Cornish Tipi Holidays & Camping

UK England South West England Cornwall Port Isaac

  • Campfires allowed
  • Groups welcome
  • Beaches nearby
  • Good walks nearby
Beautiful tipis and tent pitches, masses of space, a fishing and swimming lake; all within striking distance of some of the north Cornish coast’s best beaches

Rural Cornwall doesn’t exactly strike you as ultra-modern, a place ahead of the curve. Take this campsite, for example, arranged around a stunning spring-fed lake in the old Tregildrans quarry it has an altogether more timeless quality. The thick, mature trees, the emerald waters and the fern covered escarpments that tumble down into the lake could well have been painted in a picture many centuries ago. There’s no onsite shop taking contactless payment cards, no Wi-Fi, no playground. It’s all a bit 1920s. Isn’t it?

In fact, few campsites are as ahead of the curve as Cornish Tipi Holidays. Back in 2005 when we first discovered the site in our first edition of Cool Camping: Kids, the campsite had already been running for ten years and was championing something innovative. Set up in 1996 by Elizabeth Tom, it was the first commercial tipi campsite in England and was offering nights beneath the stars in a tipi before the word ‘glamping’ had even been invented. Today the 25 North American-style abodes are still going strong, with three different sizes on offer, but are now joined by regular camping too.

While fashionistas are throwing up Alice Temperley-style tipis and yurts across the great British countryside, Cornish Tipi Holidays, ever ahead of the game, are part of the new back-to-basic counter culture. Bring your own tent, avoid the crowds and pick whatever pitch you want – an open meadow space with fellow campers, a private, secluded clearing among the trees, a grassy patch with views… there’s a full 20 acres of beautifully rural space to explore, so you’ll easily find a spot to suit.

All of these campers have the same facilities as the tipi dwellers – hot showers and loos – while the campsite environment lends itself wholeheartedly to anyone with an imagination. It’s easy to spend entire days by the lake, messing about in a boat or fishing for trout (bring your own rods and licence) and life-jackets can be borrowed from the warden. You can even bring your own canoe if you want to. Hide and seek along the winding paths edged by tumbling blackberries or bright-yellow gorse is a must, while there’s also the larger ‘village field’ for children to charge about in, and the ‘top village field’ has a spectacular totem pole. In this wilder-than-wild environment, kids can’t fail to flourish. No surprise, then, to hear that Alice Temperley herself spent her honeymoon here. Now what on earth would Hiawatha have thought about that?

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Details

Facilities

There are loos and hot showers at either end of the site and an extra, larger shower block, too. Every tipi has a lantern and box of utensils, along with rugs and a few simple furnishing (see website for details). There are standpipes and water-containers throughout the site. The site’s proud to be off the National Grid, so you can really get back to nature here. There’s the lake, paths, streams and woodland to explore. Boats and lifejackets can be borrowed. Fishing is popular, as is cooking the catch on a campfire – campfires should be raised off the ground.

Suitable For

Glampers, campers, tents, campervans, couples, families, kids, groups – yes. Caravans and dogs – no.

Nearby

It’s a 5-minute drive to the some of the best sea kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and adrenaline-filled coasteering in the UK – all out of beautiful Port Quin. Try Cornish Coast Adventures (01209 880280) for routes and equipment. Head to Port Isaac (01208 880200), a great place for sea-kayaking, and buying scallops or crabs. Pick up the Camel Trail near Wadebridge (01460 221162) and explore the 16 miles John Betjeman described as ‘the best journey in England’. Lanhydrock House (01208 265950) is a Victorian mansion near Bodmin, with over 50 rooms to explore. On the south coast stop at Charlestown Shipwreck Centre (01726 69897) in the historic china-clay building. You can walk through underground tunnels and there’s an exciting collection of dive treasures.

Food & Drink

For groceries use the Spar in Delabole (01840 213897). It does fresh pizza most Friday and Saturday nights. You can buy excellent pasties from either Auntie Avice (great egg-and-bacon pie) at St Kew or Cornish Maids in Camelford (01840 212749). The Other Place in Fowey (01726 833636) does creative fish and chips, including scallops or calamari. For excellent Sunday lunch and good mid-week sandwiches try the Globe Hotel at Lostwithiel (01208 872501).

Opening Times

Mid-March–early November.

Why book with I Love This Campsite?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

The Owner Says

A woodland valley folded around a clear, spring-fed lake created from the old Tregildrans Quarry. Our tipis and tent pitches are dotted about this secret 20 acres just inland from the North Cornish coast near Port Isaac.

Accommodation

A small selection of beautifully secluded grass camping pitches, plus more sociable meadow camping and 25 glamping tipis, all scattered around the 20-acre site. There is a large ‘village field’ with 11 of the tipis together for groups, while other tipis offer more seclusion.
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Location

Contact Cornish Tipi Holidays & Camping, Tregildrans Quarry, Trelill, St Kew, Cornwall PL30 3HZ

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Getting There

Take the M5 to Exeter then the A30 to Okehampton and Launceston. Turn right onto the A395 to Camelford. Just before Camelford turn right at Collan’s Cross onto the B3314 to Delabole. Follow the road out of Delabole for a couple of miles, then turn left for St Teath at the Port Gaverne crossroads. Stay on the road curving around to the right, over an old railway bridge, then take first right before Normansland Cottage, and go down the track. The nearest station is Bodmin Parkway, or fly to Newquay then take a taxi.

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Why book with I Love This Campsite?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

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