7 campsites to try if you are a first time camper

Camping at Trinity Park, Ipswich

Camping at Trinity Park, Ipswich - Credit: John Clarke

Camping is undergoing a revival as families shelve their Spanish beach holidays and instead seek adventures closer to home.

Suffolk is the ideal location for a camping - or glamping - trip whether you are local or travelling from further afield. The county is relatively flat, has 50 miles of coastline and a wealth of attractions from historical sites like Sutton Hoo to thrill seeking days out at Pleasurewood Hills.

For those new to camping, there are several sites that offer a great first time experience including fun-filled family sites and off-grid back-to-basics options.

Trinity Park, Ipswich - Best for budget camping

Campervans at Peewit Caravan Park in Felixstowe

Campervans at Peewit Caravan Park in Felixstowe - Credit: Peewit Caravan Park

This site is offering pitches for just £15 a night for tents (it was £10), with the bargain price including electric and use of a picnic bench.

Pitches are generous, giving you plenty of space to lay out your tent and work out which poles go where.


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The showers are warm and there is no additional charge (some sites charge and you will need a stack of 50p coins).

There are no swings or slides but acres of green fields so don't forget the cricket set, kite or football.

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Peewit, Felixstowe - Best for a seaside break

Campervans at Peewit Caravan Park in Felixstowe

Campervans at Peewit Caravan Park in Felixstowe - Credit: Peewit Caravan Park

This traditional site has static caravans, room for tourers and a space for tents.

The good news for family campers is the play area sits at the heart of the tent field, meaning you can sit outside your tent, cold beer in hand, and watch your children play on the swings or dig in the sandpit.

Peewit is within walking distance of the seafront and the View Point at Landguard, or you can take a short drive to Felixstowe Ferry for a scenic walk or a spot of crabbing.

The toilet blocks are modern and clean, and there is an undercover washing up area but you will need 20p for hot water. Alternatively, if you have EHU take a kettle and wash up at the tent.

Secret Meadows Glamping, Hasketon - Best for glamping 

Charlotte Daniel, owner of Secret Meadows glamping site with her children Lochlan and Amelia Troupe.

Charlotte Daniel, owner of Secret Meadows glamping site with her children Lochlan and Amelia Troupe. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

This well-established glamping site has a five-star rating on TripAdvisor and is the perfect introduction to camping.

Starting out can be expensive but this site has everything in place, you just have to turn up. If you get a taste for it, you can then start building your own camping stock ready for your next trip.

However, you may find it is hard to adapt to 'regular' camping after a few nights here - their luxury lodge tents have a private toilet and shower, a four-poster king size bed, hot and cold running water and a wood-fired hot tub. 

One recent reviewer said: "What a beautiful, bespoke, high end, boutique, boho chic, ethical camping/glamping experience."

Dower House, Thetford - Best for outdoor swimming

Dower House has an on-site pub, a play area, a convenient shop and, the highlight for many, an outdoor swimming pool which is kept heated to a very pleasant level.

The pool is free to use if you are camping on site, and gives you hours of entertainment.

The facilities are clean and there are two shower blocks so you never need to queue.

Close by is High Lodge, a glade within Thetford Forest that offers a Go Ape! high ropes course, biking trails, and most summers there is the Forest Live concert series with previous acts including Gary Barlow, Suede and Sam Smith.

The Forge, Snape - Best for adult-only breaks

This small certified site is one of the Camping and Caravanning Clubs (CCC) certified sites and can accommodate a maximum of five caravans or motorhomes and 10 tents, making it perfect for a quiet break.

Some CCC sites do allow children, but The Forge is adults only.

One reviewer said: "Well worth a visit if you like out of the way, unspoilt places. Facilities are limited but, to us, part of the beauty of the place."

Campers are charged between £8 and £12 a night.

Bright House, Elmswell - Best for campfires

Light up your world with Streamlights awesome line of tough torches, headlights and lanterns

Light up your world with Streamlights awesome line of tough torches, headlights and lanterns - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

This six-acre grassy site has no pre-marked pitches, so campers are free to pitch wherever they fancy - which is rare.

It has some electric pitches and there are shower blocks plus a handful of cubicles containing showers, toilets and basins, which make it easier when camping with small children.

The site allows campfires - which many more regimented sites don't. So pack the marshmallows, bring your fire pit and gather round the fire as the sun goes down.

Rush Banks, Bures - Best for back to basics camping

Sisters doing the annual Sudbury to the Sea canoe challenge in memory of their father who died from

Sisters doing the annual Sudbury to the Sea canoe challenge in memory of their father who died from a heart attack while volunteering for Sudbury common lands trust. Left to right, Julie Byham, Dawn Coppock and Amanda Coppock. - Credit: Archant

Rush Banks is the only official campsite on the banks of the Rover Stour and gives you access to open water swimming, or a place to launch a canoe.

Boat launch is free to campers and you can either bring your own or hire on site. Same goes for tents, if you don't fancy pitching your own, you can hire a 5m bell tent.

You can kayak up the river to The Anchor at Nayland for a scrumptious lunch, or simply paddle out and watch the wildlife.

Fishing is also available from the site.

There is no electric hook up available but campfires are permitted, so this site is ideal for those looking to leave their tablets and phones at home and go off grid for a few days. 


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