Looking for something between the no-frills wild camping experience and too-civilised campsites with shops and clubhouses? While wild camping is the ultimate in freedom, it’s a hassle to get the permission of the landowner. Or risking a rude awakening in the middle of the night and being asked to move on. As an alternative, we’ve tracked down seven of the best semi-wild camping spots in the Lake District and Cumbria. But the number of pitches are limited, so make sure to book as early as you can!
1. Back to basics near Brampton
Camping at Banks is a charming but simple campsite. They have around 20 small grass tent camping spots most suited to backpacking tents. For those who want a more cosy experience with all the comforts of home, there is a shepherd’s hut available that accommodates up to three people.
It’s ideal for walkers and cyclists, and is only 150 metres from the Hadrian’s Wall National Trail path.
Located close to the village of Banks, no vehicles are allowed onto the site.
Facilities: compost toilets and sinks with drinking water. There is a small fire pit, with charcoal for sale.
2. Enchanting Ennerdale
It’s just a 4km lakeshore walk to the pubs in Ennerdale Bridge. Or you can hang out on the outside patio with a lake-view BBQ.
Facilities: toilet and shower. Bikes can be stored in an unlocked but undercover shed.
3. Dip your toe in Windermere
At Social District 15 grass pitches for tents, and only tents, are spread across 50 acres of grassland and woodland. Its magical setting on the western shores of Windermere is perfect for an early morning swim.
Being on the quiet western shore Windermere gives you lots of options to explore the South Lake District area. It’s pet friendly too!
Facilities: fire pits, drinking water taps and a toilet block
4. Wake up in a wildflower meadow near Shap
Crake Trees Manor in the Westmorland Dales describes its 30 pitch site as ‘nearly wild camping, at the centre of our family farm’. You can pitch your tent anywhere in their beautiful 4 acre wildflower meadow.
Facilities: showers and toilets. Fire pits for hire.
5. Perfect pitch near Penrith
How does camping in an orchard overlooking a babbling stream sound? Bank House Farm near Little Salkeld has a lovely spot of idyllic grass pitches for tents.
Facilities: Toilets, washbasins and a shower block. You can bring fire pits however they must be elevated off the ground so they won’t burn the grass! Slabs to protect the grass are available from the friendly owners.
6. 470m up a mountain
Located near Keswick, YHA Skiddaw Bunkhouse is Britain’s highest hostel. It’s only accessible by foot or mountain bike and the nearest road is 5km/3 miles away.
The camping spaces in the field in front of the hostel have breath-taking views of the surrounded countryside, however, book in advance to be guaranteed a space.
Facilities: Showers and toilets, self-catering kitchen, licensed bar, cycle store. No campfires allowed.
7. Launch your kayak into Ullswater
Patterdale is the beautiful valley at the foot of Ullswater lake. The camping field at YHA Patterdale lies next to Goldrill Beck. From here you can launch your kayak and paddle 1km/0.6 miles into the lake of Ullswater itself.
Facilities: Showers and toilets, self-catering kitchen, meals served in hostel and a fire pit.
What are your semi-wild camping tips for the Lake District?
Disclaimer: We’ve tried to be as accurate as possible when writing this article, but information can change. Please check for yourself before making any decisions based on this blo