St. James’ Park

An Alternative Campsite and Hostel in Bulgaria


St. James’ Park is a beautiful little corner of Bulgaria, where we have the pleasure of enjoying a simple life.

St James' Park photo montage

Have you ever been on a bus or a train in a strange country, probably going from one interesting city to another and watched the villages go by?

Have you ever wondered what goes on in those little villages? Who lives there? How do they live? What happens on a daily basis?

Maybe you’ve just thought about getting off the beaten track and seeing the inside of a country.

Are you conscious about your environmental impact or the ethics of traveling, tourism and foreign investment?

This summer (2015) is 10 years since my mother Kathy and I first came to Bulgaria in search of the beginning of a new life and somewhere to start a Secret Campsite. We fell in love with this house immediately and so began the story of St. James’ Park, Voditsa. Named after the home of Newcastle United, the football team of our hometown in the UK.

Since then Kathy has turned our field into a beautiful garden and the house into a home. Now after 8 years of enjoying the village life, with many guests, volunteers and friends coming to visit and wondering about the above questions she is enjoying an adventure of her own, in Asia. She is probably asking herself similar questions about little villages there.

Four years ago I left the recession hit world of the UK and my job as a Civil Engineer to finally come to live in my house in Voditsa and have a change of lifestyle – and it has certainly been that! I am now living here with my partner Dancho, who is from Voditsa and his family still live down the road. We have since bought another house across the road from St James’ Park, for volunteers with 1800 square meters field for the veggies. We also have chickens, pigs, bees as well as cats and a dog to look after.


We have taken over many of Kathy’s roles; having guests visit, taking on volunteers, keeping the Secret Campsite  secret and helping people move to Voditsa – to keep the village alive. Although we are not yet gardeners of Kathy’s standard we’ll get there, one day. I enjoy building anything from mud and Dancho is very handy and likes to work with wood and machinery. He’s working towards building more beehives and becoming a bee-keeper.

Life here is fun, challenging and endlessly interesting. The weather covers a range from -25°C to +45°C, but that just encourages us to live seasonally. We try to keep this site updated as much as we can and are currently working to update all the pages. If we get a bit behind it’s because the field is calling or the animals need feeding! We hope reading about life here interests you. We really enjoy having visitors and meeting new people. We look forward to meeting you; as a volunteer, a camper, a guest or a passer-by.

Elly and Dancho

Site by b4k4