Alby Wild Camping

UK England East Anglia Norfolk Norwich

  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • Short walk to pub
  • Beaches nearby
  • Good walks nearby
Small-scale back-yard camping with campfires, a 10-minute drive from the Norfolk coast

It's hard to believe the Kemp family own a static caravan park on the coast. After all, the other campsite they offer, practically in their back garden, is the very antithesis of the holiday park scene. It's small (there are around 20 pitches all told) and only tents are allowed. Throw in the fact that campfires are welcome, free-range chickens share the space and young families make up the majority of campers and you get the picture: Alby Wild Camping is about traditional camping of old.

Opened for the first time in 2021, the campsite, set in the acreage behind a compact Victorian manor house, is parcelled up by shrubs and trees to create a smaller, more intimate feel. There are two camping areas. You can choose from the well-trimmed former orchard – simply pitch where you like – or, on the other side of some trees, there are 10 individually mown pitches in an old hay meadow, with grass left long and wild in between. New facilities, meanwhile, have been purpose built for the campsite in an old stable building and there's also an additional composting loo in a corner of the hay meadow area.

Campers aren't the only ones to enjoy the grounds of Alby Hall. You can collect eggs from the free-range hens, perhaps for a fried breakfast cooked over the campfire, and there's also a pair of gregarious rare-breed pigs, Michelle and Julie, in a far corner. You're welcome to join owners, Alice and Matt, and help rattle the bucket and provide the two pigs with their daily feed. The pigs seem to be of particular fascination to children, who, like Matt and Alice's own children, are generally at home at the campsite, enjoying the ample free space left for games and the trees to climb.

While the nearby A-road does mean there's some occasional road noise, the upshot is easy access to the best of Norfolk. Two National Trust estates – Felbrigg and Blickling – vie for your attention within less than 10 minutes of the campsite and it's 10 minutes, too, to the coast around Cromer, where you can try crabbing off the pier, swimming in a life-guarded stretch of sea or walk a particularly beautiful stretch of the Norfolk Coast Path between Cromer and Overstrand. Not that you need go that far. There's an intriguing set of craft shops and a café a couple of minutes walk from your tent and one of Norfolk's best pubs, the Gunton Arms, a pleasant one-hour walk away.

Details

Facilities

Choose from one of two fields, The Orchard or The Hay Paddock. In the former you can pitch where you like, under the trees or in a sunnier spot around the edge, while, in the Hay Paddock, there are pre-cut pitches with views across the open farmland (great for watching the sunset). Grass is left to grow free between pitches and the two camping areas are separated by a row of trees. Proper flushing loo and hot shower in a converted stable building, plus a composting loo in the old hay meadow. Drinking water point. Freezers for re-freezing ice-packs and power points available near the side of the orchard. Firepits for hire and logs for sale. Some road noise from the A140.

Suitable For

Tents, dogs (maximum two per booking), families, couples – yes. Campervans, caravans, noisy folk and single-sex groups of more than six people – no.

Nearby

It's a five-minute walk to Alby Crafts (01263 761652), a local barn conversion complex that's home to a superb café, craft shops, a pottery studio and more, and five minutes by car into Aylsham, a pleasant market town with a good antiques shop, more cafés and a farmers market on the first Saturday of each month. Aylsham is also a good place to pick up the Weaver's Way if you like walking (it's an easy route following the path of an old railway line and suitable for cycling, too, in many places). There are two National Trust properties less than 10 minutes from the campsite. Blickling (01263 738030) is best if you want to visit the gardens (paid entry for the main garden and house) or find intrigue in the grounds, including woods, a tower, a mausoleum and a good lake to walk around with views of the back of the 17th-century hall. But choose Felbrigg (01263 837444) if you want big, classic estate grounds, grazed by sheep and with a more open setting – it too has a lake and there's a nice circular walk from the Jacobean hall, to the church, across to the lake and back via the woods, taking in the kitchen garden by the main car park to finish off with. Of course, you don't come to this part of Norfolk without spending a decent bit of time on the coast. It's a 10-minute drive to Cromer – walk the beach eastwards to Overstrand then return along the clifftop coastal path beside the golf course, finishing with fish and chips at the end – the town is home to a pier and a good number of shops and pubs. Sheringham Beach and Sheringham Park are also within a 15 minute drive, while more marshy stretches of the coastline, around Salthouse, Cley and Blackney are within half an hour and are particularly good for birdwatching, with some of the most interesting stretches of the Norfolk Coast Path.

Food & Drink

The nearest pub is the Alby Horse Shoes (01263 761378) near the entrance to Alby Crafts (01263 761652) where there's a good tearooms and café. But it's worth driving the five-or-so minutes to the Buck Arms (01263 732133) or the Black Boys (01263 732122) in Aylsham or, by day, visiting one of the two excellent butchers there, as well as the Bread Source bakery (01263 733733) and Charlie Hodson's cheese deli. For a real treat, the campsite practically backs on to the Gunton Estate, where the old gatehouse is now a superb, award-winning restaurant (01263 832010) that specialises in venison and cooks steaks and meats over a huge open fire in the middle of the dining room (where an enormous set of elk antlers adorn the wall). The owner is also an at dealer by trade, so expect striking art work on the walls and there's an excellent atmosphere, with tables outside for drinks, too, with views over the deer park. If you're on the coast, enjoy sea views with your fish and chips from Galton Blackiston's award-winning fish and chip restaurant, No. 1 (01263 515983), or head further up the coast to The Dun Cow (01263 740467) at Salthouse (a good place to combine a meal with watching the sunset on Salthouse's pebble beach).

Open

July and August only.

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The Owner Says

A back-to-nature, pop-up campsite, close to Norwich and the North Norfolk coastline. Located within the backyard fields of Alby Hall, our family-run site makes the ideal base from which to explore Norfolk.

Pitches

Room for around 20 pitches in total; 10 in the pitch-where-you-like orchard and 10 that are individually mown into the long grass of the old hay meadow.

Orchard

Grass pitch Sleeps 10 10 Available
Amongst the trees in the orchard. Our free range pigs are located in the far corner of this field. The Old Stables is located at the side of the field with the Wash Up area next to it.

Hay Paddock

Grass pitch Sleeps 10 10 Available
Farmland views, sunny, spacious pitches. The compost toilet and a drinking water tap are located in the Hay Paddock

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Location

Contact Alby Wild Camping, Alby Hall, Alby, Norwich, Norfolk NR11 7HA

Show Map

Getting There

Follow the A140 towards Cromer from Norwich and go past Aylsham. You will enter a 40mph zone at Alby With Thwaite and pass Alby Crafts on your left (there's a brown tourist sign there). The Downtide Centre (caravan sales) and a BP garage will be on your right. Alby Wild Camping is just after this on the right hand side – look out for the fencing and pull into the metal gates at the end of the fence. If you reach the end of the 40mph speed zone, you've gone too far.

From Cromer, follow the A140 towards Norwich. Go over the mini roundabouts at Roughton and continue for a further two miles. Shortly after you enter the 40mph zone at Alby With Thwaite, pull into the metal gates on your left hand side. If you reach the BP garage you've gone too far.

Regular buses run along the A140 that passes the site between Cromer, Aylsham and Norwich – the route you want is 44, 44A, X44 or X40. There is a stop just outside Alby Crafts and The Downtide Centre just down the road from Alby Wild Camping (ask for the Alby Crafts stop and the bus driver will know it).

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Why book with Cool Camping?

  • 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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