St. Ives Wild Camping have combined bell tent glamping with an off-grid wild vibe!
I always love the idea of ‘wild camping’ and going somewhere off the grid to stay the night under the stars, but realistically, I’m someone who needs to know where the nearest toilet is, or where I can have a quick rinse – so proper camping in the wilderness has always been a little out of my comfort zone…
If you’re like me, finding somewhere that does semi-wild camping – like St. Ives Wild Camping – is a fantastic option! This new pop-up campsite on the outskirts of St. Ives is technically off grid, but has portaloos and home-built gas showers so you can still enjoy your home comforts. Not only that, but the site features 5 beautiful new pre-erected bell tents that are available to hire for a more luxurious, glamping experience too!
The owner, Maddy, got in touch with me about coming to stay and trying out the new bell tents, and Niki and I jumped at the chance! Neither of us had ever stayed in a bell tent before, and they always look so cosy, so we booked in for a Friday night.
The site is just a few minutes drive from St. Ives and sits on the edge of the stunning Penwith heritage coast and the rugged coastline around Zennor. It also has beautiful views out over Cornwall, looking as far as Camborne and even around near Penzance on the other side of the coast on a clear day!
We arrived at around 5.30pm, and were greeted by owner, Maddy, who is just 21 years old! She is part of the Trink dairy family who own a large dairy farm in this area that supplies delicious, Cornish milk all around Cornwall, and her pop-up campsite is a new addition to the family businesses. Maddy explained she is a huge people person, and has always wanted to create something more customer / hospitality facing, and how this campsite has been a great way to keep her busy during various lockdowns here in the UK! All of the showers and seating areas, Maddy and her friends & family have built themselves too!
They couldn’t have chosen a better location, as there’s a pub just a 2 minute walk from the campsite, and a bus stop right outside too which can transport you easily into St. Ives and around local areas if you’d prefer not to drive.
We were so excited to peek inside our bell tents, and I was shocked by how huge they were! It was awesome to be able to walk around inside with plenty of head height to spare, and Maddy explained that each tent can sleep up to 5/6 people, with the futons provided (you’ll need to bring your own bedding). Maddy has decorated each bell tent with solar powered fairy lights, a storage chest, and even set up solar power phone chargers in each one as well – super handy if you’re staying for a full weekend or longer!
Niki and I immediately set about smooshing all the futons together to make a giant bed with our duvets, of course.
^ Wearing my string gemstone bracelets from The Sea Tree Company (ad – gift)
Once we were settled in, we were determined to find a quiet cove nearby to have a beach BBQ and a swim on this extremely hot day! There are loads of beautiful coast path walks and coves nearby, but we ended up driving a little further to Pendeen to find this spot. The drive down the B3306 road is one of the most beautiful and scenic routes you can drive down in Cornwall, and I’d highly recommend it! The roads get a little tight in places, so be careful, but it’s worth it for the incredible views.
We found our little farm car park in the middle of nowhere and carried our food and kit down to the beach, where we immediately ran into the water for a quick dip to cool off! It was a stunning evening, with people enjoying the peace and quiet, and plenty of delicious-smelling BBQs being lit all around.
Once we’d eaten, we walked back up to the car (a very sweaty climb!) and drove back to the St. Ives Wild Camping site, running into the shower for a cold rinse off as soon as we got there. Then, we settled in to our tent as the sun set with some wine and sweets, and went to sleep for the night.
It was another hot day so we got up bright and early to make the most of sitting outside in the sun. On the weekends, Maddy has organised for a local coffee van to stop by the campsite in the morning to provide campers with the necessary caffeine and sustenance we need – such a great idea! We strolled down to meet the Dejabrew van to grab a couple of lattes made with Trink dairy’s own milk – delicious.
We finished off our breakfast with some pastries and bacon rolls cooked on Niki’s camp stove, and got ready to pack up and head off by around 10am – desperate to make the most and get in the sea as soon as possible! It was so handy being close to so many beautiful beaches, we were spoiled for choice – but ended up heading to Gwithian for a day splashing about in the waves.
Usually, the bell tents at St. Ives Wild Camping are available for a minimum of 3 nights at a time, starting from £180 for a stay for two people. However, the whole field is available for campers to bring a tent and pitch in too! Maddy has set it up on a ‘no need to book’ basis – just turn up and there’s details on how to pay when you get there. It’s £15 per night (for up to 2 people, per pitch) which is a bargain, and so much space when there’s barely any availability left in Cornwall this summer too! Great for a spontaneous camping trip when the weather is doing it’s thing.
Find out more on the St. Ives Wild Camping Instagram page, where you’ll find a link for bell tent bookings if you’re interested in a wild glamping stay too!
* St. Ives Wild Camping kindly hosted us in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own.