One of the problems with traditional camping site guides is the lack of detail necessitated by the need to fit every possible site in the book. This guide, in contrast, has only 150 sites but you can be sure that each of the campsites listed has something worth visiting them for.
I've stayed at two of the sites listed (Demesne Farm and Newgale) and know several more of the others. In each case the information given is both accurate and a fair assessment of the site - and to be honest that is all you need to know to be sure that the book is worth getting. It's certainly encouraged my family to want to go camping again.
Particularly useful is the categorisation of the sites into groups, allowing the reader to compare sites that have the natural facilities of interest, including: - Cool for Campfires - Stunning Views - For First-Time Campers - Middle of Nowhere - Beach within reach - Surf's Up - Walk this way - High on mountains - and further categories to do with lakes, rivers, car-less camping and dogs.
The only thing I found missing from the book is that the recent plethora of wigwam sites (especially in Scotland) have little coverage even though some of the English sites (Clumber Park, for example) are mentioned. I would certainly recommend Strathfillan in Scotland, which certainly fits the ethos of the book.
But overall this is an excellent way to narrow down the choice of campsite, and it is highly recommended.
I can't recommend this book enough, its not often i leave feedback but had to come back a month after purchasing to do so. We have just finished a road trip around wales in our van, and this book was pretty much our bible for places to stay, we did stay at other places we came across and were only disappointed after been spoilt by some amazing places in here! Having not really travelled around Wales, we want to explore all corners of the country, coastal and more inland mountainous areas and although i do appreciate that our timing was perfect with a couple of weeks of blue skies and all kids back at school, we found ourselves with entire fields to ourself on the edges of cliff watching dolphins while eating breakfast, having campfires on the beach watching stunning sun sets, secluded bays with not a sole on them on sunny days etc etc. The book is very matter of fact about what you will find, sometimes the facilities aren't great, but locations are perfect, but you read this before you arrive.
There was only one site we arrived at and drove around, looked at each other and wondered how an earth this had made it into the book!?!? Rows of statics and great big white tourers, regimented pitches and a list of rules longer than my arm, luckily there was an eco-camp along the road which was great instead with the same views!!!
If your after relaxed, stunning and a camping trip a little different buy this book, you won't regret it!!!
(My camping background: a childhood spent caravanning with parents, youth hostelling in my teens followed by 20 years of tent-camping and campervan camping using small remote and largely undeveloped sites or wildcamping.)
Not everyone wants to spend their camping holiday at a regimented site where a uniformed warden wearing obligatory branded polo shirt and shorts frog-marches you to your allocated pitch whereupon you must site your tent/van precisely and equidistant between the markings and face into a prescribed direction. That certainly isn't my idea of a relaxing break hence the reason I either wild-camp or seek smaller, independent and more relaxed sites - and this is where 'Cool Camping' comes into its own.
The book reviews 149 sites visited and tested by the authors. Without exception these are smaller, friendlier sites run by their owners rather than being part of a chain or franchise and hence the owner has a personal incentive for ensuring visitors enjoy their stay and hopefully return.
The book is clearly targeted at people like me and I know this because many of the sites I've chosen to stay on are those listed in this book! Therefore I can happily conclude that my taste for sites matches that of the authors and researchers. All areas of the UK are covered from the stunningly situated Sango Sands site at Durness on the tip of the Northern Scottish Highlands coastline down to the less commercial sites of the south-western tip of Cornwall and all areas inbetween. The sites are hand-picked for their character, tranquil or scenic settings and the larger commercial and somewhat character-less holiday park-type sites are deliberately excluded.
The sites are well described but the authors'/researcher's opinions are subjective - which is a good thing if you like the same sort of sites as they do (and I definitely do!). A site summary box highlights to special features of each site - the `cool factor', who the site is aimed at (eg families, not large groups..), how to get there, what to see and do nearby. It's not a typical catalogue of camp sites and this also shows in its photography which, like its search for special camp sites, it also seeks out that special shot which captures the atmosphere of the site such as a resident nosy lamb, a colourful menu chalkboard or a tent/van parked to take in a stunning view. Throughout, the book is full of inspiration and any dedicated camper is almost certain to want to head off to the some of the locations shared.
My only very slight niggle is that it would have been helpful to include map and key of site locations inside front or back cover to make book easier to use.
If you're looking for seclusion, relaxation, peace and quiet on your camping holiday then this is just the book for you.