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Best of British campsites
Camping’s revival isn’t just about the money in people’s pockets; there are few better ways to get some fresh air and few more eco-friendly trips. The British campsites below stretch from Scilly to Orkney, taking in New Forest ponies, basket-weaving courses and ancient trails, and are fine options for a summer that’s due some sunshine.
St Martin’s; Isles of Scilly
Scilly may be only a short hop from the mainland, but its islands feel a world away. St Martin’s has sandy beaches, gorgeous cliffs, Britain’s most westerly vineyard and gourmet food. Even better, this popular British campsite is only a short stroll from the awesome white sands.
Visit stmartinscampsite.co.uk for more information
Find out more about the Isles of Scilly
With access to 220 square miles of thick woodland, not to mention those titular ponies, the New Forest’s best (and most child-friendly) campsite is understandably popular. But its size means it rarely feels crowded, and you can either venture into the woods on your own, or join the rangers’ guided walks and craft sessions.
Visit forestholidays.co.uk for more information
Discover more about the New Forest
Wapsbourne Manor Farm; East Sussex
It only opened in 2007, but this idyllic former strawberry farm has already become a fixture for many campers. Rope swings keep the kids happy, campfires are encouraged and several fine farm shops are within strolling distance of this great British campsite.
Visit wowo.co.uk for more information
Shadow Woods, West Sussex
Five colourful Mongolian yurts sit amongst the trees and sculptures of this charming, eco-friendly “glampsite”, which offers everything from herb picking and basket weaving to holistic massages.
Visit wowo.co.uk for more information
Three Cliffs Bay, Gower Peninsula
If you fancy sleeping in the midst of one of the best panoramas in Britain, this spacious Welsh campsite is your best bet. The pitches overlook a perfect beach, its sheltered sands encircled by a craggy headland, complete with natural arches, triangular peaks and a tranquil green valley.
Visit threecliffsbay.com for more information
Find out more about Wales
Foxholes Castle Camping; Shropshire
Less than two miles from the Welsh border, Foxholes is a great base for several walks, including the Shropshire Way and Offa’s Dyke, although you don’t have to move from this well-ordered site (based around an eccentric 1930s mansion) to immerse yourself in the area: the views from the hilltop on which it sits stretch for almost 360 degrees.
Visit foxholes-castle.co.uk for more information
Check out more on Shropshire
Both the drive here – either a winding route along the Highlands’ spectacular west coast or precipitous single-track through a mountain pass – and the lack of mobile phone reception underline Applecross’s isolation. But that doesn’t mean it’s unwelcoming: with a family-run pub, a good restaurant, several festivals and walking and kayaking opportunities, this stunningly wild corner of Scotland is well worth a visit.
Visit applecross.uk.com/campsite for more information
Discover more about the Highland’s west coast
Comrie Croft Eco Camping; Perthshire
Set in rolling hills on the Highlands’ edge, Comrie Croft is defined by community spirit. It’s owned by 50 local residents, allows guests to light campfires and sleep in hammocks amid the birch trees and runs storytelling circles, campcraft sessions and musical workshops.
Visit comriecroft.co.uk for more information
Discover more about Perthshire
The Barn; Westray: Orkney
You can camp on Shetland, but the scouring wind will scare off all but the most resilient camper, meaning that if you want to get right up north, this friendly British campsite is probably your best bet. Nearby are seastacks, great populations of seabirds, a castle and a chippie selling all manner of unusual, boat-fresh fish.
Visit thebarnwestray.co.uk for more information
Read up on Westray
This article is by James Smart, an editor for Rough Guides. For more information and to plan your holiday check out The Rough Guide to Britain.