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Eastnor Castle, Ledbury, Herefordshire
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Eastnor Castle, Ledbury, HerefordshireThe sign of a really good campsite is when you can crawl from your tent in the morning and find yourself gazing into the eyes of a young stag — not the bleary-eyed groom-to-be variety, but a real red deer. Camp at the top of Eastnor Castle's 23-acre camping field - right next to their deer park -and there's every chance it could happen to you.

If you time your arrival right, there are some pretty fantastic places to pitch down at the foot of the field, too, by the lakes (due to the need to rotate pitches this bit isn't always open, so ring first). On the slopes opposite, in a whirl of trees and hills, sits Eastnor Castle, a fairy-tale confection built in the early 19th century. Little wonder the park is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The site is closed for five weeks each summer to host The Big Chill festival, but that should still allow plenty of good sunshine time for a thorough wander around the estate.The absolutely unmissable experience here, though, is climbing the hill through the deer park to the obelisk at the summit. It offers an even better view of the Malvern Hills than that afforded at the campsite - so take a camera along.

Eastnor Castle, Ledbury, Herefordshire


COOL FACTOR Red deer for neighbours, and castle views.

WHO'S IN? Tents, campervans, caravans, dogs (on leads), big groups, young groups (with an organisation) - yes.

ON SITE Little in terms of facilities on the 23-acre site - just some standpipes and a CDP. Licence to fish in the lakes £5 a day. The castle has its own gift shop and cafe. Those without their own loo are not allowed to stay here. No campfires.

OFF SITE The castle holds events such as open-air theatre, and is very child friendly. Campers can get a family ticket (2 adults, 3 children) for half price (£11.63).

FOOD AND DRINK Ledbury is home to swish new cafe-deli Cameron and Swan (01531 636791), but its pubs are trumped by the Oak Inn (01531 640954) at Staplow.

GETTING THERE Leave the M50 at junction 2 and take the A417 into Ledbury before following the Eastnor Castle signs on to the A449 (signposted Worcester and Malvern). After 1 mile turn right again on to the A438.The entrance to the castle is on the right after 1 mile.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT Train to Ledbury then a taxi ride or walk (it's only 2 miles).

OPEN Variable - call or check website.

THE DAMAGE Caravan, campervan, trailer, or family tent £6.50 per night (concessions available); small tent £3.




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