From the dramatic landscape of the Scottish Highlands to the cool surfing capital of of the Cornish coast, the UK’s great outdoors offers the opportunity for some full-on family fun and fresh air. And there’s no better way to enjoy an al fresco family escape than on a caravan or camping trip.
As a cost-effective family holiday, far removed from the hassle of airports and fluctuating exchange rates, camping and caravanning is enjoying a surge in popularity. With spring fast approaching we’ve got a huge array of caravans, tents and camping equipment – from spacious camper vans and caravans, snug igloos and dome tents to cooking stoves and cosy sleeping bags – to get you all geared up in time for some outdoor adventures.
To help you on the way, we’ve also pulled together the Preloved Top Ten Family-friendly Campsites packed with ideas of great places to stay in the UK for campers of all ages. And don’t forget to share your own suggestions of cool family campsites with other Preloved members in the comments at the bottom of the page.
UK’s Top Ten Family-friendly Campsites
Eweleaze Farm, Osmington, Dorset
This Dorset campsite on an organic farm overlooking the sea is tucked away down a kilometre-long farm track in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Eweleaze (pronounced ‘you-leeze’) Farm has several fields given over to camping, so there’s always plenty of room to run free. Take a walk along the South West Coast Path that runs alongside the site, or scramble down to the farm’s own stretch of private beach to search for prehistoric fossils. Either way you’ll work up an appetite for a stone-baked pizza or farm-reared meats in the well-stocked farm shop, or cakes and pasties in the organic bakery. As it’s a large site, takingcycles is highly recommended! www.eweleaze.co.uk
Coombe View Farm, near Branscombe, Devon
Near to the pebbly beach at Branscombe, ideal for an early morning dip, some stone-skimming or walks on the rolling hills of east Devon, the campsite at Coombe View Farm sits on the Jurassic coast. Close to the unspoilt coastal village of Branscombe, the site is an idyllic mix of farmyard animals, including sheep, pigs and Exmoor ponies; woodland walks searching for kindling for the campfire; and a central cricket pitch for a mass participation game. www.branscombe-camping.co.uk
Orchard Campsite, Wickham Market, Suffolk
Tucked away in the Suffolkvillageof Wickham Marketis the award-winning Orchard Campsite. A relaxed regime of open fires, night-time glo-stick forays and star gazing events make this riverside site a popular choice for families. The on-site off-licence and hampers of local food will appeal to the adults, while the choice of pitches, from woodland to pondside, will give younger campers the chance to go wild! www.orchardcampsite.co.uk
Barn Farm, near Matlock, Derbyshire
Barn Farm is located near to the Derbyshire Dales towns of Matlock and Bakewell (home of the area’s celebrated eponymous tart) in the rolling landscape of the Peak District. Favoured by walkers, wildlife watchers and photographers alike, the campsite’s sheltered paddocks are a great base for tracking the Peak District’s wildlife, such as badgers, deer and the soaring peregrine falcon. The campsite’s own facilities include a games room and sauna, while local pubs in the nearby villageof Winstercan provide a welcome respite from blackened bangers and beans! www.barnfarmcamping.com
Pencelli Castle Caravan and Camping Park, Brecon Beacons, Wales
With the thousands of miles of walkways and cycling tracks winding through the Brecon Beacons in Wales, be sure to take cycles and hiking gear for some off-road adventures together. The area’s highest peaks are within walking distance for some serious yomping after a hearty breakfast.
The Brecon & Monmouth Canal runs along one length of the campsite and campers and is the perfect launch to watch the brightly coloured barges go by before heading out on canoes and kayaks. Back on dry land, explore the nature trail, deer enclosure and vintage farm machinery. The site also has its own Bike & Boot Wash to keep the mud out of your sleeping bags! www.pencelli-castle.co.uk
Fisherground Campsite, Cumbria
Voted one of the world’s best campsites by The Independent, Fisherground Campsite in Cumbriaboast such child-friendly credentials as a pond with rafts, an adventure course and a tree house. If the weather fails to dampen the spirits of younger campers as they head for the Tarzan ropes and zipwire, the site’s boot drier will come in handy to keep your temporary home spick and span. And as a tranquil getaway far from the madding crowds, the Eskdale valley still has more sheep the people! www.fishergroundcampsite.co.uk
Ruthern Valley, Cornwall
Set in over seven acres of a beautiful woodland valley, RuthernValleyoffers pitches dotted across a field or in the woods itself. It’s a picturesque environment packed with greenery, wild flowers and even a babbling stream. Kids can head off to build dens in the woods, or have a kickabout on the site’s football area. Explore the local area and discover the Camel Trail for a short cycle road to the Cornish culinary hotspot of Padstow or head to the coast for some sun, sea and surf. www.ruthernvalley.com
Tir Bach Farm Campsite, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Located on a smallholding created by owners Ashley and Roze, Tir Bach Farm is a small, quiet and friendly site with a distinctly kicked-back, relaxed feel. Surrounded by the PreseliMountains, a river winds through the area’s 12 acres of woodland making it a haven for wildlife. Kids can roam freely through the ancient woodland or play basketball and badminton, and the site’s location near to the local beaches of Pembrokeshire’s beautiful coastline and historic castles makes it easy to keep them fully occupied. As the farm is run as a smallholding, smaller children will love the various animals, such as cows, pigs and Shetland ponies. In the evenings, campers can gather around the glow of the communal campfire. www.tirbachfarm.co.uk
Dernwood Farm, Heathfield, East Sussex
Campers are fully encouraged to go wild at Dernwood Farm, heading off with barrows laden with their gear to discover this car-free, eight-acre woodland site in the middle of a 70-acre ancient wood in the East Sussexcountryside. A packed programme of on-site activities include wildlife safaris spotting woodland birds and fallow deer in the day, while in the evenings badgers can be seen roaming around. Other popular pastimes are den-building, bluebell walks and evenings spent around an open fire pit barbecuing the farm’s home-reared beef burgers. Eco-friendly and sustainable, there’s no electricity on site and solar-shower sacks, so it’s a real camping experience for all the family. www.dernwoodfarm.co.uk
Ardmair Point, Ullapool, Ross-Shire, Scotland
Head northwards to the Scottish fishing village of Ullapool and you’ll come across a gently curving pebbled peninsula that is home to one of Scotland’s most out-of-the-way and delightful holiday centres, Ardmair Point. Its sheltered beachside location and the dramatic Ben Mhor Coigach mountain ridge that overlooks it make Ardmair the ideal outdoor experience. There’s a wide range of activities to entertain the family with popular pursuits including hillwalking and sailing, fishing and diving in pristine waters. Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the sheer sense of space in a truly unique and invigorating camping location.www.ardmair.com
Do you know of a fab family-friendly campsite in the UK where kids have the space to run free and the whole family can kick back and enjoy some well-deserved outdoor R&R? Tell us all about it in the comments below!