10 Campsites Near to National Trust Sites
The National Trust has hundreds of beautiful homes, castles and gardens to visit across the UK, making it a very popular destination for many campervan owners. Once you have exhausted the National Trust places in your local area, an adventure further afield may be in order! But where do you stay?
Here’s a selection of our friend’s top campsites near National Trust sites across the UK.
(Please check ahead for covid restrictions and to see if you need to book a visiting time.)
Where to Stay: Wareham Forest Tourist Park or Longthorns Farm
Designed by author and poet Thomas Hardy, Max Gate is a sophisticated town house designed in 1885 and a short walk from Dorchester historic town centre. Hardy’s Cottage - the birthplace of Thomas Hardy - is a quaint cob and thatch cottage where he wrote several of his early short stories. Only 4 miles from the centre of Dorchester, this is another National Trust site worth a visit when in the area.
A 15 minute drive from your campsite towards the Jurassic Coast, you will find Corfe Castle, an iconic, thousand-year-old royal castle full of history and boasting breathtaking views across the Purbeck.
“As well as quiet woodland pitches, Wareham Forest Tourist Park has a licensed shop, outdoor pool, adventure playground and a playing field. 150 pitches are hardstandings with electric hook-ups, and some of them have aerial points and drainage. From here you can visit Abbotsbury and Corfe Castle.” Martin
Where to stay: Three Oaks Campsite
Stourhead is a palladian house with a world-famous 18th century landscaped garden, a magnificent lake, woodland and ‘picnic perfect’ lawns. 3 miles away you will find Three Oaks Campsite - "This small campsite gave us the most friendly welcome, with tea and biscuits! Lovely flat campsite with a new, clean shower block." Ann and Bob
Isle of Wight
Where to Stay: Compton Farm
Set in a sheltered valley, the once abandoned farmyard but now magical Mottistone gardens, are filled with shrub-filled banks, hidden pathways and colourful herbaceous borders bursting with bright reds, purples and oranges from late spring to early autumn.
A small organic kitchen garden is stocked with seasonal fruit and veg - you may even find fresh olives from their young olive grove which has been planted to take advantage of the Mediterranean-style warm, southerly location. There are plenty of walks across the wider Mottistone Estate stretching towards the sea.
"Compton Farm campsite is near the Tennyson trail which has beautiful scenic walks to Freshwater Bay and a 10 minute walk down to Compton Bay. There’s a basic (but clean!) shower and toilet block on site." Naomi
Where to Stay: Dogwood Cottage Campsite
Bodiam Castle, a grand, 14th century medieval moated castle, is a 10 minute drive from Dogwood Cottage Campsite, a secluded, family-run campsite in a small East Sussex village. Slightly further afield you can visit Sissinghurst Castle and Scotney Castle.
Where to Stay: Graffham C&C Club Site
Petworth House and Park is nestled in the South Downs, displaying one of the finest art collections in the care of the National Trust. Not only that, there is also a large lake within the landscaped park, grand views overlooking the Baroque-inspired house and another large park where deer run wild.
‘A garden of design’ Woolbeding Gardens has plenty to explore including a contemporary glasshouse, garden rooms and landscaped gardens. Also worth a visit when in the South Downs area are Uppark House and Gardens, and for fantastic dog walks, Lavington Common tree plantation.
Kate recommends staying at Graffham Camping and Caravanning Club Site. “This beautiful woodland site has plenty of secluded pitches among the trees, and lovely hot showers (20p coin needed). The facilities are clean but rustic, in keeping with the woodland setting. Friends with dogs find it a particularly relaxing place to stay, with access to fantastic dog walks through the National Trust’s Lavington Common tree plantation. Ideal for walkers as it is in the South Downs National Park. There are 2 pubs within walking distance."
Where to Stay: Horsley Camping & Caravan Club Site
"Our camping trip to Horsley Camping & Caravan Club Site was marvellous as the weather was glorious. It is one of our favourite campsites as it’s got a picturesque fishing lake, surrounded by woods. Our pitch was overlooking the lake, which had ducks, and herons and we heard owls every night! We visited Polesden Lacey for the third time. We also went to Claremont Gardens, another of our favourite NT places." Brian and Aprille.
Also nearby are the remarkable ruins of Clandon Park, currently undergoing one of the UK’s biggest heritage projects as they remake the ruin following a fire in 2015. You can see the reconstruction taking place as parts of the building are accessible to the public once you’ve donned a hard hat and hi-vis jacket.
Where to Stay: Penrhiw Uchaf Touring Caravan Site
Bodnant Garden is a haven of tranquility and relaxation with year-round colour. A half an hour coastal drive west will take you to the fantastical Penrhyn Castle and Garden with a backdrop of Snowdonia mountains. Another 9 miles across the Menai Strait will take you to Plas Newydd House and Garden, an elegant house redesigned by James Wyatt in the 18th century.
The peaceful, picturesque hillside campsite, Penrhiw Uchaf Touring Caravan Site, is five miles inland from the beaches of Llandudno and Colwyn Bay. It makes an ideal base for visiting these National Trust sites. There are 10 hardstanding pitches beside the stream, free range eggs for sale, and shops, pubs, supermarkets and garages only a couple of miles away. There's a toilet block with hot showers, and the free-range pygmy goats, horses and hens are fun to watch. A little gem.
Where to Stay: Coniston Park Coppice Caravan & Motorhome (C&M) Club Site
“We had a fab mid-September week in the sunshine walking in the Lake District. We camped in a glade within a large National Trust wood. Good facilities, BBQs permitted, and you can walk to village pubs and cafés." Mandy
Beatrix Potter fans will love this area of the Lake District - visit Hill Top, Potters’ 17th-century farmhouse and the Beatrix Potter Gallery displaying original artwork. Wray Castle, a magnificent Gothic Revival castle complete with turrets and towers is also close by.
On Coniston water, you can book a Steam Yacht Gondola ride or go cycling, pony trekking, rock climbing and birdwatching in Grizedale Forest.
Where to Stay: Woodhall Spa C&C Club Site
Tattershall Castle sits a 10 minute drive from Woodhall Spa Camping & Caravan Club Site. A magnificent 15th century red brick castle with huge Gothic fireplaces and church-like windows, designed to show off Lord Ralph Cromwell’s wealth, position and power.
Brian and Aprille recommend a visit to Gunby Estate, Hall and Gardens, a 30 minute drive towards the coast. “It was beautiful and I played on a Bechstein Grand piano which Vaughan Williams had given recitals on. My Chopin went down well. We packed our Bambino NV200 CamperCar and spent 5 days touring Lincolnshire. Sun every day, our campsite (Woodhall Spa C&C Club Site) was excellent, with a duck pond and we visited some historical villages, and had a pub lunch with our friend in a lovely old pub similar to Jamaica Inn!”
As a child, Naomi spent most summers camping with family and friends. This usually involved a lot of wet sleeping bags, broken tent pegs and even a upturned tent on a car...
Since then she has preferred to spend camping holidays in yurts, shepherds huts and campervans. Most weekends you will find her exploring the countryside around Sussex and trying to find the best pub grub along the way.