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The definitive guide to pitching up and drinking down - pub campsites

august 30, 2013
av Laura Canning | guides

Bless. Oh noes! We’re hearing reports that yet again, many British pubs will go out of business in the next year – around four thousand of them, inn fact. Shiver our timbers.

The Good Pub Guide has warned that ‘complacent’ pubs are at risk of closure because they’re ‘stuck in the 1980s’ – a charge anyone who has peered into the dusty jukebox of some establishments will recognise. And we’re sure that pie we had once in a Pub That Will Not Be Named had been in the freezer since at least the days of milk-snatching.

But wait! Beer lovers Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) have hit back, saying it’s ‘bizarre’ that an organisation supporting pubs ‘should welcome the closure of as many as 4,000 pubs’ and raising concerns about lost jobs and livelihood. But wait again! The Good Pub Guide insists that it means only ‘bad pubs at the bottom of the pecking order’, which are ‘happy with indifferent food, drink, service and surroundings.’ And then Camra said…

Oh dear, it’s making our little heads spin. But it’s Friday, and thus almost beer o’clock. So in that spirit (Jim Beam, please), we bring you the Definitive Guide to Pitching Up and Drinking Down. Hic.

First round

Those tutting types who sneer that they ‘don’t need alcohol to enjoy themselves’ are missing the point of a nice cold pint on a summer’s day (you can even go hiking first to generate a glow of virtue), or an evening snuggled up in front of the fire in a newly discovered local after children are made to leave at 8pm. We’ve even been known to bring Scrabble.

If this is also you, welcome to – and did you know that we have nearby Good Pub Guide pubs on all our bookable listings? S’true – click on the ‘local attractions’ tab to see local emporiums with links to their Good Pub Guide listings; then click ‘location’ to bring up maps. Genius!

Second round

There’s more! You can search on for pubs that are also campsites! Staying at pubs is a top type of accommodation, as there’s less distance to stagger after last call, and as many pubs these days do food well beyond the old-style scampi in a basket. Nom on all counts. So far we have 35 pub campsites on bookable within a couple of clicks: make it your mission to get round them all eventually.

Third round

If you do have sprogs with you and thus society proclaims you must leave with them at 8pm, we recommend a holiday park or campsite with a pub or clubhouse on site: look through the pub campsites list for likely choices, or do a general search for family-friendly campsites with a bar or clubhouse .

We do not of course recommend then jollying it up in the bar on your lonesome, but many of the bigger sites welcome kids to the evening entertainment in the clubhouse, which goes to a respectable grownup hour and which can be accompanied by the refreshing beverage of your choice. Just check with staff that the comedian isn’t Frankie Boyle or the dancing isn’t Miley Cyrus to make sure you all have the same interpretation of ‘family-friendly’.

Dogs allowed at some sites. Fourth round

Do be sensible, we implore: if you’re going to a pub campsite that’s of the basic sort with non-electric tent pitches in a field behind the pub, then a luxury shower block or indoor swimming pool are probably off the agenda. Check the listing description thoroughly, including the ‘Please note’ section underneath.

Not that a pub campsite means you have to rough it: Rivendale Caravan & Leisure Park in Derbyshire is on a 37-acre site with a fishing lake, has a bar and restaurant in a converted stone building, and a choice of accommodation including hardstanding electric pitches, camping pods and an accessible three-bedroom lodge.

Fifth round

A few of our favourite pub campsites:

Colliford Tavern , Cornwall : Fish for brown and rainbow trout at Colliford Lake bordering the site; daily licences are available at reception. Stag, hen and single-sex parties are welcome. From £10 with optional electric.

The Victoria – Bikers Pub , Leicestershire : Adults-only site ‘for bikers 'n' truckers and live music lovers’. Non-electric grass tent or hardstanding pitches from £10; electric hardstanding pitch from £15, with one dog at no extra charge.

Black Swan Holiday Park , North Yorkshire : Pitch price includes a £5 per pitch per night voucher, and the Swan has properly proportioned pub meals including steak nights and decent veggie options. Pitches start from £15.

See also:

The Snooty Fox , Pembrokeshire

The Wharf Inn , Warwickshire

The Bull’s Head , East Sussex

The Baron at Bucknell , Shropshire

Sixth round