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Lordswood – a camping unplugged site

UK England South East England Kent Maidstone

  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • Groups welcome
  • Good walks nearby
Space and simplicity at this meadow and woodland site in Kent, 10-minutes from magnificent Leeds Castle
“Who cares about flushing toilets!” exclaims John on the Camping Unplugged website. It’s not normally the sort of headline you expect to attract people in their droves but it is a fairly accurate reflection of the ethos here at Lordswood. Simplicity is the core criteria for facilities. A large empty field (albeit a field situated in the stunning Kent Downs AONB) is essentially the only thing to describe about the campsite, with just a few portable events showers, composting toilets and sacks of dried logs for sale. Oh, and there’s a sign at the entrance gate too. After all that, what more do you need?

Surrounded by trees on all sides, and with a large section of woodland at one end, Lordswood is an ideal site for large family groups. There are no set pitches and cars are welcome to park wherever, so you simply drive in, find a flat spot among the gently rolling slopes and then begin pitching your tents. Campfires are welcome, though it’s strongly encouraged you try and light them on patches of previous fires, so as not to endlessly scar the grass. And ball games, frisbee or den building in the woods are all encouraged too. The long term plan is to begin opening up the woods for further pitches, so campers can set their tents up in among the trees. For now you’ll have to make do with all the branches lying around, building your own camp-fort for the kids to defend.

Forts of a more formidable kind can be found off-site. It takes just over 10 minutes to drive to magnificent Leeds Castle (no, it’s not in Leeds), a turreted, picture-perfect castle, islanded in the middle of a lake. It is, in fact, a wide moat, dug out when the castle was built over 900 years ago. It’s the crowning glory in the park, which extends far beyond the castle itself to include sign-posted wildlife walks, formal gardens, a maze and a large playground – castle themed, of course – plus, throughout summer, they run various activities and regular falconry displays.

The result is attractions and entertainment off-site, within easy driving distance, but a sense of remote, ‘wild’ camping on the campsite itself. It’s nothing fancy but it’s spot on for those seeking the authentic, basic camping of old.



Showers and toilets are of the portable variety, while more natural facilities include a few long drop, composting toilets. There is water on site but no electrical hook-ups. Kids are welcome to treat the woods as their own – making swings and building dens is inevitably popular here. Lordswood is an actively managed wood so there is always plenty of wood lying around (just be sure not to collect any for burning).

Suitable For

Tents, groups, families, couples, pets – yes. Caravans, motorhomes, campervans – no.


There are some great short circular walks but for the more ambitious try longer local trails like The Pilgrims' Way, which passes less than a mile from the campsite. The nearest village, Lenham, retains its medieval charm with tea houses, pubs and great places to eat (see food and drink). Then there's Leeds Castle (01622 765400) just 10 minutes away – hugely popular with families. Whitstable Bay is also worthy of a mention. On a clear day you can actually see the sea from the highest point in the camping field. It's only 30 minutes in the car.

Food & Drink

Lenham has a great choice of pub food – try the Red Lion (01622 858531) or the Dog and Bear Hotel (01622 858219) – Chinese (01622 858416) and fish and chips (01622 859878). This part of Kent is littered with quaint old villages, all brimming with charming pubs – there is a list of the best kept on site. The award-winning butcher's in Doddington (01795 886255) is the place to go for your BBQ supplies.


Open every day 27th May–6th June. Then open weekends only until 7th August.

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Contact Lordswood – a camping unplugged site, Ashdown Road, Maidstone ME17 2ER

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Getting There

Leave the M20 after Maidstone at Junction 8 for Leeds Castle and Lenham on the A20. Follow the A20 through Harrietsham and turn left at the crossroads, signed to Doddington and Lenham on Faversham Road. Take the first left onto West Street and then bear right onto Ashdown Road which takes you directly to the campsite. Lordswood has a sign at the entrance so please do not trouble the neighbours! Lenham Railway Station (0845 748 4950) is served by London Victoria and Ashford International in the south.


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