Can there be anything lovelier than waking up with the smell of fresh grass, the sound of birds singing and unzipping your tent to look out at a sunny morning? Camping with babies and toddlers can be a blissful (and really very cheap) way to enjoy the great outdoors as a family. We’ve taken ours camping from 6 months old, and my mum always boasts of camping with my little sister when she was just six weeks old in the glorious summer of ’76. Toddling little ones love the excitement of life in a tent and if you’re new to the camping lark then summer is the best time to start. West Sussex is the perfect location; right here on the doorstep! Whatever your camping tastes, we’ve found four great places to spend a night or two under the stars:
Graffham Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Great Bury, Graffham, Petworth, West Sussex, GU28 0QF
If you like your campsites to have good hot showers, plenty of clean loos and a shop then Camping and Caravanning Club sites are a good bet as they maintain high standards. The site at Graffham is larger than any of the others we’re recommending but, because of the trees and the way the pitches are set out, you won’t feel like you’re on a big exposed site. The site is close to the lovely town of Petworth with its pretty shops and fantastic National Trust park and house.
Tel: 01798 867476 www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk
Kitts Cottage Campsite
Freshfield Place Farm, Sloop Lane, Scaynes Hill, West Sussex, RH17 7NP
If camping for you means total ‘getting away from it all, back to basics’ then Kitts Cottage is probably your ideal. It’s a big meadow where, joy of joys, you can have campfires, with logs and kindling provided on arrival. This is a sit back, enjoy the views, crack open the wine, let the kids run free, kind of place; everything that old-fashioned camping is meant to be! It’s not for you if you want all the mod cons; there’s no hot water, just one exposed cold shower and a few toilets. Who wants to be clean on a campsite? This is perfect for a weekend of total immersion in nature!
Tel: 07733 103309 www.kittscamp.co.uk
Keepers Barn, Tittlesfold, The Haven, Billingshurst, West Sussex, RH14 9BG
If struggling with tent pegs really doesn’t appeal and you’re looking for something a bit more sophisticated then a stay in a woodland yurt might be more up your street. You’ll find nature galore without having to worry about tent instructions here at Woodland Yurting. There are five yurts nestled in the Barn Meadow surrounded by woodland. Each yurt is situated on its own plot, slightly apart from the others, to provide a secluded and tranquil environment.
As well as a large 20-foot yurt suitable for a group or family of four, there’s also a lovely ‘safari’ under the spreading Oak which fits a family of four. Forget sleeping bags; all the yurts come with comfy beds and simple furniture, as well as your own kitchen box containing crocks, pots and utensils for cooking. Proper glamping!
Tel: 01403 824057 www.woodlandyurting.com
Stubcroft Lane, East Wittering, Chichester, West Sussex, PO20 8PJ
If you’re coming to West Sussex for time on the beach then this is the perfect campsite. The children will love being on a farm and you’re less than a mile from the beach. There are toilets and showers but it is all very eco friendly so don’t come expecting plush facilities! It’s essentially a big grass field on a farm where you can all really enjoy being free from the cares of life. If you want to be close to the beach but prefer to have your campsite with playgrounds and a shop, then you could try nearby Wick’s Farm (www.wicksfarm.co.uk) instead.
Tel: 01243 671469 www.stubcroft.com