Skip to content

The best places to go camping in the UK

Updated On 28th June, 2021

Camping in the UK is one of the best ways to spend a summer holiday.

Sunshine, nature, time in the countryside or by the coast (along with a strong chance of rain to spice things up) make for an exciting UK adventure. If you’re looking for the best places to go camping in the UK, this is the blog post for you! 

With the rising use of campervans and van conversions, summer camping in the UK is becoming more and more popular.

Even without a van, pitching a tent up at a campsite in the UK is still a great way to spend a weekend in friends and feel close to nature, something that many of us have been unable to do during the pandemic.

If you and your best friend are looking for another weekend of memories, camping in the UK is guaranteed to give you exactly that. If you’ve done the camping vibes with your bestie, check out 35 bucket list adventures to go on with your best friend here.

But back to camping…

With so many beautiful places to visit in the UK, stunning National Parks in the UK and walks and hikes in the UK, summer is a great time to enjoy the (hopefully!) better weather and spend some more time outside.

Whilst there are many gorgeous Airbnbs in the UK and so many glamping options, nothing quite beats the team-building exercises that occur when you have to pitch your own tent and navigate your way to the bathrooms with just your phone light to guide you.

Gosh, I’m excited as I write this. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you some of the most beautiful camping spots in the UK to consider, alongside some of the gems I’ve found over the years for you to try!

Camping in the UK: Other blog posts you might be interested in...
The best things to do and see in Padstow, Cornwall

Where to hire campervans in the UK…

There are lots of companies that rent out campervans in the UK, so it can be hard to choose who to go with. A few companies that I can recommend are:

I rented a vintage VW camper for a road trip in Cornwall from the Cornwall Camper Company and the van and the service were absolutely amazing!

You can see their vintage VW vans and make an enquiry here.

Where to book campsites in the UK…

There are lots and lots of ways to book campsites in the UK. Good old Google is the best bet. Type in your location e.g. campsites in Surrey and away you go!

I personally prefer booking directly with the campsite as it generally works out better for them and often cheaper, but sites such as ‘cool camping UK’ and ‘campsites.co.uk’ have a huge range of campsites available for you to look at – great for shopping around a bit before you decide.

You can also download the Park4night app where people recommend campsites and places to pull up your camper van / motorhome.

Top tips for camping in the UK...

  • Leave no trace

‘Leave no trace’ is one of the core values of van life and of utmost importance when we are talking about sustainable and eco-friendly van life. It’s really important to respect the environment and make responsible choices every day, but especially when we are out with our vans.

Don’t leave rubbish behind, don’t dump your water into natural water sources, respect the wildlife… ideally, when you leave the campsite, it should be impossible to know you were there in the first place!

  • Check where you are allowed to park a van or pitch a tent: wild camping is not allowed in most of the UK. 

In the UK, you need to check with the private landowner before you park up off of a campsite or pitch up a tent. Part of responsible van life is respecting the rules!

  • Embrace a low waste approach to your trip, and if you do have waste, recycle what you can and dispose of the rest appropriately. 

Recycling has become such an important part of our daily lives and it is just as important when camping in the UK too.

Even the most environmentally conscious of us will create a little waste when adopting a low waste lifestyle, so be sure to make sure everything is recycled and disposed of appropriately, including composting food waste.

Look out for recycling bins and options in your area when travelling!

Be particularly mindful when disposing of water and toilet waste when you’re camping in the UK! 

For a full list of top tips for responsible and sustainable van life, check out this blog post

Make sure you’re not missing anything before you set off on your camping trip with this ultimate camping packing list. 

The best places to go camping in the UK...

From wild camping in the UK to beachfront camping in the UK, there are so many places to go summer camping in the UK… here are some of my favourites!

1. Cornwall

Cornwall is located on the South West Coast of England and is without a doubt one of the most popular choices for a domestic holiday. Come summer, Cornwall is buzzing with tourists, all soaking up the stunning coastal paths, sandy beaches and seafront living. Cornwall is the perfect place to visit on a UK road trip or with a camper van in the summer and is the perfect place to give surfing a try!

In my opinion, you haven’t seen the UK if you haven’t been to Cornwall. 100% on my places to visit in the UK.

Campsites in Cornwall I’ve tried include:  Mother Iveys Bay Holiday Park and Gwithian Farm Campsite (both great for beachfront camping in the UK and waking up to ocean views!)

Oh and a great little secret spot with ocean views? Try The Old Coastguards campsite next to Pendeen Lighthouse.

Other Cornwall travel guides that you may enjoy:

The best things to do in Newquay, Cornwall
St Michael's Mount, Cornwall

2. Norfolk

Norfolk is definitely one of my favourite places to visit in the UK, and for good reason! With beaches you won’t believe are in the UK, countless hiking routes and a superb food scene, this is a great place to visit, and somewhere I’ll definitely be returning to (read about my last visit here). Don’t forget to pick up your lavender goodies to add to your self-care routine while you’re there! The Norfolk coast is a great place to go camping in the UK. 

Check out my complete guide to Norfolk here.

A guide to Norfolk, England

3. Suffolk

Suffolk was the first place in the UK I visited with my van, and I absolutely loved it! Just me and my monkey – it’s a great place to visit with a dog, because all the open green spaces make for endless dog walks! I barely planned the trip, just taking each day as it comes, and it was the best way to get my van on the road for the first time! If you love the countryside and the coast, and you want a bit of both, Suffolk is one of the best places to go camping in the UK. I parked up in Dunwich Forest here and had the most wonderful experience freedom camping in the UK!

Check out my guide to your trip to Suffolk here.

A 2-day road trip in Suffolk, England

4. The Lake District

The Lake District is one of the first places people think of for a British holiday, especially for camping in the UK. That is if you’re an outdoor adventure lover. And can you blame them?! The green, rolling hills, lakes and stunning views… it’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular places to visit in the UK! And, if you fancy a challenge, you can do a Via Ferrata or climb Scafell Pike here, the highest mountain in England! I’ve been to the Lake District a couple of times now and absolutely loved it. I haven’t been camping there yet, but I can’t wait to park up my van and wake up with a view of Lake Windermere! 

A complete guide to the Lake District National Park, England

5. Devon: Dartmoor & Exmoor National Parks

Devon is another area of the country that I love, and the place I chose to spend my 26th birthday (see my weekend here). It’s a popular place to visit in the UK, but it’s so big that if you want to avoid the crowds, you can. I personally love Dartmoor, Woolacombe, Ilfracombe and Barnstaple. Next on my list of places to visit in Devon is the Exmoor Dark Sky reserve… camping under the stars sounds amazing!

Dartmoor is one of the only places you can go wild camping in the UK, or backpack camping. Dartmoor is famous for its byelaws that allow you to ‘backpack camp’. This means that in certain areas you can wild camp in a small tent that you can carry (backpack size), at least 100m away from the road, for one or two nights. You cannot wild camp in a large tent or vehicle, and you must leave no trace. See the areas you can camp in here

A guide to exploring Dartmoor National Park, Devon

6. Peak District

The Peak District is one of the best places to visit in the UK with your friends for the weekend, especially if you want to go camping in the UK! Hire a campervan, pack a weekend bag (not forgetting your walking boots and activewear), and get ready for the best weekend away! You’ll be able to walk for hours, hire bikes and cycle through the open spaces, and get some stunning photos. What’s more, the UK’s first National Park is also home to 3 dark sky reserves, so get ready to go stargazing with your best friends.

7. South Downs National Park

The South Downs is one of the UK’s Areas of Outstanding Beauty, and it sure is beautiful.

Endless green landscapes, rolling hills and stunning views make this a wonderful, nature-filled UK weekend away. From hiking, to walking llamas, from foraging to kayaking… there’s so much to do in the South Downs, so you won’t get bored. The South Downs are a personal favourite and definitely one of the best places to go camping in the UK.

If you’re wondering where to stay in the South Downs with a campervan and looking to go camping in South Downs National Park, albeit basic in terms of amenities we stayed at Gee’s Campsite which is walking distance from the ocean and is family fun with world-class hospitality. Definitely recommend.

A packing list for the ultimate camping experience

8. Yorkshire Dales and coastline

Yorkshire has got to be one of my favourite counties in the UK. From the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge to stunning coastline around Whitby, this is the perfect place if you want to balance camping in the rolling hills with beachfront camping in the UK! There’s still so much for me to explore in Yorkshire, but the time I’ve spent here so far has been amazing and you should all add it to your list of places to visit in the UK!

A 3-day microgap adventure in Leeds, UK

9. Seven Sisters

The Seven Sisters cliffs are one of the best day trips from London, but why not turn that into a camping adventure!? There are campsites within the Seven Sisters country park, so extend your trip here.

These 7 chalk cliffs are one of the most beautiful sights in the UK, and the area has been well preserved by the National Trust. With views of the rolling hills in England, as well as the dramatic cliff edge and stunning water, you’ll be blown away by this beautiful place to visit in England

Walking along to the top of cliffs and then ending up on the beach is one of the best walks in England, too. 

10. Gower Peninsula

The Gower Peninsula is just breathtaking. The beaches, the walks, the adventure available and the people that reside there, all make for a very wholesome experience. There are so many fun things to do on the Goweryour eyes will be opened up to just how much beauty Wales holds.

If you’re into a bit of nature and love digging into the outdoors, Gower (also known as the Gower Peninsula) is right up your street and could be a perfect consideration for your next camping adventure in the UK.

When I took my campervan to the Gower, we stayed at Pitton Cross Caravan Park (open all year round with views of the ocean!). Perfect for beachfront camping in the UK!

10 photos that will make you want to visit the Gower Peninsula | Where's Mollie? A travel and adventure lifestyle blog

11. Pembrokeshire

Looking at Pinterest and Instagram, I think this is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Wales. It’s home to the UK’s only coastal National Park, making it a popular destination for anyone who loves the outdoors, and also perfect for anyone looking for beachfront camping in the UK! You can make a holiday out of hiking the famous coastal path and taking a dip in the sea at one of the many picturesque Pembrokeshire beaches.

Check out the best walks and hikes in Wales here.

12. Snowdonia National Park

I absolutely love Snowdonia National Park, and I’m certain that it’s one of the top places to visit in the UK and also one of the best places to go camping in the UK. The views are out of this world, and the opportunities for adventure are endless. In fact, I love it so much that I held the first WMGT adventure here. Whether you want to climb Snowdon itself or explore all the other beautiful green spaces and lakes that the National Park has to offer, add Snowdonia National Park to your list of places to go camping in the UK now!

The 15 UK National Parks on a map: Which should you visit?

13. Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands are one of the most popular places to visit in Scotland, and one of the best places to visit in the UK without a doubt. Particularly if you’re looking for a road trip in Scotland!

Looking at photos on Pinterest, I can see why… it’s stunning!  It’s the perfect place to visit off the beaten track if you want somewhere that is quiet, green and beautiful. I can’t wait to get up here in my van one day and see what it’s like to go camping in the Scottish Highlands!

The Highlands are also Loch Ness is Scotland’s most famous loch, so while you’re there, plan a trip to visit the beautiful loch and hope that you catch a glimpse of the world-famous Nessie while you’re there.

In terms of camping, one of the best things about camping in Scotland is that wild camping is completely legal! So if you’re looking for places to go freedom camping or wild camping in the UK, head to the Highlands for a true immersion into nature and away from technology!

The best places to visit in Scotland

14. The Causeway Coast

If you’re looking at going camping in Northern Ireland and you want to turn your adventure into a road trip too, look no further! The Causeway Coast road trip route starts in Belfast and goes round the coastline for 200 miles, past all the famous landmarks and finishes up in Derry-Londonderry. There are loads of campsites on the Causeway Coast, including some that overlook the Giant’s Causeway! Why wouldn’t you want to go camping in the UK with a view of this ancient, legendary landmark and some of the best views in Northern Ireland!? I cannot wait to do this route in my van!

See all the best places to visit in Northern Ireland here. 

Have you been camping in the UK?

Where are your favourite campsites in the UK? I’d love to know!

Love as always and happy adventuring,

Mollie.

Did you find this post helpful? I’d love you to share it for me.

Pin and save this blog post for later…

The best places to go camping in the UKThe best places to go camping in the UK
London-13-scaled.jpg

IT’S LOVELY TO MEET YOU

I’M MOLLIE AND I STARTED THIS BLOG BACK IN 2013 WHEN I HEADED OUT ON MY FIRST BACKPACKING ADVENTURE. I’D LOVE TO SHARE MY STORY WITH YOU…

TRAVEL SHOP

Where's Mollie? newsletter

Shop my wall prints