Motorhome travel: 12 campsites for early-season breaks
Make the most of the year ahead with an early getaway in your motorhome or campervan. Here are 12 campsites, many of which are open all year, that are perfectly placed to enjoy the peace and quiet before the summer crowds descend.
A6 Main Road, Bolton-le-Sands, Carnforth, Lancashire LA5 9TN
Open: All year
Bay View Holiday Park is situated in a rural setting on the picturesque Lancashire coastline. The park’s location makes it perfect for exploring the Lake District, North Yorkshire and the Forest of Bowland. The holiday park was once a working farm, and the surrounding rolling green fields offer stunning views over Morecambe Bay where great sunsets can be enjoyed. The site is a peaceful retreat in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the outskirts of the coastal villages of Arnside and Silverdale. There’s plenty of walking to be done in the area and the coastline is a beautiful sight.
The original farm buildings have been converted into a bar, restaurant and shop. There are also toilets and showers, a playground and games room. Pitches on site are hardstanding with electric. Guests of Bay View are welcome to use the leisure facilities at sister park, Silverdale Caravan Park, which include an indoor swimming pool complex, bar, restaurant and gym. The parks are 20 minutes’ drive apart.
Brecon Road, Llandovery, Carmarthenshire SA20 0RD
Open: All year
Near the pretty town of Llandovery and handy for exploring the Brecon Beacons, Erwlon is a tranquil and well-maintained site. There are 40 spacious pitches, including some full-service super pitches. There’s a heated amenity block featuring family rooms. In addition, there’s also a children’s play area on site and bike hire can be arranged.
If relaxation is your thing you can just sit outside on site and watch red kites fly overhead, spot kingfishers on the riverbank and keep an eye out for the wild minks that have been spotted here. For adrenaline junkies, there is a full-scale mountain bike park a 45-minute drive away. Bike Park Wales offers a variety of trails from beginner to pro level, around Gethin Woods near Merthyr Tydfil. For those who prefer their bike rides more on the genteel side then the country lanes around Erwlon are ideal, with routes around the Towy Valley and through the Brecons. The campsite can even arrange bike hire if needed, along with storage and cleaning.
Hall Road, Clippesby, Norfolk NR29 3BL
Open: All year
Set within mature pine woodland and the owners’ gardens, Clippesby Hall is situated in the Norfolk Broads National Park near the city of Norwich and the coastal resort of Great Yarmouth. The campsite is also close to Ludham and Potter Heigham on the Norfolk Broads, the latter being one of the major centres for boat hire and boat trips.
Pitches at Clippesby are spread over eight areas with a choice between secluded, individual pitches set into the natural woodland and the more open family-orientated areas – both have electric hook-up available. There are also hardstanding pitches in some sections and pitches offering individual water and drainage. Dogs are welcome on site, but there is also a dog-free camping and touring area.
Throughout the season there are lots of on-site activities and facilities, including archery, cycle hire, an outdoor pool, tennis courts, 18-hole mini golf, canoe hire and an adventure play area with zip wires, cargo net, climbing wall and tree house. For food and refreshments there’s Susie’s Coffee Shop and The Muskett Arms – serving meals and local real ales and ciders.
Bekesbourne Lane, Canterbury, Kent CT3 4AB
Open: All year
This club site provides the perfect base to choose between city, coast and countryside. The campsite is located a couple of miles south of the city, which is approximately a 40-minute walk or you can catch a bus from outside the campsite. Facilities-wise, there’s a mix of grass and hardstanding pitches with electric. The toilets and showers are newly refurbished, and there’s also a washing-up area, play area, dog walk, and WiFi is available.
Canterbury is a city packed with history and culture. It has a stunning cathedral and ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey and St Martin’s Church and castle. It also has a mix of shops, bars and restaurants.
Buxton Road, Alsop en le Dale, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 1QU
Open: 26 January – 2 January
This 37-acre, sheltered site, is ideal for those who enjoy walking and cycling as it is located just 100 metres from the Tissington Trail. Footpaths also lead from the site directly into the dales of Eaton, Biggin and Dove. All this open space and the endless walking opportunities make this campsite a great choice for those with dogs. In poor weather, Chatsworth House, Alton Towers, Kedleston Hall and Haddon Hall make great options to explore locally, and there are the pretty market towns of Ashbourne, Bakewell, Buxton and Matlock nearby, too.
Facilities at Rivendale include heated toilet buildings, a café with WiFi, and a rustic pub and restaurant with warming log fires. Fly fishing is also available. There are a choice of pitches – full hardstanding or hardstanding with grass – most having hedges at either side providing privacy and encouraging wildlife. All pitches have 16-amp hook-up, some also have fresh water and waste disposal and can be requested when booking.
Ham Lane, Bishop Sutton, Bath & NE Somerset BS39 5TZ
Open: All year
For an early season, adult-only break, Bath Chew Valley is set in a beautiful location just 10 miles from Bath, Bristol and Wells. The site is a peaceful retreat, in a garden-like setting. There are 45 pitches, all hardstanding with electric, and many of them are fully serviced. Near the site entrance is the reception area and heated toilet block. There are private cubicles with toilet, shower and basin in each. There is also a laundry. There is an acre of woodland set aside as well as a dog walking area and 800 metres away is Chew Valley Lake. You can also hire a car at reception.
Ratham Lane, West Ashling, Chichester, West Sussex PO18 8DL
Open: February – January
Offering the highest standard in luxury touring and camping, Concierge Camping is an award-winning site located on a country estate near Chichester. The site provides high-quality amenities with 27 spacious, fully serviced hardstanding pitches with 16-amp electric. Each pitch is set within its own enclosed grass recreation area with hedging to provide privacy. Dogs are welcome at no extra cost and there is a four-acre dog exercise area within the estate.
Toilet and shower facilities are more akin to what you would expect from a hotel – think granite-topped wash areas and complimentary toiletries. There’s also a shop available on site with locally sourced products and essentials delivered fresh each morning. Concierge Camping is ideally located for exploring the South Downs and the famous Goodwood Estate and its annual festivals. Locally, there are award-winning beaches for if you fancy enjoying a day at the coast.
High Street, Standlake, Witney, Oxfordshire OX29 7RH
Open: All year
Lincoln Farm Park offers 90 all-weather pitches, 22 of which are fully serviced, set in nine acres of beautiful landscaping. Pitching up here is like staying in someone’s immaculately manicured gardens, at the gateway of the Cotswolds. There’s heated amenities featuring family bathrooms, disabled facilities and a laundry. The main facilities are located at reception and these include a shop and an indoor leisure centre complex with pool, steam room, sauna and fitness centre.
Close to the site are two village pubs, both serving food and drink. If you have little ones in tow, there’s a play area, games room and mini-golf available. Being open all year, you can stay on site and easily access the architectural and cultural delights of Oxford at any time of year. There’s a bus stop at the site entrance with services to Witney and Oxford, meaning getting to the city is convenient and hassle free.
Shepherds Patch, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire GL2 7BP
Open: All year
Nestled between the Cotswolds and the River Severn, Tudor Caravan Park has a fantastic location alongside the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. There are 75 pitches set over two touring fields – one area designed for families, the other a more secluded area for adults only. Both areas are open all year with good-size hardstandings and 16-amp electric. Facilities include a luxurious new shower block with large private cubicles and a laundry. Next door to the site is the Tudor Arms, a quiet country pub and restaurant. There’s lots to do within walking distance, such as the famous WWT Wetlands Centre at Slimbridge.
Overton Road, Ludlow, Shropshire SY8 4AD
Open: All year
This purpose-built Caravan and Motorhome Club Affiliated campsite has 115 luxury pitches with water, electric, digital TV and WiFi and a separate adult-only area in one section. There are also super-pitches with grey waste disposal. The heated toilets and showers feature individual shower rooms and privacy cubicles and, for families, there is an outdoor play area and a family bathroom. Other facilities on site include a shop, laundry and fenced off dog walking section.
The surrounding area is rural fields, with the River Teme bordering the site on one side. The ancient market town of Ludlow is two miles away, with shops, restaurants and cafés. There’s also the historic castle with tours, shop and tearoom. If you’d prefer not to drive, then there is a bus service direct from the park gates. Locally, there are several historic houses, including Stokesay Court, a Grade II listed mansion set in landscaped grounds. For those wishing to get out and about there are great cycling and walking routes close to the site.
Godshill, Fordingbridge, Hampshire SP6 2JZ
Open: All year
The great thing about the New Forest National Park is that it is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year, especially on a misty morning with dappled sunlight filtering through the trees. Take a walk around this wooded wonderland in early season and you could practically have the place to yourself, aside from the ponies and numerous wildlife, of course. There’s also the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu if you need an indoor attraction and to get your fix of all things vehicular.
At Sandy Balls Holiday Village there is plenty to keep you occupied whatever the weather. On fine days you can take to your bike and explore the many trails, but if you need to seek shelter indoors, there is an indoor pool, pub and restaurant. In school holidays and at weekends, there is a host of kids’ activities and entertainment available. Touring pitches on the site are fully serviced hardstandings with easy access to toilets and showers, a shop and laundry.
Blair Atholl, Pitlochry PH18 5SR
Open: 1 March - 20 November
This picturesque park is located at the entrance to the Cairngorms National Park in the village of Blair Atholl. Easily accessed from the A9 trunk road, the site is situated just six miles from the town of Pitlochry which has a range of excellent shops, cafés, restaurants, distilleries, and a famous theatre.
With views over Blair Castle and the Highlands, this campsite is a Scottish gem. It is set over nine acres with 160 touring pitches and four-star facilities. There are hardstandings with electric and fully serviced pitches including 18-metre super-sized pitches. The facilities include five heated toilet blocks with individual cubicles, baby changing and dishwashing. There’s also a general store and a laundry.
There’s so much to do on the Blair Atholl Estate. Children will love the playground, games room and putting green. For adults there is the Atholl Hair & Beauty Room, along with Segway Ecosse – a chance to explore the area via Segway.