Chalk House, Lenham Road, Kent ME17 1NQ
If you’re one of those people who lie awake at night fretting over whether you prefer camping in a field or in a wood – there’s no shame in it, there are millions of us out there – you’ll be relieved to learn that there is a select posse of sites that offers both, one of which is Welsummer.
On arrival, the site appears quite conventional: a short track off a minor road leads up to two small, flat camping fields. However, go through an unobtrusive gate underneath a beech tree and you enter a dense dark wood harbouring half-a-dozen pitches, which can only be described as naturalistic – the owners, Laura and Med, may have to point them out to you before you realise where they are. This is quite deliberate as Laura used to camp in these woods as a child and her aim is to offer others a taste of the joys she experienced back then. Situated on a smallholding with chickens roaming around a copse, bees zipping in and out of hives, and a miniature orchard containing native English apples, Welsummer is a laidback campsite that wears its quirky touches lightly (rainbow-coloured windsock, anyone?).
For those wanting more than a traditional grassy camping spot there is also a charming old Wendy's House that the couple have converted into a cosy glamping den. With its proper bed, table and chairs, this tiny hut has everything you need to stay warm and dry. The green, wood finish allows the exterior to blend subtly into the surroundings, while the inside is small without being cramped. A cluster of bell tents mean any remaining glampers are catered for too, with a few different sizes to match your needs.
Prepare to make friends here. This is the sort of place where meals are shared with strangers, especially with those who make the schoolboy error of not lighting their fire early enough in the evening to cook their jacket potatoes by a reasonable hour, so end up stuffing themselves with that haut cuisine of al fresco cooking: the half-incinerated marshmallow.
The Owner SaysCome and join us at our woodland retreat in Kent for some laid back fun in a picturesque setting. Welsummer is located just 2 miles from Lenham or Harrietsham. Many families, young couples, and older ones too, have enjoyed peaceful afternoons under the beech tree accompanied by the song thrush, the perfume of the bluebells, and the rustle of a pheasant through the undergrowth. Our accommodation options include woods and meadow pitches plus a variety of glamping options too! Facilities are simple but pretty, and we do our best to use renewable resources and eco friendly products where possible! Sheltered area and small cafe/shop onsite.
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I found Welsummer a really endearing campsite, mainly because it’s packed with little touches that make you think the owners really have both your convenience and the planet in mind. So for instance, there is a draining board above the sink, and bowls for the washing up; a collection of leftover toiletries in the ladies in case you’ve forgotten your own; a shop selling eggs, wood, etc; the owners will freeze your coolbag blocks overnight for 20p a block; raw and cooked food waste composting, recycling and bins, and so on. They really make you feel welcome and that they want you to have a good time, I really appreciated their approach. The two small fields can seem a little packed, although you quickly get used to being close to other campers, and at least they are near the facilities; if you have a smaller tent you can camp in the woods among trees, which is really special. There are bell tents in the large top field which is also where you park – there is lots of space here for playing ball games etc. Highly recommended.
Laid back and pretty
This is a really nice campsite. Laid back, spacious and pretty. The owners are really hand off, which is nice, but they are definitely there if you need them. The fire pits were great and the pitches in the wood seemed really secluded. We were in the field which was great for being close to the facilities and shaded by the gorgeous oak tree. The woods were perfect for our boys to ride around on their bikes and the nearest pub was a lovely walk away through fields with delicious food. We'll be back!
This family friendly place is charming and the couple that run it really understand the balance between wild times camping under canvas and home comforts necessary for survival. We felt at the same time well looked after and left to the enjoyment of the kent countryside. Everywhere you turn there is a quirky addition, a unique boho touch, and you get the feeling that over the years this will continue to grow and improve as they add vintage touches here and there and cultivate the natural environment with woven fences herb gardens etc. If you're in this area camping this is an ideal site for a fire, some beers and some chills.
I stayed for one night in a bell tent with my husband and two
children (7 & 9), the campsite is really lovley I loved everything about it
and we would definitely go back in a heartbeat. The toilets are clean as are
the showers. We had lots of space and privacy which was great. The little
touches around the site make it homely and sweet. Loved it!!!!
Deciding to have a late-in-the-season last camping trip, I searched for the perfect campsite for us and Welsummer ticked every single box! As we arrived, the site was peaceful and after a warm welcome and organising the finances we were shown to our site in the woodland area. Far too few sites have anything other than a non-descript field but Welsummer's woodland camping is beautiful!
The pitch had its own fire pit so bought a bag of firewood (including kindling) and pitched our tents under the chestnut trees. Although the site was very quiet this late in the season, there were another group in the woods but we hardly heard a sound other than the wind in the trees and our fire crackling.
Welsummer, as has been mentioned in other reviews, is an absolute gem of a campsite. Although having camped in some beautiful locations, I can't remember a site than has more to offer if you're looking for a natural, peaceful and 'real' camping experience. The facilities are very pleasant with two showers and two loos and outdoor sinks for washing up and water containers.
Only just over an hour travel from the craziness of central London and a short taxi ride (best to book in advance, we found) we were all relaxed and enjoying the wonderful surroundings. Absolutely recommended and we'll be back as soon as possible!
We camped in the woods of this lovely site. Pitches are allocated to a point but you do have some choice of where to pitch. We arrived on a Friday evening, but although it was busy there was still plenty of space. There are fire pits by each pitch and campfire fun is encouraged. Our shady spot in the woods was peaceful and quiet. The site itself is beautiful, surrounded by heaving apple trees and a cherry orchard. The whole place is tidy and well kept.
There are only two showers (the site holds around 20 tents) but this was not a problem when we were there. The toilets are clean and flushing, no long drops here!
There is a small shop which sells local meat and eggs from Nugget and Spice (the resident chickens of the site) as well as wood, firelighters and marshmallows amongst other delights.
Family of 4+ small dog - one night stay in our own tent. The minute you pull off the M20 and down into the heart of mid kent you feel relaxed - narrow lanes, orchards, and farm buildings. As you pull into the gate of this campsite you can sense it is special. After all this was why we selected it!
We had a great pitch catching the evening sun and plenty of grass - next to a meadow play field the size of Wembly. We had a lovely walk through the sites woods and through nearby orchards, picking endless wild blackberries from the hedgerows. Mid kent has some hills making wonderful views.
For food we stocked up in Lenham - 100% picture postcard with bakery (soso), village shop (bril), grocer (bril) and teashop (home baked).
Dinner in the campsite eating the owners oven warm bread (to order) and bacon.
All facilities feel eco (which we can live with), simple, clean with small touches that go the extra mile. Owners are a delight and happy to natter if you want, but never imposing the campers.
Would we come again - most certainly! And luxury tents look most tempting!
Awesome campsite in a beautiful location! My husband and I had a really chilled out 2 weeks in the gorgeous Kentish countryside and would definitely stay again!
Good bits - loads of space, campfires, friendly owners, local produce, lovely surroundings, close to lots of activities (walking, pub, Canterbury, coastal areas, castles etc.), environmentally friendly
On the flip side - you can hear the M20 at night but it is really not that bad, the toilets are communal (men and women) but its not the end of the world as the facilities are really clean and we never had to queue for the showers.
We took our own tent but the pre-erected tents looked amazing! If you are only staying for a couple of nights then it is definitely the way forward.
Overall, we wouldn't hesitate to stay again and are telling all of our friends and family about this gem of a campsite!
Having had yet another great weekend camping at Welsummer I felt I had to write a review about this marvellous place. It has everything you need for a great time. I went with husband, kids (9 and 4), dog and another family who also had kids and a thoroughly good time was had by all.
Firstly, the pitches. They are a really good size and each has its own firepit. They are nicely spaced out so you don't feel squashed in. The facilities are decent, the new family bathroom is very useful especially if you have younger children - I wish it had been there when we first started going 3 years ago! The water is heated by log-burners, this is in keeping with Laura and Med's eco-friendly policy and practically anything can be recycled.
The kids have an absolute ball, be it playing in the field, exploring the woodland or simply chilling out around the campsite. Last weekend I barely saw my eldest. It is rare these days to find somewhere that children can have so much freedom. They also tend to meet new friends which is lovely for them all and really good for their social skills and confidence.
Welsummer is set in a lovely area and there is plenty to do (or nothing if that's what you've come for!). Leeds Castle is close by, as is the little village of Lenham or Headcorn (slightly larger).
I have recommended Welsummer to all my friends and they all agree what a truly special place it is.