Share

Outdoor Features

Ten Of The Best UK Campsites 2016

We take a look at ten of the most popular campsites in the UK to see why they're so highly rated by outdoorsy folk.

Summer is nearly upon us which means the UK camping scene is just about coming to the fore. So we’ve decided to select ten of our favourite UK campsites from all across the British Isles including sites in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

All the British campsites selected have commendable reviews from families and walkers, each boasting top notch facilities, a friendly atmosphere and on-the-doorstep access to local hills, woodlands and coasts with a whole host of outdoor activities and walking routes.

For each campsite we’ve given you a few key facts, outlined which outdoor activities are accessible, and had a look at the best walking routes nearby.

It was a tough task ranking these ten so instead we’ve just laid them out for you in alphabetical order. Are any of these UK campsites a particular favourite of yours? Or maybe there are other gems hidden across the UK that we haven’t included? Have your say in the forum below or on our social media pages.

Article navigation

To check out the campsites either scroll down the page or hop straight to them using the links below.

Applecross | Bracelands | Burnbake | Field Head | Glen Nevis | Hillend | Kilbroney | Lee Valley | Low Wray | Masons

Applecross Campsite – Scottish Highlands

A family run campsite in the Scottish Highlands with spectacular views of the Cuillin Mountains on Skye and lots of opportunities to get outdoors for walking or other activities.

Key facts

  • Where: Strathcarron, Wester Ross, Scotland
  • Bonus facilities: bar, restaurant, cafe
  • Pitches available: 60 (tents, camping pods, caravans, motorhomes)
  • Open fires: no
  • BBQs: yes
  • Open from: all year

Outdoor activities

The campsite sits right on edge of Applecross Bay – a goldmine for water sports and other outdoor activities. There is kayaking and mountain biking for the fitter punters, while the local fisherman are happy to take visitors out on the boat if asked nicely. There is also worthwhile fishing along most of the bay if you’d prefer a little tranquility.

Where to walk

Although looking over the water towards the moutains of Skye, which is home to the infamous Cuillin Ridge, most of the Applecross walking routes are on flat ground, but provide breathtaking views along the costaline. The campsite is also reasonably handy for a walk or scramble up Torridon and boasts a pub with fantastic fresh seafood sourced straight from the local quayside. And from Applecross, all the local walks start and end at your tent.

More information

For more details visit www.applecross.uk.com. Image courtesy of applecrosslifeblog.wordpress.com.

Back to top

Bracelands Campsite – Forest of Dean

Bracelands is a spacious campsite sitting on the edge of one of the last surviving English ancient woodlands, the Forest of Dean, with walking and cycling tracks galore.

Key facts

  • Where: Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England
  • Bonus facilities: shop
  • Pitches available: 520 (tents, caravans, motorhomes)
  • Open fires: no
  • BBQs: yes
  • Open from: all year

Outdoor activities

As well as canoeing along the Wye Valley, just a stone’s throw from the campsite, Bracelands is an ideal starting spot for road cyclists and mountain bikers. There are a variety of stoned roads for easier rides, while the slightly harider cyclists have a variety of hill climbs to chose from and even downhill bike routes for the more adventurous.

Where to walk

Not many mountains about, but the Forest of Dean is well-known for some of the best woodland walks in the UK. The two national trails, the Wye Valley Walk and the Offa’s Dyke Path, both offer an abundance of local history and some of the most scenic sections of the Forest of Dean.

More information

For more details visit www.campingintheforest.co.uk.

Back to top

Burnbake Campsite – Dorset

A hidden-away campsite situated on the Jurassic South Coast of Dorset with woodland walks around the nearby nature reserves, just a couple of kilometres from the English Channel.

Key facts

  • Where: Wareham, Dorset, England
  • Bonus facilities: shop, cafe
  • Pitches available: 130 (tents, motorhomes) + additional lodges
  • Open fires: yes
  • BBQs: yes
  • Open from: all year

Outdoor activities

The Isle of Purbeck provides visitors with a whole host of things to do straight from the campsite. The most common days out involve cycling along sections of the 98 miles of designated world heritage Jurassic coastline in Southern Dorset. The routes overlooking the beaches and coves are particularly appealing.

Where to walk

Again, not too many 3000fters around but there’s certainly no shortage of interesting woodland or coastal walking routes. The historic peninsula offers visitors a variety of ridges, coves and valleys to explore while the classic south coastal villages are a welcome stop off point for a well deserved pint.

More information

For more details visit www.burnbake.com.

Back to top

Fieldhead Campsite – Peak District

A campsite popular among walkers setting out on the Pennine Way, Britain’s first national trail, Fieldhead sits in the picturesque Peak District village of Edale.

Key facts

  • Where: Edale, Peak District, England
  • Bonus facilities: dogs are welcome
  • Pitches available: 50 (tents)
  • Open fires: no
  • BBQs: yes
  • Open from: all year

Outdoor activities

The Derbyshire countryside is an idyllic place to get outdoors whether you’re keen on mountain biking or climbing. Stanage and Burbage are particularly popular with trad climbers, or if you’d like to try something a little out the ordinary then there’s always horse riding at Ladybooth Equestrian Centre.

Where to walk

Edale recently celebrated its 50th year as the starting point of the Pennine Way last year. This trademark Peak District village is also just a stone’s throw from Kinder Scout, arguably the national park’s most interesting walking spot.

More information

For more details visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk. Images courtesy of www.coolcamping.co.uk.

Back to top

Glen Nevis Campsite – Scottish Highlands

From a campsite’s perspective, views don’t get much better. Every morning at Glen Nevis Campsite you’re welcomed with an exclusive view of the UK’s highest mountain – Ben Nevis.

Key facts

  • Where: Glen Nevis, For William, Scotland
  • Bonus facilities: bar, restaurant, cafe
  • Pitches available: 400 (tents, caravans, motorhomes)
  • Open fires: yes
  • BBQs: yes
  • Open from: March – November

Outdoor activities

The self-appointed outdoor capital of the UK, Fort William is jam-packed full of outdoor activity opportunities including the 25 miles of forest cycling tracks, skiing and snowboarding the Nevis Range in late autumn, kayaking, canoeing and even salmon fishing. You would do more outdoor activities here in a week than you would in a whole year anywhere else.

Where to walk

The slightly more obvious outdoor activity you would associate with The Ben is walking and hiking. There are a number of brilliant walking routes accessible straight from the campsite, and there are none as epic as the Carn mor Dearg (CMD) arete – a circular route starting at Achintree.

More information

For more details visit www.glen-nevis.co.uk. Image courtesy of Johnny Durnan.

Back to top

Hillend campsite – Wales

Situated in Britain’s first designated area of outstanding natural beauty, Hillend is considered one of the most stunning coastal campsites in Europe, just 200m from the beach lying on a sand duney mattress.

Key facts

  • Where: Gower Peninsula, Llangennith, Wales
  • Bonus facilities: restaurant, cafe
  • Pitches available: 300 (tents motorhomes)
  • Open fires: yes
  • BBQs: yes
  • Open from: April – October

Outdoor activities

The Gower Peninsula just down the coast from Swansea has a network of cycle routes through the wooded valleys and local farmland, and 70 square miles of cliffs, marshes and dunes to visit on foot. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, and have a 5-inch thick wet suit, then we’d also suggest giving surfing a go as this is the best spot in Wales to do so.

Where to walk

Each walk starting from the campsite is steeped in man-made history as well as delivering incredible natural beauty. Three Cliffs Bay’s Ben’s Rock, the shipwrecked anchor at Rhossili and the Oystermouth Castle 13th century ruin are just a few sights on a number of interesting coastal routes. And you might just see a few unique bird species along the way, for information on that visit glamorganbirds.org.uk.

More information

For more details visit www.hillendcamping.com. Main image courtesy of www.glamorganwalks.com.

Back to top

Kilbroney Caravan Park – Northern Ireland

Situated in the Kilbroney Country Park, the namesake campsite is within an area of outstanding natural beauty at the base of the southern Mourne Mountains range.

Key facts

  • Where: Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor, N Ireland
  • Bonus facilities: kids playground
  • Pitches available: 52 (tents, caravans, motorhomes)
  • Open fires: no
  • BBQs: yes
  • Open from: March to November

Outdoor activities

Kilbroney sits on the edge of the glacial fjord, Carlingford Lough, which is an ideal place for coastal bike riding, and the Restrevor Forest – a labyrinth of mountain bike trails. If you’d like to take yourself back a few years into the pre-motor industry days then there’s also trap riding, which is considered to be one of the better ways to skirt the coastline.

Where to walk

Just a few kilometres from the peak of Slieve Martin, Kilbroney is the ideal place to start a Northern Irish mountain day out. At just 485m in height, it’s suitable for all ages of walker and it’s an interesting hike over vaired terrain with forest, moorland and rocky hill paths. Also, 30km north is Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland’s highest peak.

More information

For more details visit www.gocampingni.com. Image courtesy of www.pitchup.com.

Back to top

Lee Valley Campsite – London

An hour’s commute from central London, Lee Valley is a very unique UK campsite that’s city-hugging location is as much a bonus as the classic English landscape that surrounds it.

Key facts

  • Where: Chingford, London, England
  • Facilities: shop, kids playground
  • Pitches available: 200 (tents, caravans, motorhomes, glamping)
  • Open fires: yes
  • BBQs: yes
  • Open from: March to January

Outdoor activities

Lee Valley Campsite sits in an area full of outdoor activity opportunity around the River Lee Country Park, including canoe hire at Broxbourne Old MIll and Meadows, which allows you a day’s paddle along the Lee river. Otherwise, you can rent bikes to ride on the local tracks or if your four legged friend needs something to do then try out the 500m dog agility course. Lee Valley is also home to the London Olympics’ white water canoeing course.

Where to walk

There are 26 miles of riverside trails that take you through nature reserves and peaceful urban spaces within the Lee Valley Regional Park. You can take a long circular route encompassing the park’s key areas of interest, or visit the Seventy Acres Lake and the often underrated Hackney Marshes. We’d say this sort of camping trip would be an ideal one or two day mine adventure.

More information

For more details visit www.visitleevalley.org.uk. Image courtesy of www.inyourpocket.com.

Back to top

Low Wray Campsite – Lake District

On the shores of Windermere, England’s largest natural lake, Low Wray is set up perfectly for all walkers and general outdoors people to have an action filled camping trip.

Key facts

  • Where: Ambleside, Lake District, England
  • Facilities: kids playground, shop, watersports on site, boat launchings
  • Pitches available: 100 (tents, motorhomes, glamping)
  • Open fires: no
  • BBQs: yes
  • Open from: April to November

Outdoor activities

Biking, kayaking and guided wild swimming sessions are Low Wray’s most attractive activities. What better way to float across the waters of Windermere or skirt around the edge than using kayaks and bikes for a minimal half or full day hire fee. It’s either that or you could be extremely adventurous with a guided 1.5 – 2km swim along Low Wray’s shoreline – a newish wet suit is advisable.

Where to walk

This region of the Lakes has a variety of  lowland or mountain walks, and all just a few kilometres from Low Wray campsite. The most obvious peak accessible from the shores of Windermere is the great, long, grassy ridge of High Street.

More information

For more details visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk.

Back to top

Masons Campsite – Yorkshire Dales

A campsite in the heart of an area of outstanding natural beauty, Masons is a well run, up-to-date site with easy access to the local hills, forests and lakes.

Key facts

  • Where: Appletreewick, Yorkshire Dales, England
  • Facilities: shop, internet access
  • Pitches available: TBC (tents, caravans, motorhomes, statics for hire, glamping)
  • Open fires: yes
  • BBQs: yes
  • Open from: April to October

Outdoor activities

Only a 25-minute car ride away is the East Barnby Outdoor Education Centre, also know as North Yorkshire Outdoor Learning Service, which provides all ages to outdoor skills, from rock climbing to kayaking. If you’re visiting the centre, particularly with the family, there are single-day courses available at reasonable prices. Visit www.outdoored.co.uk for more information.

Where to walk

Just a short walking distance away from the campsite is the Dalesway footpath, an 80-mile stretch starting from West Yorkshire to the Lake District. Of course it’s unlikely you’ll get in the full hike, but any of the nearby villages including Bolton Abbey, Burnsall, Linton and Grassington all have access to this route – a quintessential British walk.

More information

For more details visit www.masonscampsite.co.uk. Images courtesy of Barney Moss.

Back to top

Share

Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.

production