Want to spend some time getting back to nature at one of the best UK campsites? Then get your sleeping bag out of storage and dust off that two-man pop-up you’ve had since your first music festival. Not only is camping eco-friendly, it’s also affordable and you get to live and sleep in some of the wildest locations around the country.
Whether you’re an outdoor-living enthusiast with all the gear, or a fair-weather glamper with no idea, we’ve scoured the UK to find the most beautiful and unusual sites to guarantee everyone’s a happy camper. Read on for 13 of the best UK campsites.
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Best UK campsites
Hire a North American tipi or bring your own pop-up with poles for a spot of wild camping in a hidden woodland valley in Cornwall. Whichever you choose, there’s the option for private spots or pitching in open meadows, so you can be as sociable or secluded as your heart desires. There’s a beautiful lake for fishing, swimming or canoeing, or just relaxing by the water’s edge watching the swallows and dragonflies drift by. At the end of the day, sit out by the fire pit, toast marshmallows and gaze up at the stars. This is camping.
Wild camping from £18 per adult per night, and tipis from £160 for 2 nights. Cornish Tipi Holidays, Bodmin, Cornwall, England, PL30 3LW.
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This small, coastal, family-run campsite looks out over the isles of Eigg, Rum and Skye in Scotland. Amenities are basic, but the views are anything but. Just a tent peg’s throw from some of the best beaches in the UK, this working croft is an idyllic place to set up camp if you’re after peace and quiet and, on clear evenings, picture-perfect sunsets. At night, the lack of light pollution means stargazers will have plenty to admire.
Pitch prices from £8 for a tent with no vehicle. Invercaimbe Campsite, Invercaimbe, Inverness-shire, Scotland, PH39 4NT.
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If you think camping isn’t for you, then you probably haven’t tried sleeping in a hand crafted Mongolian yurt in the South Downs. This glamping option is the perfect choice for those who shudder at the thought of damp roll mats and no-frills, flimsy tents. Instead, swap the sleeping bags for hand-carved wooden beds with proper mattresses and Egyptian cotton bedding, and add a wood-burning stove to keep you cosy, no matter the weather. There are flushing toilets and hot showers too. In short, everything you need to get back to nature without sacrificing your home comforts.
Prices from £110 (low season). Plush Tents Glamping, Chichester, West Sussex, England, PO18 9AW.
For the ultimate escape, head for the woods. Kilvrecht is a haven in the heart of Scotland, where you’ll unzip your tent to the sound of birdsong and fall asleep to the wind whooshing through the trees. There’s no hot water or electrical hookups, so it’s the perfect opportunity for a digital detox. Breathe in that fresh forest air, let go of your phone and get back-to-basics. Swap scrolling for strolling and mooch down to the forest-fringed Loch Rannoch for a spot of fishing, where you’ll be able to spot the peak of Schiehallion in the distance. Just be sure to pack bug spray for the summer months. You’ll thank us later.
£10 per pitch with a vehicle, £5 without. Kilvrecht Campsite, Perthshire, Scotland. PH17 2QJ is the nearest postcode.
For something a little different, why not try camping next to a vineyard in Devon? Either bring your own tent or rent one of the glamping options: unfurnished bell tents or a furnished safari tent. With a vineyard right on your doorstep, it’s only right to try a little wine tasting, safe in the knowledge you can just amble (or stagger) back to your tent afterwards. The campsite reception also happens to be the Devon Wine Shack (handy), where you’ll find all the essentials: camping gear, local crafts, and, of course, a range of wines. Cheers to that.
Camping £8 a night. Glamping from £30 a night. Ten Acres, Winkleigh, Devon, England, EX19 8EY.
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This small-but-perfectly-formed camping ground in the heart of Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park only has two pitches for tents. Spot red squirrels, watch the resident ducks roaming about or simply explore Abernathy by taking the walking trails through the Scots Pine forest. With a green ethos, being kind to your surroundings is key at the Lazy Duck, but that doesn’t mean you have to scrimp on the luxury. Treat yourself and reserve a spot in the wood-fired hot tub or infrared sauna, or book a massage or yoga class at the new wellbeing studio, which launches in summer 2019.
£15 for a tent with one person. £5 per extra person. The Lazy Duck, Inverness-shire, Scotland, PH25 3ED.
Based along the Causeway Coastal route in Northern Ireland, this activity centre offers normal camping and glamping in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Feeling fancy? Glampers can choose between triangular-shaped, eco-friendly glamping pods or fully-furnished luxury bell tents. Activity-wise, there’s just about everything you could think of, and then some. Giant stand-up paddleboarding, anyone? (That’s a whole group of you on one board, FYI).
Camping from £8 per person, pods from £50 per pod and bell tents from £80 per night. Carrowmena Activity Centre, Limavady, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, BT49 9EB.
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White sand, crystal clear water… you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the Carribean, but no, this really is Scotland. Nestled on the Isle of Mull (you’ll need to get the ferry over), this remote campsite backs right onto the beach, so expect to be lulled to sleep by the sound of waves. Spend your days exploring the rugged coastline and spotting wildlife like dolphins and eagles, and bring your bikes and kayaks to get off-road and discover the remote corners of this already far-flung island.
Fidden Farm, Fionnphort, Isle of Mull, Scotland, PA66 6BN. Call to book and for up-to-date rates, 01681 700427.
Camp on the shores of the Lake District’s most famous lake: Windermere. Be sure to make the most of your waterside location with activities like paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking or rowing. This National Trust campsite includes traditional pitches with lake or meadow views, and glamping safari tents. If you want to camp in the trees rather than below them, you can also try your hand at back-to-basics hammock camping (Bear Grylls would be proud), or a stay in one of the two cosy tree tents, essentially large canvas balls dangling from the branches.
Prices from £24. Low Wray Campsite, Ambleside, Cumbria, England, LA22 0JA.
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Leave modern life behind you and step back in time at Castle Knights, where you can camp in the grounds of an actual castle. There’s a field for regular camping and a selection of glamping pods in all shapes and sizes – from barrels and yurts to tiny forts. Don’t worry, you won’t be expected to leave all your modern-day amenities behind either, there’s a communal kitchen barn, two hot power showers and modern toilets in a medieval-style block.
Pitch your tent from £10 a night per adult. Castle Knights, Usk Castle, Usk, Wales, NP15 1SD.
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This small campsite overlooks the sea and the picturesque Robin Hood Bay on the North Yorkshire coast. Set on a working farm with panoramic sea views, everything feels remote, but you’re actually just a short walk from the closest pubs and shops. Day trip on the cards? Those venturing further afield can head north to nearby Whitby, west to the North York Moors or south for a day trip to Scarborough.
From £8 per adult. Hooks House Farm, Robin Hoods Bay, Whitby, North Yorkshire, England, YO22 4PE.
There’s no better way to explore the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland than on two wheels. If you’re here for a biking adventure, hire your ride from the National Mountain Bike Centre in Kilbroney Forest Park. The same company own East Coast Adventure, where you can lock up your bikes securely after a day adventuring, and then retire to your glamping pod. Each cosy, waterproof pod can sleep four people, so whatever the weather, you won’t have to come back to a soggy tent at the end of the day. Bliss.
From £60 a pod. East Coast Adventure, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland, BT34 3DP.
At Top of the Woods in Pembrokeshire in Wales, everything is about getting back to nature. And they have plenty of ways to do it, too. The only decision you’ll have to make is which eco-friendly accommodation to pick. Will you choose a boutique safari lodge or a brand new nature dome (which looks a bit like a giant golf ball with windows)? Or a ‘pioneer camp’ with a large, tent-meets-marquee lodge and a separate kitchen under canvas? Of course, there’s always the classic: BYO tent and pitch up in the wildflower camping meadow.
Camping from £13 per adult per night. Top of the Woods, Boncath, Pembrokeshire, Wales, SA37 0EP.
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