Dog Friendly Campsites: Five Favourites in the UK
Take your pup, but not necessarily your pup tent, to one of our favourite dog-friendly campsites.
Castlerigg Hall Caravan and Camping Park
Keswick, Cumbria CA12 4TE
T 01768 774499
OPEN 8 March – 5 November
PRICE from £21.00 (two adults, pitch, electric, dogs from £1.50 per day)
You know a campsite is dog-friendly when it has a dedicated warm water dog shower. How often have we wanted an easy way to hose down the hound after they’ve found something irresistible to roll in? And how often have we had to, well, ‘encourage’ the dog to go for a swim hence?
Castlerigg Hall occupies an enviable position overlooking Derwent Water, with stunning views over this most picturesque part of the Lake District. There are excellent walks direct from the site, and a direct path to Keswick (1½ miles away) actually cuts through the park but can only be accessed from the road outside. There are two dedicated dog walking areas and a large dog-free recreation field.
Tourers are placed on level hardstanding pitches with 10A hook-up, most also having water and drainage, and a few of these benefit from the fine views. Among the other amenities on site are a first-rate restaurant, a well-appointed camper’s kitchen, and a surprising on-site art gallery showcasing the painting, photography, jewellery and sculpture of local artists including the owner.
The site has made efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, for instance installing a ground-source heat pump to a shower block. For us though, it is the reduction in muddy footprints that wins.
Lady Heyes Touring Caravan Park
Kingsley Road, Frodsham, Cheshire WA6 6SU
T 01928 788557
OPEN All year
PRICE From £18.50 (two adults, two kids, one dog, pitch and electric)
It almost sounds too good to be true: a highly rated, dog-friendly campsite with a microbrewery attached. Lady Heyes is part caravan park, part craft and antiques centre. The latter includes an diversity of products and services from antiques to teddy bears, old-fashioned sweets to vinyl records.
Here the Frodsham Brewery creates various hand-crafted bottle-conditioned ales brewed, as it proudly states, for flavour rather than strength.
This mid-Cheshire campsite also has its own bistro, takeaway, clubhouse, and indoor play barn. It is within easy reach of Chester, Delamere Forest, and Oulton Park motor racing circuit, providing various potential excursions. It’s also just two miles from Frodsham, the market town which gave its name to the brewery and which offers various eateries and shops.
There are 85 pitches on the touring field and the site offers electric hook-ups, a modern toilet block, and free showers. Lady Heyes promises a warm welcome for caravanners, but unusually also offers a warm shower for dogs.
The site’s combined bike wash and dog shower is set at 30C, which makes life more pleasant both for dirty dogs and those who wash them. The first dog in a party is free, with additional animals just £1 per night.
Rutland Caravan and Camping
Greetham, Oakham, Rutland LE15 7FN
T 01572 813520
OPEN All year
PRICE from £18.90 (two adults, pitch, electric)
This Caravan Club affiliated site has separate fields for families and adults-only parties, and has a new indoor swimming pool under construction for 2014. Rutland is famously England’s smallest county, but is also picturesque with unspoiled villages and scenery which can rival the Cotswolds in everything except tourist numbers. This makes it an excellent destination for the discerning caravanner.
There are various outdoor activities here, with the vast Rutland Water offering sports and wildlife opportunities aplenty and Greetham Valley Golf Club just down the road. Also, nearby are Barnsdale Gardens, famously associated with Geoff Hamilton, the Rutland Falconry and Owl Centre, and the stately homes of Burghley House and Belvoir Castle.
It’s a dog-friendly site, providing a dog shower and woodland walk for the mutt in your life. The park is flat and offers a choice of grass or hardstanding pitches, with the advantage that the limestone terrain here is exceptionally free-draining. There is an indoor heated games room to keep the kids happy in poor weather, a small shop on site, and Greetham village with its post office and selection of pubs is just five minutes’ walk away.
Fforest Fields Caravan and Camping Park
Hundred House, Builth Wells, Powys, Wales LD1 5RT
T 01982 570406
OPEN 1 March – 4 January
PRICE from £18.00 (two adults, pitch, electric)
Allowing up to two dogs free per pitch – also free pup tents for kids – this secluded campsite in Powys has direct access to various farm and woodland walks.
Covering 12 acres just a few miles from the market town of Builth Wells, Fforest Fields is on a working hill farm and has a stunning location. Its two fields offer different experiences, with the smaller and more established one having a stream running through and more mature planting, while a newer field has the better views down the valley.
The facilities block is immaculate and recently-built, while the park’s environmental credentials are of the first order. It has collected a David Bellamy Gold award for the past 14 years, and is one of just a handful of campsites to have collected two Bellamy special awards for Enduring Commitment to Conservation. The site has even been involved in a novel research programme to help save the willow warbler.
There are plenty of activities nearby for the visitor. Fishing, golf, and riding are all within a short distance, while the more energetic might opt for mountain biking or even paragliding. Fans of obscure royal memorabilia may be interested in the rare Edward VIII postbox in Builth Wells.
Hollands Wood Caravan and Camping
Lyndhurst Road, Brockenhurst, Hampshire SO42 7QH
T 01590 622967
OPEN 21 March – 30 September
PRICE from £17.20 (two adults, pitch. Dogs free. No electric on site)
One of the 19 Camping in the Forest sites dotted around England, Scotland, and Wales, this large site in the New Forest is in an excellent location for outdoors adventures. These parks are a joint venture between the Forestry Commission and the Camping and Caravanning Club and, as the name suggests, all are in forests.
At Hollands Wood, the forest and heathland surrounding the site extends for miles, with dozens of footpaths and cycle routes, streams and picnic spots. Dogs are free of charge and up to three are allowed per pitch, but even more than other campsites it is important these are under control: New Forest ponies are among the wildlife that routinely wanders through the park.
Pitches are on level grass and there is no electric, but the site is well served with three toilet and shower blocks, wheelchair-accessible facilities, laundry and dog shower. There are pubs, banks, shops and even a railway station in Brockenhurst village, just a ten-minute walk away.
The only real downside is the approach roads are often congested (don’t follow satnav or you’ll end up at the wrong campsite), but once you’re pitched up here it is surprisingly easy to get away-from-it-all feeling.
Riverside Caravan and Camping Park
Marsh Lane, North Molton Road, South Molton, Devon EX36 3HQ
T 01769 579269
OPEN All year
PRICE from £17.00 (caravan on grass, 2 adults, 2 kids, 2 dogs, and electric)
Nestling in the foothills of Exmoor, this campsite is not just on a riverside but has a river running through it. The pleasant wooded valley of the river Mole provides plenty of opportunities for children and dogs to explore and get messy, which sounds like the recipe for a great caravanning holiday to us.
Pitches are arranged over 40 acres of flat meadow and woodland, and this recently-built site promises first-rate facilities – hardstanding or grass pitches, free hot showers, laundry, WiFi, shop, and evening entertainment in season. It has a tea room and bar, a play area, and a fishing lake stocked with carp up to 28lb. It is walking distance to the market town of South Molton, close to Exmoor National Park, and within easy reach of many excellent beaches.
This is an excellent area for birdwatching and botany. Those wishing to further explore the wildlife of the area can join TV naturalist Johnny Kingdom, who runs regular Exmoor safaris starting and finishing at the campsite (see johnnykingdom.co.uk for further info).
We particularly like the no-nonsense tariff on this campsite, with the prices determined by type of pitch and season. Basic prices include your car, caravan, awning, two adults, two children, and two dogs.