18/10/2023
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Coastal campsites: our pick of the best in Britain

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  More Editor's campsite picks

What’s not to love about a coastal camping and touring holiday? In summer, the family can build sandcastles in the sun, or enjoy an ice cream after a splash in the sea

In the winter, you can take a bracing walk along a quieter seafront, taking in panoramic views as far as the eye can see. Let our guide to Britain’s best beach campsites inspire you for your next coastal holiday.

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Words by Claire Tupholme

 


What do you need to know about beach camping?

Whether you want to be right on the sands of the beach, or pitched up on a clifftop enjoying panoramic sea views, there’s a coastal campsite in Britain to suit everyone.

Britain is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and dramatic coastlines and campsites where you can get among all the bucket-and-spade action of the beach, or simply sit back and admire the coastal view.

And who doesn’t love a trip to the coast, especially when the summer days draw nearer? Paddling in the sea, eating an ice cream while relaxing on the sand, or fish and chips overlooking the waves – there’s something for everyone on a seaside holiday. You can enjoy a coastal holiday all year round, though – hit the beach to soak up the rays in summer, or take a refreshing walk along the coast in winter – either way, life is better at the beach!

While you can’t actuallyy camp on the beach in Britain, you can find coastal campsites with the beach close by or just a short walk away. The best beach campsites in England, Scotland and Wales can be found a stone’s throw from golden sands. Beach campsites tend to have special outdoor showers for hosing off sandy shoes, wetsuits and even pets! You’ll also find the beast beach campsites are located near popular beaches with facilities like toilets, refreshments and watersports equipment hire – making them an ideal location for families.


Best campsites on the south coast

Whether you want all the seaside fun of a bustling seaside resort like Bournemouth and Brighton, or prefer the more relaxing, fossil-rich beaches of Dorset's Jurassic Coast, the south coast of England is perfect for a coastal break.

East Fleet Farm Touring Park

Dorset

East Fleet

(Photo courtesy of Away Resorts)

East Fleet Farm, an AA five gold pennant awarded park, enjoys a truly spectacular location on the sheltered shores of the Fleet Lagoon. Running along the shoreline at the edge of the campsite is the World Heritage Jurassic Coast Footpath with the sandy beach of Weymouth just over 10 minutes away.

East Fleet is open from mid-March until the start of November, with a variety of pitches and brilliant facilities including a bar and restaurant with views over the lagoon, impressively stocked camping shop and play area. Dogs are welcome too, so your four-legged family members needn't miss out!

East Fleet Farm Touring Park  

Warner Farm Touring Park

Sussex

Warner Farm

(Photo courtesy of Warner Farm)

Warner Farm Touring Park is part of a larger holiday complex, Seal Bay Resort, where guests have access to an entertainment venue, restaurant, café, fish and chip shop, pizza delivery service, indoor pool, gym, sauna and steam room, and lots of different activities for children.

All of this is close by, yet the touring campsite itself is about a 15-minute walk away – perfect for those who prefer a peaceful place to pitch, yet with all the action just a short walk or courtesy bus ride away. The resort is located on the Selsey Bill Peninsula, near Chichester, with access to a stretch of pebble beach and other beaches are only a few miles away. The campsite has electric hook-up and fully serviced pitches, with toilets, showers, a laundry room and small shop.

Warner Farm Touring Park   

Monkton Wyld Holiday Park

Dorset

Monkton Wyld

(Photo courtesy of Max Redwood)

Being only three miles from the Jurassic Coast, Monkton Wyld is the perfect campsite for anyone who enjoys uncovering lots of history and geology. There are walking routes to the seaside resort of Lyme Regis with its harbour, museum, and winding alleys. Also nearby is Charmouth, where there is a sandy bathing beach – ideal for any grandchildren who may be in tow.

The campsite is divided into several paddocks, with hardstanding and grass pitches with electric. Facilities include toilets and showers, family rooms, a laundry room, a shop, dog walking areas, dog wash and motorhome waste point.

Monkton Wyld   

Bagwell Farm Touring Park

Dorset

Bagwell Farm Touring Park

(Photo courtesy of Bagwell Farm Touring Park)

This campsite is set in a quiet valley within five miles of Weymouth's sandy beach and bustling harbour. It is a short walk to the South West Coast Path and the Fleet Lagoon on Dorset’s incredible Jurassic coastline.

This award-winning campsite is perfect for people looking to get closer to nature – without losing touch with their home comforts.

Facilities include super pitches with electric, bathrooms, and The Red Barn bar and takeaway which is open at weekends during mid-season and nightly in high season.

Bagwell Farm Touring Park  

Ulwell Holiday Park

Dorset

Ulwell Cottage Caravan Park

(Photo courtesy of Ulwell Holiday Park)

Close to the sedate and beautiful little resort of Swanage and backed by the Purbeck Hills, Ulwell Holiday Park is an ideal base for exploring this genteel coastline. The horseshoe-shaped beach of fine sand is sheltered and ideal for swimming, paddling and sunbathing.

Swanage also offers watersports, boat trips and a railway. Ulwell Holiday Park has its own bar and restaurant which offers both takeaway and eat-in meals. Many pitches are on terraces, with hardstandings available.

There’s also an indoor swimming pool, play area, shop and WiFi.

Ulwell Holiday Park  

South Lytchett Manor

Dorset

South Lytchett

(Photo courtesy of South Lytchett Manor)

South Lytchett Manor is a five-star, family-run campsite in Poole, Dorset, and was recently named AA Campsite of the Year.

Just five miles from Poole and seven miles from Bournemouth and the Jurassic coastline, South Lytchett Manor is ideally placed for exploring the Dorset coastline and urban landscape. Facilities on the campsite include a shop, café, bakery, information hut and several large award-winning amenity blocks for guest use. The local pubs are a 10 and 20-minute walk and the bus stop is just outside the gates for direct access to Poole and Swanage.

South Lytchett Manor   

Fishery Creek

Hampshire

Fishery Creek

(Photo courtesy of Fishery Creek)

Fishery Creek Park is a tranquil oasis that runs parallel to a tidal creek connected to Langstone and Chichester harbours, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A 10-minute stroll from the campsite leads you directly to the beach. Campsite amenities include The Galleon Bistro and a tidal slipway which is a great place for all sorts of water-based activities. The campsite is a mixture of well-drained grassland and shingle pitches with electric hook-up.

Creekfront and lakeside prime pitches offer fantastic views. There are plenty of walks directly accessible from the campsite. Local shops, restaurants and pubs are all close by. Further afield the historic coastal towns of Chichester, Portsmouth and Bournemouth can be easily reached by car.

Fishery Creek Touring Park   

The Oven Campsite

Hampshire

Oven Campsite

(Photo courtesy of The Oven Campsite)

The Oven is a popular choice for family camping holidays on Hayling Island. It's close to the villages of Mengham and West Town and just 20 minutes on foot to the main beach area and fairground. Facilities include a heated outdoor swimming pool, a toilet and shower block, shop, café, play area and football field. There are plenty of nearby restaurants and eateries.

The campsite is home to 280 plots including a large dedicated camping field for tents and space for touring caravans and campervans. The Oven is perfectly located within easy reach of beautiful fields, farms, woods and the sea.

The Oven   


Best campsites on the east coast

From sandy family beaches to wilder, nature-rich beaches designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the east coast of England certainly provides a range of the best beaches to choose from. Norfolk is popular and home to several large seaside resorts, while Suffolk offers quieter, pebbly beaches perfect for a winter's walk. And then there's Essex, with Mersea Island providing the coastal charm and a sense of adventure.

Woodhill Park

East of England

Woodhill Park

(Photo courtesy of Woodhill Park)

On a stunning clifftop position between the seaside towns of Sheringham and Cromer, Woodhill has various pitch types suitable for motorhomes, caravans or tents, including fully serviced and hardstanding pitches. Luxury static caravans can be hired.

There are three modern amenity buildings with accessible facilities, family bathrooms and shower rooms, plus dishwashing sinks, dog wash and laundry room available. The campsite shop offers groceries and basic caravan equipment. There’s a themed children’s playground, games field and table tennis tables. Walk from Woodhill along the England Coast Path to Sheringham or Cromer or catch the bus right outside the campsite.

Woodhill Park   

Waxham Sands Holiday Park

East of England

Waxham Sands

(Photo courtesy of Lovat Parks)

Stroll over sand dunes directly from the campsite to Horsey Gap Beach and meet the grey seal neighbours. Wander the beautiful Norfolk Broads, just four minutes away. Whether you’re skimming stones at Sea Palling Beach or putting your boating skills to the test on the Broads, there’s no place like east Norfolk for reconnecting with nature.

Pitch up at Waxham on grass pitches with or without electric hook-ups. Suitable for tents, tourers, motorhomes and campervans. The campsite is dog friendly, too, so you can bring all the family!

Waxham Sands   


Waldegraves Holiday Park

East of England

 Waldegraves

(Photo courtesy of Waldegraves Family Holiday Park)

Escape to the coast and enjoy a touring or camping break on the beautiful Mersea Island at Waldegraves. The campsite is situated on beautiful and historic Mersea Island overlooking the sparkling Blackwater Estuary.

The holiday campsite has pitches for tents, touring caravans and motorhomes as well as holiday homes for hire. The campsite is family owned with a private beach and access to boat launching facilities. The campsite is dog-friendly with plenty of designated exercise space for your pets.

There is so much to do at Waldegraves – there's no time to get bored. Alongside the fun-packed family entertainment programme, there are activities to suit the whole family, including crazy golf, FootGolf, pitch and putt, a driving range, games room, coarse fishing lakes, and outdoor heated swimming pool (open May-September).

Waldegraves   


Best campsites near the beach in Cornwall and Devon

Some of the most popular and best beaches in England can be found in Devon and Cornwall and a variety of coastal campsites, too. You'll find many are right by golden, sandy beaches stretching as far as the eye can see, and with plenty of space for everyone. Others will be ideally located on clifftops, with panoramic coastal views to enjoy direct from your pitch. Some Cornwall and Devon beach campsites are a short walk from hidden coves, or pretty seaside towns that are perfect for exploring.

Porth Beach Holiday Park

Cornwall

Porth Beach

(Photo courtesy of Porth Beach Holiday Park)

The campsite is just 100 metres from one of Newquay’s best family beaches. There are 186 beautiful, level grass pitches (177 with 16A electric, and nine non-electric), plus 36 hardstandings and 11 premium pitches with electric, water, waste and TV hook-up. 

The picturesque layout, fringed with flower beds and palm trees, is set in a tranquil wooded valley bordered by a bubbling stream. The modern, immaculate, heated toilet block has privacy cubicles, a baby changing area with bath, and an outdoor covered dishwashing area, plus a large, modern laundry room with two wheelchair-accessible rooms. Porth is an ideal location for visiting Padstow and the north coast of Cornwall.

Porth Beach  

Pentewan Sands Holiday Park

Cornwall

Porth Beach

(Photo courtesy of Pentewan Sands)

Named one of the top holiday campsites in the southwest, Pentewan Sands is a five-star holiday campsite in Cornwall with a privately owned beach, two indoor swimming pools, excellent family facilities and a range of holiday accommodation. 

Whether you choose to bring your own motorhome, touring caravan or tent, or stay in one of the modern and well-equipped holiday homes, you can be sure that you are staying in one of the most popular, privately owned and family-friendly five-star holiday campsites in Cornwall.

Wake up to the sound of the sea. Swim and sail in gentle waters. Or simply sit back and relax under the huge skies and endless horizon.

Pentewan Sands  

Sun Haven Holiday Park

Cornwall

Sun Haven

(Photo courtesy of Lovat Parks)

Set on the edge of a sun-dappled wood, this campsite is perfect for families who crave the great outdoors. Stroll through woodland to award-winning, dog-friendly Mawgan Porth Beach. It’s a popular surf spot but without the Newquay crowds. Only a short drive to Watergate Bay, Padstow and everything the glorious north coast has to offer, Sun Haven Holiday Park is a true gem.

Pitch up at Sun Haven on grass and hardstanding pitches with or without electric hook-ups. Suitable for tents, tourers, motorhomes and campervans. The campsite is dog friendly, too, so you can bring all the family!

Sun Haven   

Wooda Farm

Cornwall

Wooda Farm

(Photo courtesy of Wooda Farm)

Wooda Farm Holiday Park is set in 40 acres of parkland with stunning views of Bude Bay and countryside inland, with many safe, sandy beaches within two miles. The campsite caters for motorhomes, caravans, campervans and tents and has excellent facilities with plenty of open space, colourful flower beds, well-kept lawns and peace and quiet.

On the campsite is the Courtyard Bar and Grill, Lodge Takeaway, Loft Cocktail Bar, shop, children’s play area, pitch and putt, woodland walks, dog exercise field, gym, mountain bike trail, tennis and badminton courts and fishing lakes. There is also a handy bus stop at the campsite's entrance.

Wooda Farm   

Newberry Valley

Devon

Newberry Valley

(Photo courtesy of Newberry Valley Park)

This is a peaceful campsite on the edge of Combe Martin village, which is less than 10 minutes’ walk from the beach and has pubs and shops. Combe Martin Beach is just around the corner and is a mix of shingle and pebble with sand close to the water. As the beach is backed by high sea cliffs, it is very sheltered, so ideal for swimming.

Newberry Valley Park offers a selection of pitches – grass or hardstanding with electric hook-up, plus fully serviced grass or hardstanding pitches. Facilities include a play area, fishing lake, toilets and showers, all-in-one shower rooms, a launderette and dog and wetsuit washing facilities.

Newberry Valley Park  


Best campsites near the beach in Wales

Wales has scores of unforgettable seaside destinations, from secluded spots to tourist-friendly towns and villages. There are even beaches where you can drive your vehicle onto the sand for a comfortable day at the beach! Choose the west coast for golden sands and world-famous locations, such as Portmeirion and Harlech, or head to the south coast for unforgettable beaches at Rhossili and Three Cliffs Bay.

Islawrffordd Luxury Holiday Park

Gwynedd

Islawrffordd

(Photo courtesy of Islawrffordd)

Located at the southern end of Snowdonia National Park, with direct access to the beach. The touring areas are well laid out with 75 fully serviced hardstanding touring pitches for caravans and motorhomes. Sanitary facilities are first rate – and new in summer 2020 were the ‘Cader Suites’, individual bathroom suites which need to be booked in advance.

On the campsite there’s a coffee shop, fish and chip takeaway, restaurant, and indoor swimming pool. A main attraction is the coast, right next to the touring field. Here the dog-friendly sandy beach provides plenty of opportunity for walks and relaxation.

Islawrffordd Luxury Holiday Park  

Garreg Goch Caravan Park

Gwynedd

Garreg Goch

(Photo courtesy of Claire Tupholme)

Garreg Goch primarily caters for static caravan and lodge visitors, but also has a small selection of touring pitches that are hardstanding with hook-up. There is an on-campsite shop, individual washrooms, a washing-up area, a laundry room and dog wash, too.

The campsite is less than a mile from the vast beach at Black Rock Sands near Porthmadog, which is backed by nature reserves. A short drive away is the coastal village of Criccieth and the harbour town of Porthmadog. From here, why not take a ride on the Ffestiniog and the Welsh Highland Railway to explore the wider area?

Garreg Goch Caravan Park  

Hendre Mynach

Gwynedd

Hendre Mynach

(Photo courtesy of Hendre Mynach)

This quality campsite, the closest to Barmouth, is just 100 metres from a glorious beach and 20 minutes' level stroll to the town centre. Barmouth is a little gem of a seaside town with a great harbour that is sheltered by cliffs and hills behind.

It boasts miles of clean and glorious sandy beaches. Hardstanding and grassed pitches are available, along with shower and toilet facilities, a shop and enclosed play area.

The campsite is screened by mature trees to shelter it from the sea breezes and separate it from the buildings of the town.

Hendre Mynach  

Bron-Y-Wendon Holiday Park

Conwy

Bron-Y-Wendon Holiday Park

(Photo courtesy of Bron-Y-Wendon Holiday Park)

Bron-Y-Wendon Holiday Park has amazing panoramic views of the Irish sea and Llandudno’s Great Orme. Easily accessible, with the Wales Coast Path adjacent, you can walk or cycle safely to all of the local seaside towns.

The campsite offers excellent facilities, including hardstanding and grass pitches with electric, plus fully serviced pitches and a play area. Llanddulas Beach is down the road and there are many seaside resorts nearby.

The campsite is adjacent to the Wales Coast Path and National Cycle Route 5.

Bron-Y-Wendon Holiday Park  

Pitton Cross Caravan Park

Swansea

Pitton Cross Caravan Park

(Photo courtesy of Pitton Cross Caravan Park)

Pitton Cross is only one mile from Rhossili village and its beach, which is often voted the "Best Beach in the UK”.

There is a large car park, a pub, a couple of cafés and a National Trust shop at the beach. The city of Swansea is only 16 miles away where you will find the National Waterfront Museum. The scenic coastline is within walking distance from your pitch.

Ramsgrove Cove is good for rock pooling, Mewslade and Fall Bay for bodyboarding, buckets and spades and climbing. Rhossili Beach is ideal for climbing, surfing, walking, and to see the Helvetia shipwreck.

Pitton Cross Caravan Park  


Best campsites near the beach in Scotland

The beaches in Scotland, especially those in the Highlands, are some of the closest you'll get to being abroad without actually stepping foot on a plane – white sand, turquiose waters – highly popular in summer but equally as stunning in winter.

Elie Holiday Park

Fife

Elie

(Photo courtesy of Elie Holiday Park)

Abbeyford Leisure’s award-winning Elie Holiday Park in Scotland’s East Neuk of Fife is a real hidden gem and offers a fine selection of self-catering options including fantastic touring and tent pitches with modern washroom facilities nestled behind the sand dunes at Shell Bay.

Set on the Fife Coastal Path, the campsite is also home to the free Robinson Crusoe Adventure Park, a superb restaurant, popular café and family friendly bar, all of which welcome well-behaved dogs.

Elie Holiday Park   

St Monans Holiday Park

Fife

St Monans

(Photo courtesy of St Monans Holiday Park)

A small and tranquil campsite on the outskirts of the fishing village of St Monans and overlooking the Fife Coastal Path. Guests can walk to the harbour or along the coastal path to the ruins of Newark Castle. Three miles away is the seaside town of Anstruther, from where boat trips to the Isle of May Nature Reserve can be taken.

The campsite’s small touring and tent field is located close to the entrance of the holiday park, which also has holiday homes to hire. Touring pitches are gravel-based, with hook-up. Facilities include toilets and showers, a launderette and play area. There is a shop nearby and guests can make use of the bar, restaurant and café at Elie Holiday Park (a 10-minute drive away).

St Monans Holiday Park   

Sands Caravan and Camping

Highlands

Sands Caravan and Camping

(Photo courtesy of Sands Caravan and Camping)

With its beautiful beachside location and views across to the Isle of Skye and Outer Hebrides, this spacious, family-friendly campsite has something for everyone.

Situated on the beautiful west coast of the Highlands of Scotland with unsurpassed views of the Isle of Skye and Outer Hebrides. Bring your own caravan, motorhome or tent and set up wherever you wish in the designated areas. Whether you choose a sheltered spot amongst the sand dunes or a raised pitch with unrivalled views, this large, spacious campsite has something for everyone.

Sands is an ideal base to explore the best of Wester Ross, with the famous Torridon Hills to the south, plus many other walks in the area, the world-renowned Inverewe Gardens to the north, and wildlife cruises as well as the newly built museum based in Gairloch itself.

Sands Caravan and Camping  

Auchenlarie Holiday Park

Dumfries & Galloway

Auchenlarie

(Photo courtesy of Auchenlarie Holiday Park)

An award-winning campsite situated on the beautiful coastline of Dumfries and Galloway, with direct access to a secluded beach overlooking picturesque Wigtown Bay and only a short drive from the stunning Galloway Hills.

With its indoor heated pool, sauna, arcade, daily entertainment, children’s indoor and outdoor play areas, Auchenlarie is the perfect base for a fun-filled family holiday or a relaxing break away. On the campsite is the superb Rob n Roll Restaurant and Takeaway plus a choice of three different bars and a well-stocked Premier convenience store.

Auchenlarie is perfectly situated to explore the surrounding area, with the towns of Gatehouse of Fleet, Kirkcudbright, Newton Stewart and Castle Douglas all within a 20-minute drive from the campsite. The campsite is on the doorstep of the beautiful Galloway Forest Park. Why not try your hand at mountain biking or simply walk the trails and hills of this stunning area?

Auchenlarie Holiday Park  


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