Wild Canvas Camping
The big music festivals may have been cancelled again this year but that doesn’t mean you can’t still find a campsite with a family festival atmosphere. On the banks of the River Great Ouse, Wild Canvas have set about offering exactly that, with tipis from the organisers of the Tipi Field at Glastonbury Festival and a concoction of local food, family-friendly workshops and small-scale DJ sessions that can’t help but meet the appetite of starved festival goers. Think boutique festival camping but without drunken teenagers tripping over your guy ropes in the middle of the night and background beats keeping you awake at 4am. ‘Good vibes only’, as the kids would say.
Popping up for just one month in the stately parkland of Bedfordshire's Turvey House Estate, Wild Canvas has a festival feel without the festival crowds. Camping pitches are more than 15 metres apart, there’s a limit to the number of campers on the site and workshops are all organised in a socially distanced manner where possible. Most take place around the wellbeing yurt or the main canvas hub, where there are pop-up food offerings and a bar, with groovy summer tunes mixed by Wild Canvas' favourite DJs. Not that you have to take part in anything. You can simply kick back and enjoy the space of the campsite and, of course, an evening around a campfire, which are happily welcomed here provided they're raised off the grass.
The setting itself also takes some beating. People are more accustomed to hearing about the Lake District and the South West Coast when it comes to camping, rather than rural Bedfordshire. But the ancient oaks and historic parkland of the Turvey House Estate is the very picture of English beauty too. The river, which flows languidly along the edge of the campsite, is great for a dip on a hot summers day and there are several good footpaths on the doorstep, including the North Bedfordshire Heritage Trail. When the sun's out and the kids are larking around by the river you'd happily claim Bedfordshire is the most beautiful county of them all.
The camping area is vehicle free and it takes less than five minutes to walk to your pitch (wheelbarrows available to borrow). Campfires permitted but must be raised off the grass (logs and charcoal can be pre-ordered or purchased on site and firepits are available to hire). Compost toilets and washing up stations in the main camping meadow, plus additional compost toilets and washing up stations in the tipi meadow. Hot showers just beyond the camping meadow (a two-minute stroll). A communal area, 'Wild HQ', is home to a bar, café and chill-out area and is also where some workshops and activities take place. Due to distancing measures, workshops will be by pre-registration only – in advance of your stay, Wild Canvas will send you a list of daily activities and workshops, which you can book in advance (if there's still availability, you can book on site too). Music and speakers are permitted, though these should be turned down after 9pm (and quit from 10pm).
Tents, small campervans, glampers, families, small groups and chilled-out festival types – yes. Motorhomes, caravans and dogs – no.
Bring bikes to make the most of the area. The relatively flat Ouse Valley provides extensive opportunities for family cycling. In the nearby village of Olney, Emberton Country Park (nine miles away; 01908 252570) has some family-friendly routes around lakes, glades and meadows with cafes and play equipment too. Box End Park (10 miles away; 01234 846222) offers water-based fun on two purpose-built lakes. There's an aqua park playground (suitable for ages six and up) or, for older kids and adults, the opportunity to water ski, wakeboard or enjoy open-water swimming. Woburn Safari Park and Whipsnade Zoos (0344 2251826) are both possible day trips by car (22 and 40 miles from the campsite respectively).
Food & Drink
If Wild Canvas is about offering festival-style camping then, of course, that means plenty of festival food. In Wild HQ there's a café (where you can also order a picnic box option to take away) and a bar (Baa Rum Baa), where you can sample the local ales and ciders to the sounds of Wild Canvas Radio. For those staying in tipis, a breakfast hamper or meal boxes can be ordered at Wild HQ the night before, delivered direct to your tipi. Elsewhere, there are two pubs in Turvey and two in Carlton, the thatched Fox (01234 720235) probably being the pick of the punch. A mile and a half away the Church Farm Dairy (07796 446896) is a must-visit. The farm shop sells local produce but, above all, is known for it's superb ice-cream.
Late July and August only.
PricingCamping starts from £26 per person for adults and £12 for children aged between 3-16. Infants 0-3 years are free of charge. Traditional tipis are £160 per night for 2 people, minimum 3 nights. Additional occupants after this are charged as per camping.
The Owner Says
A pop-up camping experience with a family-friendly festive spirit, gorgeous, traditional Tipis, modern Tipi Tents, and generously-spaced pitches for regular campers.
We are very excited to announce a brand new, river side location for 2021 and can’t wait to welcome guests, old and new, for another wonderful few weeks of summer camping joy.
Wild Canvas is a place to experience the freedom of simple living, comfortable yet connected to the elements, a festival spirit, quality local food and drink, family-friendly workshops, a range of wellness activities and a very gentle summer soundtrack at Wild HQ. Our workshops and activities program will be revealed in due course.
Contact Wild Canvas Camping, Coppey Moor Cottage, Turvey, Bedfordshire MK43 8EQ
The nearest, main line train station is Bedford (Thameslink) with regular trains from Kings Cross. From there you will be able to take busses (number 41) to the village of Turvey (direction Northampton). The campsite is just under a mile from the village.
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Rated ★★★★★ over 1 reviews
a positive and memorable camping experience
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