Gooseberry Field Campsite

UK England South East England Kent

Thorne House, Smarden Road, Pluckley, Kent TN27 0RE

Luxury glamping accommodation in an old Kentish orchard. 

Having left Shoreditch and their city jobs three years ago, John and Kerstin describe themselves as, “aging post-punk hippies”, but, while Gooseberry Field may be so laid back it’s almost horizontal, you don’t have to be a seasoned Glastonbury goer to appreciate what the couple offer here. Set in the grassy meadow remains of what was once an ancient apple orchard, Gooseberry Field Camping is the realisation of their long-term, city dreams – to head out into the countryside, enjoy the most local of local produce and chill out beneath the stars beside a roaring campfire.

A convenient 15-minute drive or taxi from Ashford International Station (or an hour and 20 minutes from London); this is a campsite in the heartland of Kent that still boasts easy connections to highfalutin life in central London. No matter where you’re coming from, though, Gooseberry Field offers a true escape into rural seclusion. Comprised of five lovingly furnished bell tents, a tipi and a vintage 70’s caravan, it’s a place that very much appeals to all tastes and budgets. Those with their own bell tents are also welcome and, if you fancy the glamping style but don’t want every trimming, you can even rent a bell tent without the interior furnishings.

Whatever you choose, comforts at Gooseberry Field extend far beyond a well-made bed. Spread around a five acre field, the campsite drops down a grassy tier to where a raised, south-facing terrace provides space to kick back in the sun or enjoy the sparkly night sky. Most dawdling at this spot is done while someone stokes the wood-fired hot tub a short walk away. There’s no denying it’s one of the site’s quirky treasures, a real luxury for any camping holiday.

In keeping with the ‘Good Life’ aspirations of anyone moving out of London, there’s an element of renewed agricultural activity here. Pigs provide sausages and bacon for breakfasts, chickens provide eggs, a small veg patch bursts with seasonal produce and, beside the terrace, a herb garden means you can garnish your barbequed meat with freshly picked rosemary. The ancient orchard origins are also being restored. Though almost all of the original apple trees are gone, the few remaining provide ample produce for homemade cider each autumn and John and Kerstin have now planted a further 150 trees along with, of course, a cluster of gooseberry bushes that give the site its name.

It’s no surprise, then, that cooking is a fairly central part of life here and not the usual hindrance to a rural camping trip. Nice touches like cool boxes and Dutch ovens at every pitch mean you’re well facilitated to tackle recipes over the campfire, while on the terrace a large wood fired oven is perfect for cooking pizzas or slow roasting dishes overnight. There's also a charcoal bbq and a superb hot smoker, available for all to use.

Beyond the campsite the quaint little village Pluckley has a resistance against commercialisation that suits its name, with a tiny grocery store and a proper independent butcher, plus there’s a handy farm shop to finish of the job. With all that on the doorstep you could easily stay the weekend and never need the car!

The Owner Says

Having lived and worked in the city for 20 years we know how important your down time is. At Gooseberry field we want you to arrive and feel immediately relaxed and able to de-stress. 

Our focus is on traditional camping and cooking, working with nature rather than fighting against it. We use traditional canvas bell tents for our accommodation and provide bbq and cooking facilities at each pitch, fuelled with oak logs from our local forest. Its great to see our visitors unwinding around their open fires with a slow cook casserole simmering away in the dutch oven.

On our terrace is a large wood fired oven and separate bbq, which provides a nice focus area for evening cooking if you prefer to meet and mingle with other guests, rather than staying at your own tent. We have had some fabulous pizza nights through the summer where families have all shared ingredients, toppings and conversation.

We have a wood fired hot tub which is lit every weekend. Its the perfect place from which to watch the sunset after the kids are in bed, with a glass of wine or beer in hand. 

Our showers are clean and light with lots of space in them with plenty of room to hang clothes and towels. We want you to have room to get your young kids in with you.

We try to provide everything you will need during your stay for one fixed price, without any hidden extra costs. For our glamping customers all linen is provided, along with the use of all the cooking facilities; the wood fired oven, fire pits, all pots, pans, crockery, and dutch ovens. Use of the hot tub is included, so is your first basket of logs , with kindling and fire lighters.

Gooseberry field is a working small-holding, and as such we invite you to share our seasonal produce as it becomes ready for harvest throughout the summer months. Our fresh available ingredients range from strawberries and seasonal veg through to eggs from our chickens, depending upon the time of your visit.  We also have our own Gooseberry field produce available to purchase, such as apple juice from our orchard, pork sausages from our pigs and a selection of jams , chutneys and preserved foods.

We welcome both families with children and couples looking for a spot of quality time.

See you in the summer!

John and Kerstin

Reviews

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★★★★★

Magical laidback cool

Jun 27, 2017 by hellolexie

We have just returned from our second stay at Gooseberry Fields and once again we were not dissapointed. Kerstin and John work hard to create the perfect vibe and make sure guests feel as relaxed and at home as possible. The site is utterly gorgeous with fully kitted out bell tents and space for two pitch your owns. We have our own bell which we have used both times and the pitch is next to an incredibe outdoor covered kitchen area (bring your own cooker/pots and pans) which made a huge difference to us! There are two showers and one seperate toilet (which always surprises me that there are NEVER any queues at!!) and all are beautifully decorated and very spacious. But without doubt the absolute highlight of the place is the incrediable wood fired oven which is fired up every Saturday evening. The area surrounding it is very social and has lots of prep area if you want to go all out (we did, both times!) and make your own dough, pizza sauce and enjoy topping! There are power points in this area to charge your phone or whatever too! I simply cannot reccomend this site enough!!!! GO! You wont regret it!!! :)

★★★★★

Absolutely Fantastic!!

Sep 25, 2016 by Jess

I hired the camp to celebrate my 30th birthday with a group of friends and we had the best time ever! The whole set up was just perfect. We couldn't have asked for any more. Kerstin was an amazing host, helping us out with anything we needed. We played games, had lovely meals using the BBQ area and pizza stove and not to mention the incredible hot tub. If your looking to relax and camp in the best way possible then this is your place! It really was a truly fabulous weekend with so many happy memories! Thank you John and Kerstin, such an outstanding camp and set up - we will be recommending you!

★★★★★

Amazing!!!

Sep 16, 2016 by Geri

We are seasoned campers but decided to allow ourselves a bit more luxury this year..and we got it!! The bell tents were beautiful, with futon beds and beautiful decorative detailing from the throws, to the tea light chandelier, to the hand-painted tables. The tent was fully equipped with everything you would need, with a picnic table and 2 deck chairs with a novel way to hold your bottle of wine and glasses! The communal areas were immaculately kept, and the pizza oven was such a treat! Equally, the wood fired hot-tub was amazing!!! A lovely way to unwind after a busy day out and about. Kirsten was always on hand to answer any questions or give suggestions of places to visit etc., also to bring the kids down to feed the pigs twice a day! It is very obvious how much care and attention to detail has gone into this place. Kirsten and John are incredible hosts of a very special place! We will be back!!!

★★★★★

Take me back!

Jun 7, 2016 by aileena

I have only just come back to reality after the most wonderful weekend at Gooseberry field. I organised a group of 17 of us to stay for my sisters hen party. We arrived on Friday afternoon to find we had the whole place to ourselves, which I must confess was a surprise for me also but a very nice one! It was wonderful. Every member of the group had only positive things to say about the accommodation. We are already starting to plan a return.

We stayed in the luxury bell tents. Each one was decorated differently and with great attention to detail, it was way more than just a throw over the bed. The hot tub was lovely, Kerstin was extremely attentive and kept adding logs for us and making sure it was still hot. She also kindly started our campfire off for us.

The toilet and shower facilities were spot on, the water was hot and they were kept clean by Kerstin at all times The outdoor kitchen was fantastic. Fully equipped with everything you would need and more. We made great use of the pizza oven! The herbs from the herb garden were a great addition to our pizzas. The picnic tables had been set up in a long line to make a huge banquet table which was lovely for meal times.

I'd like to thank Kerstin and John for all of their help throughout our stay. Their approach was perfect, we were left to get on with things but they were also very attentive and always around when we needed to ask anything. A special thanks to John for helping with the pizza oven, to Kerstin for preparing the beautiful breakfast hampers (an absolute must!) and of course to Jensen for being totally charming!

My sister had the most fantastic hen weekend! I couldn't have hoped for anything more! We all began to feel quite at home and we were sad to leave.

Needless to say, we will be coming again!

Best wishes from a very happy customer! Xx

★★★★★

If Carlsberg Did Campsites...

Sep 4, 2015 by Melodyruth

Quite possibly the best campsite ever!

My daughter and I stayed for a weekend in July in our own bell tent, which meant we blended in nicely with the glamping tents that are already there.

John and Kerstin we fantastic hosts, it was more like going to a party with friends than a campsite. Their little boy made friends with my daughter, and I enjoyed hanging out, drinking and eating pizza with John and Kerstin  

The hot tub and pizza oven are amazing - don't forget to take your supplies for cooking pizzas. I made friends with some other campers who were more organised than me, and we made them from scratch, including kneading the dough on the slate slab next to the oven. Others used ready made pizza bases  and at a push, I imagine frozen pizzas would also work. Toppings can be bought from the Farm shop down the road. Try the prosciutto and the goats cheese. Delicious!

We will certainly be going back next year, and are looking forward to it already!

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★★★★★

Extremely relaxing campsite

Aug 31, 2015 by Amyh

My friends and I had a wonderful stay at Gooseberry Field campsite. We pitched our own bell tent and then managed to relax for the weekend with the help of the hot tub.  Kerstin and John were extremely helpful and friendly; always on hand if needed. The local farm shop is great and well stocked with delicious treats.  Definitely worth choosing this site for a lovely camping experience. 

★★★★★

Perfect!

Aug 23, 2015 by Roseanna

If you're looking to go glamping (not far from London), come here! We enjoyed a perfect weekend here with a fabulous site and wonderful hosts. It definitely deserves 5 stars! We couldn't have asked for more from the site and from before we booked until we left, Kerstin and John couldn't have been more helpful. They had thought of everything during our stay which helped us relax on and around their great site. I would highly recommend this campsite, and in rain or shine it is the perfect place to stay. The bell tents and tipi are beautifully decorated. Pizza oven, fresh herbs and the hot tub were a huge bonus!!

We loved it. Thanks so much to you all for making us feel so welcome. True luxury :)

★★★★★

Perfect hosts

Aug 18, 2015 by Lisa ray

I chose Gooseberry Fields for my 30th birthday celebration, organising a group of friends to glamp for the weekend exclusively and I couldn't have chosen better. Kerstin and John are such hospitable and relaxed hosts who couldn't have done more to make our stay perfect. Everyone had such a wonderful time and especially enjoyed our 'make your own pizza' night on the terrace. The surroundings and the village are beautiful, the walk to the local pub an adventure, but the best thing about staying at Gooseberry is the warm welcome and the fact that they truly have thought of everything you need. I couldn't recommend this place enough as a relaxed and calm haven of tranquility. Thanks guys, we will be back 

★★★★★

A perfect weekend

Aug 7, 2015 by Fran

I camped here last weekend with a large group of friends (25 of us!) and we had an amazing time. The bell tents were beautifully decorated and cosy. The hot tub was clean and hot the whole time we were there. All the kitchen stuff you could need was provided (pans, crockery, tin openers, sharp knives etc.) The showers were hot. 

Each tent had its own picnic table and wind shield, and the tents were spaced just far enough apart that you could have some privacy if you wanted. There is also a communal paved terrace where you can do your cooking and dining if you like and are feeling sociable.

On top of the campsite being really cool (they also have chickens, pigs, tomatoes, herbs and lots of apple trees!) Kerstin and John are what makes the place really special. They were unbelievably accommodating, lighting the fire when we needed, keeping the hot tub hot, moving things around for us, getting up at 6am to open the gate to let someone out. They also gave us great advice on walks and pubs in the area. They made a real effort to get to know us and make our stay as wonderful as possible, which it was! Since the weekend I've had several emails from friends saying what an amazing place Gooseberry Fields is and what a lovely weekend they had there.

Thanks Kerstin and John! We'll be back!

★★★★★

Lovely place

Aug 3, 2015 by imo_86

We had a great time at the site.  It was a bit tricky to find the place (look out for the signs on the main road) but were greeted by Kerstin with a warm welcome.  We were given everything we needed - the bell tents are immaculately furnished!  The communal facilities were spotlessly clean.  It is in a great location for walks and generally enjoying the countryside.  They kept the site open for us for an extra night for my husband's birthday, which was really kind of them, and we were able to enjoy the hot-tub to ourselves!  Being close to the road may affect some very light sleepers, but we were fine.  Would definitely go back!

★★★★★

The epitome of a cool campsite

Jul 28, 2015 by Zippy

My friend and I stayed at The Gooseberry Field for one night in our 1970 VW.  We have been camping in the van for over seven years but I can easily say that this is the best place we have stayed.  Kerstin and John have created an absolutely superb site and went above and beyond what I would expect if I was staying at a five star hotel.  They were on hand to show us round, suggest local walks, point out the way to the handy local pub and help us cook our smoked trout in their fantastic smoker.  They were also helping families cook pizza in the wood oven, which is a lovely addition to the site.  Although we didn't make use of one of their lovely Bell Tents, I can see that this would be the perfect way to take the stress out of camping as they come fully equipped.  We will definitely be returning to this lovely campsite. 

★★★★★

A wonderful weekend

Jul 18, 2015 by katieburr16

We stayed with family and friends on this wonderful site a few weekends ago - we were welcomed with warm and friendly smiles, shown around the site and felt instantly relaxed.  We made full use of the facilities - using the pizza oven, hot tub personal fire place and access to herbs in their veggie patch.  the kids loved it - the bell tents are perfect play houses as well as the hidden hammock behind the social terrace - they spent hours swinging....with a parent pushing! 
We'd definitely go back. 


★★★★★

Fabulous weekend break

Jul 14, 2015 by careycilest

My husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary with Kirsten and John a few weeks ago.  What an amazing stay we had.  The weather was divine, the piggies were adorable, our home made pizza's baked in their outdoor pizza oven were yummy, the tent was glamping-style, our saturday walk was heavenly, the pub down the road was ... well very close to stumble back from, the hot tub was HOT, and Kirsten and John are simply the best hosts; we are so glad that you gave up your jobs and are living your dream.  See you soon when we move to Margs!!

★★★★★

The most perfect weekend away!

Jul 13, 2015 by beth

We were hoping for a weekend away from it all with our little one but with limited time (and energy) wanted camping without any of the hassle. A friend recommended Gooseberry Fields and it looked perfect - and it really was! 

Kerstin & John were so warm and inviting and their warmth and enthusiasm for creating such a wonderful atmosphere, meant that the place attracts other lovely people too. Within hours it felt like a community of friends all gathered to enjoy the tranquil space and beautiful facilities - a pizza oven, great showers and even a hot tub! 

If you want the most perfect weekend then do give Gooseberry Farm a go! You won't regret it and I'm pretty sure you will be going back again and again for years! 

★★★★★

5 star glamping!

Jun 29, 2015 by Claire

We stayed this weekend and had the best glamping experience yet! The bell tents are huge and everything you could possibly need is provided. The owners, Kerstin and John, make you feel really welcome and go out of their way to make the weekend memorable. We sat around a big camp fire on Saturday night toasting marshmallows on sticks with them and other glampers. The area is also beautiful, with amazing walks through fields and orchards on your doorstep. They have piglets and chickens, so it's a great place for families as well as couples like us. The shower and toilet facilities were clean and modern and there's even outdoor sockets to charge appliances (& plug in hair straighteners if you're a princess like me!). We will definitely be returning to Gooseberry Fields and highly recommend it to others for an authentic glamping experience!

★★★★★

Simply incredible!

Jun 22, 2015 by Ruth

What an amazing stay we have had and what a spectacular result they have achieved within such a short period of time - the camping site is just incredible! How the kids loved the chickens and the eggs, the hot tub, our barbeque in the evening, topped off with a camp fire and marshmellows. We stayed in the tipi with two adults and two kids and it was, clean, cosy and spacious - which is very important when three out of four are male... In the area there is so much to do with kids: they went horse riding, we had dinner in one of the recommendend gastropubs and of course we visited Leeds Castle. Last but not least, Kerstin and John are great hosts - kind and very helpful - and their son Jenson was a great play mate for our boys! 

★★★★★

Size Really Does Matter

Jun 15, 2015 by Mr G

Stayed first weekend of June 2015 as a family of 7. USP - John & Kerstin are the most personable and hospitable campsite owners - EVER. They pushed their boat out for everyone - kids and adults; helped arrange things ahead of our arrival - bikes, maps, local cycle routes, the local butcher, logs for the campfire, charcoal for the bbq etc etc - we even got a surprise bowl of freshly laid eggs the next morning. Their facilities are no slouch - clean toilets, bathrooms, sterilized hot-tub, bbq area/outdoor oven, the hammock mustn't be overlooked either. In the end it was like spending a weekend with mates. Will definitely come back.  

★★★★★

A lovely little site

Jun 9, 2015 by mrsnapalm

We did the "pitch your own bell tent" option for a weekend. On arrival it's lovely to see a whole garden full of bell tents. I say garden rather than field, because that's what it feels like. Staying here is like pitching your tent in the back garden of the most lovely friends you could have. nothing is too much trouble! Super clean loos and showers, a pizza oven and a hot tub complete the picture.

★★★★★

Perfect host & hostess

Jun 9, 2015 by steve

A lovely lovely site, simply done with good space for kids to run and play leaving adults to relax. John & Kirsten made us feel like we were staying with old friends, our kids played together and we wanted for nothing. The cooking facilities are great, we used a 'dutch oven' (John lent us) for the fire pit which made camp cooking a pleasure. We all loved the wood fired hot tub, a great outdoor experience! A big thank you for looking after us so well and hope to be back soon!

★★★★★

Perfect weekend

May 28, 2015 by Minny

Thanks Kersten and John for going the extra mile to make it special for everybody. You've obviously worked really hard getting your boutique glamping meadow up to scratch, and it doesn't disappoint. The kids loved the chickens and the hot tub, our friend Alex made bread each day in the pizza oven, and Jon and Nina were bowled over by your romantic luxuriant 5m glamping belltent. You gave us plenty of space for our large group and were relaxed and attentive to our needs. The great farm shop within walking distance was a bonus, and as was plenty of local walks to be had. The best thing was that the kids were happy here, not always easy to achieve. Thanks again.

★★★★★

Glamping virgins

May 27, 2015 by Rhodri Adrian

Hi Kerstin, John and Jenson,

Wow what a great weekend!  Our time at Gooseberry will provide us with plenty of family memories; great countryside location, great facilities, waking up to cries of “BIG FISH” and “CHICKENS” from my daughter will keep me laughing for years to come, we can’t wait to meet the pigs next year, I leave you with my closely guarded recipe for campfire muffins and oat smoked mackerel not to mention a rather red face following 3 late nights of port and marshmallows around the campfire.

You both should be rightly proud of your hard work setting things up over the last 12 months, you can tell the love that has gone into the project.  Will certainly return and probably bring some mates too!

Thank you
Rhod, Flick & Rosie

★★★★★

Amazing!!!!!

May 26, 2015 by MrsT

We stayed here on late May bank holiday and despite still wading through the washing from this trip...I can't wait to go back!!! Great people, gorgeous part of the world and a relaxing vibe that I haven't felt at any other campsite. Kerstin and John have worked so hard to create a luxurious yet cosy experience and the facilities were out of this world. On Saturday we made the most of the hot tub (a good way to meet the other campers!) and in the evening we used the pizza oven and had the best pizzas of our lives! Our camping neighbours used the smoker for their mackerel and we all sat on the patio eating and sharing our creations while the kids shared ride on pedal cars. Sunday lunch was devoured at The Black Horse which was a half mile up hill walk (not far for adults, but piggy backs were needed for little legs) and we returned for another peaceful night in our tent. Thank you Kerstin and John...We will be back!

★★★★★

Amazing atmosphere

May 25, 2015 by Phil M

Just back from possibly the best short holiday to date. From the hot-tub to collecting your own eggs to the very attentive and friendly hosts; the whole experience was all the best bits of camping without any of the bad. Can't wait to go back!

★★★★★

Beautiful Bank Holiday Camping

May 4, 2015 by thewalkers

We have just returned from a wonderful bank holiday weekend camping trip to Gooseberry Field Camp Site. The setting is absolutely lovely and is just the right size for it to feel private as well as sociable at the same time. 

The bell tent we stayed in was Bohemian themed and was so cozy and pretty. My 4 year old son absolutely loved the tent as well - saved a back breaking 'erect your own tent' exercise, especially given I was nearly 9 months pregnant!

The owners, John and Kerstin (not forgetting their very cute son Jensen), were an absolutely lovely couple who made us feel very welcome from the moment we arrived. 

Features include the wood fired hot tub, pizza oven, communal (as well as personal) fireplace, immaculately presented ablutions and communal 'kitchen' and seating area.

The surrounding area is beautiful and we can recommend the Bowl Inn pub in nearby Charing for great food.

We will absolutely return with the new arrival next year some time I'm sure, and would highly recommend thus place to anyone.

★★★★★

The BEST Hen-stival EVER

Apr 27, 2015 by Lisa the Hen

Back from a weekend of complete bliss and fun.  My maid of honor organised a surprise hen -stival for me at this campsite.  It was a huge group and what a blast we had.  Our hosts, Rob and Kristen were so accommodating, helpful, friendly and just down right good people.  They ensured that we were all comfortable, had everything we needed, ensured we had logs for the camp fire and just made the weekend even better.  The tents were all fabulous with great interior design and extremely cozy.  A huge spot to have a camp fire with deck chairs to sit around.  A kitchen area with pizza oven and purpose built barbecue was great, as being a large group, we could sit around with food and of course booze and chat and dance around.  It was truly a wonderful weekend and all concerned enjoyed themselves and the whole experience. Rob and Kirsten even aloud for us to have a band come and set up and play an acoustic set and a dance instructor to teach us all some moves.  Could not ask for more and would certainly go back again, again and again. I have given permission for all photos to be used to by Rob and Kirsten of my hen do - so wait for them to pop up. 

Thanks to Rob, Kirsten and little Jenson - awesome weekend and camp site xx

★★★★★

Lovely site, lovely owners !

Apr 22, 2015 by Bev

We stayed here at end of March so it was the start of the season for owners Kerstin & John. We couldn't have been made to feel more welcome. They provide something that many other glamping sites don't , which is the opportunity to pitch your own bell tent. They have such amazing plans for this lovely new site and how wonderful to have the wood fired hot tub waiting and ready for us to relax in after setting up. You felt that Kerstin &John want to make your time at Gooseberry Field as special as possible. The site is just outside the village and is within walking distance to the pub and we loved driving around the country lanes and going through some beautiful villages.

 Will definitely return 

★★★★★

The best of the best !

Apr 14, 2015 by Kathryn

We are just back from a stay here where we pitched our own bell tent. John and Kerstin couldn't have been more attentive as the perfect hosts. The site is brilliant and a 5* experience - the hot tub is to die for ! Excellent walking in the surrounding area. Really can't say enough good things - make this site your first choice - hearing all the plans it's going to get even better ! 

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