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Relaxed camping in the New Forest with a great pub right on the doorstep

The best campsites for families are those that are run by families and there’s no denying the credentials of Red Shoot Camping Park on that front. The same family have now been running the place for over half a century and bulbs and saplings planted when they first took over have now flourished into a green and well laid out camping space. The largely open, grassy meadow is peppered with magnificently mature trees along its edge, while the remaining gaps are bordered by a thick hedge offering shelter and natural greenry. It’s simple yet appealing. All that family hard work has paid off.

The field itself has around 100 grass-only pitches, near half of which have electricity, resulting in a pleasant mix of campervans, caravans and a spread of family tents. While the general vibe is of a relaxed, traditional feel – kids head straight for the playground to let off post car-journey steam – their facilities are very much of the modern kind. There’s under floor heating throughout the toilet block, along with handy touches like hairdryers for the ladies and a large family shower room, while the reception shop is like a campsite-tardis, defying its size with a stock of almost everything you could need.

The location, meanwhile, offers the best of both worlds. Within the New Forest, you can hop on a bike and camp without ever needing your car – perhaps the best way to get close to the flora and fauna the national park is so famous for. Yet when you do buckle up again, there’s not only the New Forest on your doorstep but also the beaches of Bournemouth and the south coast, allowing you to flit between seaside shenanigans and a weekend in the woods.

Perhaps the most convenient part of the location is the family-friendly pub that’s on the doorstep. After a long day on the hoof you can nestle down in one of the pew-like wooden chairs in the Red Shoot Inn for a pint of Muddy Boot and recall all of the reasons you booked this campsite in the first place. Space, check. Facilities, check. Family-friendly, check. Things to do, check. A good local pub within walking distance, check and check. Probably all the same reasons that you’ll come back again.

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