For part of our May half term break 2022, we spent a few days camping in Dorset at Longthorns Farm near Wareham.
Set on a small working farm, Longthorns campsite is spread across several fields. There’s plenty of space – tents and campervans sit along the perimeter of each field with the large space in the middle reserved for everyone to enjoy. There was enough room for games of cricket and football without our balls rolling into anyone’s tent. Caravans are also welcome – there are 18 electric hook ups.
Visitors are given pre-allocated pitches. Our group of four families – three tents and a camper – stayed in the Alpaca Field which backs onto one of the alpaca paddocks. The farm keeps a herd of around 20 alpacas which visitors – for a fee – can take for a walk or “meet and greet”. We were happy to just admire these handsome furry creatures – they definitely have a unique appeal.
The facilities at Longthorns campsite are perfect. There’s a well stocked shop selling the usual camping staples – bread, milk, ice creams, BBQ food – as well as toys for the kids and Alpaca products. The shop also has a coffee machine and freshly baked pastries are available each morning. There’s a small bar at the campsite but we didn’t get round to investigating it.
Longthorns has well maintained wash blocks with those all-important decent showers. There’s a lovely short woodland walk along one edge of the campsite – perfect for little kids who don’t fancy wandering too far.
The campsite has fire pits available to hire – they come complete with a grill to BBQ with. Guests can pre-order firewood and charcoal too. And if you’ve forgotten to pack the marshmallows, fear not, those are sold in the shop.
If you’re looking for budget glamping near the Dorset coast, Longthorns Farm has a range of options. Set in a field slightly removed from the main camping area are shepherds huts, tipis and little wooden pods. Starting from £50 per night, the glamping at Longthorns is great value if you don’t fancy the full camping experience. It’s also handy if you haven’t got the boot space for all the camping paraphernalia.
For other UK glamping locations, check out my article about the best glamping for families.
The location of Longthorns is perfect for exploring Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. It’s a 10 minute drive to pretty Lulworth Cove. Due to the horseshoe shape of the cove, the water has been very calm on our last two visits so it’s perfect for swimming, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. Despite it being a pebbly beach – like the other beaches on this stretch of the Dorset coast – there’s something rather special about this spot that makes us return.
There’s an incredible walk along the cliffs from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door. The coastal scenery is spectacular the whole way. It’s quite a steep walk in places and one of our children did a bit of grumbling along the way – despite having a particularly delicious ice cream at the start of the walk to distract him. There’s a car park quite close to Durdle Door if you don’t want to combine it with Lulworth Cove.
If you’re after a sandy beach, it’s a 30 minute drive from Longthorns Farm to the sands at Studland and Swanage to the east or Weymouth to the west.
Inland, down the road from Longthorns campsite is Monkey World. You can hear the distant screeches from the chimps if you listen carefully. Monkey World is an ethical animal experience – the residents have all been rescued from less desirable homes around the world.
Next to Longthorns is a glider airfield, it was quite mesmerising watching them overhead. It felt like a few of the aircrafts skimmed the tents when they were coming into land – the kids loved watching them glide in.
Also nearby is the well known Tank Museum. If we’d stayed for longer or the weather had been miserable, I’m sure we’d have gone to investigate. However, we had sunny days during our stay so we spent each day at the beach.
The only slight drawback of this lovely campsite in Dorset is the proximity of the main road. We could hear the cars zipping past when we woke up in the morning. However, it was otherwise such a relaxing spot that we’d return despite this.
Last year we stayed at Woodyhyde campsite which is within walking distance of Corfe Castle. This was a pretty good site too – the Swanage Railway steam train runs through the site on its way from Swanage to Norden. The train stops in Corfe Castle too. We enjoyed walking to Corfe Castle from the campsite and taking the short drive to the beach at Studland.
Woodyhyde campsite is larger than Longthorns with a bigger wash block and a larger shop. The only drawback was driving through the village of Corfe Castle – its roads are not designed to deal with the summer holiday traffic unfortunately. Overall we preferred the more intimate feel of Longthorns but we’d happily return to either site.
If you’d prefer not to camp in Dorset but you’d like somewhere rural and family friendly, I can highly recommend Rudge Farm holiday cottages near Bridport – it’s a fantastic place for a family holiday.
Have you been camping in Dorset? Let me know if you have a good campsite to recommend.
Read my article about farm stays in England for more family-friendly farm holiday ideas.