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THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES TO PITCH A TENT NEAR LONDON

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Sam Whittle

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Whether you’ve missed out on all the Airbnbs or keen to remind yourself how to rough it in the outdoors, we’ve put together some close-to-home spots to camp up and crack into a cold bevvy under the stars.

Though, even if you can’t bear the thought of parting with a double bed and a hot shower, rest assured a few of the below are designed to cater to the “glampers.”

You’ll find Eco Camp at Wild Boar Wood tucked away in the heart of Sussex (between London and Brighton), just two hours from London. Smack bang in the middle of a five-acre woodland are fully-equipped bell tents (you’ll even have your own fire pit and eco stove) ready and waiting for runaway Londoners. The sound of wildlife, a cracking fire, and the occasion passing train on the historic Bluebell Railway are the only noises you’ll hear. City slickers be warned: firewood is taken care of, but don’t expect hair dryers or phone chargers!

Whether you’re keen to pitch a tent or more keen on a comfy bed, Beech Estate Woodland Campsite has got you covered. The campsite that spans 20 acres is nestled on the edge of a 600-acre woodland. That’s a lot of space to explore — you could even take the mountain bikes for a spin.

Taking it back to basics, The Secret Campsite Lewes is tent-only. It’s a space for “real campers” wanting to see what Sussex, Brighton, and Lewes have on offer. At the family-oriented campsite (which is free of cars and dogs — sorry, furry friends), you can spot deer, hunt for glow worms, or simply relax by the campfire. They’ve also got a few “unusual” shelters for you to spend a night in — if you don’t mind heights that is. Check out more here. Note: we say “real campers” lightly, as hot showers, bathrooms, and fire pits are there to be used.

At this tiny Suffolk retreat just two hours from London, you can choose to stay in a yurt, bell tent, gypsy caravan, woodland hideout, or even experience full-blown country living in a converted barn — or just bring the ol’ tent to pitch. The Sweffling White Horse pub is on site serving award-winning local ales, and the campsite has bikes for campers to borrow, so take one for a ride (before visiting the pub is probably a good idea).

An hour’s train ride will land you in Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Beauty, which has some of the best walking in the countryside, and is—you guessed it—beautiful. The Surrey Hills Yurts campsite has six Mongolian-style yurts, each decked out with locally made wooden furnishings and has all the bells and whistles for your glamping experience. The campsite is a cycle or long walk from Leith Hill and the famous Gothic tower, so make sure you check that out during your stay!

You may have already heard about the Lee Valley, as it’s known for being the adrenaline junkie’s escape. Just 30 minutes from London, it has all the good stuff — water sports, walking, and cycling. If all that tires you out, why not set up camp in a tent, caravan, or cabin? It’s the perfect getaway without really leaving London. Don’t stress — you can Netflix and chill or email, as they have Wi-Fi on site.

Rally your fellow campers (those you can spend three hours in a car with) and head to The Fire Pit Camp in Norfolk. The campsite is pitched to be more of a hangout for groups rather than a wilderness experience, but it’s the perfect idea for a getaway with mates or a special occasion. There are 12 tents plus a “mansion-tent” that sleeps eight, a warehouse serving cocktails and coffee, and yoga classes on offer. From May to September, weekends are whole site hire-only, but smaller groups can pitch-up during the week. And yes, there’s a fire pit!

Little Ropers is a small ‘wild camping’ site a little over two hours from London in the Stour Valley. You won’t find any on-site breweries or fancy tents here, sorry team! But there are 100 acres of woodland to explore. Prepare yourself for all the nature vibes as you disconnect for a weekend.

Any campsite that welcomes you with two bottles of cider is on to a good thing. Chalke Valley Camping is only two hours from London, set on a working farm in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s somewhere between camping and glamping — aka the toilets flush but it’s still off-grid.

If you love taking care of Mother Nature as much as you love camping, you’ll feel right at home at Badgells Wood Camping, which is only an hour from London. In a large expanse of Kent woodland, there’s recycling facilities, composting loos, and even biodegradable shower gel on sale. Hello, eco! The more secluded Bluebell Camping area is hidden deep in the woods, so if you’re in need of some R&R, head down there to get some A-grade peace and quiet.