Just like the folks behind the brilliant Cool Camping guides, my family and I share a passion for the less commercialised campsites when planning a break under canvas.
OK, from time-to-time we’ve frequented the bigger, bolder sites which are overflowing with all kinds of amenities, including swimming pool and tennis courts, but nothing can ever trump the quieter, quirkier, more idyllic places dotted around the UK.
Call us anti-social if you like, but our idea of camping heaven is arriving at a tiny, out-of-the-way site and finding we’re on our own – or perhaps sharing the space with just a handful of other campers.
So, bearing all of this in mind, I was, therefore, delighted when the third edition of the well-respected Cool Camping – Britain crashed through my letterbox; well, it is a rather hefty tome!
This volume is, in fact, one of seven Cool Camping titles. Others in the series include Cool Camping – Europe, Cool Camping – Coast and Cool Camping – Kids. Jonathan Knight and James Warner Smith are the brains behind the concept and their love of everything camping is clear from the beginning.
The volume focusing on Britain spotlights 175 hand-picked campsites, many of which are off-grid and remote. However, there’s something for everyone and new additions to this, the third edition, include a tiny campsite on a Devon vineyard and a family field beneath an alluring working windmill.
The book is beautifully designed. Just inside the first few pages you’ll find a “Campsite Locator” listing all the sites, initially broken down into counties and, next, divided into sub-sections such as “Open All Year”, “Adults Only” and “Cool for Campfires”. After that, each site is brought to life with dazzling colour photography and entertaining, insightful reviews spread over one or, on occasions, two pages per site.
As the accompanying press release states: “True to form, this latest in the…series steers away from more commercial and often crowded campsites in favour of quieter and quirkier offerings, be it on family farms, country estates or tucked in a private forest. Alongside each recommendation, you’ll find handy tips and information, from how to reach the site by public transport to the best local activities and nearest farm shops and watering holes.”
Flipping through the book is a delight and sets me thinking about which ones I’d like to visit in the future. Among my favourites are Wasdale Head, a gorgeous spot in the Lake District, and Rhosson Ganol on the stunning Pembrokeshire coast.
Whether you’re an ardent fan of camping or just enjoy the occasional night under canvas, this delightful guide is a must for your bookshelf or, perhaps, the car’s glovebox.
Cool Camping – Britain (third edition) is published by Punk Publishing, price £16.95. Visit www.coolcamping.com for further details.