Surrounded by the sea - island camping

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There’s something special about spending time on a small island that is less easy to find on large land masses. Is it the fact that you can only to arrive by boat or plane? That you could walk all the way round if you wanted?

Or maybe it’s something to do with people living and working together, the need for communities to be more self-contained and self-sustaining. Islands can often perfectly represent the original sharing communities where - if you have more than you need - you don’t feel you have to keep it to yourself. The very essence of, in fact!

Here are a few of our island locations on offer…..

Walk, cycle or sail around the Isle of Wight off the south coast of the UK

Hawaii - and FREE OF CHARGE!

Birds, bees and amazing scenery, close to Montego Bay, Jamaica

Eco-glamping with nature, on Lanzarote. No need to bring a tent.

The Kingdom of Tonga - should be on everyone's bucket list!

Tenerife - with amazing views, a pool, and superb for walkers.

No charge to stay at Whidbey Island, between Seattle and Vancouver

Is this the furthest we can get from anywhere? The Azores.....

£5 a night amongst orange trees in Majorca

Sleep under fig trees, oranges and lemons, near Cagliari, Sardinia

Free of charge, nearly wild camping on beautiful Galiano Island, British Columbia, Canada.

Enjoy the warm earth and warm welcomes of Sicily - we have half a dozen to choose from here.

Is this the furthest South? Tasmania - peace and nature.

On a hill, overlooking the sea. A garden near Opotiki, North Island, NZ



Something for everyone!

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Childrens gardens2

Family-friendly campsites

One of the great aspects of is that out of the 1400 garden sites that have registered with us since 2011, many make a really great base for a family holiday with children. Lots of our hosts have their own children, love having guests and new friends to play with, and of course all the gear is already there, too. Swings, slides, toy boxes, wendy houses, and paddling pools are often available, saving you from having to cram the car with too much extra gear.

The particularly memorable extras can be the pets and farm animals which are so often present – it’s such a joy to see children have their first encounters with a flock of funny hens, guinea-pigs you haven’t had to nurture, or a live-in pony. Take a look at some of the locations which are especially good for kids – either because of their locations by the sea or other attractions, or because of who is waiting there to welcome them! Try a few of these links!

Borrow beach gear, by the sea at Sennen Cove, Cornwall, UK.

Friendly children, toys and guineapigs in Devon, UK

Childrens play equipment and a pool in this lovely family garden in the Netherlands, and only €2 a night!

Enjoy the farming life in Cornwall

Children stay free in this family home in Karlsruhe, Germany

Campfires, canoeing and theme parks in New York State

Hospitable German family with children, near Munster, and free of charge!

Great riverside location in Suffolk, with a secure area for youngsters, bell-tent for hire and a very hospitable family

Pony-rides, friendly chickens and home-baked bread in the Dordogne

Camp in MY garden. You'll be more than welcome!

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Wild camping isn't so easy to do in Europe. We seem to like rules and regulation and we don’t have the same proportion of wilderness as Australia, the Americas, and Africa.   It can be hard to find commercial campsites in tourist hotspots which aren’t exposed, unscreened, crowded and regimented. Your get to share your neighbours' conversations, snores and other personal sound effects, and if their housekeeping is a different standard to yours it can be hard to relax. While you do get a reliable standard in terms of facilities – bathrooms, showers etc - for me and many others the ‘camping in rows’ thing simply doesn't fulfil my leisure dreams. If you don't do crowds, the idea of camping in a domestic garden or on properly private land might be perfect for you.

I live in Devon in the South West of the UK. I’m close to sandy beaches, magnificent moorland and the historic city of Exeter. I've been working on my garden for 25 years and very few people get to see it. When I read about Camp in my Garden a few years ago it immediately got my attention, as I like to share, chat, and meet new people.  It’s a fashionable concept – collaborative consumption, the sharing economy. From couchsurfing to lift-sharing and dog-lending, people are loosening up and being less possessive. In some cases you can even make a little money from these activities but mainly it’s about sharing and social interaction.

So here’s the principle - to enable travellers to spend a few nights staying in private gardens or private land at a low (or no) cost. These micro-campsites vary immensely – from a small urban backyard with easy access to a major city - to rustic and remote places. Travellers can use the site to find a cheap alternative to a city hotel when every penny counts, or enjoy the privilege of drifting around a stunning private garden in a spectacular location without the stress of being hemmed in by rows of other tents a few feet away. sites vary enormously, from the very basic - a simple patch of grass for your tent, with access to a WC and a cold water tap - to a choice of glamping options including shepherds huts, yurts and gypsy caravans. Most hosts offer hot water and showers, many offer wifi and cooking facilities, and occasionally the menu includes bicycles, lifts to the station, guided tours and hot meals. Travellers can experience incredible generosity and hospitality from extremely warm and sociable hosts. I registered my garden in 2012, offering 24/7 access to a bathroom and water supply, a wifi connection, car parking and a pitch at the end of my garden on a daisy lawn between a beech hedge and a weeping birch. It’s beside my summerhouse which has a sofabed and power (this makes a great bolthole if the weather is extreme). There’s a barbeque and outdoor furniture. I can also take campervans.

This isn't big business, and it certainly won’t threaten the commercial sites. I get a gentle half dozen campers a year, and I remember every one of them. This thing works – enterprising interesting travellers and sociable hosts. No space for fussy people on either side - we cut out the rules, behave nicely, and look after each other. Trying it from the traveller’s point of view, I've recently enjoyed a few days in a lovely wildlife garden on the Isle of Wight. All we could see from our pitch was trees, a couple of horse paddocks, rolling countryside and a constantly changing sky laced with birds of prey. OK - so no 24/7 access to a shower and hairdryer, but there was an outdoor WC and a kind host who said on our first night that if the weather got worse (the wind having already busted a tent-pole) we could sleep in his lounge. He’d leave the door unlocked all night, just in case. That’s proper sharing, worth a great deal more than the £5 a night we both charge. has around 800 gardens on offer on six continents. Some of the more glamorous locations include Tonga, Fiji, and Jamaica. About 60% are in Europe and the rest are all over the world, apart from Antarctica! I’m a volunteer for this group. Take a look, or email me at for further information.


Camping in the heart of Gent - traveller blog

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Gent crop

I had set sail from South Carolina two weeks prior to my visit to Gent, Belgium. As a first time user of Camp In My Garden, I was very intrigued by it, and thought it might be the best way to really become swallowed by the culture of the country I would be camping in, and that's exactly what CimG provided me with...

I found myself first hiking through the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland, my 28lb pack being my only friend in this solo mission across Europe. I had become fascinated by the level of trust here, it's nothing like the states. Knocking on farm house doors, and asking for a little plot of land to pitch my tent seemed to be no problem, even hitching a ride with a sweet little old lady seemed easy enough. The only downside to this way of camping was the amount of loneliness I was experiencing, and all had been running the same way up until the morning I left Holland for Belgium. 

I arrived mid-afternoon about 40km outside of Gent. I asked which way the city was, as the bus driver laughed saying, "It's that way, good luck, it's far". Feeling confident, I hitched a ride with a delivery driver to the center of town, and found myself only steps away from my CimG host's front door. I rang the bell, not knowing who in the world was about to open it, and to my surprise, I was greeted by possibly the sweetest young woman I'd met in the last two weeks. She was warm and welcoming, so unbelievably so in fact she kept insisting, "My home, is your home".

We sat and began to get to know one another over a bottle of wine. I quickly learned the girl before me was quite possibly one of the most interesting people I had ever met. She not only opened her home to guests for CimG, but she was a teacher, an ecologist, a definite true blue, and to top it all off spoke four different languages. The apartment was located literally a few steps away from the city centre, the garden was beautiful, but the experience I had not twenty minutes after I arrived, being seated between four amazing people, speaking this beautiful language, talking about loved ones lost, new relationships, music, movies... I've never felt more welcome, and I can safely say I experienced in that moment exactly what I was hoping I would find on this adventure. Surrounded by amazing people, thousands of miles away from home, yet feeling like I was exactly where I was supposed to be.


Room to breathe at our Tour de France campsites……

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Close to the route of Le Tour, there are microsites all the way from Leeds to Buckingham Palace! Here are five of our best for keen cycle fans who don’t want to pay inflated accommodation prices or squash into commercial campsites.
  1. In the heart of the city of York, you could stay at Claire Cooper’s place.
  2. Just outside Harrogate you can enjoy an extremely peaceful stay with Ashlea Gill at Hole House Farm.
  3. At beautiful Hebden Bridge  Richard Holborow may still be able to squeeze you in.  
  4. Lisa Walton is offering farm camping specifically for Le Tour five miles from the route at Thornton Steward near Ripon.
  5. Finally, Alice’s Place between Stockport and Macclesfield is an utterly beautiful green haven (so glorious that you may choose just to open a few beers and stay put…) 

There are many other economical and quiet places to stay close to the route in Yorkshire, and also between Cambridge and central London (with some extremely strategic locations on the route into the City.) Take a look at our location map for details.

Here’s a round-up of TDF route and travel information, and finally, just to make sure cycling visitors know what to expect in Yorkshire Alistaire McGregor has produced this hilarious  handy info video to help you with your packing list……….

Running from Saturday July 5th to Sunday July 27th 2014, the 101th Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages. Starting in Leeds on the 5th July 2014 it takes riders on a trip around North and West Yorkshire finishing in Harrogate. The following day Stage 2 begins in York and riders will circle Leeds and Bradford ending up in Sheffield while Stage 3 – the final stage in Britain - starts in Cambridge and finishes in London on the 7th July.

Clare Fairburn June 2014

How to do Glastonbury if you don't do crowds...

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Yes – it’s an unforgettable experience, and for thousands of people it’s an absolutely essential part of the Festival. A sort of rite, a test of character - sleeping 3 feet from a snoring total stranger, getting squashed by a cheery drunk falling into your tent.   OK – so you, too, can drink yourself into a coma to block it all out, run the risk of not making it to the lovely festival loos in time, only packing belongings which you don’t value and greeting the day’s music programme with a low groan and a dose of paracetamol.  

OR  (....breathe....) you could consider three unique camping havens within walking distance of the festival site. Pitch on flat green lawns in a bubble of peace and wholesomeness. Because we have three micro-campsites within 3 miles of the Festival.

Less than a mile from the gate, you can pitch up on Gazzer’s lawn for £20.  Just round the corner Glastomadeasy’s Place offers a green open space with wonderful plumbing and lovely loos just 2 miles from the site also for £10 a night. Or stay at Pilton Hill’s place just 1.8 miles away – just stroll or cycle in from your £10 camping spot with glorious views of Glastonbury Tor. This campsite is a special pop-up, open only for the week of the festival. Less than 10 miles away is FestivalChillOut’s Place where you can camp in a pretty Somerset Cider Orchard for just £6 a night.

With another five garden campsites within 10 miles offers a great alternative. Matching interesting travellers with interesting hosts and unique locations, come and enjoy a beautiful part of the UK West Country, within easy reach of Wells, Bath, and the Somerset coast. 

Clare 03/06/14