School's out! And the sun is out too. Summer is here and, across the UK, there are a number of farms, fields and ordinary meadows that are transforming into something new and exciting. That's right. Now is the time for special, temporary campsites to open their doors, popping-up for just a few short weeks during the school summer break. These temporary sites, with simple facilities and a basic, tent-focused set up, are often some of the very best campsites in the country. With a promise of epic views and some of the most sought-after settings, they may have only a brief existence, but while they're open they're well worth visiting. Here’s a selection of just 12 perfect pop-up campsites to kick start your summer. You can see our full collection here.
Dot's Camping, New Forest
In the heart of the New Forest, this pleasant Hampshire campsite is matched by a helpful host and owner, who lends the site her name. Dot’s Camping welcomes tents, glampers, campervans, families, kids and even well-behaved dogs. Pitch up at this quiet site and spend your days exploring the beautiful forest that backdrops the site. It might be the fresh Hampshire air buzz with swirling butterflies, the odd ‘oink’ from Dot’s resident pig, or the local pub just 10 minute walk away that makes this site the perfect get-away for you.
Country Estate Camping at Glanusk, Brecon Beacons
If you’re after authentic camping with the kids in tow, then this place is spot on. With no electrical hook ups, the campsite has a reassuringly natural atmosphere but still retains a sociable, family-friendly feel with endless space for little ones to run wild. Set amid the meadows around the grand Glanusk Estate and with the best views of the Black Mountains there's ample exploring to be done, either by foot or on your bikes. At the far end of the meadow, the grass stretches down to the banks of the river itself, home to some of the best trout and salmon fishing in Wales.
Fox Wood Camping, West Sussex
Located at the bottom of a gently sloping valley, just to the south of a long shelf that runs through the South Downs National Park, Fox Wood is a 34-acre oak wood with around half set aside for tent-only camping. A footpath that leads to the whopping 1300 acres of Angmering Park is an extra bonus – it'll wear you out before you retire back around the campfire – while the beaches of the south coast are also just a stone's throw away. Pitch near the campsite entrance for miraculous views of the early morning dawn as it splinters the tall tress.
Fallow Fields Camping, Kent
If you like the old-school image of camping – campfires, starry nights and not a caravan in sight – then this is the place to go. Facilities are on the basic side allowing for the most authentic of camping experiences, surrounded by a four-acre field on bucolic Selson Farm. Fallow Fields is set a couple of miles back from the coast, bordered by local footpaths and the settlement of Sandwich just a 25 minute walk away. The town’s pebble beach, a little further east, is particularly pleasant and backed by a large nature reserve. Though tent-only, Fallow Fields also allows retro and smaller campervans.
The Little Wild Campsite, Cornwall
You know you’ve got a real wilderness campsite when it’s not even there 90% of the year. The Little Wild Campsite's main camping field offers stunning views, as well as a fabulous range of wildlife – you might even spot badgers or foxes pondering around. The pitches are all in one field and there is a central fire pit for everyone to use, creating a friendly focal point. The campsite is just a short walk from Tregonning and Godolphin Hill and 30 minute walk down to the beach and the South West Coastal Path.
Muddycreek Farm, Hampshire
Muddycreek offers traditional Hampshire camping on a New Forest Pony Farm, you might even be lucky enough to get a quick ride on one of the site's ponies. The village centre is only 10 minutes away and the coast a little further. If the short stroll gets you thirsty then try stopping in The Beach House, a fine pub with great sea views and a child-friendly garden that backs onto the cliffs. With beaches, nature reserves and Hampshires town centre right on your doorstep make this site the perfect place to peg down, sit around a campfire and enjoy your summer.
Milbourne Wood, Dorset
Milborne Wood is a small campsite that appreciates the beauty of untouched nature. With 10 tent pitches, spread in a clearing in the heart of an ancient woodland, this rural location is all about the simple pleasures of camping. After all, that’s what it’s all about. And for the adults, Milborne Wood is conveniently placed a 15-minute walk away from a neighbouring vineyard too – tours are recommended, as is taking a bottle of wine back to camp for enjoying by the campfire!
Holsome Park Camping, Devon
Holsome Park has space for around 30 unmarked tent pitches. There’s plenty of footpaths to explore and, with the site just 10 miles from the coast, Holsome Park is well-placed for day-tripping adventures to the beach. Bring the kids, a bucket and spade and some good walking shoes and you'll be well sorted for the week.
Harry's Field, Hampshire
If you don’t fancy spending your holiday cooped up the car, then this campsite is perfect, with so much to do within walking distance. From footpaths and bridleways leading immediately from the end of the lane and wild ponies grazing in the heathland across the track to an appropriately named old English pub – The Foresters Arms – next door. The field is flat and well drained allowing tents, campervans, motorhomes and dogs and with space for up to 60 pitches.
Little Halden Farm, Kent
By only fitting a maximum of 20 tents at any one time, Little Halden Farm lives up to its name. This small but well-formed campsite gives a different experience from the ‘pack em in’ sites that are common throughout Kent and Sussex. With the sandy beach of Camber Sands being only 30 minutes away, it’s definitely worth a visit when the weather is playing ball. The site has a sense of calm that helps characterise this site as a peaceful retreat, hidden from the rest of the world with nature as your main company.
Glottenham, East Sussex
A new pop-up site is setting up camp in East Sussex for a 28 day season during August. Glottenham Castle site is one for all the nature lovers out there, with a small number of wild camping pitches located on the ecologically diverse and secluded area of the farm. Immerse yourself in the history that surrounds you, from the famous Abbey and Battlefield and the site of the 1066 conflict just down the road. Other than the odd chirp and call from the farm's wildlife, you’ll be perfectly undisturbed.
Bales Ash, Devon
Located in the heart of North Devon, Bales Ash welcomes tents, small motor homes, camper vans, dogs, groups and children. Alive with the colour of canvas tents and infused by the sound of children's laughter, the distant strumming of a guitar and the evocative aroma of smouldering barbecues, you realise that the campsite is perfect entirely because of its lack of all things permanent. Polish off your walking boots as this campsite has direct access to a number of local walks, including the South West Coast path which gives you access to quieter and less accessible beaches.