Nethergong Camping

  • Laundry
  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • Groups welcome
  • Short walk to pub
  • Beaches nearby
  • Good walks nearby
Simple camping and glamping in a green, peaceful setting with lots of space

‘Nethergong’ is a great name; memorable, expressive and with a playful undertone. It sounds like a fictional place in a child’s story book. The Chronicles of Nethergong, perhaps. So it’s a great relief to find that Nethergong Camping is not only real (based in the Kent countryside, just 90 minutes from London) but lives up to expectations. It’s the perfect kids’ playground – full of secret paths that promise adventure, nooks and crannies in which to hide, lakes to fish, and ponds in which to dip.

It should come as no surprise, then, that some families have been coming back every year since this campsite near Canterbury was set up back in 2008. Like the wildlife that is very much encouraged here, many of those returning campers have found their natural place among the varied habitats on site. There are sunny, sociable spots near the site’s famous frog pond, pitches in woodland and room between the fruit trees which offer dappled shade and the chance to PYO. There are also more secluded spots and a few glamping options dotted around too. But, the owners are keen to point out, this is not a glamping site but very much a campsite – with glamping.

Off-grid and without running water, the six bell tents, three shepherds’ huts and the lone but lovely Romany wagon all share facilities with the rest of the site. They are, more often than not, used by friends of campers or campers who’ve decided to leave the tent at home. But that doesn’t mean they’re without comfort; each is kitted out, all have made-up beds and the shepherds’ huts even have memory foam in their mattresses.

Christine and husband Jed have handed the site over to the next generation of their family, who now look after the day-to-day running of the site they grew up with. It might be Hannah welcoming you to site from the cafe-shop, Lewis cooking your dinner at the pizza oven on Friday night or Dan leading bushcraft lessons for the kids on weekend mornings.

While what’s on offer for campers has gradually increased over time, the site’s ethos remains the same and nature has continued to flourish. Trees, planted by Jed’s father 50 years ago, are now well established, a wildlife pond beyond the carp lake has been introduced and the site is part of an RSPB project to help support turtle doves. Look out for them while you’re on site and keep your eyes peeled for barn owls, heron, egrets, Marsh frogs and more. This may not quite be the magical kingdom of Narnia, but it’s not far off.

Details

Facilities

There are 12 toilets and nine showers spread across two facilities blocks (and behind the on-site cafe). There’s also a popular open-air shower, washing-up sinks, a washing machine and communal-use fridges and freezers. Recycling and rubbish facilities are also provided. There’s an on-site cafe/shop which doubles as a reception area where you can buy campsite basics and nets for pond dipping (the site’s best seller). Logs for campfires can also be pre-ordered and will be delivered to your pitch. There’s a frog pond for pond dipping, a carp lake (confusingly known as The Duck Pond) where you can fish (free for kids; £5 for adults) and plenty of space to run around. Shepherds’ huts, bell tents and the Romany wagon are all kitted out with beds, bedding and camping kit - including cooking equipment, a gas stove, table and chairs, tableware and cutlery. The huts and wagon each have a log-burning stove too.

Suitable For

Tents, families, couples, small campervans – yes. Caravans, motorhomes – no. Dogs by prior arrangement only and must be kept on a lead.

Nearby

Animal magic abounds on and off site. On site, kids can help feed the fish in the carp lake every morning at 10am and go pond dipping in the frog pond. There are also bushcraft lessons for kids at the weekend. Off-site, it’s five minutes’ walk to The Stodmarsh Nature Reserve where you can step aboard an electric boat for a Grove Ferry River Trip (07985 273070) or hire kayaks and canoes from Canoe Wild (07947 835688). For more exotic animals, there’s Howletts Wild Animal Park (01227 721286) which boasts big animals including tigers, gorillas, elephants and Wingham Wildlife Park (01227 720836), where you can hang out with penguins, meerkats and realistic dinosaur models, both a 10-minute drive from the site. This area also has an abundance of Blue Flag beaches – Whitstable, Ramsgate, Margate and Broadstairs are all within 20 minutes’ drive – as is historic Canterbury.

Food & Drink

There’s an on-site cafe-shop which serves pizzas on Friday nights (which must be ordered in advance). There are locally baked pastries available on Saturdays and bacon rolls on Sunday mornings. Local veg and campsite basics are sold in the shop. For eating out, you can pick up printed directions to two decent pubs within walking distance, including the riverside Grove Ferry Inn, about 10 minutes away (01227 860302), and The Gate Inn (01227 860498), about 40 minutes’ away. For something a bit special, how about lunch or dinner at a Michelin-starred pub? There are two nearby: The Fordwich Arms (01227 710444) and The Sportsman (01227 273370) - book well in advance. Another option for a special meal out is JoJos in Tankerton, Whitstable (01227 274591) for fine meze and sea views in a relaxed, kid-tolerant environment. Whitstable is also the place to try fresh seafood including the town’s famous oysters while Canterbury is full of places to eat, drink and pick up supplies - with a mix of independents and all the usual suspects. The Goods Shed (01227 459153) on the outskirts combines an artisan food market and bistro.

Opening Times

April–October.

The Owner Says

Nethergong Nurseries was originally owned by Christine and Jed Jenkins and passed to their children in 2019. In the 1990s Jeds father had the vision to plant thousands of broad-leaved English native trees on our 26 acres of woodland and pastureland in rural East Kent. We inherited this lovely piece of Kent in 2003 and after walking our dogs around for 7 years decided we had to share it. We thought that camping would be a great way to introduce people to Nethergong as our family are both sociable and love talking!

We don't want to spoil what makes Nethergong special so our tents are spread over a large area. You can choose to camp in our two-acre wood or in one of our meadows, flanked by young trees.

The wildlife makes Nethergong a magical place. We regularly have a pair of barn owls nesting in the opposite field and campers are treated to daily displays of both owls hunting.

The marsh frogs are also a speciality, especially in the frog pond. Children pond-dip in it all summer and grass snakes have been spotted.

Other wildlife you will see are marsh harriers, herons, egrets, water voles and a pair of little owls who roost in the woods. Our site is equipped with showers, toilets and laundry facilities. We welcome couples and families and the unspoilt nature of our 26-acre smallholding lends itself to back-to-nature holidays.If you are looking for a hi-tech holiday park then we are probably not for you, but if you want your children to know how to build a den or forage for blackberries then we probably are. Dogs are allowed by arrangement.

We have just stocked one of our lakes with carp for our campers and veg box cusomers only to fish. Day tickets for adults and adults and children are available. Strictly recreational fishing

Our small campshop opens in the morning and late afternoon (times will be posted on the door and may vary depending on whether Christine has work in the polytunnel!). We will stock essentials like ice cream and lollies as well as our fab fruit and veg and local sausages, bread, eggs and bacon.

We have also converted the front of one of our polytunnels as an indoor space for wet wether, board games or just chilling out in the warm to read!

Pitches

45 pitches, six bell tents, three shepherds’ huts and a Romany wagon.

No availability showing at Nethergong Camping.

Location

Contact Nethergong Camping, Upstreet, Canterbury, Kent CT3 4DP

Show Map

Getting There

Head south on the M2 and continue onto the A299 past Whitstable and Herne Bay. At the A28 roundabout at St Nicholas At Wade, turn right and follow the A28 to Upstreet. Turn right onto Nethergong Hill and look out for the campsite, a short way up on the right.

Buses from Canterbury stop 500m from the site on the A28.

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