Enterprising pubs have created a brand new “package holiday” of countryside, chilled drinks and home-cooked meals – by turning their beer gardens into pop-up campsites.
Faced with lost revenue from months of enforced closures, hostelries around the UK have been thrown a lifeline with permission to set up a temporary camp or glampsite for up to 56 days of the year, thanks to a relaxation in “permitted development” rights.
With more than a third of landlords concerned for the survival of their business after Covid restrictions, holidaymakers staying over at their campsites could save hundreds of our rural pubs from going under.
Dan Yates, founder of pitchup.com, said: “Pubs that offer camping and caravan sites are a great choice for an outdoor break. It’s also a super way for tourists to help secure the future of the precious village pub.”
Check out these pubs with camping and caravanning…
1. Duke of York, Buxton, Derbyshire
What a grand old site this is! March along to the Duke of York if you’re looking for an adults-only Peak District pub site, with spectacular views from every pitch. Just six miles from Buxton, seven from Bakewell and 15 from Ashbourne, the site is the perfect base to explore the area before putting your feet up in the cosy dog-friendly bar.
Amenities are excellent too with a modern washroom block with hot showers and underfloor heating, as well as a washing-up area. The site also has disabled facilities and chemical disposal.
Footpaths accessible directly from here lead to the Limestone Way, the Midshires Way and the High Peak and Tissington trails. Peak District cycling is also within easy reach.
Electric grass and hardstanding motorhome and campervan pitches from £25 per night, price based on two adults.
2. Holly Tree Country Caravan Park and Pub, Thorpe St Peter, Lincolnshire
Tucked away in the rural heart of the county, this dog-friendly pub site is just a 10-minute drive from Skegness for adventures by the sea. Anglers take note – you’ll have access to a great fishing lake, which is well-stocked with large tench, bream and carp. The scenic site also boasts riverside walks along the banks of the Steeping and is close to plenty of cycle tracks and country walks.
After busy days exploring, settle in for cosy evenings at the on-site pub. The traditional, family-friendly hostelry dates back to the 16th century and has an open fire and outdoor seating area.
Entertainment such as bingo, quizzes and karaoke is laid on… and it’s well known for its maggot racing!
Electric grass touring pitches available from £17.65 per night, based on six people.
3. The Red Lion, near Newmarket, Suffolk
Escape to the country at this dog-friendly site with home comforts close to hand – the 450-year-old Grade II listed pub is just a few minutes’ walk away.
Known for food made from scratch using local ingredients, you can book in for breakfast, lunch or tea, or order a packed lunch to keep you going when tackling the nearby Icknield Way.
Pitch up in a quiet area among the trees behind the pub, which lies in a beautiful rural setting just inside neighbouring Cambridgeshire, with wildlife in abundance and ducks on the pond.
For guests looking for some more excitement, Newmarket, just 15 minutes away, is home to the National Horse Racing Museum, and early birds can catch thoroughbreds in training on the gallops around the town.
Non-electric grass pitch (tents only) from £16 per night, based on two sharing.
4. The Halladale Inn, Melvich, Sutherland, Scotland
Developed from an original old crofting house built in 1882, this friendly local pub is ideal for a lunch break, an evening drink or a good night out, as well as a place to rest your head.
Adjacent to the inn is the North Coast Touring Park, a perfectly-placed stopover for anyone doing the North Coast 500 (NC500) route ( northcoast500.com ).
You can even pick up a map when you’re there.
Plug in your caravan or motorhome, pitch your tent or go glamping in one of spacious new pods which sleep up to seven people. Then take a stroll to Melvich’s nearby sandy beach to work up an appetite for the generous portions on offer in the bistro.
Menus change daily, with highlights including beer-battered Scrabster haddock and haggis, neeps and tatties. The inn will also provide the beer, wine and local gin from the Dunnet Bay Distillery, just along the coast. Plus there’s a pool table and a TV.
Four-berth pod £60, £70 for the seven-berth pod. Camping from £10, motorhome/caravan from £24.50. Find out more at thehalladaleinn.co.uk
5. Limeburners Arms Campsite, Billingshurst, West Sussex
This traditional 17th-century pub is in a fine spot for rambles in the countryside, including the South Downs National Park a couple of miles away.
Guests don’t need to travel far to get a drink as the grassy pitches are right behind the pub. Run by the same family for the last half century, it’s a family-friendly place with play area, beer garden and welcoming atmosphere in which to enjoy fine ales and home-cooked food. It’s suitable for tents, touring caravans, motorhomes and campervans, plus there are six wooden pods. Facilities include showers, toilets and a chemical disposal point, and guests have access to hot and cold water taps.
Electric optional grass tent pitch from £30 per night based on four people, camping pods from £120 per night based on four people.
6. The Marlbank Inn, Malvern, Worcestershire
This welcoming country pub offers a selection of cask ales, craft beers, gins and single malts, along with superb dining within its wood-panelled walls.
Along with its pub classics such as sirloin steaks and beer-battered fish and chips, it cooks up gourmet-grade North Indian food, tandoori grills, sharers and street food at its outdoor kitchen.
The site features a sheltered camping field, well placed for handsome views across the countryside, and a playground on site to keep little ones entertained. Many walking routes around the Malvern Hills are easily accessed from the site.
It’s close to geocaching and treasure trails, fishing and bike rides and Worcestershire Golf Club for gentle teeing off. The Georgian Eastnor Castle and Croome Court country mansion with grounds designed by Capability Brown are both just a few miles away.
Facilities include toilets and showers, an undercover washing-up area and disabled facilities, chemical disposal and ice pack freezing. Dogs welcome on site and in the pub.
Non-electric grass tent or campervan pitch from £20 per night based on two adults.
7. The Ring, Rhosgoch, Isle of Anglesey
The Ring is a cute pub with campsite close to the Llyn Alaw Reservoir and four miles from the coast at Bull Bay. With plenty of well-mapped trail passes on the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path, guests can explore the countryside or take the car to the nearby coastal villages of Moelfre and Lligwy to delight in the sea views.
After a day of fresh air and adventure, enjoy a delicious dinner at the pub, or relax with a locally-brewed drink in the garden. There’s a tasty menu featuring salt and pepper calamari, roast beef and onion chutney ciabatta and prime Welsh steaks. Sunday roasts are available from midday until they’re gone.
With 10 pitches in total for touring caravans, motorhomes or campervans, there will be plenty of peace and quiet in this green, rural site. There’s also free wi-fi, loos, showers and other basics for overnight guests, plus a well-equipped games room and kids’ play area.
Electric hardstanding and grass pitches for one touring caravan, campervan or motorhome from £16 per night based on two adults.
Book pubs with campsites through pitchup.com, Europe’s largest outdoor accommodation provider. Pub owners and managers can find out more about setting up adjoining camping facilities at pitchup.com/how-start-campsite-caravan-park and pitchup.com/join or phone 0203 743 9975.
Check for any ongoing local restrictions before booking or travelling.
What do you think of pubs opening their own campsites – is it something you’d book? Let us know your opinions in the comments below.