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Mad Hatters Campsite

· Ely, Cambridgeshire, England
12 acres hosted by Claire M.
2 glamping pitches · 10 tent pitches
Best in East Anglia / East of England: Finalist
Named one of the best Hipcamps to visit in 2023.
Claire is a Star Host
Star Hosts are highly rated, responsive, and committed to providing incredible experiences.
Recent Hipcampers say this Hipcamp is great for families and kids.
Cosy year-round glamping and seasonal camping in a fenland meadow with views of Ely cathedral

Forget the Mad Hatter’s tea party and head, instead, to Cambridgeshire for the Mad Hatter’s camping party. Okay, so it’s not quite a party but it’s fair to say that there’s a great atmosphere and everyone is invited. Campers, glampers, kids, couples, dogs and groups of camping buddies are all welcome here. This quirky, Alice In Wonderland-themed fenland site is quickly establishing itself as the place to pitch for a stay near the charming city of Ely. With pitches among tussocky grass and wildflowers, views of the cathedral and a riverside trail in to town, it’s little wonder why.

Mad Hatters Campsite is lightly-themed on Lewis Carroll’s classic story with pitches named after key characters and a year-round glamping cabin that’s straight out of a fairy tale. The name, and subsequent theme, pays homage to Ely’s own Mad Hatter – farmer Claire, who owns the land. He is always busy and (you guessed it) is often seen sporting a hat (a practical cap rather than an elaborate headpiece – but, even so, the name has stuck). It’s daughter Claire who’s set up the campsite in a field among the 100-acre farmland that stands in sight of Ely Cathedral.

The Queen of Hearts Cabin is the top spot and remains open throughout the winter and our Timber Bell Tents are open from April through to August. There are 28 pitches for those with their own kit in a field that could accommodate twice that number. Space is valued here and the establishing trees and wildflowers have been planted to encourage biodiversity and connect wildlife habitats with neighbouring fenland farms. The long grass, the campfire-friendly policy and quirky bell tents give the site a laid-back atmosphere but it’s traditional in other ways with modern facilities and a sweet-little reception area where you check in.

This site has achieved the rare feat of being equally appealing to couples and those with kids. Younger campers will love the theme, exploring the little play areas and looking for wildlife while adults will love the privacy of the well-spaced pitches. The walk in to Ely is the perfect length – long enough to stretch the legs but not too long for little ones. There are plenty of recommended eateries and grown-up attractions at the end of it (the cathedral and Oliver Cromwell’s house, for example) and enough riverside appeal for the 40 minutes on foot.
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85 Ratings · 79 reviews
Nicklas P.recommends
April 7, 2024
Grass pitch (No Electric) TENTS ONLY
Great spot and very friendly staff. Good facilities, the showers were amazing.
Denni K.recommends
April 5, 2024
Grass pitch (No Electric) TENTS ONLY
Family camping
Me and my family camped at the Mad Hatters campsite for a few nights over the Easter break. The campsite is immaculately clean. The people who run the campsite are very friendly and helpful. We enjoyed exploring the local area with our children and Spaniels. I would recommend highly recommended!
Jen T.recommends
March 31, 2024
Grass pitch (No Electric) TENTS ONLY
Awesome stay!
We had a great 1 night stay. It was a last minute decision as we decided to get away for a couple of days. We didn't realise we weren't close to Cambridge centre which meant we were going to arrive much later than planned. Claire was really quick to respond on the chat and gave clear instructions what to do on arrival as reception would be closed by our arrival. We had a great spot and even though it was dark, we managed to find the showers fine. By the way, the shower was immaculate, great water pressure and so warm. Toilets were clean and we loved the mad hatter theme. We didn't use any of the washing up facilities etc as we ate out. I can imagine kids would love it here too. Thanks for hosting us and we have recommended you to the rest of the tentbox community!
Bethan H.recommends
October 1, 2023
Grass pitch (No Electric) TENTS ONLY
Two for two
This was our second visit to Mad Hatter's Campsite, having recommended it to meet friends. It didn't disappoint - Claire's instructions and welcome were warm and helpful and the facilities clean. We especially love the little bath in the family bathroom - makes camping with an 18 month old a dream !
Martyna S.recommends
September 25, 2023
Grass pitch (No Electric) TENTS ONLY
So lovely!
The place is simply wonderful ❤️ We had a great time!
Neil H.
September 11, 2023
Grass pitch (No Electric) TENTS ONLY
Overall a good experience. The individual sites were a little close but the facilities were well maintained and the location provided attractive views.
Ely, Cambridgeshire, England, United KingdomTo respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking
Hosted by Claire M.Joined in September 2019
From the host
The campsite consists of five acres of green grassy field with a beautiful pond, surrounded by colourful wild flowers nectar mixes, and over 3 acres of newly planted trees and hedges. We have various bird boxes and feed stations in the mixes to encourage wild birds and pollinators, something that we are really passionate about. The Mad Hatter's theme is incorporated throughout the campsite, with quirky signs scattered around the site, a trail and a small play house. Each pitch is also themed with its own unique name which is also sign posted with a Mad Hatter charm to it. The reception and tea room, is the perfect spot to chill out and warm up on those rainy days. The tranquil small pond has benches scattered around it and several public footpaths close by, so you can enjoy the scenery, be closer to nature and really switch off. There are also many pretty rural walks nearby, the walk to Ely along the River Ouse is particularly beautiful, with amazing views of Ely Cathedral.
Nearby attractions
It’s a 2.5-mile walk along the River Ouse in to Ely where you can visit Ely Cathedral (01353 667735) and Oliver Cromwell’s House (01353 662062) which includes interactive exhibitions and an escape room. If it rains, you could head for Ely Leisure Village, 3.5 miles from site, which has a swimming pool, 6-screen cinema and fast-food eateries. More active adventures can be found 9 miles away at Hannam's Wake Hub and Aquapark (01353 649683) or 12 miles away at Wicken Fen Nature Reserve (01353 720274) where you can walk, hire bikes or take a boat ride. Perhaps visit Anglesey Abbey (01223 810080) where there’s a Jacobean House and maze. Cambridge and Newmarket are both 17 miles from site and the Norfolk Coast is 30 miles away.
Food and drink
Ely has plenty of choice when it comes to food and drink. Recommended hotspots include the riverside Cutter Inn (01353 662713), The Royal Standard (01353 645194), Peacocks Tearoom (01353 661100) and The Almonry (01353 666360) – which stands within the cathedral precincts. If you’re eating out with kids, try Wildwood (01353 659587) or Arbuckles Diner (01353 656710). Spanish restaurant, Habis (07445 831648) in Littleport (3 miles from site) also comes highly recommended.
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