10 campsites for caravanning sun seekers
If you’re chasing the sun this autumn and winter in your caravan, here are some ideas of where you might get more than just a glimpse of it!
Words by Claire Tupholme
1. Islawrffordd Luxury Holiday Park
Talybont, Barmouth, Gwynedd LL43 2AQ
T 01341 247269
Open All year
North Wales might not be your first thought for sunshine and warmth in winter, but records show during the past 100 years the mercury has risen above 17° C eight times in January, and each occurrence was on the coast of north Wales.
One place to benefit is the village of Portmeirion, which has Mediterranean architecture and lush, subtropical gardens. The Gulf Stream-enhanced microclimate allows exotic plants to thrive here.
Best known as the setting for the 60s TV series The Prisoner, this Italian Riviera-inspired 1925 folly of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis is full of Italianate buildings, pastel shades, classic statues and decorative pools.
Islawrffordd is 30-minutes’ drive from Portmeirion and offers hardstanding super pitches with electric, fresh and waste water points and digital TV connection.
If the sunshine should let you down then the site has a heated indoor pool, Jacuzzi and sauna, a coffee shop, games arcade, and top-class restaurant and bar Nineteen57.
2. Kiln Park Holiday Centre
Marsh Road, Tenby, Pembrokeshire SA70 7RB
T 01834 844121
Open 15 March to 4 November
Price from £16
According to the Telegraph, the south coast of Pembrokeshire is one of the sunniest places in Britain. It’s beautiful. It makes sense then, if staying in the UK for winter sun, to suggest Haven’s Kiln Park Holiday Centre, near Tenby.
The site has 107 pitches including hardstanding super pitches. There’s lots to keep the family amused including an indoor pool and entertainment.
Just over a mile away is the popular fishing harbour of Tenby but you can reach the town’s south beach direct from the site. With sandy beaches, pastel-painted houses and many boats coming and going, the harbour area has a Riviera-like feel to it.
From the harbour you can access Seal Safaris and boat trips to Caldey Island. And if you need warming up you can get tasty fish and chips at the Sea View Restaurant or enjoy international cuisine at Ocean Restaurant — both with views over the harbour area.
3. Waverley Park Holiday Centre
51 Old Road, Cowes, Isle of Wight PO32 6AW
T 01983 293452
Open All year
Price from £22
If sunshine is important to you then the Isle of Wight is your place. In a week, 36.9 hours of rays shine on the largest island in England, compared with the nationwide average of 29.5 hours.
Shanklin, on the east coast of the island, has on average 1,887 hours of sunlight a year. Compared with the Yorkshire Dales at 1,143 and you’re onto a winner already.
At just 25 miles by 13 miles, the Isle of Wight is easily explored wherever you are located. There are over 500 miles of footpaths and over 200 miles of bridleways for cyclists, plus many sandy beaches and the popular seaside towns of Ryde, Sandown and Shanklin.
Waverley Park is within walking distance of the mainland ferry connections and the centre of Cowes with its shops, pubs and restaurants is a comfortable stroll away.
On site are fully serviced pitches that are a combination of grass and hardstanding, some with views of the Solent. Waverley Park has a bar, play area, outdoor pool, showers and toilets.
4. Warner Farm Touring Park
Warner Lane, Selsey, Chichester, West Sussex PO20 9EL
T 01243 604499
Open 1 March – 2 January
Price from £33
Weather websites claim the south coast county of West Sussex is the place to be for sunshine. The average daily temperature in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, during December and January is above 8° C and Bognor is one of the top places for sunshine, averaging 1,902 hours a year.
What is the secret to Bognor's sunny disposition? Nestling in a secluded corner of the south coast, it is protected from northerly winds by the South Downs, and partly sheltered from wet and windy westerlies by the Isle of Wight and the peninsula of Selsey Bill.
Warner Farm Touring Park has various pitches in a grassy park just a short walk from the main holiday park facilities. These include an indoor pool, entertainment and eating and drinking venues. There are hardstanding pitches and service pitches located close to the shower block and family washrooms.
The park is just nine miles from the city of Chichester.
5. Island Lodge Caravan & Camping Site
Stumpy Post Cross, Kingsbridge, Devon TQ7 4BL
T 01548 852956
Open All year
Price from £25
‘Winter in Salcombe is winter only in name,’ said Victorian historian, James Froude. And he was spot on.
The scenery in this south Devon resort town is stunning at any time of year. If you come for a visit in winter you may have the gorgeous sandy beaches to yourself and the place isn’t overrun with yachtie-types, as it is in summer.
Just two miles south of the town is the National Trust’s Overbeck’s garden. This hidden paradise of subtropical gardens is where bananas grow, and lush exotic plants — palms, citrus and olive trees and fuchsias — thrive in a microclimate warmed by the sheltering South Ham hills. All that’s missing is a parrot or two flying overhead.
Eight miles inland from Salcombe is Island Lodge Caravan and Camping Site near Kingsbridge, in a rural setting. Set within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the site has a play area, disabled wet room, toilets, showers and a laundry.
Dogs are welcome on site and the area has many walking routes to explore.
6. Camping La Vieille Ferme
296 Boulevard des Groules, 06270 Villeneuve Loubet plage, France
T 0033 493 334144
Open All year
Price from €22.50 (£20)
This site is only about one kilometre from the Mediterranean, mid-way between Nice and Cannes, on the south coast of France. The 119 pitches are mainly hardstandings with electric hook-up, shared water and drainage and separated by hedging.
Facilities on site include heated toilet blocks, with disabled facilities, a laundry and Wi-Fi. Fresh bakery goods are available all year round but the snack bar is only open from April until October. There’s also a swimming pool, covered and heated in winter.
La Vieille Ferme is ideally located for exploring the French Riviera, with its famous resorts of Nice, Monaco and Cannes. There is a bus stop 300 metres away with services into Nice and Cannes, and the Biot Gare SNCF is just a 15-minutes walk away, giving easy access to Monaco.
You can of course also take a short walk to the sea and dip your toes in the warm waters of the Med.
7. Camping Tres Estrellas
Carretera C-31, km186,2 (Autovía de Castelldefels) 08850 Gavá, Barcelona
T 0034 93 633 0637
Open 11 January to 14 December
Price from €19.94 (£18)
With average Celsius temperatures in the mid to late teens, when in the UK they’d be lucky to hit 10° C, Barcelona is a great option in the winter months. The cosmopolitan and vibrant city is home to many remarkable features including extravagant buildings by Gaudi, imaginative food and vibrant street life.
Camping Tres Estrellas is situated in Gavá, 12 kilometres from Barcelona. Frequent buses run to and from Barcelona, dropping off in Gavá, including a night bus and the bus station is only 300 metres from the campsite.
Facilities on site include an outdoor pool and children’s pool, two restaurants, a bar, shop and barbecue area. There are pitches with electric and fully serviced ones that have the addition of water and drainage.
The campsite also offers tickets to Barcelona attractions including a bus hop-on hop-off city tour and entry into the famous La Sagrada Familia church.
8. Scarabeo Camping
Viale Dei Canalotti s.n C/da Punta Braccetto 97017, S Croce Camerina
T 039 932 918391
Open All year
Price from €22 (£20)
With average Celsius high temperatures during October to February being mid to late teens, Sicily is a great place to head to for winter warmth.
The beachside campsite at Scarabeo Camping is situated in Punta Braccetto, a small fishing village on the coast of south-east Sicily. The sea, the dunes and the rolling countryside combine to offer a typical Mediterranean landscape. The area is rural and largely devoted to cucumber and tomato growing.
The site is divided into small areas and occupies in total 12,000 square metres with direct access to the beach. You can relax and enjoy magnificent views of the bay and the ruins of an eighteenth century fortress. All pitches are hardstanding, electric is available and pitches are separated by hedges and borders.
Facilities for guests include a modern sanitary block, with private (you get your own key) or shared toilets, a laundry and Wi-Fi. Fresh bread and fish are available daily, there’s car and bike rental, and a market and shop are nearby. The nearest restaurant is open all year is six kilometres away.
9. Camping La Bella Vista
Crtra Nacional 340 km 142.8, 29691 Manilva, Málaga, Spain
T 0034 952 890020
Open All year
Price from €31 (£28)
Camping La Bella Vista occupies a beach front location in a suburb of the village of Manilva in the sun-baked region of Andalucia on Spain’s south coast.
The beach at La Bella Vista is stunning, with clean sands and uninterrupted views of the sea. If you fancy a European coastal holiday during the UK’s winter, then this is the place.
There are 150 pitches, each with its own electric, water supply and waste disposal. TV connection and Wi-Fi are also available. Amenities include showers, family bathrooms, disabled facilities, laundry, shop and play area.
The restaurant serves European cuisine and offers diners views over the Mediterranean. There is also an outdoor pool overlooking the beach, and a beach bar providing food and drink.
La Bella Vista is located close to many attractions and the pretty villages of Andalucia. Scuba diving, boat trips, golf, fishing, tennis, cycling, horse riding and walking can all be enjoyed nearby.
A short drive down the coast is the Rock of Gibraltar, and Algeciras where you can get a ferry to Morocco.
10. Beuvelande Campsite
Rue De Beuvelande, St Martin, Jersey JE3 6EZ
T 01534 853575
Open April to October
Price from £16
Temperatures in Jersey are mild year-round, and with an average of 1,917 hours, the island is said to have more sunshine per year than the rest of the British Isles.
The best time to visit is from mid-September to the end of October. Sea temperatures are still good, probably at their warmest, there are not as many visitors and prices are lower.
Most importantly, you tend to get settled weather and the place just feels more relaxed. It is still a very exposed island, so be prepared for damp winters, even if the temperature is mild. On the plus side, though, you’ll have places to yourself.
Beuvelande Campsite has a choice of standard and super pitches with 10A electric. There is an outdoor pool, a site shop, free Wi-Fi, toilets, showers and a laundry.
There’s also Tilleys Bar and Restaurant serving food daily or with a takeaway option. Tilleys also runs family-friendly entertainment during the peak months.