Lakeside glamping in South Downs National Park

Country hikes, coastal views, and cultural sites are all on the itinerary in the South Downs.

95% (18 reviews)
95% (18 reviews)

Popular camping styles for South Downs National Park

12 top lakeside glamping sites in South Downs National Park

89%
(240)

Radcot Leisure on Thames

46 units · Glamping, Tents1 acre · Oxfordshire, South East England
A Thames’ island campsite in the Oxfordshire countryside – with a lovely pub just over the bridge
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£30
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Booked 2 times

Wonderland Festival Retreat

2 units · Glamping10 acres · Henfield, England
Quirky lakeside stays in unusual accommodation surrounded by beautiful Sussex countryside with a wood fired hot tub and sauna! You can even book the entire venue on exclusive use basis for your festival wedding or party. Choose from breaks in a Bubble Dome, Tiny House, Airstream Caravan, Lakeside cottage, Shepherds Hut, Gypsy Caravan and (coming soon) a Showmans Wagon... each beautifully bohemian space has access to the spa deck with hot tub and sauna, boating lake and communal hang out spaces including an outdoor pizza oven.
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£170
 / night
100%
(3)

The Blue Pool

8 units · Glamping300 acres · Wareham, England
Treehouses on the edge of Dorset’s Blue Pool
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£185
 / night

Surrey Lakes Glamping

6 units · Glamping30 acres · Guildford, Surrey, South East England
Two brothers Frank & Val have always felt they live in a magical corner of the world. Set in a uniquely stunning valley along the edge of an enchanting woodland with views of hills with animals grazing. Surrey Lakes Glamping was born out of the feeling that it’s too special not to be shared. They are on a mission to make glamping a magical yet stress free experience. With lakes, streams a stunning National Trust Arboretum and walking trails throughout the rolling hills in which the site is set, Surrey Lakes Glamping is a pocket of magic. With lakes, streams a stunning National Trust Arboretum and walking trails throughout the rolling hills in which the site is set, Surrey Lakes Glamping is a pocket of magic.
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£130
 / night
93%
(36)

The Nut Plat Retreat

3 units · Glamping1 acre · Kent, South East England
Antique living wagons on the banks of the River Bourne, with a charming orchard setting, a pub down the lane and a history unlike anywhere else
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£110
 / night
100%
(2)

Hastingford Fishery Glamping

4 units · Glamping32 acres · Uckfield, England
Searching for a peaceful holiday/short break without kids underfoot? Ramble along to Hastingford Fishery, an adults-only shepherd's hut and fishing site set in a scenic lakeside setting less than five minutes’ drive from the East Sussex village of Hadlow Down and 20 minutes from Royal Tunbridge Wells. This site should suit couples or singles wanting to 'get away from it all' and also fishing fans down to the ground. It’s got several fishing lakes to choose from with lots of different species, so settle down on the banks with rod in hand and while away a few hours (or days) in quiet contemplation, waiting for something to bite. But please note, the site is not for 'competition anglers' although there are plenty of good sized carp around. and asks anyone fishing to only use barbless hooks, and for fish to be returned to the lake quickly after being caught.Not the fishing type? Chill out in and around your secluded hut, or there’s plenty to entertain in a leisurely fashion: paths wind around the lakes and through copses/shaws (as this is the High Weald) plus through the local countryside. There are spectacular views towards the South Downs National Park from the top lakes. A spring-fed lake is also on site to cool off in with some wild swimming. Lots of bird life around, with feeders outside each hut and waterfowl visitors to the lakes.When it comes to eats, pick up or have supplies delivered from supermarkets or takeaways in Uckfield, Heathfield or Crowborough or take a drive to Buxted Park for some posh food or pubs in Blackboys, Crowborough, Ringles Cross, 5 Ash Down, Rotherfield, or Buxted (it'll take about 10 minutes to drive to any of these). Lots of sample menus in huts.
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£110
 / night
94%
(76)

Chigborough Farm

48 units · Glamping, Motorhomes, Tents130 acres · Essex, East Anglia
Boating, biking and bell tent glamping on a farm near the Blackwater Estuary, where good food and walkable pubs are also on the menu.
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£13
 / night
Booked 2 times

Serenity Lakes

3 units · Glamping10 acres · Duxford, England
Cosy shepherd's huts with hot tubs, set alongside a tranquil fishing lake.
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£120
 / night

Secret garden & spring-fed swim

2 units · Glamping25 acres · Shepton Mallet, England
Unique & enchanting a lush walled garden on the edge of a quiet village provides the perfect place to relax & recharge. Unwind in a wood-fired hot tub or around the fire in the spacious & comfortable yurt. Cook up a feast in the well-equipped outdoor kitchen. Explore the adjoining historic land; meadows, waterfalls & swimming ponds. Book the off-grid spa with horse-box sauna & Swedish hot-tub. Take a dip or paddle-board & enjoy spotting deer. Enjoy great food at the local pub just a short walk away Then explore Somerset. Enjoy staying in a beautiful organic 21 ft yurt nestled in a magical walled garden exclusively for your use. Your stay includes: A beautiful garden with pizza oven, bbq, hand-made swing, reclining chairs, fire pit A wood- fired ‘dip-tank hot-tub for two (or 2 adults and a child) A fully equipped outdoor kitchen A further indoor kitchenette with fridge-freezer, toaster & oven A monsoon shower & 2 flushing toilets A further garden room with double-bed and electricity A 21 ft Yurt with king-sized bed, sofa, dining table, vinyl collection with turntable & blu-tooth. A wood-burning fire with a complementary basket of logs Quality linen, towels, and toiletries, Eye-masks & dressing gowns Sleeping arrangements are flexible for four people as there is an extra double bedroom in the garden room on the terrace or extra beds can be put in the yurt. The walled garden sits away from but has access to The Brew Somerset with 25 acres of private land. The Brew Somerset is a glamping and retreat site arranged around the spring-fed ponds. These ponds once served the Oakhill Brewery. Stout was first brewed in the village of Oakhill in 1767, using water which comes down from the Mendip Hills. In the 18th century Oakhill Stout was thought to have ‘magical‘ healing properties. Now you can take a dip in these waters. The beady-eyed can spot kingfisher, heron, buzzard, kite, cormorant & much more in the way of wildlife. Walled garden guests have access to this larger site in the afternoons, between 1pm and 5pm. The retreat site is not suitable for young children. Coming soon: Don't miss the uniqueness of the pop-up off-grid spa with horse-trailer sauna, wood-fired hot tub and treatment tent. Enjoy a sauna or hot-tub whilst watching deer browse.....seriously! Booking essential. All of this is just a leisurely stroll away from an excellent pub. Relax, unwind, enjoy - a breathing space.
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£220
 / night
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(44)

Woodfrys Farm

7 units · Glamping, Motorhomes, Tents6 acres · Dorset, South West England
A sustainable, family-run smallholding in rural Dorset with a small lakeside campsite
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£12.50
 / night
100%
(1)

Mangerton Lake

2 units · Glamping17 acres · Bridport, England
Offering amazing views over the valley and lake it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind. Fall asleep to the sound of the spring bubbling and wake up to beautiful views in one of Dorsets areas of outstanding natural beauty. If you are an angler our lake is well stocked with Carp, Roach and Tench, fishing is included with your stay. We are 3 miles from the nearest beaches or you can walk straight onto the footpaths and explore the countryside. We are about 1.5 miles from the historic market town of Bridport which is well know for its antiques and vintage markets. We are also close to some fabulous restaurants, cafes and pubs.
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£80
 / night
88%
(8)

Camping at Brandiers Farm

2 units · Glamping30 acres · Wiltshire, South West England
Bucolic rural glamping in a beautiful natural beauty spot on the borders of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.
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£140
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Dog-friendly getaways

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Lakeside glamping in South Downs National Park guide

Overview

A green belt of farmlands, chalk hills, and ancient yew forests make up the South Downs National Park, which links some of the south of England’s most interesting destinations. Explore on foot, by bike, or on horseback along more than 2,000 miles of trails, or enjoy kayaking along the Cuckmere River. Up for a challenge? Hike the epic 101-mile South Downs Way national trail or try paragliding from the hilltops. Other must-sees include Arundel Castle and the white-chalk sea cliffs at Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters. After a day of discovery, pitch your tent at a backcountry campsite and turn your gaze upwards—this Dark Sky Reserve is stargazing heaven. Otherwise, camp along the South Downs Way, escape the city for a day or two, or settle in for a weeklong family camping trip in the South Downs. The park’s location only an hour from London and within easy reach of much of the south coast are added advantages that make weekend escapes a real possibility.

Exploring the South Downs Way

The South Downs Way is especially famous, stretching from Winchester to the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs at Eastbourne. By national trail standards, the route is relatively achievable at 100 miles in length. For average walkers, it’s the work of eight to nine days, while cyclists typically accomplish the feat in two or three days. Campsites line the entire route, meaning you can easily camp along the way. But, of course, you don’t need to take on the multi-day challenge of the entire South Downs Way to enjoy this waymarked trail. Even if you’re planning just a short walk or picnic, joining a section of the South Downs Way makes for easy planning. The route, signposted with the national trail’s acorn icon, goes through the heart of the park and along the ridgeline. Thanks to the elevation, it’s usually dry when other parts are boggy.

Romantic Retreats in the South Downs National Park

If you’re looking for a place to get away from it all—including the kids—the South Downs National Park is a top pick. A camping holiday here can make for a great romantic getaway—think countryside views, candlelight, campfires, and stargazing. Pitch your tent or choose a glamping pad that’s just right for two, and you can spend long days walking and exploring before nights by the fire. A two-person tent, cosy campervan, or traditional shepherd’s hut is a pared-down outpost away from the distractions of modern life. The Hipcamp collection features campsites out on their own for privacy and seclusion and adults-only campsites too. If it’s a quiet pitch you’re after, try booking your pitch for midweek and outside the school holidays.

Top Things to Do in the South Downs

  • If you’re looking for things to do when you’re on a camping holiday in the South Downs National Park, get out and enjoy the countryside. Grab an OS Map and plan a walk, run, or cycle along the South Downs Way, across the park’s open access land, or to the nearest picnic spot for a well-deserved spot of lunch. Black Down, the highest point on the Downs, and Ditchling Beacon, near Brighton, are popular places to set out from.
  • In terms of towns and villages to visit, there’s a wealth of choice from historic Winchester at the Hampshire end of the park to vibrant Brighton and Hove a few miles outside the park boundaries. Charming Petersfield, Midhurst, Arundel, and Lewes are all market towns within the park, each worth visiting for their independent shops and historic buildings like Arundel Castle and Lewes Castle. Lewes also has a cool lido, Pells Pool, which has been open to the public for more than 150 years.
  • The area is rich with manor houses and stately homes, many open to the public. The Goodwood Estate, known for its horse racing and motor racing events, is perhaps the best known, but there’s also Petworth House and Parham House.
  • The South Downs is increasingly known for its vineyards, tasting rooms, and wines.
  • Family-friendly animal parks can be found at either end of the South Downs: Marwell Zoo near Winchester in the west and Drusilla’s in the east. To see native flora and fauna, head for the Queen Elizabeth, Goodwood, or Seven Sisters country parks.
  • In the South Downs, you’re never too far from the south coast resorts—Brighton, Bognor Regis, and Eastbourne all offer plenty of family fun with buckets and spades, amusements, ice creams, and fun fair rides.

Notable campgrounds

  • Best for family campers: Fox Wood Campsite has family-focused tent camping with woodland walks and country pubs right on its doorstep.
  • Best for glamping fun in the forest: Blackberry Wood has tent and caravan pitches with fire pits, and glamping options that include a treehouse, gypsy caravan, and converted helicopter.

Tips for snagging a campsite

  1. South Downs campsites can book up quickly, especially in July and August, so advance reservations are always advised. Plan three to six months in advance for popular sites.  
  2. Some backcountry camping grounds along the South Downs Way have as little as six pitches, so bookings are essential. 
  3. Be sure to check seasonal opening and closing dates, which vary by campsite. Many campsites also operate high and low season rates, so budget campers might prefer an out-of-season stay.

When to go

Hiking and camping season in the South Downs runs from mid-March through early October. Many campsites close out of season, although heated glampsites and caravan parks provide some options for winter campers, and trails remain accessible year-round. Expect popular routes to get busy in July and August—make an early start to get a jump on the crowds.

Know before you go

  • South Downs National Park is set along England’s south coast, running from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne in Sussex. Brighton, Portsmouth, and Chichester are the main access points, all within a 30-minute drive. Trains from London Waterloo and Victoria take between 1 and 1.5 hours to reach the park.
  • Buses link the villages and attractions within the park, and an unlimited 1-day Discovery Ticket is available. 
  • All land within the national park is privately owned, and wild camping is not permitted anywhere in the park.
  • Ticks are common on the heath, especially during the warmer months, so it’s a good idea to wear a long-sleeved shirt and trousers when hiking.
  • The South Downs have many wheelchair-accessible trails and attractions, and all park buses are accessible.

Top towns in and near South Downs National Park

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