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Swattesfield Campsite, Gislingham Rd, Thornham Magna, Suffolk IP23 8HH
01379 788558
9 19 20 383 35 33 11 23 27 25 30

We say

Deep in the wilds of north Suffolk, keen camper Jonathan set up this seven-acre campsite with his dad in 2011. It’s a simple site exuding a Cool Camping vibe, with two grassy fields – one for camping, the other for glamping – separated by a small lake with some adjoining woodland to explore.The position is perfect for bucolic strolls across the well-marked paths and bridleways of nearby Thornham Walks and for exploring the historic Walled Gardens on the estate, which has recently been restored and is open on weekends.

It’s a great place to do nothing and get into nature.You can pitch your tent in the bottom field or the woodland beyond, or take up residence in a boutique bell tent or a well-equipped caravan complete with its own outside decking and cooking area. Plus there’s the Pixie Hut and the Shepherd's Hut – ideal for a family or small group. They have some ingeniously suspended firepits for cooking, and some of Jonathan’s mates recently built him a fabulous outdoor pizza oven out of recycled materials.

Overall, it’s a site with a lovely chilled-out atmosphere situated in a very special location.


As featured in Cool Camping Britain

150 of the best campsites in Britain - brand new book, just published in spring 2013. Fully updated listings plus dozens of new campsite discoveries across England, Wales and Scotland.
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They say

(info supplied by the campsite)

Camping Cool just got even cooler - sub-zero in fact! For 2014 we have made some massive improvements that makes Swattesfield Campsite a unique site to stay at and a true Top 10 UK campsite as featured in The Guardian.

Are you inspired by Lord Of The Rings? Have you ever fancied living like a hobbit in an ever-so-cutsey house? Well, welcome to our very own two Pixie Huts; Weggle and Swaggle! Our octagonal wonders have four peak-a-boo windows, a comfy full-sized double bed and two smaller beds for any little imps. With a wood burning stove and over-looking the south facing skies of Suffolk this is already proving to be popular with our regulars! The huts have their own outside decking area, fire pits and all your cooking facilities including a Pizza Oven for all campers to use. These really are the new way to camp; cosy, cutsey and a great place to wind down and relax.

As well as our Pixie Huts we also have our Boutique Bell-Tents with all the creature comforts you'd need to have a thoroughly enjoyable stay. At five metres across these are big enough for four and of course have the full-size comfy double bed as well as all your cooking equipment.

And if all that wasn't enough we also have a real top-of-the range Shepherds Hut big enough for four, they also have a wood-burner inside to keep you toasty as well as all your cooking facilities outside.

If our sumptuous accommodation is just too much for you and you fancy the traditional ways then don't worry as we've still got six tent pitches for those that like it under canvas. I say pitches but they're unmarked to keep Swattesfield Campsite as natural a countryside location as can be. We also cater for VW camper van sized campers - anything bigger and they just wouldn't fit!

With 12 miles of direct walks from the site and an 11th Century pub, Forge Cafe and Coach House restaurant within 25 minutes walking distance there's more than enough to keep you fed and watered. There's even a play area 15 minutes easy stroll away for the kids as well fishing lakes a little further afield. The market towns of Eye and Diss are only 5 and 10 minutes away and all this with an easy train ride from London Liverpool Street and only an hour from Cambridge, 30 minutes from Norwich and 55 minutes from Southwold and Aldeburgh, Swattesfield Campsite really is an ideal place to have a relaxing break.

I hope to see you soon!

Kind regards,

JonathanSwattesfield CampsiteSuffolk

You say

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not quite cool...

Had a nice night, good weather helped, and a nice pitch in the trees, but the site is let down by lots of small things: It's looking very tired after only a few years (last years pizza oven is falling apart), I would not call it small-child safe with the unfenced pond and the map and signs are pretty useless. Also, if they are pitching at this end of the market, then the "Ryan Air" approach to pricing needs to go, in that if they say they provide fire pits, they need to make it clear that this is only if you pay for their wood and kindling! Lastly, there are two good sorts of campsite owners, those you never see, and those you do see, but who are properly friendly and don't make you feel like you've suddenly appeared in their back-garden! Lastly....maybe a small thing to some people, but the main reason I won't be back, or recommending it; when I shake hands with someone, and introduce myself, the other person is supposed to do the same....VERY rude!

Response from campsite owner: 

A warm welcome is always open at Swattesfield Campsite to all lovely campers that are looking for a delightfully natural and open country campsite. For those happy campers looking for dappled walks, free-to-use showers, pizza oven, fridge and freezer, with a large double sink station and covered information area and car-free environment it's a welcome breath of fresh air. 

We welcome all campers that would like open fires, to get back to real camping if they wish with the freedom to camp almost where they wish as we don't have marked pitches. And for those that would like more comfort then there is always one of our Bell Tents. With double beds and two further kids beds if needed, there is also it's own cooking station with all your cooking implements, your own picnic table and fire pit you - really only need bring your bedding. We greet with open arms any camper that would like to stay in our Pixie Hut; big enough for two adults and two children, it has it's own wood-burning stove, outside chimenea, picnic table and all your cooking equipment. It's called a Pixie Hut because it's cute, quaint and set in the trees and it helps to keep trolls away - we don't like trolls.

Swattesfield Campsite is nature's garden, a truly back to nature experience where campers have the experience of seeing many wild birds and animals with Herons, Kingfishers, Moorhens and Eegrets all frequenting the natural pond on the upper field. On the lower field, which is almost two acres large, there is plenty of room for campers and is surrounded by trees and hedges and a real sun-trap. From here there's easy access to the free-to-use showers and free-to-use fridge and freezer to pop your cool beers, wines and ice-creams in. From the main camping area the free-to-use Thornham Walks offers 12 miles of way-marked walks where campers can visit the 11th Century thatched pub, The Four Horseshoes. Walkers can also take the easy going woodland paths to The Forge Cafe and free-to-use play area. There's also The Coach House - a family run cafe/restaurant offering delicious home cooked food at great value. 

Back to Swattesfield Campsite and campers can choose to have a fire and, whilst firewood literally does grow on trees, it's unable to be sustainable, slow-grown hard wood, dried, seasoned, hand-cut and netted for your convenience and like the fire wood we sell, there is also the hand cut kindling, dried, bagged and small enough to start the fire in our firepits. The fire pits we use are specifically chosen to be raised off the ground thus avoiding scorching and killing the grass below and keeping the site looking as lovely as possible. We also actively discourage campers that wish to burn and destroy the hedgerows and surrounding trees which are homes to many birds and insects and are a key part of the lifecycle of a real countryside campsite. 

Then there is the hand made, clay pizza oven, full of character and charm and a delight to cook in with a little practice! The pizza oven was made by squelching clay, straw and grit to make the perfect consistency so it will hold it's shape and retain the heat for cooking. The free-to-use pizza oven is an organic cooking station which is offered continuous tlc throughout the seasons to maintain it's appearance.

Swattesfield Campsite is lovely, we love lovely people to come and stay, to relax and enjoy a warm welcome, a great country side environment, that has space and big skies for small and big kids to enjoy.

With Love, Swattesfield Campsite

P.S. Hugs are always available to cheer you up...they're free too!



This is a fantastic site, very, very pretty and well run by Jonathan and Phil who are very easy going but accommodating when you have a need.

The showers and toilets are pretty basic but the location is superb and caravans are banned so if you are a proper camper this is a great site. There are plenty of decent pubs and shops nearby. Firepits are available for real fires.

The site is great and very safe for children who have plenty of room, including a woods and playing field, to make their own fun. There are a few homemade swings and he most fantastic natural 'bushcraft' den.

The site is not far from the London/Norwich main line, which can be irksome sometimes but the trains are few and far between, just the odd one very late at night or very early in the morning.

We've been three times now, including a week-long break so it's definitely recommended.

Nearby Campsites

Cool Factor

Wonderfully tranquil, with not a jot to do but walk, cycle or just sit and think.


Our Pixie Huts, Weggle and Swaggle, are delightful places to stay and the kids (big and small!) will love them. Cosy, comfy and cute :)

Boutique Bell-Tents are big and beautiful. Large enough for four they have all you need to enjoy this countryside site.

Our Shepherds Hut is wonderfully constructed with a double bed and two bunks, they have a wood-burning stove and pretty much everything you need for your stay - just bring your toothbrush!

We'd love you to stay with your own tent! Our pitches are unmarked to keep the site unspoilt and if you've got a VW sized camper then you're welcome too!

Who's In

Tents, small campervans, dogs – yes. Caravans, big groups, young groups – no.

On Site

Campfires allowed off the ground. 12 pitches, 3 bell tents, 1 caravan, plus 2 double rooms in the log cabin. No hook-ups. Simple but clean toilet block, with 2 showers, 6 sinks and 6 toilets. Small shop sells camping equipment and food essentials. Gislingham village shop is a 15-minute walk away.

Off Site

Thornham Walks – 12 miles of waymarked footpaths accessible from the site (open daily 9am–6pm April–October; shorter hours outside this period).

Food & Drink

The Thornham Estate’s Forge Tea Room (01379 783035) and Thornham Coach House (01379 783373) are a 15–20-minute walk away and serve lunch and dinner. Try also the Four Horseshoes pub (01379 678777) in nearby Thornham Magna, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is about a 25-minute walk.


Open first spring Half-term until last Half-term of the year which is quite late this year!

Open from 4th April 2014 and closing on 3rd November 2014

The Damage

Pixie Huts from £195 per Monday to Friday or Friday to Monday break - that's for the hut, for up to four people; as little as £12.90 pppn!

Boutique Bell Tents from £170 per Monday to Friday or Friday to Monday break - that's for the hut, for up to four people; as little as £10.63 pppn!

Shepherds Hut from £195 per Monday to Friday or Friday to Monday break - that's for the hut, for up to four people; as little as £12.90 pppn!

Tent Pitches from £12 and Campervans from £17 per night.

And if you don't fancy cooking, would like a special greeting pack (I'm thinking Champagne, chocolates, flowers!), or a breakfast, lunch, nibbles hamper then these can be provided on request - basically whatever it is you would like to make your stay super special or just want to a treat we can provide it be it a massage, baby-sitting, dog-sitting/walking etc we'll provide it  - though no tattoos...I don't like needles!

Getting There

To find the campsite from the A140, follow the signs to the Thornham Walks and continue past the Walks entrance , continuing along Gislingham Road for about a mile and then turn right soon after seeing a 'school' sign and 'Slow' marked on the road - there is a Swattesfield Campsite sign marking the entrance on the right. And if you're travelling from the opposite direction and through Gislingham, exit the village past the Church and towards Thornham Magna. About 1/2 mile out of the village and soon after travelling under a train tunnel you will see a 'school' sign and 'Slow' marked on the road - there is a Swattesfield Campsite sign marking the entrance on the left.

Public Transport

The nearest station is Diss (6 miles) which is on the direct mainline from London Liverpool Street and often stops at Manningtree, Colchester, Stowmarket, Diss and Norwich. It's only an hour and a half from London and there are usually cabs that can bring you to us waiting at the station.


Beach huts  Bedding  Bell tents  Bicycle routes  Campervans permitted  Campfires permitted  Cooking facilities  Dogs welcome  Exclusive Hire  Fishing  Forest  Good for kids  Good walks  Linen  Luxury camping available  Nice views  Pods  Remote location  Romantic retreat  Shepherd’s huts  Short walk to pub  Showers  Towels  Wooden wigwams