Family camping in Swinley Forest

This 2,600-acre evergreen woodland brings adventure to southern England’s Thames Valley.

95% (587 reviews)
95% (587 reviews)

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Family camping in Swinley Forest guide

Overview

Known for 15 miles of varied-level mountain bike trails and its adrenalin-addled zipline courses just south of Bracknell in Berkshire, Swinley Forest is packed with outdoor fun for adventurers of all ages. Dog-friendly walks weave through the trees (pick up maps at the Look Out reception centre), and shaded forest tracks attract cycling. This area also makes an ideal base for trips to Legoland, Ascot, Windsor, and Thorpe Park, all within 30 minutes’ drive. Campers will delight in retreating to lakeside pitches, local working farms and secluded forest grounds nearby.

Where to go

Windsor & Eton

Queen Elizabeth’s beloved weekend escape, millenium-old Windsor Castle lords it over the twin Thames-hugging towns of Windsor and Eton, a half-hour drive northwest of Swinley Forest. Wander the swish galleries and boutiques, jump aboard a boat trip along the Thames, then explore Windsor Great Park, filled with footpaths, gardens, and a much-loved deer park.

Chiltern Hills AONB

Northwest from London (and just an hour’s drive north of Swinley Forest), the Chiltern Hills AONB rolls across 320 square miles of beautiful Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Hertfordshire countryside. Sprawling farmland, secluded beechwoods, brick-built villages, and chalk hillsides characterise the area, which is also famous for its rare red kites. There are miles of bucolic walking paths, while cyclists can tackle the 167-mile Chilterns Cycleway. 

Along the Thames

From Windsor, the River Thames flows southwest to Tudor-tastic Hampton Court and Kingston, then onward into London, sweeping past the tiny village of Bray. Go kayaking, rowing, boating, and more before settling in at a riverside campsite.

South Downs

The chalk hills rippling between Winchester in Hampshire and Eastbourne on the East Sussex coast make up one of southern England’s most beautiful natural spaces, protected as a 628-square-mile national park. Venture here for hikes along the South Downs Way and the impossibly scenic Seven Sisters cliffs; visits to delightful country pubs and on-the-up vineyards; strolls around buzzy market towns such as Lewes; and oodles of other adventure activities. Sea-view campsites and caravan parks, along with glamping pods, bell tents, and lodges, cater to outdoors lovers in every budget.

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