10 British Seaside Campsites That Will Put You In The Mood For Summer
Ditch the city right now and pitch up at one of these beachside wonders
When your weather app shows sunshine as far as the eye can see, it's time to say goodbye to the stinky concrete jungle you call home and hit the canvas.
And while there are some stunning inland campsites, why not up the awesome factor by staying at one of these amazing, and in some cases super-remote, seaside campsites? You can wake up to the most ridiculous view, then surf, swim or kayak any hangover you may have away in an instant.
Here's our pick of the UK's finest…
1) Troytown Farm, Isles of Scilly
Its position couldn’t be any more remote or spectacular. The campsite clings to the western foreshore of the island (which has just 70 inhabitants), just feet away from the rock-calmed Atlantic waters that look as if they might engulf the campsite at high tide.
To one side, a beautiful curve of sand at Periglis Beach extends into the sea. To the other, bold, intriguing rock formations add interest to the heather-covered coastal landscape. It’s a magical wilderness that feels like the ends of the earth. In fact, it is almost at the ends of the earth; the nearest neighbours to the southwest are New Yorkers…
2) Badrallach, Ross-shire
If you want to know how it feels to get to the end of a track that’s eight miles from the nearest main road, in a lost corner of north-west Scotland, this is the campsite for you.
And if you are a paddle-fanatic you’ll find the crinkled coastline fascinating to explore. Just further along is Scoraig, one of the remotest communities in Britain, which is only accessible by boat or a five-mile walk. But that’s just the kind of thing you’ll have time for.
You can bring your own craft or hire kayaks and inflatables on site. There are also sea-fishing rods available, so if you’ve ever thought you might like to live a more nautical life but haven’t been able to learn the ropes, Badrallach is the perfect place to dip your toe in the water.
3) Treheli Farm, Snowdonia
The whole point about Treheli is the great location, perched delicately on a level ledge of ground elevated several hundred metres above the sea, with a spectacular view out over the beach of Porth Neigwl (or Hell’s Mouth, in English).
This beach is best known for its truly delinquent surfing conditions, but generally speaking, the site is sheltered from the southwesterlies that pile the waves up so high in the bay below. The four-mile-long stretch of sand and its deeply soothing turquoise water must surely count as one of the most impressive beaches in Britain and it’s usually just as impressively empty.
This small, quiet site overlooks the whole length of the beach and every pitch boasts the same wonderful view.
4) Cnip Grazing, Isle of Lewis
If you’ve never felt like you’ve reached the end of the earth then come to Traigh na Beirigh (don’t try to pronounce it) near Cnip (pronounced ‘neep’). This tiny crofting community on the western coast of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides seems like the last place on earth.
In reality, if you’d kept on going west you’d eventually end up on the Labrador Coast of Newfoundland (where there’s probably someone looking east feeling the same as you) but you’d never guess it standing on the dunes of Traigh na Beirigh gazing out over the aqua-blue water. It feels like the end of everywhere you’ve ever been. And that, of course, is the attraction.
Even the cluster of cottages that comprise Cnip is over the hill in the neighbouring bay, so the only thing to disturb the peace is that occasional bang of a grousing gun in the hills behind and the sound of the waves on the beach.
5) Sea Barn Farm, Dorset
Tucked down single-track country roads, shaded with tall trees on either side, this little tenters’ campsite is perfectly pitched atop Fleet Lagoon, Lyme Bay and the Jurassic Coast.
Many of the pitches have countryside or sea views, and a low-key ambience thrives. This is a traditional campsite with a well-stocked shop and cubicle facilities which include the two most impressive-looking and well-sized family bathrooms we’ve seen at any UK campsite, with self-contained WC, shower, sink and even a bath). So, it’s the best of both worlds – quiet and peaceful camping, with extra entertainment just next door.
6) Dunney Bay, Thurso
The site is slap-bang next to the sand dunes of a huge sweeping bay. Long stalks of dune grass practically reach over a small wooden fence to touch your tent.
The restless waves of the Pentland Firth attract surfers from far and wide. But Dunnet Bay is one of the north coast’s trump cards. With a mile or more of white sand stretching like a crescent moon to the cliffs of Dunnet Head, the most northerly point of mainland Britain, it’s a spectacular setting. With a bit of sunshine, a few tinnies of beer and the odd shout of ‘Ripper, mate!’ and you could swear you were on Bondi Beach in Australia. Well, almost.
7) Smuggler's Cove Boatyard, Gwynedd
Smugglers Cove Boatyard started life as an old slate works and quay overlooking the beautiful Dyfi Estuary. For years it continued its existence building boats, offering moorings and acting as a hub for local sailors. But now, while these nautical trades continue, it has also opened its doors to fellow outdoor enthusiasts.
Along the coastal footpath, a hundred metres from the boatyard, three individual camping pitches offer the very best spots on the Dyfi’s banks and, tucked beneath the tree line, they provide ultimate waterside privacy in a positively dreamy location. Camping here is a truly unique experience.
8) The Bells Of Hemscott, Morpeth, Northumberland
For sheer dramatic wild beauty, the Northumberland coast takes some topping. The wind-buffeted beaches along this unspoilt stretch of the North East seem to go on forever. With enchanting salt marshes, undulating sand dunes, and the boundless, shimmering blue of the perma-choppy North Sea, there couldn't be a more fitting setting for a spot of wild camping.
Introducing The Bells of Hemscott – a brand new pop-up experience that combines the thrill of off-grid camping with a few choice comforts of its posher alternative. Plotted on affable host Alison's working Hemscott Hill Farm, The Bells offers acres of open space for guests to savour the great outdoors, with the entire wild camping site plotted amongst the sand dunes.
9) Aberafon, Gwynedd
Let us not beat about the bush – this campsite scores on the old ‘location, location, location’ chestnut, in a beautiful spot sandwiched between the beach and the mountains on the Llyn Peninsula, 10 miles south of Caernarfon. Negotiating a steep, narrow lane to the site, past the bumbling stream by the amenities block, feels like you are descending into a secret valley within the mountains.
Co-owner Hugh is an extreme-sports fan, so he’ll approve of anyone that wishes to canoe downstream, hike through Snowdonia, or try wakeboarding at the local sporting venue, Glas Fryn Park, near Pwllheli. Hugh has regularly jumped off Gyrn Goch mountain, which overlooks the campsite, strapped to a paraglider. If you’re feeling equally adventurous, sign up with the local paragliding school.
10) Ocean Pitch, Croyde Bay
Acres of sand, pounding surf, and bronzed lifeguards... welcome to the Gold Coast. It may be a tad cooler than the Aussie version but, more importantly, it is much nearer for us Poms. Okay, so our cousins down under might enjoy near perma-sunny skies, but on an early summer morning, with the breeze just right, we’d take Croyde over Byron Bay any day of the week. With its lush green hills ravining down to blustery expanses of open beach, there’s no disputing the beauty of Croyde Bay.
This wide sweep of dune-backed sand flanked by the finest field-green North Devon hills is the closest thing you’ll find to an Aussie surf beach in this part of the world, gifting awesome waves to pros and beginners alike.
Anyone who was lucky enough to secure a pitch at legendary local campsite Mitchum's will know all about the spectacular views from this enviably elevated spot. Now operating under the new moniker Ocean Pitch, newbies and veterans alike will be pleased to know that surfing is still big on the agenda.