It’s official: 2020 is officially the year of staycations. For some of us the idea of potential quarantines and travel corridors is a little overwhelming – so we’re lucky to have the Great British outdoors on our doorstep. These days camping isn’t just about pitching a tent, either. There’s a camping holiday for every taste, budget and style. Whether you want to relax in the lap of luxury, keep the kids entertained with on-site amenities or go off-grid, you’ll find somewhere in this list of best places to go camping in the UK.
Note: things change pretty quickly. Local lockdowns are being imposed in areas where infection rates are rising. Always check local guidelines before planning your trip, and again before you hit the road.
Best places to camp beside the beach in the UK
Get your beach fix this year with these coastal campsites. They’re no Costa del Sol, but if you want to feel sand between your toes and paddle in the surf they’re a good substitute. Plus, you get to wake up every morning and smell the sea air. What could be better?
Haven Perran Sands Holiday Park, Cornwall
Perched on the sand dunes above the bay, which is great for surfing, this sprawling family-friendly holiday park has incredible beach views.
Aberafon Camping and Caravan Site, Gwynned
Squeezed between the beach and the Llyn Peninsula, Aberafon Campsite is a small and family-friendly site. You can even light a campfire on the beach… dreamy.
Sandwood Bay, Sutherland
One of Scotland’s most remote and beautiful beaches is an ideal spot for wild camping, as long as you don’t mind some sand in your sleeping bag.
Want more British beaches? Check out these 10 beaches in Wales that will make you think you’re in the Caribbean.
Best spots for wild camping in the UK
If you want to camp for free in the UK, your best bet is to grab your tent and head into the wilderness. Unfortunately, wild camping is only legal in Scotland and Dartmoor National Park. If you want to wild camp anywhere else, you’ll need the landowner’s permission.
Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin, Scotland
Pitch your tent beside this freshwater loch and enjoy the views of soaring mountains and deep pine forests, then spend your days swimming out to the small islands.
Yes Tor, Dartmoor National Park
After summiting the second-highest peak in the park, pitch your tent and enjoy your hard work with views over the surrounding countryside.
Glen Feshie, Cairngorms
For forest camping in the UK, it’s hard to beat Glen Feshie, a rewilded deer estate in the Cairngorms National Park surrounded by the soaring peaks of Sgor Gaoith and Mullach Clach a’Bhlair.
Best places for glamping in the UK
If roughing it isn’t your style, glamping is the perfect way to get back to nature. You don’t need to pitch a tent – your boutique accommodation will already be set up for you, plus you’ll have access to top-notch amenities.
Brownscombe Luxury Glamping, Devon
Spend the night in a family-sized safari tent, soak in your private hot tub and take part in the daily yoga sessions at this bougie glampsite.
Roulotte Retreats, Scottish Borders
These bonafide gypsy-style caravans, from France and Holland, are set in a wildflower meadow under the Eildon Hills and are perfect for indulging your bohemian fantasies.
Humble Bee Farm, North Yorkshire
When you’re not lounging in the hot tub or exploring nature trails, you can feed the hens and collect an egg for breakfast back at your yurt or wigwam.
Best places for family camping in the UK
Camping with kids is a great way to introduce little ones to the great outdoors. There are lots of excellent camping spots in Britain with child-friendly amenities like play parks and petting zoos, as well as practical features like on-site launderettes.
Petruth Paddocks, Somerset
You can even bring your dog along to this laid-back, family-friendly campsite, which has glamping, caravanning and tent-pitching options.
Red Shoot Camping Park, New Forest
This award-winning, family-run campsite has loads of great amenities – including a playground for little ones and hairdryers in the family shower block.
Treloan Coastal Holidays (Arthur’s Field), Cornwall
One of Britain’s most popular family campsites, there’s lots for kids to do – from art workshops to helping to feed the farm’s sheep, chickens and guinea pigs.
UK camping FAQs
Wild camping is legal in Scotland, thanks to its liberal right-to-roam rules. You can camp on most unenclosed land, which means most of the country’s incredible national parks. In England and Wales you need the landowner’s permission. There are some exceptions, for example Dartmoor National Park. Always look up local rules and regulations before planning your trip.
You can camp for free in places where wild camping is legal. This means you can camp for free in Scotland (just avoid golf courses, farmland, people’s gardens and schools) and Dartmoor National Park. It’s best to ask permission from landowners if you want to camp for free in England or Wales: many are open to it, especially in the Lake District and Snowdonia. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Campsites and caravan sites with shared facilities reopened across the UK at the end of July 2020. Every campsite has its own seasonal opening hours. Most are open from March until October, although some operate year-round.
Like hotels, most campsites are privately run so the price can vary. Some places charge as little as £4 per night for a pitch while others charge £40 and over. You also have the cost of camping equipment to think about, if you don’t own any already.
There are seemingly endless great camping spots around the UK. You can discover the mountains of Scotland, the beaches of Cornwall and the rolling Welsh valleys before gathering around the campfire and gazing at the stars. You don’t even need to own a tent if you decide to go glamping. With some truly incredible campsites all over the country, there’s no better time to pack your sense of adventure and get out into the wilderness.
Discover where else you can go
Fancy taking your tent overseas? Find out whose borders are open with our interactive global map, and sign up to receive email updates when your top destinations reopen.
Want to read more?
- Coronavirus travel advice: updated daily with all the latest advice on government travel bans, airline cancellations and frequently asked questions
- How to best explore the national parks in Wales: our top tips for discovering the Welsh mountains, lakes and coast
- The most remote places in the UK and the rest of the world: social distancing and outdoor adventures are easy in these peaceful places