Wild Canvas Camping: The campsite with a splash of festival fun
Wild Canvas is an annual, pop-up camping experience with a laid back festival vibe. Set in the stunning grounds of the Turvey House Estate near Bedford the site offers a huge, natural playground for all ages including access to the magical Great Ouse. We had the pleasure of visiting during the August heatwave. We spent 3 nights camping here (there’s also the option of staying in a Tipi) and literally did not leave the site once. Everything we needed was provided right on our doorstep from Tom Collins cocktails to Posh Wash showers and loos. I’m not exaggerating when I say our stay here was one of the highlights of the year – read on to find what makes Wild Canvas Camping so special….
About Wild Canvas Camping
Having had successful seasons through the mid-Covid campsite boom of summers 2020 and 2021, this is the third year that Wild Canvas has been open. With former festival organisers, Ilke, Serkan and Doug at the helm they inevitably wanted to bring a bit of what they know best with their latest venture. The result is a unique blend of family friendly camping with a packed itinerary of well being classes, kids activities and most significantly a line up of first class DJ’s every weekend.
You can either camp using your own kit or opt to hire one of the site’s pre-pitched Tipis which come complete with camping essentials. The site is spread across three huge meadows, all adjacent to the stunning Great Ouse River meaning there’s plenty of choice of fantastic pitches for all who stay here. We chose a spot in the third meadow with plenty of shade and it’s own access to the river. Absolutely dreamy.
Access to the river, especially during the incredibly warm weather we had during our stay, made our time at Wild Canvas so memorable. With temperatures hitting 30 plus degrees by mid morning our kids were spending hours at a time in the water be it building dams, catching fish, floating on giant unicorns or even jumping in from the splash point. With all the campsite kids congregating in the water it took no time for our minis to make new friends. Proper, wholesome summer fun! The river provides an idyllic spot for water sports too. We came prepared having packed our own stand up paddleboards keen to make the most of the opportunity to explore. Paddling upstream to the local village of Turvey was an lovely way to spend the day together, with the local pub makes the perfect spot for lunch.
At the heart of Wild Canvas is the site’s HQ. Here you enter a haven of chilled, sun-kissed beats with a fully stocked bar and service with a smile. A place to start your evening with a freshly made cocktail while catching up with friendly staff on the day’s events. We stayed mid-week so didn’t get to see the HQ in full swing (next time!) but come the weekend this place is buzzing with sets from various DJ’s bringing the perfect summer soundtrack and nailing that festival vibe.
There’s a daily program of activities for children to join including nature trails, craft sessions, graffiti and super hero dress ups. To be honest our kids were so busy making the most of their freedom and access to the river that they were busy even without these activities – but of course they were keen to get stuck in regardless! Logan loved his craft activity, making origami hearts with the help of one of the Wild Canvas team. Daisy, who is a budding artist in her own right, relished the opportunity to try a range of paints and materials she’d never explored before. Again, the itinerary is even more extensive over the weekends to include yoga, capoeira, SUP lessons and other wellness classes. Please visit their website to check dates if you have a particular interest you’d like to explore during your stay.
Despite being a pop-up venue facilities at Wild Canvas are very good. They have a temporary block of showers with plenty of warm water as well as posh loos and a washing up station. It’s worth noting that while camping in the third field gives you some of the best access to the river, the walk to and from wash facilities is quite a journey. It didn’t worry us but for some folk it may be worth pitching a it closer.
In addition to the HQ bar there’s also on site food available to buy every night should you fancy a break from campfire cooking. Kate’s Kitchen Cafe is based onsite for the month the site is open with daily menus featuring the likes of hog roast, lasagne, jerk chicken and pizzas.
We loved our time at Wild Canvas and definitely hope to return. The location is absolutely beautiful, but beyond that Ilke and Serkan have created a camping experience that offers so much more than you’d expect from a pop up. We had everything we needed without leaving the site – from barista coffee first thing in the morning to ice cream and cocktails last thing at night. The children were busy non-stop being social and playing from dawn to dusk meaning I was able to relish space and time to breathe. The highlight for me was being so close to the river and its wildlife – we saw herons, grass snakes and kingfishers from our front door! You just can’t beat that. I can’t wait to see what the Wild Canvas team have up their sleeve for next season, we’ll be there with bells on … will you?
With thanks to Wild Canvas Camping for inviting us to come and stay in exchange for this review. We genuinely loved our time here, all thoughts and opinions are our own. If you’d like to find out more about Wild Canvas please visit their website.