit I would recommend these guys to anyone and we will certainly be going back
★★★★★

well equipped and peaceful break in beautiful surroundings

This was a wonderful holiday in beautiful surroundings I am not a camper so always a bit apprehensive of going to a tent- I needn't of worried - we hired a bell tent, which was amazing - everything you needed was there including a stove, BBQ and raised fire pit - Also we had access to private toilet and shower The tents really were home from home - spacious warm and furnished beautifully Very well managed and the space for each family was huge. The location was very good too - very centrally located for all the places you would want to visit I would recommend these guys to anyone and we will certainly be going back
★★☆☆☆

Amazing tents, poor site

The beautiful Lotus Bell Tents are absolutely amazing. Keep the light and heat out, nice and warm, lots of space, comfy beds. Log burner inside for cold evenings. The main problem with our stay was the poor site (Swallowtails Retreat) and the lack of anyone onsite to deal with issues. Some of this is understandable as this is a ‘pop up’ site in a field, as their usual site is unavailable due to the pandemic. It’s great they have been able to find somewhere to host the bell tents. However, the field is full of nettles and we all go stung repeatedly, especially the children. The chemical toilets were not cleaned or emptied all week, and were disgusting by the end especially in the heat. The person who greeted us on arrival was stressed and unfriendly, and was quite rude to our friends who she had given incorrect information to. We never saw or met the owners the whole week, no one came to see if things were ok, there was no one to go to if there were any problems (we did get some response to text messages, but phone signal is intermittent, and emails were ignored). The washing up area is just some tables and a tap. There is nowhere to drain or empty water, you just chuck it on the ground. Overall, we would not pay these prices again for this standard of site. We heard very good things about Swallowtails usual site, but the consensus from other campers was that this site is no comparison and poor value.
Aug 19, 2020 by James
★★★★★

Gorgeous place to stay. Peaceful, adventurous and brilliant facilities.

Beautiful setting, fabulous woodlands for adventures for the little ones abc a communal fire pit and pizza making nights. Felt very welcome and safe, I was camping without my other half, with my two children. Brilliant location too.
Jun 1, 2019 by Melanie

Why book with Cool Camping?

  • Coronavirus Booking Guarantee
  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

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