World-famous gorges, quirky cities, ancient woodland, beautiful coastline – exploring Bristol and the surrounding West Country from a campsite base is a fantastic budget family holiday option. There are some brilliant family campsites near Bristol (these have all been recommended by local families), easily reachable within an hour’s drive of the city – from back-to-basics, pitch your tent in a field (and wash in the river!) sites, to more managed places with WiFi, restaurants and onsite shops. Finding availability this summer will be your main challenge!
PLEASE NOTE: If you are planning on camping in in 2020 please bear in mind that sites will be adhering to the latest Government guidance on social distancing. Some facilities like swimming pools, restaurants and indoor play parks as well as entertainment may not be available.
Always check directly with the site and read their terms and conditions before booking (I’ve included their policieswhere found).
Family campsites near Bristol
Pop Up Paradise, Chew Valley Lake, open 4-31 August
Pop up Paradise is no ordinary campsite – it comes with a range of evening entertainment, socially-distanced activities as well as mesmerising views. The campsite has been dreamt up to fill the void created by the cancellation of most festivals (including Valley Fest which usually takes place in the area).
After the restaurant closes, expect socially-distanced entertainment each evening: ranging from spoken word, musicians, world-class circus and cabaret, to talks, panel discussions and games. Holistic therapies, wellbeing and interactive children’s activities will also be offered throughout the month!
For those who want some extra luxury and convenience, Pop Up Paradise offers accommodation in the form of boutique bell tents and Airstream caravans. These are available to hire via the website. Otherwise bring your tents, campervans and caravans.
Image credit: Pop Up Paradise Camping
Wookey Farm Campsite, opening 4 July.
Wake up to the tweeting of birds and beautiful Mendip Hills at Wookey Farm, small family-run dairy goat farm, and home to sheep, pigs, hens and a donkey. This low-impact, eco campsite is ideal for families who want to get back to nature and lose the WiFi. Expect compost loos, mains cold water, recycling bins, an electric car-charging point, but NO showers (try the river as suggested by the campsite?)
Children can pet the animals, and campers of all ages can learn about the day-to-day running of a dairy goat farm. Perhaps even purchase some of their cheese, bottled milk, yoghurt and cream, goat meat, lamb and pork as part of your camping feast! Alternatively three village pubs serve food nearby and there’s also the Wookey Hub (cafe and village shop).
With oodles of space, campfires allowed and the River Axe running alongside with ropeswings and paddling opportunities, this is a refreshing environmentally-friendly family getaway.
Walkers and cyclists will also love exploring the West Mendip Way, Strawberry Line and Glastonbury Tor from here.
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Pitchperfect Camping, Woolverton, opening 6 July.
Read the measures they’re taking in the wake of COVID19 before you book.
This family-run campsite sits in Somerset countryside on the outskirts of Frome and Bath, in the village of Woolverton. It’s a lovely site for tents and small campervans, with roaming chickens, friendly owners and a central play area for kids (in view of the pitches).
There is a small shop onsite (offering minimal supplies at this time) where you can pick up essentials and it’s worth knowing supermarkets deliver shopping here once you’ve arrived (although good luck getting a slot at the moment!)
Wifi is available field-wide at a charge of £1 per pitch per stay for the code, which can be used on multiple devices and for every booking at the campsite, visitors receive discounts to local attractions like Longleat (35% off one day passes) and Cheddar Caves.
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Nettwood Farm, East Harptree
In an area of outstanding natural beauty, working farm Nettwood Farm in the Mendip Hills gazes over breathtaking views of Chew Valley Lake. With 30 acres of woodland, wildlife such as owls, birds of prey, badgers and deer can often be spotted here.
For kids, there’s a climbing frame with a slide, swing and pirate swing in The Woodland Field and a large playhouse and slide in The Lakeview Field, as well as a fairly new den building area in the woods. In non-COVID times the campsite runs Forest Schools for groups of children (check with the campsite for their current policy on this). It’s also worth knowing there’s super-fast WiFi for those who might need it.
There are several lovely country pubs nearby, the closest one, The Castle of Comfort is just a mile up the hill and has a child-friendly garden. I also HIGHLY recommend the Pony & Trap (which also has outdoor space), The Pelican (in Chew Magna) and Salt and Malt Fish and Chips on Chew Magna lake.
If you don’t fancy pitching your own tent, there are 5 glamping options available at Nettwood – a World War 2 cabin known as the Viewing Platform, Safari Tent, Wooden Pod and 2 x 6 metre Bell Tents.
Mendip Camp, Longbottom, Shipham
In the heart of the Mendip Hills area of outstanding beauty in Somerset, this back-to-basics style campsite is modest on the facility front (two male and female toilets, cold water basins, a washing–up sink and 4 hook-ups but NO showers) but generous on the picturesque, adventure activities front. Walk straight from the campsite into neighbouring Rowberrow Forest with access to Blackdown, for views of the Severn estuary and Welsh mountains beyond. There’s also easy access to Beacon Batch, the highest point on the Mendips at 325m and Cheddar Gorge is less than 10-minutes away. Warm tired toesies round an evening campfire (logs are available to buy onsite).
Warren Farm Holiday Centre, Brean Sands, Burnham-on-Sea (opening 4 July)
An award-winning campsite slap bang on North Somerset’s sandy coastline, this family-run holiday park accepts touring caravans, motorhomes and tents, as well as having static caravans available to hire.
There’s tons for families to do onsite, including a sports field with football pitch, basketball hoops and a badminton/volleyball net, a fishing lake (perfect for duck-feeding and pond-dipping), a Pets Corner (although you can’t hold the animals at this time), six outdoor playgrounds, an open-air market (every Wednesday from 15 July), a Play Barn Arcade, onsite restaurant with outdoor seating, The Beachcomber (serving limited food and drink, with no entertainment until further notice) and Nesses Café, Sunnyside Chinese and Ice ’n’ Cold all offering takeaway food services. Unfortunately the bowling, soft play area, tractor rides, kids club, archery, climbing & zip wire and live entertainment are closed until further notice.
If you want to explore further afield, there are seven miles of sandy Brean Beach right on your doorstep, as well as lovely local walks such as the National Trust’s Brean Down, Mendip Hills, Brent Knoll and The Quantocks.
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Northam Farm, Burnham-on-Sea, opening 4 July
Like Warren Farm, Northam Farm is a family-friendly seaside campsite, just a two to three minute walk from Brean Sands Beach. On the large site, you’ll find outdoor play areas for the kids, a sports field, a fishing lake, a shop (only 4 allowed in at a time) and launderette.
If you don’t feel like cooking Northam Farm Takeaway will be open with plenty of outdoor seating.
Petruth Paddocks, Cheddar, opening 4 July
A stone’s throw from the picturesque village of Cheddar, Petruth Paddocks pride themselves on ‘free-range camping’ . Their laid-back approach lets you decide where you’d like to pitch amongst their grassy green fields and kiddos are encouraged to run around, climb trees, fish for tadpoles, play football and clamber over an old land rover in the ‘chill out field’. Campfires are very much encouraged ( a sack of logs £5 and kindling £2.50 can be delivered to your pitch between 6-8pm each evening) and dogs are allowed.
If you fancy a change from knocking up your own camp grub during your stay, it’s possible to get pizza delivered to the site.
The site has hot showers housed in spacious cabins, a toilet block, washing-up facilities (although if you have your own, it’s preferable to use those at this time) and the all important WiFi.
If you’re looking for a taste of camping without set-up hassle, they also hire Shepherd’s Huts (hand-built locally in the Mendip hills) and bell tents.
For family adventures, Cheddar Village and Gorge are reachable on foot and the Strawberry Line – a brilliant cycle route – starts within meters of the campsite.
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Moorhouse Farm and Campsite, Bridgwater, open from 10 July
This small, family-run, rural campsite is on a working arable farm at the foot of the glorious Quantock Hills. It’s super child-friendly with animals for kids to feed and really lovely owners. The area is surrounded by open farm land and far reaching views, with walks accessible from the farm.
Pitches are carefully spaced, level and well-drained, with mature trees and hedges dividing each area that give shade in the warmer months and shelter on rainy days.
There is a separate paddock for family tents where campfires are allowed in the firepits using the campsite’s own locally-sourced wood. For those looking for a bit of extra comfort, there are two glamping Pods at the top of the tent field, which can sleep up to 3 people and come with outdoor furniture and a BBQ.
A real farm experience, for scrumpy lovers, ‘Mad Apple Cider‘ is produced in their barns, free range chickens and ducks potter around the site to the delight of kiddos and there is a wooden climbing area and pirate ship with sand in the large tent field.
Nearby country pubs within walking distance can be found at Holford and Kilve and ‘The Chantry’ tea rooms serve up a scrummy cream tea.
Tons of outdoorsy adventures await during your stay – seek sea creatures in rock pools or hunt for fossils on Kilve beach, a 40-minute scenic walk away (or 5 minute drive). The ‘Quantock’ hills can be accessed directly from a private farm lane and wonderful historic walks follow in the footsteps of the poets, ‘Wordsworth’ and ‘Coleridge’ with the Coleridge Way.
Brook Lodge Farm Camping and Caravanning– currently closed due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Taking bookings for 2021.
This rural campsite in the historic village of Cowslip (birthplace of John Locke – writer of a large part of the American Constitution and home of philanthropist Hannah More), is just off the A38. Snuggled in the Mendip Hills, with a babbling streaming running along its five grassy acres, it’s a beautiful countryside spots that is perfect for walking, cycling, birdwatching, or exploring nearby Bristol (20 minutes), Bath, Glastonbury and Wells.
Greenacres Camping, Shepton mallet – Greenacres won’t be opening at all during the 2020 season.
Campsites near Bristol: The Cotswolds
Thistledown Farm, Stroud, opening 4 July
Thistledown is an organically-managed family farm and award-winning campsite near Stroud in a Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, about 50-minutes drive from Bristol. The campsite sprawls over 70 acres of woodland, meadows, and wildflower glades with 75 pitches available (although this might differ during COVID19 restrictions).
The Elderflower Orchard is the most basic camping area, and the only one that allows cars, while the bottom two pastures are car-free (they’ll transport your gear for you). Most pitches have firepits (wood available to buy onsite) and there are picnic tables dotted around the site for campers to use. If you’ve got animal fans, there are pigs, goats and sheep to spot.
Here is deep countryside, facilities are eco-friendly and soaking up the view should be high on the agenda. There is little light pollution and star-gazing is fantastic! Streams with rope swings are the height of excitement for kiddos and lovely walks (including access to the National Trust’s Woodchester Mansion) lead off from the campsite.
According to their website, weekends are already fully booked although there is plenty of space on weekdays throughout the summer. The café is currently open and offering grocery boxes, pre-booked, for collection: https://shop.thistledown.org.uk
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As some of you may have heard, a virus named after a light beer is destroying the world. The situation is changing daily but we currently plan to be open Weds – Sun as normal this week (as normal as possible). We may be running a different menu. It goes without saying that we’ll be ensuring super high levels of hygiene and making a few changes to café operations. We have loads of outside seating, parking space and acres for stretching legs and getting fresh air. As well as eat-in we will be offering takeaway meals from our thali (such as dhal, curries, paneer, pickles), soup, dips & dukkah and more. We can serve these ready to eat or boxed for the fridge – try to give us a call if you want us to get portions ready for you. Tea, coffee and cakes all available to go as usual. We also have an increased selection of groceries in the café, so as well as getting a coffee fix and lunch, having a stroll and buying some delicious takeaway meals you can pick up milk, butter, bread, eggs, toilet roll, our own yoghurt, fruit & veg, ice cream, tea & coffee, flour, tinned goods, bacon, sausages, pasta (from Thurs) and alcohol. Most of the above are from small scale, local suppliers. If you can, please try to support independent businesses that won’t have the resources or cash flow to survive month after month of losses. At some point coronavirus will be over, let’s make sure that as many of the businesses that we love are still here when it is. Take care, look out for your neighbours and let us know if you have any requests or suggestions.
Cotswold Farm Park, Cheltenham, opening 4 July
Pitch up in the heart of the Cotswolds, with gorgeous scenery and a Farm Park on your doorstep. Home to a varied selection of rare breeds, a play park, woodland walk and conservation area, The Cotswold Farm Park is a great family day out, whether you’re camping onsite or not.
However, if you are camping, there are a selection of lodges, glamping pods, glamping tents, fully-serviced pitches, grass pitches with electric and standard grass pitches. And your camping fee includes entry to the farm park for the duration of your stay there.
Facilities-wise, there is a heated shower block, campers kitchen, laundry facilities and free gas BBQ and picnic area as well as the Ox Shed bar and cafe (with option for deliveries to individual pitches), and shop selling local produce. However, you’ll need to check ahead to see what’s open in 2020.
Cotswold Meadow (and glamping), Chipping Sodbury
Nestled in beautiful unspoilt countryside between Chipping Sodbury and Old Sodbury beautiful unspoilt countryside, this camping and glamping site offers a range of 4-8 berth Lotus Belle tents, a 2-berth handcrafted Shepherd hut and ‘Bring Your Own Tent’ pitches. All BYOT campers are allowed to have campfires, while glampers can use firepits and BBQs provided. Kindling, logs and BBQ charcoal are available to buy.
There are no electric hook ups on site and Caravans are not permitted.
Tudor Caravan Park, Slimbridge, opening 4 July
Tudor Caravan Park is one of the best located family-friendly caravan and campsites in the Cotswolds with a beautiful canal-side location and pub and restaurant on-site. The camping Meadow backs onto the canal (you might get lucky enough to see a paddle-steamer or the occasional tall ship passing) and lovely views over the fields towards the Cotswold Hills.
It has electric hook-ups on hard-standings and a large open area in the centre for kids to play games and is well-equipped for camping with two shower and toilet blocks, including one with underfloor-heating, a laundry and baby-changing.
Stroll along the canal – the world-famous WWT Slimbridge is just 5 minutes walk away, the Severn Way runs alongside the park and you’re ideally place to watch the famous Seern Bore. The Cotswold Way is only 5 miles away.
Campsites near Bristol: Forest of Dean
Whitemead Forest Park, open from 6 July
A woodland retreat that’s open for touring, camping, glamping, lodge and log cabin holidays in the heart of the Forest of Dean. In total, there are around 100 pitches located in the Dell, the Meadow and the Mead. The campsite is perfectly positioned for forest walks and lots of cycle trails.
Due to the pandemic, Whitemead Forest Park will be offering takeaway tea and coffee, plus sandwiches, cakes and salads – these will all be available to grab and go from the counter to take away to your camping spot, or enjoy it in their al-fresco dining area. There’s also an onsite shop selling essentials.
The indoor restaurant, indoor bar, swimming pool and leisure facilities, and indoor children’s play areas will remain closed and there will be no on-site activities or evening entertainment.
Campsites near Bristol: Wiltshire
Rocks East Woodland, Chippenham
A traditional family campsite with 35 pitches in an area of outstanding natural beauty, just five miles away from Bath. Three fields on the edge of woodland make for a chilled out camping experience. Camp fires are permitted and logs are available onsite, sourced from their own sustainable woodland. For kids, there’s a sculpture trail and teddy bear house.
If you don’t fancy pitching your own tent, there do have a Yurt with its own little woodland garden, electricity and a wood-burning stove.
The log cabin office sits in the middle of the campsite and provides toilet, shower and washing-up facilities. The little shop sells soft drinks, ice creams crisps, sweets, a few basic camping essentials. Word has it there are also good pubs in the local area, most of them child-friendly.
Piccadilly Caravan Park, Lacock. Due to CORONA VIRUS, they will be closed until further notice.
The campsite stands in open countryside 0.5 mile from the historic National Trust village of Lacock.
The Blackberries Holiday Park, Monkton Farleigh
Owners Beryl and Adrian Orchard, promise a taste of rural Wiltshire at ‘The Blackberries’. Located in the village of Monkton Farleigh on the edge of the Cotswolds, the campsite is just 4 miles from Bath and 10-minutes walk from the nearest country pub. Each pitch also has its own built-in firepit and showers are hot and free!
The Kingsdown Golf Club is practivally on the doorstep for those interested in 18 holes, otherwise there’s tons of walking and cycling to be done nearby.
No tent? No problem. The campsite has glamping pods, shepherds huts and a 5m bell tent for hire.
This small family-run campsite for touring caravans, tents or motor-homes is fringed by the River Frome on one side, and right next to the medieval buildings of Stowford Farm.
Facilities include toilets, a recently-renovated stable block containing showers (50p), sinks, washing-up facilities with free hot water. Keen fishers, boaters, swimmers and paddlers will love having the river right on the doorstep. Historic Bradford-on-Avon is only a 5 minute drive and Bath, 15 minutes. For those after more rural pleasures, Farleigh Hungerford (200 metres from the campsite) boasts the only river swimming club in the country, and you can become a member instantly for a small fee!
Fires and BBQs are allowed off the ground, in order to preserve the grass (grab some homemade sausages and bacon from the farmhouse first). Fire bowls can be hired for £10, and they sell bags of logs.
Campsites near Bristol: Herefordshire
Rowlestone Court Farm – currently closed due to the pandemic.
Campsite with adventure playground and they make their own ice cream, and only an hour away from Bristol.
Bucklegrove Holiday Park, opening 4 July
Bucklegrove Holiday Park – part of the Wookey Hole Resort – sits at the foot of the Mendip Hills, with views across the Somerset Levels to Brent Knoll.
There are two fields for touring and camping pitches (Strawberry Field and The Grove), with landscaped areas, mature trees and flowering shrubs. Each have a facilities block, which has a bath option for young families and disabled people. There’s also a summer camping meadow for tents only (Tor View), with tons of space and views overlooking the Cheddar valley, but there are no electric hook-ups in this field.
Their accommodation also includes luxury lodges with hot tubs and woodland cabins.
They are working on a takeaway menu for the Bar and Restaurant and will be offering table service with all orders processed though an app / online, then delivered to your table to either dine with us or takeaway.
The outdoor children’s play area will be available during your stay, however, under current guidance the swimming pool must remained closed until further notice.
Campsites near Bristol: Devon
Located in an idyllic spot on the edge of the Blackdown Hills near Axminster in East Devon, this campsite is within easy reach of Bristol (an hour and a half if you go via the M5, or just under two hours if you take the scenic back roads along the A37 to avoid potential holiday traffic). As well as camping and caravanning, they offer mobile homes and glamping pods (which we stayed in) overlooking glorious rolling hills and munching cows.
Andrewshayes Holiday Park is a family business that has been going for 60 years. Just 6 miles from Seaton and 8.5 miles from Lyme Regis, the campsite makes a great spot to explore Britain’s spectacular Jurassic coastline and Blackdown Hills.
The site is geared up for families with a large, heated indoor swimming pool, outside childrens’ playground (perfectly positioned next to tables in front of the restaurant) toddler soft play area and arcade-style games room – you’ll need to check their website to see what is currently open. There’s an onsite shop should you need to pick up any essentials, otherwise the restaurant serves pizzas, slushies, fish and chips and burgers which can be eaten in or taken away.
Beeches Farm campsite, near Chepstow, currently closed.
This family-friendly campsite, on the top of Tidenham Chase in the Forest of Dean, comes with magnificent views over the Wye Valley.
It’s a beautiful patch of countryside and just metres away from Offa’s Dyke (a three-mile section of the earthwork boundary built along the Anglo-Welsh border by Offa, King of Mercia, probably during the 780s) and the view from Devil’s Pulpit down onto the ruins of Tintern Abbey. For extra WOW factor, the Abbey itself is just a 25-minute walk away from the campsite through woodland.
Activity-wise, there’s a small play area for kiddos, chickens and geese roam freely and there is a shop which sells essentials. Adults will find it hard to tear themselves away from those views especially when coupled with a flickering fire pit which are provided for campers (but only wood purchased on the site is permitted to be burned).
The campsite has a strong eco-friendly ethos and the owner harvests rainwater for the toilet system, uses solar lights where possible and encourages recycling.
If you fancy a step-up from camping there are static caravans available to rent.