Fresh air, an exhilarating morning dip, sunsets over the bay – you can’t beat a seaside summer under canvas. Here is our pick of the best seaside campsites to pitch up and chill out in the UK
South and West England
Treen, West Cornwall: Best Beach
Treen, Cornwall ©Getty
Down a rough track, and sheltered by stone walls and scented gorse hedges, this simple patchwork of Cornish meadows straddles the cliffs above one of the best wild coves in Britain. It’s a tricky descent down to the beach but the pink sand bars and turquoise lagoons, combined with views of Logan Rock, make it worthwhile and keep the crowds at bay. There’s a good shop and a pizza van on Thursdays, and a little seasonal café and pub five minutes’ walk away. The only downside is that they take no bookings, so arrive early.
- Prices: £7.00 p.p.p.n
- Treen, St Levan, Penzance, TR19 6LF
- 07598 469 322
- For more information, visit: www.treenfarmcampsite.com
Bedruthan Steps, Cornwall: Best for sunsets
Bedruthan camping ©Daniel Start
Spacious and perfectly placed on the coast road between Padstow and Newquay, this seasonal campsite sits right on the cliff and has some of the best sea and sunset views in Cornwall. Bedruthen Steps beach is just below, an awesome mile-long stretch of low-tide sand with giant sea stacks and many lagoons and sea caves. Do take care though – this is the north Atlantic coast and currents are strong so you need to be aware of tide times and only swim if there is no swell. This is a basic campsite with only one hot shower and two loos, no other facilities, but there is a good tearoom at the National Trust car park. Campsite open July and August only.
Prices: £7.50 p.p.p.n
Off B3276, one mile north of Terrance.
01637 860 943
For more information, visit: www.bedruthansteps.com
North Morte Farm, Devon: Best for hikers
Morte Point, Barricane Beach ©Daniel Start
Morte Point is named after its many shipwrecked souls, but it also shelters a collection of sandy secret coves. Rockham Bay is the best, with amazing rock formations and the remains of an old trawler. From the South West coastpath above a little gate leads up to this campsite. There is a complex of shops, wetsuit hire and static caravans at the top, but the lower set of gently sloping fields are reserved just for tents. You can also walk round on the coastpath to Lee Bay, or Barricane Beach – home to the delicious Sri Lankan curry shack (summer only) – and there are several pubs in the village.
Prices: £10.00 p.p.p.n
Mortehoe, Woolacombe, North Devon, EX34 7EG
01271 870 381
For more information, visit: www.northmortefarm.co.uk
Normans Bay, Sussex: Best by train
Normans Bay, Sussex ©Getty
This is a great train escape from London, right by its own wild sand and shingle beach, and with a pub in walking distance. This is where William the Conqueror landed in 1066 and the sound of waves will lull you to sleep at night. The downside is the wind, so bring a wind break, a suitable tent and maybe a kite. There is a good shop and children’s play area and the beach is brilliant for wind surfing and sea-bass fishing. Sand at low tide only.
Prices: £11.85 p.p.p.n
Pevensey, BN24 6PR
01323 761 190
For more information, visit: www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk
Chine Farm, Isle of Wight: Best for fishing
Chine Farm, Isle of Wight ©Getty
South west Isle of Wight has miles of remote beach below cliffs, only accessible via steep ravine gullies called chines. This campsite offers cliff-top camping with big sea views and takes its name from Cowleaze Chine which provides a little stream and sandy path down to the beach. This is a particularly good spot to try out some moonlit bass fishing. Aim for one of the large grassy pitches away from the road and enjoy the sunset. There are several good pubs a short drive away.
Prices: £11.00 p.p.p.n
Archerfield Bay, Vintner, Isle of Wight, PO38 2JH
01983 740 901
For more information, visit: www.chine-farm.co.uk
North and East England
Highsand Creek, Norfolk: Best foraging and wildlife
Highsand Creek, Norfolk ©Daniel Start
Stiffkey’s saltmarshes offer a unique coastal landscape that’s rich in wildlife. Little paths and bridges lead over the marshes to muddy creeks filled with sun-warm water and miles upon miles of golden sand guarded by lounging seals. Highsand Creek is a tent-only campsite just behind the nature reserve and its simple facilities include hot showers and a playing field. A short walk away is the village shop and in nearby Morston is the Anchor Inn gastro pub.
Prices: £10.00 p.p.p.n
Stiffkey, Norfolk, NR23 1QP
01328 830 235
Hooks House Farm, North Yorkshire: Best for rock pools
Hooks House Farm, North Yorkshire ©Getty
This small, friendly, family-run campsite has sweeping panoramic views out over Robin Hood’s Bay, a long stretch of sand, rock pools and tiny coves with quirky names, such as Boogle Hole. The facilities are simple but plentiful and while there’s no shop, the ancient smuggler’s village of the same name, a huddle of tiny cottages and cosy pubs, is only 10 minute walk down the road. This is a great place for fossil hunting and crabbing, and an old railway cycle path leads to Scarborough or Whitby for days out.
Prices: £10.00 p.p.p.n
Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO22 4PE
01947 880 283
For more information, visit: www.hookshousefarm.co.uk
West Hook Farm, Pembrokeshire: Best for boats and islands
Westhook Marloes ©Daniel Start
West Hook Farm has a stunning location, sitting high on the cliffs with the golden Marloes Sands and secret Musselwick beach less than a mile away. This is almost as far west as you can get in Wales, with just ocean and an island archipelago as far as the eye can see. Puffins and the world’s largest population of Manx shearwater’s can be seen on a visit to Skomer Island Marine Nature Reserve – boats depart from Martin’s Haven cove, right next to the farm.
Prices: £7.00 p.p.p.n
Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, SA62 3BJ
01646 636 424
For more information, visit: www.westhookfarm-camping.co.uk
Pencarnan Farm, St Davids: Best for caravans
Pencarnan Farm, St Davids ©Daniel Start
This superb site has its own path down to the secret cove of Porthselau, with creamy sand, rock pools at low tide and amazing sunsets. It’s also within easy reach of the pubs and cafés in St David’s, Britain’s tiniest cathedral village ‘city’. Some of the best beaches, sea kayaking and coasteering in Pembrokeshire are within easy reach. There is plenty of space for caravans and hook-ups here too, and the facilities and shop are excellent.
Prices: £17.00 p.p.p.n
St Davids, Haverfordwest, SA62 6PY
01437 720 580
For more information, visit: pencarnanfarm.co.uk
Aberafon, Llyn Peninsula, North Wales: Best for mountains
Aberafon, Llyn Peninsula, North Wales ©Daniel Start
Aberafon camping is a good low-key seaside option for busy August. The Llyn Peninsula has some of the most stunning white sandy beaches in Wales and it’s also only a short drive over to the dramatic peaks of the Snowdonia National Park to the east. From the campsite you have direct access onto a lovely pebble beach and the west facing sunset views call out for a beach barbeque and sundowner. There’s even a little stream for making dams. Facilities include hot showers, a pool room and a little shop for emergencies.
Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL54 5PN
For more information, visit: www.aberafon.co.uk
01286 660 295
Chip, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides: Best for meadows
Chip, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides ©Daniel Start
The machair grassland on Scotland’s west coast is one of Europe’s rarest habitats and one of its most beautiful. At Cnip’s community-owned campsite, caravans and tents can set up camp right on the flower strewn dunes, only steps from the world-class white-sand beach of Traigh na Beirgh. Facilities are simple with coin operated showers and clean loos. Look out for signs in the village for hand-dived scallops and strawberries. Fees are collected every evening.
Prices: £10.00 p.n
Kneep, Isle of Lewis, HS2 9HS
01851 672 332
Applecross, Scotland: Best for views
This is one of the wilder sides of Scotland, reached by a perilous mountain road. Sheltered by trees, and with flat grassy fields, the campsite is the hub of this tiny community and enjoys awesome sea views towards the islands of Rhona and Raasay. Camping here is very civilized with washing machines and freezers and lots of hot showers. The Flower Tunnel Café serves delicious breakfasts or visit the Potting Shed Café and Walled Garden for fresh shellfish and candlelit dinners. There are pebbles and low tide sand in the bay below or the white sand dune beach of Sand Bay three miles further on.
Prices: £9.00 p.p.p.n
Strathcarron, Ross-Shire IV54 8ND
01520 744 268
For more information, visit: visitapplecross.com