Banking on camping: Social distancing? Tick. Glorious beaches? No problem. Availability? You’ve got it. A British seaside holiday under canvas could be your best bet this summer
- Pylewell Park campsite in Hampshire is dog-free and has views over the Solent towards the Isle of Wight
- The dunes surrounding Northumberland’s Beadnell Bay camping and caravanning site are a haven for birdlife
- Clifftop Camping is an off-grid farm-site on Kent’s Isle of Sheppey, with views across the Thames Estuary
Wide open spaces, spectacular natural scenery and a chance to take a much-needed, proper break.
A camping holiday is just the ticket, and mixed messages from the Government aside, we’re all hoping that we can get out and about this summer in Britain. Certainly, the confidence is there, with a boom in bookings.
Coolcamping.com recorded ten times more bookings on January 31 compared to 2020, while the Camping and Caravanning Club says the number of pitches booked this year is 44 per cent ahead of expectations.
Campsites have seen a boom in bookings for this summer. The Camping and Caravanning Club says the number of pitches booked this year is 44 per cent ahead of expectations
Pitchup.com has recorded a 142 per cent rise in Easter Weekend bookings compared to last year. But, crucially, the website still has 660 sites with availability for Easter from just £21 per weekend stay — ten times less than the rates (£205) for a nearby rental cottage.
Most campsites have shower blocks, bathrooms, hot running water — if that’s your bag. If not, there are plenty of options for going completely wild.
This is the second coronavirus affected season for many, so measures will be in place to make holidays feel secure.
Here’s our guide to the best coastal campsites for summer 2021…
The dog-free Pylewell Park campsite in Hampshire is just a short hop from Lymington, pictured, in the New Forest
A short hop from the port of Lymington in the New Forest, dog-free Pylewell Park campsite in Hampshire has views over the Solent to the Isle of Wight.
There are nightly campfires, a pizza oven and burger grill, spacious pitches and the beach isn’t far.
Nearby Bournemouth offers a good day out and it’s easy to go sailing on the Solent from Beaulieu.
DON’T MISS: A day of horse riding from one of the stables near Brockenhurst (brockenhurstridingstables.co.uk).
DETAILS: A pitch for two nights in June from £102.50 (max six) at emberscamping.co.uk.
Take to the Thames
Clifftop Camping is an off-grid farm-site on Kent’s Isle of Sheppey, with views of the Thames Estuary and is just a ten-minute drive from beaches, including Sheerness.
This is a no-frills affair without an electric hook-up and has spectacular sea views, all within an hour’s drive of London.
DON’T MISS: Seeing the farm’s animals while picking up free range eggs for breakfast.
DETAILS: Pitches from £30 per night at pitchup.com.
Inside one of the tents at Farrs Meadow, a campsite perched on a hill and surrounded by woods in Dorset
The showers at Farrs Meadow are inside upcycled horse boxes
Perched on a hill and surrounded by woods, Farrs Meadow has views of Dorset’s Stour Valley. The River Stour — perfect for swimming or fishing — is a short walk away and so is the Vine Inn in the hamlet of Pamphill.
The campsite has eco loos and hot showers in upcycled horse boxes. The sheltered bays around Poole are a 15-minute drive away.
DON’T MISS: Kingston Lacy country house with its Japanese garden is a short drive away (nationaltrust.org.uk/Kingston-lacy).
DETAILS: Pitches from £30 per night at farrsmeadow.co.uk.
Sea views, sand and shingle beaches, a tree-lined campsite and rolling countryside — Slapton Sands Club campsite in south Devon has all the ingredients for a brilliant family holiday.
There is a children’s play area plus a place for walking dogs. Nearby sheltered Slapton Sands beach is great for children and watersports are also on offer.
DON’T MISS: The freshwater lagoon Slapton Ley, which has plenty of walking trails, bird and wildlife.
DETAILS: Pitches from £18.60 per night at campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk.
The round table
The quirky Tintagel Duck Farm campsite on the north Cornwall coast is just a 20-minute drive from pretty Port Isaac, pictured
CAMPSITES: THE SAFETY PITCHES
Booking websites such as Pitchup and CoolCamping let customers know what measures are in place for each campsite on their listings.
These include: contactless check-in, distance markers in shared facilities, extra spacing in seating areas, daily deep cleaning of shared areas, providing masks and gloves, one-way systems, capacity reductions and any booking times for showers.
The Camping and Caravanning Club lists measures (at least six metres between pitches, face masks indoors, contactless check-in and using the NHS track and trace app) at campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/measures.
Embers Camping, which operates sites across the south of England sets out its measures at emberscamping.co.uk/covid-19-faqs.
Many campsites are signed up to VisitBritain’s ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry standard mark, so sites can demonstrate they are complying with safety standards.
Head to Cornwall for a stay at quirky Tintagel Duck Farm on the north Cornwall coast just five minutes’ drive from Tintagel itself and 20 minutes from Port Isaac.
This is a working duck farm and the setup is simple — it’s a place to pitch the tent, switch off your phone and admire the sea views.
DON’T MISS: Tintagel Castle, reputed home of legendary King Arthur (englishheritage.org.uk).
DETAILS: Pitches from £20 per night at pitchup.com.
Explore the historic — and tiny — city of St Davids from this campsite on the tip of the Pembrokeshire Peninsula in west Wales. The views are spectacular and walkers will love the coastal paths.
Coastal Stay overlooks a valley which leads to Abereiddy beach and the fishing village of Porthgain. Each pitch has a fire pit and there are picnic areas.
DON’T MISS: A boat trip to Ramsey or Skomer Island from £27 at ramseyisland.co.uk.
DETAILS: Pitches from £24 per night (based on two) at coastalstay.co.uk.
On Chesil Beach
Sweet Hill Farm, on the southern tip of Dorset’s Isle of Portland, is just ten minutes away from Chesil Beach — the location for Ian McEwan’s eponymous novel — and has views of the Jurassic Coast, including three lighthouses.
There’s no electricity (but surely that’s the joy of camping) as the emphasis is on a wild experience, albeit one with working loos and running water.
DON’T MISS: Visiting the on-site equestrian centre to explore the coast on horseback (chesilequestrian.co.uk).
DETAILS: Pitches from £20 per night at pitchup.com.
On the rugged west-Scottish coast, Glencoe Club campsite is surrounded by eight Munros, while the West Highland Way and shores of Loch Linnhe are near.
There are 100 pitches to choose from and plenty of activities including golf, museum visits, Segway tours and boat trips.
DON’T MISS: A ride on the Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mallaig (westcoastrailways.co.uk).
DETAILS: Pitches from £14 per night at campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk.
The Aberafon campsite, pictured, is in between a beach and the mountains of the Llyn Peninsula – 10 miles from Caernarfon. It has just 16 pitches
THE DOS AND DON’TS OF CAMPING
Do be friendly to your fellow campers — from a social distance, of course.
Do queue for the loo in an orderly fashion.
Do make sure you pack several facemasks and a lot of hand sanitiser.
Don’t cross someone else’s pitch to take a short-cut — it’s the ultimate faux pas, especially in these times.
Don’t hog the shower.
Don’t get distracted by your iPad or mobile phone — you have had a year indoors to do that.
In between a beach and the mountains of the Llyn Peninsula, ten miles south of the North Wales town of Caernarfon, is Aberafon.
The site has just 16 pitches next to a private beach from which boats can be launched.
DON’T MISS: Mount Snowdon and its National Park are a 40-minute drive away.
DETAILS: Pitches from £18 per night (based on two adults) at coolcamping.com.
Wild Duck, near Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, has pitches for tents, but this is a holiday park with excellent facilities.
There are heated indoor and outdoor pools, crazy golf, two restaurants and an on-site shop.
For those who want the camping experience while also being able to take it easy — this is the place.
DON’T MISS: The beach at Gorleston and the Norfolk Broads, both of which are just a few miles away.
DETAILS: Pitches from £18 per night at haven.com.
Walk the Solent
Milford-on-Sea is a large Hampshire village, its charming shore is lined with colourful beach huts and there are lovely walks on nearby Solent Way.
On the outskirts is Lytton Lawn Touring Park, which has fine views of the Isle of Wight’s dramatic coastline and is within reach of the New Forest.
DON’T MISS: Hurst Castle, built by Henry VIII in the 16th century (hurstcastle.co.uk).
DETAILS: Pitches from £50 per night at shorefield.co.uk.
Skye’s the limit
This small family-run site is on the shores of Loch Dunvegan and overlooked by MacLeod’s Tables (two flat-topped hills) on the Isle of Skye.
Kinloch Campsite is a five- minute walk from the village of Dunvegan on the island’s northwest coast, which has a range of pubs, shops and cafes.
DON’T MISS: Dunvegan Castle, built in the 13th century and seat of Clan MacLeod. (dunvegancastle.com).
DETAILS: Pitches from £24 per night (based on two) at kinloch-campsite.co.uk.
The Beadnall Bay camping and caravanning site in Northumberland is near sand dunes that are a haven for birds. Pictured is Beadnall Bay
The sand dunes surrounding Northumberland’s Beadnell Bay camping and caravanning site are a haven for birdlife all year round.
Walkers can also enjoy exploring the surrounding Cheviot Hills, while cyclists should note that the Coast and Castle and National Cycle Routes pass by the site.
DON’T MISS: A boat trip to the Farne Islands from Seahouses harbour (farne-islands.com).
DETAILS: Pitches from £14.20 per night (based on two) at campsites.co.uk.
The sea, a river and the countryside all meet at Wild Riverside near Ramsholt on the Suffolk Coast. This is also a working farm and visitors can enjoy buying local produce from the campsite shop.
The River Deben is a short walk away and great for launching kayaks and boats to venture upstream to Woodbridge.
DON’T MISS: Orford, Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings, with their cafes and independent shops, are within half-an-hour’s drive.
DETAILS: Pitches from £35 per night (based on two) at coolcamping.com.
Top of the Wold
The Flamborough headland, pictured, is near the Wold Farm campsite in East Yorkshire – not far from Bridlington
Ramblers will love taking in the clifftop pathways along the Flamborough headland and the Cleveland Heritage Coast —both are near Wold Farm in East Yorkshire not far from Bridlington.
Nearby Flamborough village has plenty of good pubs, fish and chip and coffee shops. The site itself has spacious pitches on its headland location.
DON’T MISS: Puffins at the nearby RSPB Bempton Cliffs bird sanctuary. (rspb.org.uk)
DETAILS: Pitches from £16 per night at woldfarmcampsite.com.
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