Pitch Up & Peace Out
You’re never far from a campsite in Cornwall, which means there are lots of options for laidback breaks by the sea. Here are some Muddy faves.
But how to choose? Ask a local of course! Or even better, ask the discerning, style-savvy locals who hang out on Instagram. Each of these gorgeous indie campsites has been personally recommended (with many tried out by Muddy editors past and present) and chosen for their locations, facilities, views and atmosphere — with plenty of glamping options for camping softies too.
Coastal Valley, Porth
A brilliantly positioned site, Coastal Valley is an idyllic rural campsite, within walking distance of three great beaches, including Watergate Bay, for when you fancy a posh meal out (pretend we’re not camping!). As well as plenty of generous pitches, there are lots of options for less well-equipped campers or those that like a few luxuries, including safari tents, pods and an airstream, all kitted out for comfort. During high season in normal years the site comes to life Cornish-style, with creative craft workshops, supper clubs and themed food nights.
GOOD TO KNOW: There’s a great farm shop here and campers can order bread, cakes and pasties from the local bakery.
COVID UPDATE: Minimum 7 night restriction, for summer 2020 the workshops and food nights won’t run.
Cornish Tipi Holidays, St Kew
The first tipi site in the UK, Cornish Tipis Holidays is special for its secluded lake-side setting and gorgeous North-American-style, cotton canvas tipis. This incredible, away-from-it-all site sits in a wooded valley and surrounds a spring-fed lake that campers can swim, canoe and fish in. Across the 20 acres, there are lots of camping options, including private and more communal pitches and a choice of medium (sleeps 2-3) to extra large tipis (sleeps 6-9 incl. kids), you can also bring your own gear.
For evenings spent tent-side, campfires are positively encouraged but if you fancy treating yourself to a meal out, you’ve got some amazing options nearby including Rick Stein’s Seafood and Michelin Star winners Paul Ainsworth at No6 in Padstow as well as The Mariners pub in Rock. The on-site Gastropod from the team behind nearby Snail’s Pace café is also a great laidback choice, serving up full Cornish breakfasts, clotted cream teas and wood-fired pizzas.
GOOD TO KNOW: Though the tipis are all pitched and ready, you do need to bring your own bedding, including airbeds, duvets etc.
COVID UPDATE: Enhanced cleaning procedures in place in loo & shower blocks
Botelet, Nr Liskeard
With views stretching out across rolling fields down the valley, staying in a yurt at Botelet imbues a sense of relaxation that is hard to beat. The Lower Yurt is crafted locally from oak and ash, and sits on a platform raised on poles. It blends into the scenery, enveloping you in the sounds, changing colours, peace and quiet of the outer landscape. The interior is fresh and uncluttered with rustic and contemporary furnishing.
GOOD TO KNOW: Sleeps two people in one double bed with duvet, pillows, bed linen & towels supplied. Basic cooking equipment is available, plus not just electricity and a charging point but an electric blanket on the bed. Heaven!
COVID UPDATE: This season the wild camping meadow is closed, so yurt dwellers will have exclusive use of the outside loo, shower and fridge/freezer during their stay.
Cotna Eco Retreat, Goran
The outdoorsy equivalent of The Good Life awaits at this beautiful eco farm, set in a lush South Cornwall valley. You can tick all the sustainable, low impact boxes but stay in total comfort here, surrounded by organic apple orchards, vegetable and fruit gardens, streams, ponds and woodland. You are also a walk away some great local beaches, such as Gorran Haven and Caerhays. Cotna’s three yurts (that sleep up to 4) contain everything you need, from comfortable beds to cooking necessities, with wood-burning stoves and solar lights.
GOOD TO KNOW: Campers can feast on seasonal local produce grown on the farm but happily, the nearest pub is just five minutes walk, when you don’t fancy cooking.
COVID UPDATE: Accepting reduced bookings for the season.
Barefoot Glamping, The Lizard Peninsula
As chic and well appointed a trio of ‘tents’ as you’re likely to come across, in the tranquility of wild-flower meadows. Guests at Barefoot Glamping have the bliss of escaping it all in this area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the Lizard Peninsula but with en-suite facilities and the kind of stylish rustic interiors Pinterest-ers go wild for. The unique Tin Tent even featured on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces and the site was listed number five in The Time’s round up of Coolest Camping in Britain. If you can tear yourself away your canvas palace, the farm has its own woodland, complete with a rope swing and hammock to kick back in.
GOOD TO KNOW: The landscape and coves of the Lizard are extraordinarily beautiful. Here, you are three minutes from Poldhu Cove (and hot chocolate heaven at the cafe) but also within walking distance of the breathtaking Kynance Cove.
COVID UPDATE: Non essential items have been removed from tents, additional cleaning is being carried out so check in times are later/check out earlier – see more details here.
Treen Farm, St Levan
A chilled, back-to-basics site 10 minutes from the jaw-droppingly beautiful beach of Porthcurno. And before I tell you more about the camping, let me tell you this is a special stretch of sand that could be in the Med and is overlooked by the famous Minack theatre. This family-run farm campsite is set in a stunning clifftop location and many pitches enjoy gorgeous sea views (though it’s worth knowing not all have electrical hook ups). This quiet spot, right on the edge of the country, is the perfect retreat when you really want to escape from it all.
GOOD TO KNOW: Pitches cannot be booked, just turn up and camp.
COVID UPDATE: Open from 4 July without showers and toilets, and will only be accepting camper vans and motorhomes (up to 6.7 metres in length) with their own washing and toilet facilities, on a non-bookable basis – to be reviewed 17 July.
Bryher Campsite, Isles of Scilly
Since you can’t take cars on to the Isles of Scilly, I had always imagined camping here – especially with kids – would be a faff and a half but not so. All you need to do, is load your luggage into a crate on the Scillonian ferry and then meet it again at your pitch. Spread over five fields (as well as a games field) there’s a real sense of space and you’re welcome to choose your pitch, overlooking the Atlantic or Tresco Channel. The unspoilt beauty of the Scillys is incomparable and mile-and-a-half-long Bryher is a rugged island paradise.
GOOD TO KNOW: Bell tents are available to rent but expect airbeds not four posters – it’s still camping rather than glamping.
COVID UPDATE: Currently fully booked for the school summer holidays so cannot accept new bookings (or additional people on existing bookings) for this period – availability September onwards
Troytown Farm, St Agnes, Isles of Scilly
Already chocka during the summer holidays, this is a site you need to book up early and it’s no surprise. Troytown Farm, on the remote island of St Agnes, is right on the beach with views of the water of which you’ll never tire. Peaceful doesn’t cut it, St Agnes is the farthest flung of all the Scilly Isles, with the epic ocean sunsets and crystal clear night skies to match. If you have your own kit, this can be delivered to your pitch off the ferry and boat from St Marys or there are bell tents to hire, fully equipped with all the camping necessities (but again, think comfortable camping not glamping).
GOOD TO KNOW: Troytown farm is the only dairy farm on the Isles of Scilly and you can buy their own milk, butter, clotted cream and legendary ice cream in the site shop.
COVID UPDATE: Please do not travel to Scilly if you or anyone in your bubble has or is showing symptoms. Currently full for camping pitches between 18th July and 1st September. Taking bookings for dates between 4th and 18th July and after 1st September.
NOT GOT YOUR OWN KIT? Try these:
Ysella Glamping, St Agnes
Luxurious Bell Tents & Yurts, wonderfully furnished, providing the comforts of a hotel in a natural setting – which in this case is your choice of campsite within 15 miles of St Ages – yes, you choose where, and they set it up for you. Raised beds & mattresses, linen & quality furnishings. They can also include camping furniture, a fully stocked kitchen box with stove, fuel, BBQ, plates, bowls, cutlery, glassware, pots & pans, utensils – everything you need to cook-up an alfresco feast.
GOOD TO KNOW: Ysella offer packages which start from just a 4m bell tent right the way up to an entire village of tents for a party or wedding (you might not be able to do that this summer, but still, handy to know). Check in and check out is more like a hotel, so less lazing in bed, but also a lot less set up and clearing away!
COVID UPDATE: Increased equipment cleaning routine, disinfecting the tents & accessories thoroughly after each use to guarantee they are safe. Ysella are also offering unfurnished tent hire for those wishing to bring their own equipment.
Find out more at ysellacornwall.co.uk
Blue Dog Campervan Hire, Wadebridge
Don’t fancy a tent? What about this two birth ‘micro-camper’ from Ben and Jemma, campervan connoisseurs at Blue Dog Campervans – innovative in terms of interior design, modularity and practicality and therefore it is a perfect campervan hire for two to get away and explore. This is a great alternative for visitors to Cornwall who would otherwise hire a car and pitch a tent.
GOOD TO KNOW: The back seat folds down into a cute bed, and each hire comes with unlimited mileage, fully comprehensive insurance for any named driver, all sleeping equipment (duvets, sheets, pillows), cutlery, crockery, pots and pans, gas for cooking and free off-road parking for your own car whilst you’re off gallivanting.
COVID UPDATE: Bookings being taken for the summer period, increased cleaning between hires.
Find out more at bluedogcampervan.com
Updated 2020, first published 2017