Wowo (Wapsbourne Manor Farm)

UK England South East England East Sussex Uckfield

  • Laundry
  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • Groups welcome
  • Short walk to pub
  • Good walks nearby
  • Short walk to the pub
A cracking, chilled-out atmosphere and ‘to-your-tent’ firewood delivery

Despite the trees, the stream, the sheer space and the half-mile track from the road, remote-feeling Wapsbourne Manor Farm, or ‘Wowo’, as it’s affectionately known, still has remarkably good mobile signal. It’s also a place where you’ll never ever touch your mobile phone. With smoky campfires, old rope swings and a festival-esque calendar of well-being activities this is not a place to live out a life of routine. But go with the flow and this rural wonderland is the ultimate outdoor adventure playground.

An otherworldly spot, the farm always seems to have something new to reveal: another field hidden behind the thicket, a secret pathway, a yurt nestled among the trees. And while the five camping fields come with plenty of surrounding space for game playing, there’s a whole separate site that you might not see unless you go looking: the premium woodland camping pitches, otherwise known as the Tipi Trail. These eight spots (christened with such delightfully spacey names as ‘Hobbit’, ‘Woodland’ and ‘Little Owl’) are secreted away in their own exclusive setting, ideal for celebrities, politicians, and newlywed royal couples looking for seclusion. What’s more, they offer a fairy-tale-like base for games of hide-and-seek.

In the centre of it all, a makeshift village of canvas shelters, a marque and a giant tipi, forms a sociable hub that is the heartbeat of the campsite. Like any self-respecting village there’s always something fun going on during summer weekends – story telling, yoga, music workshops, circus skills – and they serve free soup in the tipi to the soundtrack of a local musician every Saturday night. And where would a village be without its own café serving chai tea in the mornings? How many villages have a hot tub area we don’t know.

Don’t confuse the relaxed, bohemian feel with a sense of lawlessness, however. While Kumbaya on the bongos or Wonderwall on a guitar is encouraged, amplified music and electronics are not allowed. And children’s entertainment is strictly of the old-school variety: climbing trees, swinging on tyres, rolling around in ditches, making camps in the undergrowth. In fact, the entire 150-acre site is a natural playground, extending well beyond the camping areas and the clutch of glamping hideouts, including yurts, shepherd’s huts and gypsy wagons snuggled up against the trees.

Nearby, the Bluebell Railway steam train is a big draw, as is Sheffield Park. Lovingly sculpted in the late 1700s by the visionary landscape architect, Capability Brown, the park is arguably one of the country’s finest gardens. With the famous four lakes forming its centrepiece, the rich array of surrounding horticulture exudes vibrant explosions of colour at almost any time of the year. In autumn, black tupelos blend with the rusty reds of the maple and deep scarlet leaves of the oak. Spring brings a lively riot of daffodils and iconic Sussex bluebells. In summer there are flashy splodges of pink rhododendrons and the soft, magenta tones of the rampant azaleas, while an early morning winter circuit around the lake, the grounds blanketed in snow, gives the whole setting an otherwordly quality. Cricket fans might also care to know that the park’s pitch was the venue for the very first home tie between England and Australia in 1884.

But then, many weekend visitors don’t get that far, happy to settle for the ample pleasures of exploring the grounds of Wowo for a few days. With the evening air scented with campfire smoke, the soft murmur of sociability and perhaps a musical soundtrack, this wonderful woodland hideaway just oozes back-to-basics appeal. Leave the phones at home. Let the kids roam free.

Details

Facilities

Wowo host a number of different workshops onsite including bushcraft and foraging events. Campfires are permitted (in firepits) and BBQs are permitted off the ground. There are 2 toilet blocks in the main reception/barn area as well as several lovely showers including a large family shower block and an accessible shower room. In addition every one of the camping fields contains at least 2 eco-flush toilets. A communal camping barn has a ping-pong table and a piano, free communal fridges and freezers, and a coin-operated laundry. WiFi is available across the campsite for a small charge. An onsite shop stocks a plethora of organic food goodies plus artisan bakery goods. A particularly nice touch at Wowo is the complimentary soup and freshly baked bread served on Saturday nights in the communal tipi, often with accompanying acoustic music. It’s a great opportunity to meet other campers and help cultivate a communal atmosphere. Bear in mind this is a busy site in the summer, so won’t suit everybody, but for a fun, buzzy atmospheric campsite where it’s easy to meet fellow campers, it’s hard to beat.

Suitable For

We are a family campsite - children and dog friendly, accommodating families to camp together in groups.
Tents, small camper vans, dogs – yes.
Caravans, motorhomes, large adult groups and groups of unsupervised under-18s – no.

Nearby

Go for a wander around the beautiful National Trust landscaped gardens at Sheffield Park (01825 790231), just up the road. Kids can run about, feed the swans and ducks by the lake and enjoy the children’s trail. You can walk to the Bluebell Railway, with a big collection of steam locomotives, it’s perfect for a Thomas the Tank Engine-inspired days out. You could also try walking some, or all, of the picturesque 42-mile Ouse Valley Way. If it’s sunny, nip down to Brighton for a day of good ol’-fashioned seaside frolicking.

Food & Drink

Wowo’s reception sells locally-sourced mostly organic goodies, including ice cream. Head up the A275 to Trading Boundaries (01825 790200), a delightful café and eclectic furniture and antiques shop. There is no shortage of pubs in the area. The Sloop Inn (01444 831219) is a 45-minute walk from the campsite through shady woodland. There are also 3 decent pubs and a tea room in Newick Village, which is an hour and a bit walk along the river Ouse and through Woodlands. Pre-booking is recommended for pub meals. The village of Fletching which is also about an hours and half walk host two great pubs.

Opening Times

Tipi trail and glamping open all year round; camping from March–October.

Family Friendly

With smoky campfires, old rope swings and lots of mud, this is not a site for the Nanny-state obsessed. But go with the flow and this rural wonderland is the perfect outdoor adventure playground.

The Owner Says

Hello from Wowo.

We are an established campsite in the heart of Sussex, offering every camper and glamper a fire pit which we believe is an essential part of camping. As a family campsite we have space to roam and a small woodland to explore. With a small onsite shop we hope that once you arrive you won't need to leave. At Wowo we want everyone to have a good stay with us, we allow groups of friends to camp together, some with glamping options close by. We also have fields which are best suit one or two families for a quieter relaxing stay. Glampers can choose from various unique options from Yurts, Shepherd Huts, Wagons and Lotus Bell tents. Come and try our famous soup on a Saturday night free of charge.

Video Tour

Location

Wowo (Wapsbourne Manor Farm), Wapsbourne Manor Farm, Sheffield Park, nr Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 3QT

Show Map

Getting There

From the M25, exit at junction 6 and take the A22, following the signs for the ‘Bluebell Railway’. Keep going, past the railway on the right and Wapsbourne Manor Farm is the second entrance on the right (look for big wooden signs). From the south, take the A275 north towards the Bluebell Railway/Sheffield Park. Once you’ve crossed over the A272 at Chailey, the campsite is a mile ahead on the left. The nearest station is Haywards Heath, from where a taxi costs about £15.

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