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Best of the season: Camping round-up

Top three camping sites according to Niche Journalist Emily Miller.

Me outside my summer second home

It’s the end of the camping season, my tent and all its accompanying equipment is in the loft and I am reflecting on my picks of our adventures in the sunny summer gone by.

My children, 12 and 8, adore camping and so do I.

Having been on camping trips from toddler age. they see camping like I do: a chance to switch off a little, explore beautiful countryside and sort of ‘opt out’ of the stresses that sometimes come from everyday life.

Sure, there are other tasks like setting up home (tent), cooking and keeping fire, but they feel enjoyable for many reasons.

My youngest daughter Edie enjoying campfire pasta

I’ll add here that my tent is pretty fancy. A traditional bell tent, it offers lots of standing up room, has a breathable canvas fabric and I bring along plenty in the way of home comforts too.

Real pillows, rugs and fairy lights!

Having done camping in the two-man pop-up numbers at festivals in my youth I can confirm that the type of camping I choose to do these days is far more luxurious and comfortable.

Here, I am going to round up the top three sites of 2022 in the hope it inspires you to sleep under the stars in the summer of 2023.

A great destination for camping for those in Leicestershire, it’s not on the main booking sites, it doesn’t seem to need to be.

Populated by word-of-mouth, the site is always pretty busy. The showers and other facilities are great and the on-site café in Wing Hall itself has a bar and full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu.

In the summer months, campers are often treated to live music on the green. There are beautiful views across Rutland and the free roaming on-site chickens are an added delight.

It has plenty of space and feels very safe for the kids to run around in. We take walkie-talkies and their KidCamp6 Lights and they feel like they have freedom without me being too worried.

Wing Hall, Oakham

On the outskirts of Essex, this site is perfect for those wanting to get out of the hustle and bustle of busy city life but who are not wanting to venture too far.

Set in a family farm, Sparrows Campsite - which is also an event and retreat venue - boasts fabulous glamping bell tents and is as close to wild camping with facilities that you can get.

Each pitch is distanced from the next with a firepit and deliveries of wood and there are woodland areas that combine to create an off-grid feel.

Wildflower meadows, a communal kitchen and a play area complete this absolute hidden gem of a site.

Camping provides adventure and a bit of freedom

A short drive on the outskirts of Leicestershire, Rural Relaxing is small but perfectly formed.

A number of pitches behind a gate in the beautiful village of Medbourne, and a lovely café and communal eating area.

This site is ideal for families and groups with the advantage of the children able to explore a little in a safe setting.

My eldest daughter Rose enjoying the tent

The sweet café offers lovely coffee and warm bacon and sausage ciabatta rolls, so is ideal for those who want a camping trip without having to bring everything and the kitchen sink.

I take my excellent Sho Thermal Mug which stays warm for four hours after boiling my camping kettle every morning.

Barefoot and free camping

So, for those who might not think camping is for them, I hope I have shown you that things might be a little nicer than you might recall, and that it's all an adventure waiting for you to be part of.


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