Stately homes being transformed into ‘quirky’ holiday ‘pop-up’ campsites

Stately homes, alpaca farms, pubs and racecourses are among quirky venues transforming into “pop-up” campsites.

Landowners are taking advantage of the “astronomical” demand for domestic holidays this summer with hundreds of temporary sites expected to open around the UK.

A relaxation in the law allows pop-up sites to open for 56 days without planning permission this year, up from 28 in a normal year.

Dan Yates, managing director of camping booking platform Pitchup, said the extension of permitted development rights, announced by the Government in November, has boosted the sector during the pandemic.

Many of the pop-ups are away from tourist hotspots and some distance from the coast.

He said: “The camping market is the one market able to respond to this unprecedented growth demand we are expecting this year.

“The types of locations are really fascinating and not the sort we’ve seen before – race courses and county showgrounds for example.

“Many shire counties have had to cancel county shows and this has been a great way to recoup some of those losses.

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“There are lots of farms. There might also be interesting experiences they can offer such as farm tours or tractor rides.”

He said that for many landowners the 28 days rule was not viable with toilet facilities and rainy weekends were factored in.

But to be able to operate for the whole school holidays is a “gamechanger”.

Mr Yates said last year they had a record 200 pop-ups: “This year will far surpass that number – 500 is looking like a conservative estimate and more will likely come on board if foreign travel is restricted.”

The platform handled bookings for one million campers last summer but more are expected this summer.

Tamara Hick, 40, will open her duck farm in Tintagel, Cornwall, this summer at a cost of £10 a night per person.

She said: “It was our second year of trading as a duck farm when coronavirus hit.

“We have to start thinking outside the box in order to survive.”

  • Help milk the goats at scenic Penwaun Goat Farm in Pembrokeshire. Simple, eco-friendly facilities with a compost toilet. Grass pitch from £15 per night, based on two adults.
  • Camp in style at Benville Manor in Dorset. Set in a spacious meadow sandwiched between manor gardens and woodlands. From £20 per night for two adults in a non-electric grass tent, trailer or caravan pitch.
  • Byland Abbey Inn, North Yorks. Stay in a pub garden with home-cooked food and real ale, plus views of ruins of a gothic abbey. From £28 a night based on two adults sharing.
  • Whitby Showground, North Yorks, offers a non-electric pitch at £65 per night – including entry to Whitby War Weekend in late August.
  • Cumbria’s Kendal Rugby Club has camping at £25 a night based on sharing. There’s a bar and restaurant in the clubhouse, and a gym.
  • Stratford Racecourse Touring Park is well placed for easy race-day access or some time wandering around Warwickshire.
  • Marshland Alpacas in Lincolnshire is an adults-only campsite which offers grass pitches from £17 a night.

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