Camping inspiration - 10 top campsites in Britain's national parks
Enjoy the fresh air and the beauty of the natural world when exploring and staying in one of Britain’s 15 national parks.
We’ve hand-picked 10 of our favourite sites
DARTMOOR NATIONAL PARK
Harford Bridge Holiday Park
Peter Tavy, Tavistock, Devon PL19 9LS
Set within the beauty of the Dartmoor National Park and adjacent to the River Tavy, this rural site offers relaxation and outdoor activities aplenty, just two miles from the market town of Tavistock. There are lots of walking routes from the site and within a few miles there are several different tors to explore. These include Staple Tor, Cox Tor, and Brent Tor with St Michael’s Church atop it. And don’t forget the Dartmoor ponies and their foals that you may bump into in the spring. There are 100 pitches either with or without electric, on grass or hardstanding and there are some sought-after pitches by the riverside. Facilities on site include toilets, showers, wet rooms, a laundry, indoor and outdoor washing-up areas, a laundry and shop. For recreation there is table tennis, table football, tennis courts, a play area and a dog exercise field. Harford Bridge is adjacent to a National Cycle Route and there is a cycle storage shed on site.
PEAK DISTRICT NATIONAL PARK
Longnor Wood Holiday Park
Longnor, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 0NG
Set near the pretty moorland town of Longnor, this adults-only site is perfect for walkers and nature lovers and is an oasis of tranquillity, surrounded by meadows and rolling hills. The site has a sheltered camping field for smaller tents with hook-up and these comprise a section of pea gravel for the main body of the tent and then the rest on grass. There are also hardstanding pitches having larger grass areas for tents bigger than 6m by 6m. Facilities for campers include a heated toilet block, covered pot wash, a microwave, freezer, dog wash, boules court and putting green. You can easily explore the Peak District National Park from the site. There are a host of walks to popular parts of the local area to choose from including a circular walk from Bakewell, the Monsal Trail and the Tissington Trail. It’s just a 30-minute drive to Dovedale where you can walk to your heart’s content and explore the famous stepping stones and conquer Thorpe Cloud. If you’d prefer to stay closer to home then there’s a lovely short walk taking in Longnor village that start direct from site.
LAKE DISTRICT NATIONAL PARK
Wasdale National Trust Campsite
Wasdale Head, Seascale, Cumbria CA20 1EX
This National Trust campsite is located at the foot of England’s highest mountain and close to Wastwater, England’s deepest lake. The Lake District offers a multitude of visitor attractions and activities, with endless opportunities to explore hills and lakes, plus historic houses, castles and museums. You can start your route towards the ascent of Scafell Pike from just outside the site and the north end of Wastwater is practically on the doorstep. As well as boasting an impressive location, the site also boasts some handy facilities. These include electric hook-ups, toilets, showers, a laundry, a washing-up area, a shop and barbecue area. There are 100 tent pitches spread informally across several meadows divided by trees and hedges. Cars are parked at the top of the site to keep the camping area safe and quiet.
NEW FOREST NATIONAL PARK
Long Meadow Campsite
The Showground, New Park, Brockenhurst,
Hampshire SO42 7QH
The beautiful New Forest offers meandering streams, leafy paths and open heathland. At Long Meadow visitors can walk or cycle the miles of trails or just sit and watch the forest ponies and other wildlife that roam freely. The site has an open, peaceful environment with 100 spacious pitches set in 19 acres of grassland and a choice of 10 electric hook-up grass pitches, or 18 hardstanding pitches with electric. Modern buildings house clean toilets and hot showers, along with disabled facilities, a washing-up area and free WiFi. There is direct access from the site onto the ancient woodlands that will leave all ages spoilt for choice of outdoor activities. Bike hire can be arranged with bikes delivered to and collected from site. This campsite is set in the countryside yet within walking distance of the restaurants, shops and pubs of the village of Brockenhurst. Here ponies and donkeys still roam the streets. It is also just a short drive to all the facilities of Lyndhurst, the capital of the New Forest, and the sandy beaches of the Solent.
THE BROADS NATIONAL PARK
Reedham Ferry Complex
Ferry Road, Reedham, Norwich, Norfolk NR13 3HA
Situated in the heart of the Norfolk Broads, and close to Norwich and Great Yarmouth, Reedham Ferry Complex offers an idyllic setting with plenty of facilities on site. The park has a rural aspect, next to the River Yare. The Reedham Ferry is a vehicular chain ferry (the only remaining one in Norfolk) which crosses the River Yare. It crosses the river near the village of Reedham, forming the only crossing point between the city of Norwich and Great Yarmouth. The site is a landscaped four acres, with flat and spacious pitches and uninterrupted views over the local marshes. There are electric hook-ups available, toilets, showers, washing-up facilities and a barbecue area. There are also two on-site fishing lakes and the Reedham Ferry Inn. The surrounding marshes are a haven for birds and the Norfolk Broads offer leisurely days of messing about in boats. Other attractions include Pettitts Animal Adventure Park, Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens, and Wroxham Barns with its craft centre.
YORKSHIRE DALES NATIONAL PARK
Knight Stainforth Hall Caravan & Camping Park
Little Stainforth, Settle, North Yorkshire BD24 0DP
Tucked just inside the Yorkshire Dales National Park, this site stands on the 45-acre estate of Knight Stainforth Hall. It’s just two miles to the market town of Settle and the River Ribble flows alongside the site. There are a choice of grass or hardstanding pitches with electric if required. On-site facilities include a toilet and shower block, a laundry and pot-washing area. In addition, there is a playground and ball games area and a licensed café bar serving food and drink. With the Dales right on the doorstep of the site, walking enthusiasts will have hours of captivating landscape to explore. A 20-minute drive away to the north is Ingleton Waterfalls Trail which follows a well-defined footpath and is a circular route of just over four miles, taking in a stunning view of the falls. Twenty minutes in the other direction is the huge curving amphitheatre of Malham Cove, a limestone cliff formation. You can enjoy the peaceful waters at the base of the cove or challenge yourself to make it up the steps, 80 metres to the top.
LOCH LOMOND & THE TROSSACHS NATIONAL PARK
Milarrochy Bay Camping & Caravanning Club Site
Milarrochy Bay, Balmaha, Glasgow G63 0AL
This Club site is located on the southern edge of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. Cycling, hill walking, fishing and golf are all available nearby. Both parks offer walking routes galore, a magical atmosphere and lots of wildlife. For those looking for a little action and adventure, Aberfoyle is just a 30-minute drive away where you’ll find Go Ape Treetop Adventure – a high wire adventure playground for all ages. One of the most popular Munros (mountains) in the region, Ben Lomond is just north of the campsite and a popular choice for hikers and walkers. The site has views over Loch Lomond and being on the east shore means you have access to slipways for boat launching or can simply relax by the waters and watch the world go by. The site has 150 pitches, a choice of grass with or without electric, or hardstanding with electric. Facilities include toilets, showers, a dog walk, a shop, dishwashing area, ice pack freezing, laundry, and a children’s play area.
SOUTH DOWNS NATIONAL PARK
Holden Farm Campsite
Cheriton, Nr Alresford, Hampshire SO24 0NX
A small, friendly campsite on a working farm. Pitches are situated in a large grass field with plenty of space for games and to enjoy the fresh air. Pitches are not designated and any size of tent is welcome. The field also contains 20 fire pits which can be booked out at the same time as your pitch. Facilities at Holden Farm include toilets, showers, pot washing, a communal fridge and freezer, ice machine and kettle, plus charging points for phones. There is also an on-site tuck shop which has all the camping essentials. The site is set in the Hampshire countryside, just inside the South Downs National Park. The village of Cheriton is within walking distance and is a beautiful thatched village. A little further afield is the city of Winchester with its grand cathedral. For those who enjoy walking and cycling there is the South Downs Way – a National Trail of 100 miles that passes through the farm.
SNOWDONIA NATIONAL PARK
Betws Garmon, Caernarfon, North Wales LL54 7YY
Located at the foot of Snowdon, within the Snowdonia National Park, Bryn Gloch is a campsite with some of the most stunning views and picturesque surroundings. From the towering hills and mountains to the pretty tree-lined river running alongside the site, this is the place for relaxing among nature. Fishing is free on the river that borders the site and the grassed area by the water is perfect for relaxing or taking a stroll. Facilities on the site include toilets, showers, a family bathroom, laundry, shop, off licence and WiFi. For families there is a games room, play area, mini golf and a designated area for ball games. Mount Snowdon is just 2½ miles from the site so you can actually choose to walk directly from site. Alternatively, six miles away are less challenging walks on stretches of the Wales Coast Path.
BRECON BEACONS NATIONAL PARK
Erwlon Caravan & Camping Park
Brecon Road, Llandovery, Carmarthenshire SA20 0RD
Near the pretty town of Llandovery and handy for the Brecon Beacons, Erwlon offers 40 spacious pitches and a camp kitchen area that is undercover and ideal for food preparation and communal dining. The site has an adults-only area and a family-friendly area at each end of the site, with a central facilities block with toilets, showers and family rooms. There is also a laundry, fridge-freezer and playground. The site is within walking distance of Llandovery which has pubs, cafés and a supermarket. Erwlon is situated at the foot of the Brecon Beacons and within an hour’s drive of some of Wales’ more beautiful areas – these include the Cambrian Mountains, the Carmarthenshire coastline and the Elan Valley. As well as plenty of walking, the Brecon Beacons also offer the opportunity for some night-time stargazing thanks to the low levels of light pollution.