Welcome to Tales from a Tent
Why go camping in the UK?
There’s something special about camping, whilst the UK is the perfect place to do it. Our little island is bursting with hidden and underappreciated countryside gems ripe for exploration from the cosiness of a tent.
Too often, it’s associated with dishevelled campers and miserable weather. The UK might not be renowned for sunshine, but it’s best days can be truly spectacular.
With this summer trending towards ‘staycations’ once more, how better to exploit this opportunity and connect with nature than camping? With a surprisingly dramatic range in landscape features, our own United Kingdom is the perfect location!
Over here, aiming to deliver enchanting tales from a tent, I cannot convey enough how perfect the experience of camping is. There’s little more serene than awakening in a crisp, energising dawn, or being lulled to sleep by the delicious pattering of rain on fabric.
It brings an unparalleled connection with nature, blissfully detaching us from the stressful demands of modern living.
Typically, campsites are perfectly situated to facilitate ventures, be they walking, driving, or climbing, into the surrounding wilderness (now tamed by even paths and roads). Appreciating the awe-inspiring grandeur of the environment generates greater respect for our world, and a magical sensation of freedom.
Camping doesn’t have to be the struggle you might be picturing either! Though watching the weather might be advisable, it enables travellers to visit different sites relatively inexpensively. It’s even possible to retain some essential luxuries by glamping, whilst enjoying the same benefits, all being more accessible than ever!
Why go camping?
Tales from a tent
I love all forms of travel, and am desperately anticipating reigniting my dormant passion for adventure this summer. These are exciting times, leaving me excited to share my stories with you!
Hopefully, there’ll be something for those who similarly love exploring. There’ll be something for those who simply adore relaxing in nature. There’ll even be something for those not so keen on a tent! After all, the experiences we treasure most come in all forms.
My tales draw (and will continue to draw!) from expeditions scattered across the UK, invariable guarded overnight by a tent. Consider them narrative journeys, transporting you from the Peaks to the Lake District, from the rolling fields of Dartmoor to the rugged hills of the Outer Hebrides. Traversing elemental extremes and summiting colossal climbs, there’s something for everyone!
This even includes day trip excursions around London, trekking through areas like the wonderful South Downs slopes, or the tranquil south-east coastline.
Head over to the (regularly updated) blog to uncover more!
To camp or to glamp?
Perhaps I haven’t yet convinced you on the brilliance of camping? Certainly, the appeal is not universal. Fundamentally, it seems to involve sleeping outside, on the ground, often in the rain. Without electricity. Voluntarily.
The real majesty lies within the simplicity, however. Given our tendency to obsess over various distractions, camping removes them by forcing us to focus on the experience itself. Furthermore, it’s now entirely possible to experience all the unique and glorious benefits, whilst ostensibly retaining the finer comforts of home.
Whilst there are merits to roughing it, since discarding our screens allows our bodies to reset and re-adjust to an organic circadian rhythm, it’s not obligatory to abandon electricity.
Very rarely do campsites lack either charging ports or free WIFI, sustaining our connection with the outside world. Additionally, pleasant loos, showering, and washing up stations will generally be included.
Sometimes, one extra step towards civilisation is desired. Glamping balances the relaxation of a holiday, whilst fulfilling a connection with nature.
Engage more with the debate yourself!
On the benefits of wild camping
Camping in the UK is remarkable. It affords ample chance to indulge in a simpler method of living. But perhaps it’s actually not yet adventurous enough.
There might be those demanding a greater feeling or peril, or more intense proximity to nature. Camping, or glamping especially, is still regulated accommodations adhering to strict rules.
Wild camping, however, can provide a truly unforgettable adventure, by enabling you to journey into remoter regions, battling against frequently ferocious conditions without the safety of a campsite. In principle, wild camping is also very simple.
In essence, lacking any specific definition, wild camping refers to the practice of identifying a suitable pitch and occupying it in the ‘wilderness’, outside of any registered campsite. By the vagaries of its principle, wild camping is not as arduous as the name might imply. It really only means finding an isolated and peaceful spot for yourself.
As of writing, it isn’t strictly legal in either England or Wales, except certain sites with the landowner’s explicit permission. Alternatively, in Scotland, wild camping can be conducted almost anywhere (that’s obviously not private or otherwise deliberately restricted). With plenty of untamed land to explore, it’s perfect.
It does require extra care, with regards to rubbish or damage you might accidently cause. Any site you choose should be treated with respect.
If you’re willing to wild camp, it can be considerably more exhilarating, and deliver access to exclusive views and areas whilst avoiding the bustle of other travellers. For the peace it delivers, I personally find wild camping supremely enjoyable.
Find out more of what makes wild camping special!
Always a very important question, particularly anyone considering camping for the first time. Depending on your preferences, most camping equipment can be purchased at relatively low costs. As might be expected, higher range items can ensure greater comfort, and enhanced protection depending on the conditions you’re experiencing.
Assuming you’re camping in summer, the essentials really are:
- A tent – with the associated pegs, guy ropes, ground sheet, though these should be included. mallet for those pegs, etc.
- Sleeping bags/a duvet if you prefer (take caution as it could become dirty)
- Roll mat/air beds/anything comfortable that lifts you from the ground, which gets the coldest overnight. Though a roll mat should be sufficient, air beds might be preferred.
- Additional blankets (probably a lot – don’t underestimate overnight temperature drops!)
- Non-perishable food and something to cook it with; portable gas stoves can be obtained from outdoor supply shops, or online.
- Suitable clothing, largely dependent on weather or the activities you’re hoping to participate in.
From there, plenty of optional but basically essential items, like:
- Camping chairs, to provide somewhere to sit.
- Games – from cards to board games, footballs to cricket bats, anything that might provide entertainment whilst respecting fellow campers.
- A good book.
- Firewood, though many campsites will sell their own directly
COVID precautions and measures
Most importantly, the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, and still needs to be respected. Across the UK, however, there is reason for optimism, as measures are gradually lifted. Any advice I provide will be updated whenever necessary, but should not be trusted against official, government advice, or against your own discretion.
‘Stay at home’ restrictions are being lifted, permitting travel outside of one’s local area, and opening up broad swathes of countryside, even though travel for non-essential purposes is discouraged. This was in effect from the 13th of March in Wales, the 29th of March in England, and from the 2nd of April in Scotland.
It’s an exciting period, with lots of possibility. No sooner than the 12th of April, campsites are set to reopen across England and Wales, expected on the 26th of April in Scotland.
Wherever you choose to travel, and whichever activities you might partake in, it remains vital to take care, and be sensible.
That said, campsites are a perfect way to enjoy a holiday whilst implementing social distancing. By its very nature, it encourages socialising outside, whilst pitches can be separated. In communal areas, masks will likely still be required, as with regularly sanitising any frequently-contacted spots you might engage with, such as taps or handles.
The situation involving COVID is continually evolving. Ensure you are familiar with the latest guidelines.
I appreciate you taking the time to stop by! Hopefully, you find something inspiring or intriguing. Camping in the UK is spectacular, and a wonderful choice of holiday this summer. Check out the latest travel section for a range of destinations, or explore my camping advice for a selection of great tips!
Much as I want to be heard, I also want to listen. I’m contactable either through the site, or through the Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram links below. For any direct enquiries, you can reach me at [email protected].
Alternatively, if you’re interested in travel escapades abroad, check out Tom’s Tales of Woe, also home to a number of short stories and social commentaries.