‘This campsite feels like paradise’: readers’ favourite places to pitch in the UK

In the shadow of Scafell Pike, Lake District

At the foot of Scafell Pike, England’s highest peak, and at the northern end of one of the Lake District’s most dramatic valleys is the National Trust campsite at Wasdale Head (basic grass pitch from £38 for two nights). As well as standard pitches there are heated camping pods, three tipis, a bell tent and campervan pitches. Great Gable and Pillar, two other famous fells, are a walk away. The location, at the foot of the mountains, with Lingmell Beck flowing past, is brilliant and there are enough facilities to make life easy but not detract from the camping feel. We haven’t climbed Scafell Pike yet, but even without doing that there was still enough for a good active trip.

Sunrise and sunset from one pitch, Llŷn peninsula

Porth Iago beach. Photograph: Philip Smith/Alamy

Porth Iago Camping is unusual in having a beautiful sunrise and a spectacular sunset. Pitch your tent on the cliffside for stunning views of the secluded beach. When the sun is shining in north Wales there’s no need to go abroad – we’d been in Portugal a few months before and the beach of Porth Iago was as good as the hidden spots we found along the Algarve. The place is dog-friendly, there are modern coin-operated showers, and a food truck visits selling breakfast butties and evening pizzas. No website or booking needed: just rock up and pay at the meter as you enter.
Lorna Rose Gill

Down County Down way

Strangford Lough. Photograph: Hill Photographic/Alamy

At Delamont Country Park campsite (pitch from £10.95) on Strangford Lough I’ve saluted the sun coming up over the lough from the big hill a short walk away; quietly watched the lambs and birds from hides among the trees; had a hoot with my small children in the big playpark, pasting Galium aparine (sticky grass also called cleavers) to each other’s backs on the short walk to the site; and visited a serene area of the woods where the park owners let me and friends plant memorial oak saplings after the death of my mum. In the tent I listen intently to the amazing surround-sound dawn chorus in early summer.

A whale of a time in Wester Ross, Highlands

Sands Caravan and Camping, near Gairloch

Three miles from Gairloch, Sands Caravan and Camping (£27 for car, tent and two adults) is a must-visit in north-west Scotland. With views out to the northern tip of the Isle of Skye, the Big Sands area consists of a series of sand dunes and, with luck, beautiful sunsets. The Torridon mountains are just to the south and Inverewe gardens to the north. This spot held a special place in my childhood and remains perfect for families. From Gairloch there are whale-watching boat trips. The site offers camping pods and blends comfort (including a covered eating area with shared fridge and freezer) with the thrill of the great outdoors.


Readers’ tips: send a tip for a chance to win a £200 voucher for a Coolstays break


Guardian Travel readers’ tips

Every week we ask our readers for recommendations from their travels. A selection of tips will be featured online and may appear in print. To enter the latest competition visit the readers’ tips homepage

Thank you for your feedback.

Pitch among the peaks, Derbyshire

Gib Torr, the Roaches, Peak District national park. Photograph: Robert Thorley/Getty Images

Upper Hurst Farm (£32 for basic pitch inc car space with electric hook-up) in the Peak District has lovely views of the Roaches’ rocky crags and gorgeous walking to Hartington along the River Dove, and by streams through woodland adorned with lichen, ferns and moss in Beresford Dale. The site is a large field really but with plenty of hook-ups, tent spaces and a yurt plus super-clean loos and showers. Nearby in Hulme End is the Manifold Inn for fab steak and ale pies and friendly staff. You can cycle on the Manifold Way too, and there’s a great pitstop at Wetton Mill cafe at Thor’s Cave. I live in Coventry and I am so thankful that within 90 minutes or so I’m in the countryside and on this site.

Sands and bars by the Lizard

Praa Sands. Photograph: Michael Charles/Alamy

Higher Pentreath Campsite in Cornwall is perfect. My partner and I chose it for our first camping trip and we weren’t disappointed. The campsite looks out over Praa Sands and is well placed for exploring the Lizard peninsula and the area around St Michael’s Mount. The facilities were great and there’s a lovely little beach bar next door where we spent our evenings. It cost us £54 for three nights for a non-electric pitch and showers were included in the price, which isn’t the case at some campsites.
Orla Lenehan

Cool glamping options in Shropshire

A converted railway carriage at Foxholes Castle Camping

Family-run Foxholes Castle Camping (from £10pp) is on the Shropshire Way footpath and boasts stunning views. There is abundant wildlife around the site, including red kites, and owls. Nature lovers will also appreciate great bat watching and stargazing, as well as the environment-friendly facilities. Bishop’s Castle, just a 15-minute walk away, is a bohemian town which offers great pubs and two home breweries, as well as quirky shops and antiques. Glamping options for those who prefer a little more luxury include three converted railway carriages.
Sarah Bowles

Pembrokeshire paradise

Marloes beach. Photograph: Stephen Sykes/Alamy

The campsite at West Hook Farm (two-person tent £20) is right on the coastal trail that winds along the Marloes peninsula – reason enough to visit. The path runs along the northern edge of the camping field, with unbeatable views out to sea. The campsite is basic, with grass pitches, a clean shower block and a barn for shelter while you cook if the weather gets iffy – this isn’t a sheltered spot! Keep your eyes peeled for puffins out fishing from nearby Skomer Island and gannets diving as you sit with your evening beer. It feels like paradise.

Salt marsh and coast path in Norfolk

View over Stiffkey saltmarshes, Norfolk. Photograph: Dave Porter/Alamy

High Sand Creek campsite (£30 grass pitch) in Stiffkey, Norfolk sits on the edge of fabulous salt marshes. It’s right on the Norfolk Coastal Path. You can walk straight out of the bottom of the site and on to the path to Wells-next-the Sea, Morsten (for seal-watching boat trips) and Blakeney. If walking isn’t your thing it’s on the Coast Hopper bus route too. Nearby is the Red Lion pub, with good food, and a village store stocking local produce. The site is simple with ample clean facilities managed by a helpful, friendly team. A perfect base for exploring the best of north Norfolk.

Winning tip: a quieter side of Glastonbury

Bobs Field campsite, near Glastonbury Tor

Within earshot of Avalon’s cuckoos, Bob’s Field (pitch from £10, plus £8.50 per adult) beckons campers towards the hospitality of its campfire, where conversations crackle and buzz with the flames. The embers of sunset bury themselves on the marshes while you chat. At dawn, rise early enough to watch the day’s light ascend above Glastonbury Tor. Flat pitches, home-cooked food and a rustic bar offer all the facilities you need for a weekend away. The site, which also has bell tents with firepits (£80, sleeps 4), uses solar power and recycles all it can. Daytime provides walking, cycling, the history of Glastonbury or expanses of nearby wildlife reserves. For pubs head into town or on to the marsh to the incomparable Sheppey Inn.
Mathew Page


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.