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Best in South West England: Finalist
Named one of the best Hipcamps to visit in 2023.
Recent Hipcampers say this Hipcamp is great for families and kids.
Rural Cornwall doesn’t exactly strike you as ultra-modern, a place ahead of the curve. Take this campsite, for example, arranged around a stunning spring-fed lake in the old Tregildrans quarry it has an altogether more timeless quality. The thick, mature trees, the emerald waters and the fern covered escarpments that tumble down into the lake could well have been painted in a picture many centuries ago. There’s no onsite shop taking contactless payment cards, no Wi-Fi, no playground. It’s all a bit 1920s. Isn’t it?
In fact, few campsites are as ahead of the curve as Cornish Tipi Holidays. Back in 2005 when we first discovered the site in our first edition of Hipcamp: Kids, the campsite had already been running for ten years and was championing something innovative. Set up in 1996 by Elizabeth Tom, it was the first commercial tipi campsite in England and was offering nights beneath the stars in a tipi before the word ‘glamping’ had even been invented. Today the 19 North American-style abodes are still going strong, with two different sizes on offer, but are now joined by regular camping too.
While fashionistas are throwing up Alice Temperley-style tipis and yurts across the great British countryside, Cornish Tipi Holidays, ever ahead of the game, are part of the new back-to-basic counter culture. Bring your own tent, avoid the crowds and pick whatever pitch you want – an open meadow space with fellow campers, a private, secluded clearing among the trees, a grassy patch with views… there’s a full 20 acres of beautifully rural space to explore, so you’ll easily find a spot to suit.
All of these campers have the same facilities as the tipi dwellers – hot showers and loos – while the campsite environment lends itself wholeheartedly to anyone with an imagination. It’s easy to spend entire days by the lake, messing about in a boat or fishing for trout (bring your own rods and licence) and life-jackets can be borrowed from the warden. You can even bring your own canoe if you want to. Hide and seek along the winding paths edged by tumbling blackberries or bright-yellow gorse is a must, while there’s also the larger ‘village field’ for children to charge about in, and the ‘top village field’ has a spectacular totem pole. In this wilder-than-wild environment, kids can’t fail to flourish. No surprise, then, to hear that Alice Temperley herself spent her honeymoon here. Now what on earth would Hiawatha have thought about that?
St Kew, Cornwall, England, United KingdomTraditional, ancestral territory of various First Nations according to To respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking
Hosted by Cornish T.Joined in March 2017
118 Ratings · 114 reviews
September 14, 2023
JACKIES- Medium Tipi - Private
Cornish Tipis review
We loved staying in the tipi, the spot was very nice, secluded in the woods, very peaceful, swimming in the lake and relaxing with a fire in the evening, the tip comes equipped with everything you need except bedding and towels
September 3, 2023
Ashacre - Wild Camping - Private Pitch
Back to nature
The site is very special - very unique. The lake is a wonderful place - with the free canoes and life jackets for all to enjoy. The Gastropod prepared very tasty food and catered to our gluten free needs. The wood fired pizzas are very tasty.
The showers were hot with a good flow. The compost loos an experience. A few too many people clearly had not used them before and they were very very smelly….
Sadly the rain had done a good job in soaking the individual pitches and most were wading in mud with a few patches of grass. Ashacre was ok although we pinched a mat to help us not slip. The long walk to it was at times a bit treacherous too over exposed slippy tree roots - especially with the broken wheelbarrow given to move belongings. (Which we did a bodge repair job to). We love the back to nature vibe (we wildcamp!) but I guess if our summers prove to be as wet as this in the future - a few modifications to help combat this would be welcomed by campers - . As the walks around site were all very very muddy. Another couple asked to move pitch and thankfully one was free.
We enjoyed our stay overall.
September 1, 2023
Sky 10 Wild Camping- Private Pitch
A very well kept campsite and the access to the lake is fabulous.
August 13, 2023
101 - Meadow Campervan or Motorhome Pitch
Swim, paddle & pizza perfect
Great peaceful site , lake is amazing to swim , paddleboard in and the Friday night wood fired pizza was to die for
August 7, 2023
Composers - Large Tipi - Private Site
Boy Glamping Trip
One of the best weekend trips I've been to and best camping trip to date. Service and hospitality was great! Tent and area provided were at excellent standards. Shower and toilet facilities were always clean and easily accessible. Definitely plan to visit again.
July 31, 2023
Lake Woods 2 - Wild Camping - Private Pitch
Great scenic location. Loved being on the lake !!!
From the host
Wake up to the sound of birdsong, go swimming before breakfast in the clear water of a secluded lake. Cook your bacon and eggs over an open fire while you plan your day, or just laze it away in the peace and quiet of your own personal tipi. You can always go fishing tomorrow, and walk along the cliffs the day after that…
The site is unique. A woodland valley folded around a clear, spring-fed lake created from the old Tregildrans Quarry. Our tipis and tent pitches are dotted about this secret 20 acres clothed in ferns and bluebells, oak and meadowsweet. Left in peace for many years there's been no modern chemicals & poisons on the land, meaning we've got bluebells & dormice, Red Admirals & shy woodland Jays for you to spot. It’s a place a world apart from the rush and clutter of the modern holiday experience, with an atmosphere that makes you forget the world outside, and just lounge, ramble, or potter about in a boat. We're committed to giving you a genuinely individual service from first contact to your time staying with us.
We established CTH in 1996. This was the first and we believe still is the best tipi holiday site in the UK. We know our area inside out and can always help with a little local knowledge or contacts if you need them. We want to offer our guests a really sustainable holiday. A return to real camping means the lowest possible impact on the land and environment - our tipi poles don’t even break the surface of the earth. Your footprint while here could only be bettered by a survival expert. You don't have to fly! a major bonus, and we source all our wood, fish and canvas locally and work with local people wherever possible.
It’s a 5-minute drive to the some of the best sea kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and adrenaline-filled coasteering in the UK – all out of beautiful Port Quin. Try Cornish Coast Adventures (01209 880280) for routes and equipment. Head to Port Isaac (01208 880200), a great place for sea-kayaking, and buying scallops or crabs. Pick up the Camel Trail near Wadebridge (01460 221162) and explore the 16 miles John Betjeman described as ‘the best journey in England’. Lanhydrock House (01208 265950) is a Victorian mansion near Bodmin, with over 50 rooms to explore. On the south coast stop at Charlestown Shipwreck Centre (01726 69897) in the historic china-clay building. You can walk through underground tunnels and there’s an exciting collection of dive treasures.
Food and drink
The Gastropod our on-site cafe - great for a
lovely breakfast and evening meals such as Woodfired pizza night, Thali
night , Taco night etc– all delicious! Check seasonal opening times.For groceries use the Spar in Delabole (01840 213897). You can buy excellent pasties from either Aunt Avice's (great egg-and-bacon pie) at St Kew or Cornish Maids in Camelford (01840 212749). We’ve got a
spectacular local pub
just inland, 5 mins drive away, St Kew Inn (01208 841259) . The Port Gaverne Restaurant & Hotel in nearby Port Isaac offers great food and is right beside the sea (01208 880244).