The very essence of camping reconnects us with nature, gives us a break from buildings full of wifi and radio waves, allows us to get back to basics and appreciate the more simple things in life.
I've managed to squeeze in around five camping trips this year and I'm well and truly hooked. I've already lined up a host of campsites for next years adventures and will be documenting each trip here to show you my best tried and tested campsites.
I've found the best campsites are those that are humble and relatively small and a good place to start is with this recent trip to Hare & Hounds in Rye.
Rye and all that surrounds it is an amazing corner of our beautiful country with it's shoreline and inland marshes. The town is bustling with arts and crafts, the places to eat and drink are in abundance and the Hare & Hounds is placed perfectly to enjoy everything the area has to offer.
The campsite itself is on the premises of an old pub (now converted to a bed and breakfast) and when you arrive you pull up to the gate to find a well managed, tidy car parking area followed by two lovely fields with flat grass pitches (electrical hookups not available) and a few set up bell tents for hire if you want a simpler camping experience.
Having come through the gate (which is always kept closed so great for those with dogs and children) you ring the doorbell and are greeted by either Harriet or Ben who are both so very lovely and greet you as if you're their first ever campers. I was given a run through of the facilities and this lovely couple had thought of everything - a functional, covered washing up area, a good recycling system, clean toilets and a freezer to refreeze your ice packs free of charge. They even had a space where you could charge your appliances, also free of charge.
You can choose to either camp nearer the toilet and washing up area (which is always my preference) or further up the fields near the trees. It is requested (and quite rightly so) that you leave your car in the car park when damp but we did that anyway, as did others, so creates a safe space for children to play and run around.
Fire baskets with everything you need to use them are on offer for £10 and you can buy extra supplies throughout your stay. The little shop that opens at selected times of the day is just delightful with all the essential bits. I would have loved to have seen more local, high welfare produce on sale here - such as eggs, bacon and juice, but if you want local produce there is a beautiful little farm shop not far up the road if you turn left into Rye.
The toilets are converted outbuildings so as you would expect and the showers were powerful and warm but on the compact side so you might find it more comfortable to take a towelling dressing gown and get dressed in your tent.
It's definitely one of the friendlier campsites I've been to but hard not to be chirpy when you stay here!
If you're looking for things to do in the area you'll be spoiled. Ryes cobbled streets offer a lot - antiques, cafes, galleries and jewellers as well as a host of good pubs. We went to the new Ethel gallery which I recommend a look at. Also check out The Globe Inn Marsh which I wrote about here.
There are also plenty of kid and dog friendly things to do - Romney Marches, Rye Harbour, Camber beaches, Dungeness to name but a few.
If you're looking for a calm space with good energy to pitch up while you explore this beautiful area you can't go wrong with the Hare & Hounds site. See more information and book on their website.
Share the love and let me know if you visit on this recommendation with a hashtag of #retreatcamping
Formally Emma Gutteridge