Experience the back-to-basics appeal of camping amped up by luxurious touches with our top picks for glamping sites in the south-east of England. Options include rustic shepherd’s huts concealed in the middle of undisturbed woodland, eco-friendly pods situated in designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and striped tents with ancient castles as their backdrop.
The South East is known for its leafy Home Counties, vibrant cities and the history that permeates every cathedral and cliff-side fortress. It’s here you can discover Old England, with its slow pace of life, unspoilt green countryside and nostalgic traditions. And what better way to do so than by glamping in some of its most vibrant natural sites?
Discover the South Downs while glamping in West Sussex
Plush Tents Glamping | Chichester, West Sussex
Escape from everyday life in this serene woodland sanctuary. Plush Tents Glamping is an award-winning site, which features not only luxurious glamping pods in a yurt village, but also a hot tub for resting tired muscles, hammocks for reading in and natural play areas to keep children entertained. It’s the ideal way to dip your toe in the water of ‘off the-grid-living’ while still benefitting from all of the modern comforts and conveniences you’d expect from your getaway.
Yurts here are warm, spacious and comfortable. Inside, you’ll find cosy interiors distinguished by rustic wooden details, deep jewel colours and textured furnishings. At night, cosy up beneath ultra-soft sheets and fluffy pillows, made from super-soft Egyptian cotton to help you get a night of deep sleep. Antique furniture – including plush leather furnishings – and hand-carved beds create a subtly decadent feel. Warm your hands by an authentic wood-burning stove, stoked and maintained by the site’s expert staff. In fact, before you settle down in your yurt, staff will also help you with your baggage and explain how to use all of the facilities at the site.
A sense of community is nurtured at Plush Tents Glamping – as well as the individual huts in the village, there’s a large, heated social yurt. Relax and catch up with freshly brewed tea in the seating areas, or lie back in your hammock while the smells of grilling meat and veg float up from your own private barbecue. A communal kitchen and a heated shower block help you get each day of your glamping holiday off to a refreshing start.
After a spot of rest and relaxation, you’ll be recharged to explore the South Downs. The site is nestled within acres of bluebell woods (visit in April or May to see the woodland floor carpeted in purple), where you can go dog-walking (furry friends are allowed) or exploring. There’s nothing quite like strolling through the woodland, freshly brewed tea in hand, as the morning sunlight warms the leaves.
Local highlights include the city of Chichester, with its 900-year-old cathedral, just an 8-minute drive away. Discover architecture that spans the centuries – look out for Victorian spires as well as Norman details. While in Chichester, make sure to visit the Fishbourne Roman Palace, an ancient residential Roman building which dates back to 75 AD.
Or, you might choose to spend the day at the beach at West Wittering, 20 minutes away by car. Take a stroll along peaceful sands with views of the South Downs as well as Chichester Harbour. A picnic of Sussex specialities, like locally made apple juice, chutneys, pickles and cheeses such as Brighton Blue is the ideal way to spend the afternoon here.Compare prices
Unwind with adults-only glamping in Hampshire
Two Hoots Camping | Alresford, Hampshire.
At Two Hoots Camping, you can choose from two types of glamping. The Shepherd’s Huts have a king-sized bed (just the thing for sinking into after a long day of exploring) and sleep two. Each hut also has a sheltered veranda, where you can begin the day with a newspaper and a hot cup of coffee. You’ll also have your own private washroom, complete with a toilet.
Rustle up some campfire-inspired meals in your spacious kitchen, which is fully equipped with all of the appliances and essentials you’ll need. You’ll stay warm thanks to the dedicated insulation and electric heating, no matter what time of year you plan your glamping trip. Spend evenings huddled around the real, wood-burning stove, toasting crumpets picked up from one of the nearby farmers’ markets.
Your other option is an eco-friendly camping pod, the design of which fits in seamlessly with the surrounding woodlands. You’ll find the pods hidden in an idyllic bluebell copse with views looking out over the rest of the site. The curved, hut-like structure and entirely wooden exteriors create a whimsical and rustic feel. Interiors are simple, and like the Shepherd’s Huts, they’re secure and fully insulated with sheep’s wool to keep you cosy all year round. Other clever features include innovative foil which regulates temperatures and noise-reducing roof tiles. When you turn in for the night, pull the heavy drapes closed and curl up on your king-size bed. Watch a movie on your TV, or spend the evening reading on your outdoor porch.
These Shepherd’s Huts and glamping pods combine the tranquillity of a peaceful setting close to the South Downs with comfortable and luxurious accommodation. For a truly relaxing arrival, take the steam train and walk the remaining half a mile through the rolling English countryside to the site of Two Hoots.
There’s lots to see when you’re not relaxing and soaking up the serene atmosphere. Pay a visit to the World Heritage Site of Stonehenge – a 50-minute drive – or spend the afternoon discovering a spectacular array of animals at Marwell Wildlife – 27 minutes away by car. Alternatively, you might choose to spend the day exploring the quaint city of Winchester, 17 minutes’ drive away, with its Edwardian Theatre, awe-inspiring cathedral and atmospheric Winchester College – widely believed to be the oldest school in the country.
Craft beer connoisseurs: it’s worth planning your stay to coincide with the RAT, or Real Ale Train. This bi-monthly event sees a steam train loaded with local brews take a three hour trip along the scenic Watercress branch line, with hot curries and pasties to accompany your choice of IPA, lager or stout.Compare prices
Go back in time while glamping in Kent
Knight’s Glamping at Leeds Castle | Maidstone, Kent
Introducing glamping with a difference. At Knight’s Glamping, you can sleep in the shadow of Leeds Castle in Kent, a monument dating back to 1086. There are eight pavilions in vibrant, medieval-inspired stripe designs to choose from – each sleeps up to four people.
The majesty of the castle and its knights of old inspires this glamping experience. Discover opulent four-poster beds inside each tent, an atmospheric wood-burning stove and sumptuous bedding to sink down into. Unwind among textured fabrics and furry throws, which add to the sense of luxury. Rich tones create a sense of decadence, as does carved wooden furniture and twinkling fairy lights. Each tent has a mini outdoor area complete with table and chairs, where you can take breakfast or spend an afternoon with a cup of tea and a good book.
At Knight’s Glamping, everything you need for your weekend away is already included; there’s no need to bring camping kit, just food and snacks for a midnight feast or midday picnic. Among the shared facilities at the glamping grounds, you’ll find a cast iron griddle – why not cook meats, fish and vegetables over an open, roaring fire just as the castle’s medieval knights would have once done? It’s just the thing for catching up with loved ones or making new friends on balmy summer evenings. After a long day of exploring or hiking in the local surroundings, take a long hot shower in the recently renovated shower facilities, just a quick walk away from your tent.
When you stay at Knight’s Glamping, you’ll also have free access to everything Leeds Castle has to offer, including the vast grounds and gardens with their sweeping moat. Don’t miss getting lost in one of Kent’s largest hedge mazes, which boasts a grand total of 2,400 yew trees. Work up an appetite in the Culpeper Gardens, which was once the castle’s kitchen garden, or gaze at row upon row of classic books in the library.
Explore the wider wonders of Kent, continuing the theme with a 40 minute drive to Dover Castle, which was once one of the most important defensive fortresses in the country. Drive 50 minutes to find the 13th-century Hever Castle, the family home of the Boleyns. You’re also just over half an hour’s drive from the city of Canterbury, where you can explore the origins of the Canterbury Tales, wonder at the World Heritage-listed Canterbury Cathedral or stretch your legs on the peaceful and woody Barham and Adisham walk. Find out more about the city’s history by paying a visit to the immersive Canterbury Roman Museum, which brims with ancient artefacts and mosaics.Compare prices