For a trip where you can get close to nature and escape from modern life, camping and glamping with children are great fun and easier to organise than you might think!
Camping is also a good way to travel on a budget – once you’ve bought your tent you can use it over and over again, and there are campsites all over the place. Glamping is pricier than camping, but it’s generally less work and more comfortable, as your accommodation is set up and waiting for you.
Here, we share our top tips plus favourite places to camp with family, what to pack when camping with babies and children, tips for making it fun from top family travel bloggers and influencers.
Camping with a baby: what to pack & where to go
Camping fun doesn’t stop when you have a baby, but you do need to prepare a bit more than when you simply threw a backpack on and went where the mood took you. Discover the 10 essential things to pack when camping with a baby — whether in the hot weather, cold weather, the rain and more.
Kate Lewis from The Smaller Explorer shares her hard-won tips on how to have the best experience if you fancy camping with little ones. She says: ‘We did find it a little trickier than before kids obviously, especially as there was an overnight thunderstorm the first ever night we tried camping with kids, but ultimately it was great fun. Tiring, yes, but isn’t everything these days?!’
Anna Miller of Popitha; Life and Adventures with Twins is also a glamping fan, and she too enjoyed a family trip to the Dandelion Hideaway in England. Anna says: ‘For a long time I had wanted to take my twin toddlers glamping. Most people said we were crazy taking them whilst still in cots. But I saw it as a fabulous adventure and one that would hopefully inspire others to do the same. I was right to think so as we had a wonderful time and would recommend it to anyone who was think of trying it! We loved it!’
Camping tips and inspiration
If you’re not keen on camping, read this post by Karen Whitlock of Stopping At Two about a marvellous trip she went on with family and friends in Wales. Karen says: ‘I hate the idea of camping however last summer I was out-voted on whether to go camping or not. Here is how I found camping at The Gower.’
Lucy Brown who blogs at Kids of the Wild wrote this guest post for North American website Cool of the Wild. Lucy loves camping and her aim is to help families and kids get outdoors and connect with nature more, whether in the garden or on big adventures. ‘This is a pretty comprehensive guide to the pleasure and pain of camping with kids including being flexible about itinerary and weather,’ she saysthe. ‘There’s no shame in calling it quits and leaving early if the fun has fizzled out!’
Kirstie Pelling of The Family Adventure Project has camped all over the world, and she’s sharing an extremely helpful post which is a compendium of camping tips and knowledge. Kirstie says: ‘Whether you are beginner, or an expert family camper who perhaps wants to try something a little wilder you’ll find something here for you. There are tips for camping with babies too and advice on buying a tent, from a family with two decades of camping stories to tell.’
A camping tip that seems really good know
How to sleep in a hammock in cold weather: If you’d like to try camping without a tent — how about a bushcraft weekend? I was very apprehensive about sleeping in a hammock in the woods in England in November, but I actually really enjoyed the experience in the end. I wrote about it on my blog Mums Do Travel. If you try sleeping outside, my main tip is to make sure that you have a high quality warm sleeping bag.
Where to go glamping in the UK
The UK has a fantastic array of campsites across England, Scotland and Wales. Here our community of parents and influencers share some favourites that feature everything from wild ponies to sandy shores.
Kate shares details of her favourite campsite. ‘The holy grail of camping, in my opinion, is finding a campsite that is amazing but not overrun with people,’ she says. ‘Compton Farm on the Isle of Wight is just that. It’s a hop and a skip from a sandy beach, there is National Trust chalkland downs on your doorstep and a grassy meadow for kids to run safely around in. Our favourite campsite so far!’
Sarah Ebner who blogs at Family Travel Times says that glamping is ideal for her. She shares her experience of the Dandelion Hideaway in England. ‘I am not at all a camping kind of a person so glamping was just right for me — and, it turned out, the whole family,’ she says. ‘We were also extremely lucky with our glamping choice. It was so relaxing, beautiful and made us feel so spoilt. We learnt how to build a fire, and also how to slow down (a real boon if you live in London). But I think my favourite memories are watching Robert collect the eggs and try just-milked goats milk. Those aren’t the kinds of thing you do every day!’
Taryn Moore of 3 Little Ladies And Me has found a great glamping site in England. She says: ‘If you’re looking to get away from it all and escape to a magical woodland getaway we’d highly recommend Jollydays Glamping site in beautiful Yorkshire. It’s ideal for a cosy couples retreat, a weekend away with friends and absolutely perfect for a family adventure. Read our full review here:
Kate Lewis from The Smaller Explorer recommends glamping if you’re not keen on camping. ‘We went for the first time this year and loved it. You get all the benefits of camping but without the hassle. We stayed on this beautiful farm with gorgeous Dorset views. Our ‘tent’ was a 3 bed safari style affair with wood-burning stove and hot water. Complete bliss’.
Fancy trying out life in a yurt? Nicky Williams of Go Live Young knows just the place: Hidden Valley Yurts in Wales. Nicky says: ‘Set deep within the South Wales countryside is a beautiful selection of Mongolian yurts. It is a true back-to-nature experience. There are wonderful views of the Welsh hills, ancient woodland and a gurgling stream. This is most definitely glamping with soft comfy beds, wood burning stoves and beautifully decorated yurts.’
Where to camp with kids in Europe
Zoe Holland of Juggling on Rollerskates loves glamping, and is sharing two of her favourite posts about glamping in Europe. Both of these sites look like fantastic places to stay. Zoe says: ‘This is Sleep in Bubble. You can sleep in an inflatable dome under the stars in a quiet village in Belgium:
And this is Glisten Camping where you can stay in a futuristic, luxury geo dome at the foot of the Pyrenees in Basque Country.
Ioana Bozan of Zenbabytravel has found a truly historic setting for glamping in France. ‘We had our first ever attempt at glamping in a cabin in the woods in Normandy, France. My kids and I totally loved it. It didn’t come necessarily with a reasonable budget (at Euro 250 a night on B&B basis in April) but then it’s right by a gorgeous chateau hotel – Villiers de Mahieu Essay. Just make sure you get the driving destination right. there are few Chateaux hotels Villiers in France, Normandy included!’. (The glamping site was next to chateau number two in the post).