Tucked down single-track country roads, shaded with tall trees on either side, this little tenters’ campsite is perfectly pitched atop Fleet Lagoon, Lyme Bay and the Jurassic Coast. Many of the pitches have countryside or sea views, and a low-key ambience thrives. This is a traditional campsite with a well-stocked shop and cubicle facilities which include the two most impressive-looking and well-sized family bathrooms we’ve seen at any UK campsite, with self-contained WC, shower, sink and even a bath). The site is part of a larger operation that includes an adjacent site, and guests can use their facilities, which include an outdoor heated swimming pool and a bar. So, it’s the best of both worlds – quiet and peaceful camping, with extra entertainment just next door.
Regulars to the site tend to be visitors who travel from afar on their long holiday break. Parents like to pitch near the small children’s playground. Older families enjoy all the grassy space for ball games. Climbers come to be near Portland’s cliffs and quarries. And walkers just love the Fleet Lagoon – a unique and protected nature reserve that attracts migrating waterfowl in spring and autumn – which is just a 500m stroll down the South West Coast Path.The tidal lagoon is home to Moonfleet Manor Hotel, formerly called Fleet House by its well-to-do owner who, so legend has it, was heavily involved in smuggling. During the summer months you can book a guided tour with a costumed re-enactment group that will talk you through the history of the once-booming local smuggling community, making a fun day out for the kids.
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We found this site via the book but I now wish i had read the reviews!
Without doubt the view is spectacular and the wash block was clean...... but the reception we received upon arriving was more akin to the arctic than a sunny Dorset day. You get charged for everything ( so it ended up costing us almost £50 a night for a family of 5 with a dog!)and the rules somewhat put us on edge for fear of incurring the wrath of the owner.
We ended up leaving early after a 2 nights disturbed sleep by 3 rowdy families staying together. No action was taken against these unless their bond was with held ......
So to conclude, if you want to go to a site with great views but are willing to but up with appalling customer service and the "rules" then this is the place for you
Response from campsite owner:
Our price schedule is published on the website. Customers are informed, usually in writing, when booking what their stay will cost, assuming they declare correctly who will be staying. Guests should not “invite” friends on to the camping park without first agreeing this with the owners. The balance of all fees is payable on arrival.
At 2015 prices, the peak season cost for an electric pitch is £27 per night, inclusive of one vehicle, two adults, hot water and use of other facilities. Each additional child is £2.50 per night, adults £6, vehicles £4 and dogs £3. Standard pitches cost less.
It is difficult to reconcile a reviewer’s concerns that the park’s code of orderly conduct is too strict, with a complaint from the same reviewer that it is not enforced strictly enough! The park is patrolled every night and guests not respecting the code are reminded of their obligations. Last Friday, one family group was spoken to by the park’s night manager at 23.40 hours because they were still talking and playing music. When asked they responded positively and were quiet thereafter. Later patrols gave no cause for concern and the park was very quiet.
In wet weather it is not uncommon for some campers to leave early. Park staff do all they can to make sure guests do not disturb each other. But can do nothing to prevent the weather throwing cold water on everyone. Only well-prepared campers with a good tent, properly pitched can stop that.
Arrived after booking via email and telephone. No issues with grumpy staff, and had a warm welcome. Campsite was awesome and the views were fab. Pitch where ever you wanted, but not on the electric hook ups, which were pre booked. Plenty of space for everyone. Showers etc were fab, in fact the whole site was clean and tidy. A simple set of rules given out on arrival, which everyone understood as, at night it was so peaceful, bliss.
Would stay again, however, they don't allow certain breeds of dogs, which would restrict us.
I have stayed on this site several times and have to say what a cracking site,with great views and good facilities,the only let down is the staff on reception ! I have never had any problems with having bonds etc repaid however a little courtesy and friendliness costs nothing , this is something that's in short supply on reception here.
7 of 7 readers found this review useful.
4 of 4 readers found this review useful.
As avid campers we reguarly refer to the cool camping books to find our next campsite ......through recomendation on cool camping we decided to stay at Sea Barn for a chilled weekend away. It also happened that a friend was staying with her family also that weekend so it seemed a no brainer ! However on calling to book and after the payment had been processed, we were asked how we had found them, on explaining that it was through cool camping and that a friend was staying that weekend, the lady on the phone then decided to tell us that we had to pay a bond !!! (for behaviour) on explaining that we were not part of their group and were not planning on camping near them at all (as they are a family with young children and we are a couple without children ..... hence the distance) she was extremely rude !!!! We will never ever stay at this campsite until there is new ownership or they learn lessons in PR and manners.
Cool camping I would not endorse this campsite !!!!! it is definately not cool !
Response from campsite owner (and to the review below):
Sea Barn Farm has operated a “quiet nights” policy for many years. As part of this, and as published on our website and sent out to all customers on booking, we ask for a £20 bond from people who are coming as part of a group or who intend to meet up with friends when they get here. This bond is refundable on departure, provided the park’s policies on noise and behaviour have been adhered to. Most of our customers, especially those with young children, welcome this system as it helps to ensure they get an undisturbed sleep and that everyone can enjoy their holiday.
The bond is a gesture of good faith on the part of the customer and indicates that they have understood and are willing to accept the expectations of our other guests. All our customers are asked, on booking, whether they are coming as part of a group or intend to meet up with friends; regardless of whether they will be pitched together or not.
If someone refuses to pay the bond or fails to tell us that they are part of a group, we take this as an indication that they do not accept the same code of conduct that our other customers expect or that they feel they are likely to behave in a way which will cost them their bond. In such circumstances it is our policy to decline the booking. That may seem harsh or rude to a very small minority, but we have thousands of visitors each year who willing pay the bond and have no problem at all reclaiming it at the end of an enjoyable, relaxing and peaceful stay.
As this customer made clear when trying to book over the phone that they would not pay a bond, it was not possible to proceed with the booking. No payment was processed. Nor did they visit Sea Barn Farm and so didn't get to enjoy the views!
2 of 2 readers found this review useful.
2 of 2 readers found this review useful.
We stayed at Sea Barn Farm during the early May Bank Holiday Weekend in 2013. We arrived a little later than we would've preferred and unfortunately didn't explore the site fully, so pitched close to the toilet and shower facilities for convenience.
As we soon discovered, if we were a little more patient and drove further into the site, we could've had a lovely view overlooking Chesil Beach (argh).
On the upside we were close to toilet facilities that made an early May camping experience quiet pleasant, as they were warm with hot water and great for young children (also a disabled bathroom with bath, which we could use for the little ones).
As it was early May it wasn't that busy, but I can image that this part of the world gets pretty crazy in the summer months. All in all, it was a nice stay. Would I go back? Probably not, but only because it's a case of 'been there, done that'.
1 of 1 readers found this review useful.
1 of 1 readers found this review useful.
Not a "cool" campsite at all. Would not recommend that you stay here. Not particularly pleasant or helpful staff. Er, the view is OP and thats about it.
2 of 3 readers found this review useful.
Oh dear such a lovely location but such a poor welcome and poor customer service. Felt they acted as though by allowing us to give them our money they were doing us a favour! A downright rude woman gave us 2 pages of A4 rules written with a lot of block capitals, underlines and bold negative comments. There were numerous signs around the place to ensure that we exercised our dogs correctly and knew where our children were in case they were spreading faeces around the bathroom (I kid you not!) . A friendly approach, with rules worded in a less authoritarian manner and perhaps even some common courtesy would have made our stay a pleasant one. A site to avoid.
Response from campsite owner:
Thanks for your comments. Sea Barn Farm is a popular family camping park in a stunning location. It attracts a wide range of customers from families with young children to outdoor pursuits enthusiasts and couples young and old. Over many years of operation, we’ve found that making clear what we and the vast majority of our customers expect helps avoid problems. The park’s rules for orderly conduct are deliberately unambiguous in their wording so that there is no confusion. The rules are freely available and publicised on the park web site and are also made available to all guests on arrival along with other useful information about the private walks around the farm that customers are allowed to use and that link into the magnificent South West Coast Path along the Fleet Lagoon.
Children of all ages are the responsibility of their parents whilst they are on the park, and should be supervised at all times, including when using the amenities blocks. This ensures that any avoidable mess or damage, whether for reasons of mischief or inexperience, is prevented. The park’s cleaning team works long and hard to keep the facilities blocks spotless for all users, but they should not have to clear mess that could be avoided.
Dogs are permitted on the camping park and the signed, private walks around the farm, but only if owners stick to some straightforward rules – dogs must be on a lead at all times and mess must be bagged and binned. Sea Barn Farm is a working farm with crops, machinery, horses and cattle with calves at foot grazing in summer. It also joins on to a wildfowl reserve of international importance. It is therefore essential for the safety of other customers and their children, farm animals, wildlife, horse riders and the dogs themselves that owners stick to these fairly standard rules at all times, day or night. Unleashed dogs have been known to find their way out of tents at night without the knowledge of their owners. This is clearly unacceptable.
These well-publicised, common sense rules help to ensure that all visitors have a safe and enjoyable holiday without damaging what they’ve come to see. The rules are part of the terms and conditions of all bookings and so where customers fail to observe them, they will be reminded, politely of their obligations. Repeated reminders of reasonable requests may seem brusque, but may also result in visitors being required to leave the premises.
Sea Barn Farm may or may not be “Cool”. That’s for others to say depending on their own definition of what’s hot and what’s not. But having and enforcing a few simple rules ensures the vast majority of customers can have a safe and enjoyable stay in a truly breath-taking, peaceful and natural environment. We think that’s pretty cool! And not something we’ll be looking to change any time soon!
1 of 2 readers found this review useful.
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Graston CopseGraston Copse Holiday Park, Burton Bradstock, Dorset, DT6 4QP
Well-run, well-located south Dorset site that's surprisingly uncommercial, despite all the mod cons.
Tents, campervans, motorhomes, dogs (on leads) – yes. Groups – by arrangement. Caravans – no.
Up to 250 pitches in peak summer, including 50 with hook-ups. 2 blocks with free hot showers and toilets, 2 beautiful, large family shower rooms and disabled facilities. There’s a laundry, bar and swimming pool at adjacent West Fleet Farm during peak season, a 15-minute walk along flat roads. No campfires.
You can walk from the site down to the Fleet Lagoon – a protected nature reserve. A re-enactment group offers guided tours along the South West Coast Path covering its smuggling history and influence on the book Moonfleet. Tickets are available from the camp shop. Treat yourself to a wreck dive at one of the many shipwrecks off the coast. A dive boat can be chartered through Skin Deep Diving (01305 787372) in Weymouth.
If it rains
Food & Drink
Some of Dorset’s best seafood can be enjoyed at the famous Hive (01308 897070) while, slightly closer, the Elm Tree Inn (01305 871257) at Langton Herring specialises in game. Nearer still, the pedigree cattle grazing the working farmland produce amazing steaks, which are on the menu at the all-new Bar in the Barn, which opens daily at West Fleet Campsite. Bride Valley Farm Shop (01305 871235) also on Market Street in Abbotsbury is the place to head to for good-quality local meats, including the famous Dorset Longhorn beef, plus pâtés, chutneys, bread and cereals.
Pitch plus 2 adults £12–£22; child £1–£2.50, hook-ups £15–£25 per night.