It’s like AirBNB for campers – more than a thousand places to pitch a tent on every continent (except Antarctica), in gardens, paddocks and unusual places that guarantee peace, privacy…and certainly no crowds.
Fancy camping on a small organic farm on Tonga for $5 a night? Or David’s Garden just outside Brighton for fast access to the festival? Or how about a grassy field in the Limousin where you’re promised nothing but cold water, trees and a starry sky?
Following on from our hugely popular article on Nearly Wild Camping, we just had to mention CampSpace. It launched six years ago and has been gradually building in reach. As a member, you can advertise your own garden as a campsite and/or book accommodation in other members’ gardens.
“If you want the simplest corner of a remote country garden, a tiny but strategic city garden, a horticultural paradise with rolling lawns, a thoroughly comfortable fully equipped shepherd’s hut or a pitched yurt or bell-tent you’ll find it here,” says Clare Fairburn. “The search facility also helps you find places for campervans, caravans and a few very small commercial set-ups with special values of privacy and uniqueness.”
All the garden owners have vowed to be open and transparent about what they offer, including their pricing and the facilities available. Reviews also provide feedback on previous members’ camping experiences.
All gardens are offered on a temporary basis, to reflect the fact that CampSpace promotes short-term garden camping breaks. Although in most cases there are no legal restrictions about the number of days a garden can be used as a campsite (providing some of the facilities in the house are used by the campers), CampSpace suggests that gardens are let for up to a total of 28 days a year for a maximum of up to two weeks per stay. Paddocks and other land outside the boundary of the house can generally be used for up to 28 days a year without the need to provide any facilities.
However, land in all countries has unique characteristics and rules. Anyone not expert in planning laws or legal requirements should take their own legal advice if they have any concerns. There are guidelines on the site to help hosts and camping guests get the best out of the experience.
CampSpace micro-campsites vary enormously from the very basic – a simple patch of grass for your tent, with access to a toilet 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. For many campers, it’s a chance to experience incredible generosity and hospitality from extremely warm and sociable hosts.
Prices start at zero and rise to what you might spend in a budget hotel, though what you get for the higher-end prices is definitely a world away from chain-hotel basics. Hosts write their own descriptions, which means that some are really informative about facilities, but you’ll have to get in touch through the site mailbox to find out more before booking. Searching on the map can be a bit bewildering because zooming in and out makes locations appear and disappear a little randomly.
It’s currently free to advertise your garden, but donations are very welcome to help pay the hosting and maintenance costs of the CampSpace website and all the admin involved.