Pop-Up by the River

UK England South East England West Sussex Shoreham

  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • Groups welcome
  • Short walk to pub
  • Beaches nearby
  • Good walks nearby
Back-to-nature glamping, camping and riverside campfires in rural West Sussex

The Bell Tent Company have received rave reviews for their Brighton-based Wombell Campsite so when we heard they had created another go-to for glamping fans with Pop-Up By The River, we hot-footed it down to rural West Sussex to check it out.

This peaceful hideaway in the picturesque South Downs is all about getting away from it all, "turning the volume down on life" as amiable host Tiz likes to put it. And life is made particularly easy here when you arrive to find your bell tent ready and waiting for you. With uninterrupted views of the rolling countryside, a gently winding river which you can follow down to the pretty town of Steyning and little sound other than bird song, it really is easy to switch off here.

There are different packages available depending on how glam you want to go. The bell tent starter kit gives you a pre-erected tent, sturdy ground sheet and a camping trivet and hotplate-griddle plus a kitchen kit. Upgrade to the 'Motel Package' for that extra level of comfort with luxury bedding and air bed, low-level lighting, matting, bedside box and bunting (essential for the house-proud glamper). There are also three bran-new custome built shepherds huts (two 4-berthers and a cosy couples cabin). Bedding, wood-burning stove, lighting and a gas burner for cooking are all included.

Other extras include a canvas porch, electricity points and The Cook Tent so you can enjoy al fresco feasting whatever the weather. Of course, you can bring your own tent and pitch up by the gently flowing River Adur – the perfect spot to light a campfire and take in the clear night sky.

The Bell Tent Company have another new site in the works and Pop-up In The Woods will be joining the family soon - which leaves us with a bit of a dilemma: which one of these gorgeous glamping spots to choose?



Wooden hut compost toilets, hot eco showers.

Suitable For

Campers, glampers, families – yes. Caravans, camper vans – no.


Take to the water by canoe or kayak with Adur Outdoor Activity Centre (01273 462928) based in nearby Shoreham-on-Sea where you'll also find Shoreham Beach, a designated Local Nature Reserve. Walkers can take in The South Downs Way National Trail. The town of Arundel with it's impressive castle and gardens is a 30 minute drive, as is buzzing Brighton.

Food & Drink

Walk along the river and you'll reach the pretty town of Steyning with plenty of cafes, pubs and restaurants. For tea head to the Steyning Tea Rooms (01903 810103), The Sussex Produce Company (01903 815045) is a good spot for lunch with fresh locally-sourced ingredients, while Chez Joel (01903 813311) serves delicious food in a relaxed atmosphere most evenings. Satisfy a sweet tooth at the mouth-watering Little Sweet Shop (01903 879775).

Opening Times

May - September.

The Owner Says

Pop-Up by the River is located in a stunning part of Sussex, enjoy the rolling South Downs National Park as your back drop with the open plains of the River Adur weaving its path the short distance to Shoreham harbour.

Follow the river down to the gorgeous little town of Steyning soaking in the atmosphere, and the restaurants. Indulge yourself and hire a canoe, kayak, paddle board or boat from local activity specialists. Gaze up at the sky while floating long on the current. Vist Shorhams open French market and return back to cook, chat and stare the night away at your open fire.

The campsite gives everything you would expect, compost toilets hot wild showers, campfires. Even though it's off grid it can still provide power sources for laptops and chargers. We ask that noise is kept to a minimum, mainly to appreciate the surroundings.

Pop-Up by the River offers peace, tranquillity, quiet and the chance to turn down the volume on life.


Contact Pop-Up by the River, New Wharf Farm, Horsebridge Common, Steyning, West Sussex BN44 3AL

Show Map

Getting There

Easily accessible from  the A27 to the south and the A24 to the north.

Local taxies, bus service


Add Your Review

Rated ★★★★☆ over 19 reviews


Noisy and expensive!

The campsite is set is a beautiful location. The adverts sounds like this is a peaceful campsite with no music. However, this isn’t the case the first night a large group and their children were screaming and shouting until almost midnight. Complained about the noise and was pretty much told well if they see their text they may start to be quiet. Barely slept in 3 days due to the children on the rope swing from 6am until 11pm - nice idea but maybe not in the middle of the field which is narrow! Showers are awful, the water is mildly warm but pop it in a cold bucket and have it drip out and it’s Baltic!! This is one of the most expensive campsites I’ve stayed in £40 a night and the facilities are revolting to say the least and I’ve lived in rural Zambia for 2 years!!! The campsite isn’t on the river, yes it’s close by but it’s not accessible. You have to walk 10-15 mins to access the water I wouldn’t stay here again which is a shame as the location is stunning
Aug 30, 2020 by Rebecca Fletcher

If anything goes wrong, prepared to be ignored.

If everything goes well then I'm sure you'll have a great time, but forget all about customer service if anything doesn't. First of all, the campsite isn't "by the river". The original campsite was, but this was moved further inland to provide more space (as told to me by the warden) and is a good 10-15 minute walk away (not 5 minutes as the website says unless you're inclined to run there). They are a couple of glamping tents by the river, but there's no indication of what you need to do to get one of those from the website. We booked one of the "Motel" glamping tents in July and on arrival we were directed to a tent on it's own in the corner of field. The tent however did not have all the elements promised in the motel deal, but no matter it happens and we didn't want to make a fuss about missing fairy lights. Even the half inflated air beds didn't deflate our mood and despite being given an electric pump which had a broken electric adapter (which exposed bare wires) to re-inflate the air beds, we put it down to it being "pop-up" and a bit rough round the edges (despite the price being the opposite). Not a major thing, but not good either. As the evening wore on more and more people arrived and started pitching up tents in the field. They were not any trouble, but it became obvious that they had come as a group of families that knew each other and wished to do what they had come to do, which involved staying up till the early hours talking and drinking. As Saturday drew on, the group effectively took over the corner of the field we were all in and around lunchtime we felt that it had become so intrusive that we were effectively confined to our tent (it became a rounders base in the latest game being played). Ever gone to a party with someone where you don't know anyone, however everyone else is really close and you get looked at like you're a gatecrasher? That's the feeling your looking for here. It got that bad that we made the decision that we should leave in the afternoon and we informed the warden of our decision. She was surprised as she wondered why we would leave the rest of the group, which in turn confused me as we weren't part of it? It all clicked when we saw the booking sheet, we had been mistakenly added to this group and as such our tent was set up with them. This explained why they looked so confused that we were in their now obvious pre-booked area of the campsite and why we wondered why we had been placed in the middle of a very large group of people who all knew each other. At this point my major problem with this place starts as I could of completely forgiven the above if this had been handled differently. The warden, upon having the error pointed out to her was surprised, however she did not offer to move us or make any effort to change the situation. In fact all we really got in essence was a "well that's a pity, bye then". She did inform us that we should contact the "main office" on the Monday and tell them what happened as this was an obvious error on their part and we would likely be given a partial refund. Later we received a text from one of the owners called Jules, asking us why we had left early and what they could do to improve and we informed them of the error that had been made and what the warden had told us. I would like to say at this point that there then followed an intelligent, reasoned conversation with at the very least an apology for their mistake, however I can't as from that point on wards we received no response to the many texts we made asking for contact, no answer to the voicemails we left. Frankly I feel cheated as an admin mistake on their part effectively ruined a weekend away with my family and their behaviour in reaction to this has been amateurish at best and unprofessional at worst. So if you go here, pray to whatever deity you choose to follow that everything goes right, as if you have anything go wrong (even if it's an admitted error on their part) prepare to be stonewalled from the moment your rear tyres leave their driveway.
Sep 4, 2019 by Simon N

Some good/some bad

I was part of a large group of ten families visiting for the weekend On arrival the check in is chaotic, you must pay five pounds to park your car Precooked pizza was over 1hour late Showers were poor and very few toilets Area was nice and recommend the lovely chap who makes bows and entertains the kids with his bushcraft stories It all just seemed disorganised but maybe that’s just camping
Jul 8, 2019 by David

Wonderful location and campsite, but why push everyone out early on Sunday

Its a lovely location, near the river (swimming, boating etc). Good size, friendly etc etc. Perfect, except they have an 11am check out on Sunday am!!! I've camped in at least 5 other similar campsites in Sussex and all of them are relaxed about departure. We had a group of 5 families, some from quite far. After set up on Friday eve, most of Friday was gone. Sunday we had to be up bright and early to spend a couple of ours packing up with a pressure not to be late. That meant really only one day of camping. Come on!!! You can do better than this. Its really no excuse to say that you can't pay for staff later in the day. The campsite is not cheap, and this is a major draw back. Please change this policy and we'll be back in a shot.
Feb 17, 2019 by A regular campoer

Disappointing Facilities

We stayed over the long August weekend. Campsite was ok; canoeing was fun. But facilities and upkeep/maintenance were utterly disappointing.
Sep 4, 2016 by dm

Great location, poor upkeep of loo/showers

We were a couple pitching a tent over the bank holiday. Very regular campers (not glampers). It's a lovely peaceful spot and we were able to camp right by the river and away from families etc, which was ideal. Being able to order pizza on arrival was great, and the local town Steyning is excellent for supplies, as was the pub in Ashurst. I can only give 3* instead of 5* though due to the poor cleanliness of the toilets and showers. By Sunday only one shower was working. The one we had been using hadn't been cleaned in 48 hours as the wet toilet paper, dirty flannel, disposable razor and empty beer cans remained the whole time. Meanwhile the toilet closet to us made me wretch/brought tears to my eyes by Sunday evening. It was not useable! I only found toilet paper on one visit and the antibacterial hand soap remained empty all weekend. At £30 a night I'd expect a bit more effort.
Aug 31, 2016 by kate

Beautiful spot

I stayed at pop-up by the river with my daughter (4) and my sister's family. Wish we could have stayed longer: it's a lovely spot, with great views of the south downs, a perfect base for exploring the area. We kayaked up and down the river and also walked along the banks, up to the pub at Ashurst for lunch. All very relaxing, not a car in sight! The place is great for kids, safe but with plenty of things to do and explore, e.g. swinging in the tractor tyres, running into the corn fields and riding around on bikes. Tiz and Jules are a relaxed and fun loving couple and seemed dedicated to making sure everyone was comfortable and had everything they needed. Oh and the homemade pizzas' were great :)
Aug 29, 2016 by JamesCPH

Could be fantastic...

This site could be amazing however it's not quite there yet, my husband and I stayed with another couple, as we were a group of adults we were given a pitch on the other side of the river. This makes sense and I can see why they do this, it's quieter and away from the family fields however you seem to get a raw deal if you camp here without children. The space on the other side of the river is only accessible via a tiny bridge that's lined by stinging nettles, I understand when you camp you want things to be natural however I think stinging nettles is a little too far, all it needs is a little trim back and it would have been very quaint. If you're on the other side of the river you can't get your car near to where you pitch so you have to carry it all over yourself, I think a fleet of wheelbarrows would have made this much easier. There were a few but not nearly enough to be useful as they were all being used. I think I only saw 2 for the entire site. There's also one massive issue with the riverside part of this campsite, the ground is terrible. It's obviously a cattle field for some of the year which leaves the ground extremely uneven and uncomfortable. The family side is flat and in great condition however we found ourselves dodging very painful nettles and lumps for the entire weekend. This site really is lovely if your on the right side of the campsite, the toilets are spotless and the views are stunning, it just needs a little extra thought for the 'adult' section.
Aug 29, 2016 by Bryony

Camping by the River!

We stayed here last weekend and had the time of our lives! It felt like something out of a storybook! Our campsite was set in a field surrounded by cornfields, the rolling South Downs and the river Arun. It was a weekend of endless sunshine, swimming, sunburn, swings, s'mores sugar cones, sosaties, sundowners, sunsets and shooting stars. Jules and Tiz couldn't have been more helpful: they were glorious hosts, friendly, warm and welcoming. I felt such a part of their family and well looked after the whole weekend. We pitched our own tent and hired a firepit/grill for the weekend. It was bliss! My kids made friends immediately with the other children and spent hours in the maze, swinging on tractor tyres, swimming in the river and kayaking! The toilets were clean and I couldn't fault the campsite at all! A brilliant stay with fabulous memories made!
Jul 30, 2016 by Simplylaurajane

Family and Friends

We stayed en masse in the Family field in a large group- almost 20 families and had an amazing time. The bell tents were well worth the money and ordering a pizza for an hr after arrival was the perfect Friday night start. The space was safe for kids to explore and the river views were lovely. Hot showers, parking 1 min from the tent and lots of room  for a communal fire- fantastic, thank you!

Jul 6, 2016 by sophiehelen

Idyllic Community Camping

This place is an absolute gem. We stayed in the family field, and the sense of community was really lovely. People helped us pitch our tent and there was a daily spontaneous tug o' war for kids and grown ups. It's the kind of place where you can just sit back and your kids can run off and do their thing. The site itself is really beautiful, and the showers DO have hot water (despite some of the other reviews here). Sometimes the boiler light goes out in which case you just need to switch it off and on again and your hot water will immediately return. 

Whilst the family field was full of kids, it did seem like the other sections of the site were really well compartmentalised and quite private. I'd also say that although you can't pitch and park, there are a couple of wheelbarrows, and you can park pretty close (i.e. no more than a minute) from your pitch. 

All in all this is a wonderful place, and the on-hand site managers are really friendly and helpful. 

May 31, 2016 by csg

A happy place

We stayed here over the bank holiday and from the moment we booked, Tizz and the team went out of their way to make us feel welcome. The spot is idyllic and the entire site is well thought out with families and couples being catered for. 

Tizz is on hand to help with any problems and provides lots of laughter along with extra equipment when needed. We were given lots of advice on what to see locally and a walk along the river for dinner at The Fountain is a must on a rainy night. 

We've already recommended this spot to friends and will definitely be making a return visit. 

May 8, 2016 by Happy Camper

pop-up-by the river!

The Bell Company s campsite by the river is such an idyllic location! I had a birthday celebration there and everything was just perfect! The views, the walk to the pub, the facilities, the teepee was a real bonus along with the river and friendly helpful staff!!

Oct 9, 2015 by sarah

Bell Tent Company

Amazing weekend. Lovely location by the river and within walking distance of a great pub! The Bell Tent company were friendly and made sure we had everything we needed for the whole weekend. Great to have such a fun holiday so cheap!

Will definitely visit their sites again

Oct 9, 2015 by dfordini

Fantastic location

We loved the fact that you can walk into Steyning from the campsite, which is lovely. Do go to http://www.thesussexproducecompany.co.uk/ for purchasing all sorts of edible lovelies or for breakfast. We also visited Arundel which is fantastic, making this location perfect for exploring the local area. The campsite facilities were basic (compost toilets were great, portaloo ......?! and the single shower in a hut, cold) but it would have been useful if the information told you that you can not park your car next to your tent, you have to carry everything from car to pitch, a pre-warning would help with packing in a minimal fashion. Staff were welcoming and helpful.

Sep 14, 2015 by Suz

Relaxing by the river

Last weekend we spent a rare weekend away from the children and chose to camp by the river at this lovely campsite (not everyone's idea of romantic weekend away!). We pitched right next to the river with stunning views looking over to Trueligh Hill and Devils Dyke beyond. The owner is very welcoming and relaxed which is exactly what you want at a campsite. The facilities are rustic but very clean, and the shower was lovely and hot and very welcome after a long canoe to Shoreham and back. There is little or no road noise, they actively encourage camp fires, and the site wasn't packed to the rafters with other campers. We liked it so much we have already booked to go back with the kids who will no doubt love the big tyre swings in the familly field.

Jul 15, 2015 by Becky


Stayed here with a group of friends during Wildlife Festival 2015. The site was so relaxed and everybody there were some of the nicest people I've met. The staff made you feel at home and were always up for a conversation. The scenery and atmosphere was fantastic and will definitely be returning in the near future!

Jun 11, 2015 by Jakehitchcock

Fab Week Away!!!

This is a fantastic campsite.  I visited with my husband and sons, (10 & 9), for a week during the half term which included a Bank Holiday Monday.

The signposts from the road through the farm are easy to spot and increased the excitement for all of us.

The warden Jess was really welcoming and the layout of the campsite is nice, with toilets and water taps spread out close to whichever field you are in.  There is a really nice hot shower too.

We were in the family field and soon lost our sons to the tyre swings and trampoline.  The site has quite a few fields to camp in, with quiet pitches next to the river where there is a bank which blocks the wind and sounds, a field with the Shephards huts, (which looked really nice when we peeked in!) and a nice field with views of the river to name a few.

Over the Bank Holiday, the site was busy but the site did not seem overwhelmed and the only slight queue was for the shower in the morning but that was probably due to it being so nice!

We absolutely loved being able to have a campfire just outside our tent and also hired a trivet so we could have BBQ's and copious amounts of sausages.  Marshmallows were also a must.

Toilets: "Ahh" you think!  But they are perfectly fine.  Toilet paper is provided, and you get use to the quirkiness of a handful of sawdust instead of a flush.  

The location is lovely, we saw rabbits, cows, lambs, sunsets, light aircraft, blue sky's, stars and rolling banks of fog at 4 in the morning.  It is a short drive to Steyning and the best cream tea in the world, which also has a wide range of interesting shops including a Doll's House shop and two music shops.  Just down the road from Steyning is Bramber Castle and 25minutes drive away is Amberley Working Museum and Littlehampton.  

I would definitely a stay here again.

May 28, 2015 by Zoe

Camping by the River Adur

An ideal camp site for peace and quiet by a beautiful river and surrounded by tranquil countryside close to the town of Steyning. The facilities are great and include hot showers and you can purchase affordable bags of wood on site for your open fire. We treated ourselves and upgraded our tent package to 'Motel' which included air bed, bedside box, bunting, carpet and lighting! 

Feb 2, 2015 by Sonya

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