Cornish Tipi Holidays & Camping

UK England South West England Cornwall Port Isaac

Beautiful tipis and tent pitches, masses of space, a fishing and swimming lake; all within striking distance of some of the north Cornish coast’s best beaches

Rural Cornwall doesn’t exactly strike you as ultra-modern, a place ahead of the curve. Take this campsite, for example, arranged around a stunning spring-fed lake in the old Tregildrans quarry it has an altogether more timeless quality. The thick, mature trees, the emerald waters and the fern covered escarpments that tumble down into the lake could well have been painted in a picture many centuries ago. There’s no onsite shop taking contactless payment cards, no Wi-Fi, no playground. It’s all a bit 1920s. Isn’t it?

In fact, few campsites are as ahead of the curve as Cornish Tipi Holidays. Back in 2005 when we first discovered the site in our first edition of Cool Camping: Kids, the campsite had already been running for ten years and was championing something innovative. Set up in 1996 by Elizabeth Tom, it was the first commercial tipi campsite in England and was offering nights beneath the stars in a tipi before the word ‘glamping’ had even been invented. Today the 25 North American-style abodes are still going strong, with three different sizes on offer, but are now joined by regular camping too.

While fashionistas are throwing up Alice Temperley-style tipis and yurts across the great British countryside, Cornish Tipi Holidays, ever ahead of the game, are part of the new back-to-basic counter culture. Bring your own tent, avoid the crowds and pick whatever pitch you want – an open meadow space with fellow campers, a private, secluded clearing among the trees, a grassy patch with views… there’s a full 20 acres of beautifully rural space to explore, so you’ll easily find a spot to suit.

All of these campers have the same facilities as the tipi dwellers – hot showers and loos – while the campsite environment lends itself wholeheartedly to anyone with an imagination. It’s easy to spend entire days by the lake, messing about in a boat or fishing for trout (bring your own rods and licence) and life-jackets can be borrowed from the warden. You can even bring your own canoe if you want to. Hide and seek along the winding paths edged by tumbling blackberries or bright-yellow gorse is a must, while there’s also the larger ‘village field’ for children to charge about in, and the ‘top village field’ has a spectacular totem pole. In this wilder-than-wild environment, kids can’t fail to flourish. No surprise, then, to hear that Alice Temperley herself spent her honeymoon here. Now what on earth would Hiawatha have thought about that?

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The Owner Says

A woodland valley folded around a clear, spring-fed lake created from the old Tregildrans Quarry. Our tipis and tent pitches are dotted about this secret 20 acres just inland from the North Cornish coast near Port Isaac.

Reader Reviews

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Beautiful place to stay

This place is out of this world! Peaceful and quite. Very clean facilities. The staff are friendly too. There is a quarry lake that have boats you can row out on. Can't wait to visit again. It's a great place for families as there is wildlife and we had a daily visit from a resident cat. It was just wonderful.
Aug 17, 2018 by NikkiR

The ‘magical, wild canyon’

The kids loved running off and pretending to hunt for gems in the jurassic park like woods. They loved the quarry (or ‘wild canyon’ as one of them described it!) It was so special to be able to swim in the lake. Fun for all ages! If the youngens dont like the wild swim then they love the boats. Great area for coast access and friendly and helpful staff on site, good food in the caff too.
Aug 15, 2018 by Louise

Great camping site

I knew about this place previously, but only recently discovered that you can now bring your own tent and go camping here. They do it really well in that you can get your own private 'wild' camping pitch, but it's not really wild, as the showers are not that far away. Beaches are not far, but we spent quite a bit of time messing about on the lake at the campsite. Be warned - sat nav may not be that reliable to get you here!
Apr 13, 2017 by Anon

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