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The 10 best campsites for history and heritage holidays


We've hand-picked these campsites which are ideal if you want to immerse yourself in Britain's architectural history. There's everything from ruined Gothic abbeys to stunning Norman castles to discover ...

1 Proctor’s Stead, Northumberland

Craster, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 3TF
Tel: 01665-576613  Web: www.proctorsstead.co.uk
Open: 21 March - 3 November

Proctor’s Stead is a small campsite situated one mile from the sea and close to the coastal fishing village of Craster, famed for its smoked kippers. The big draw for this site is that it’s a short walk across fields (or a 1½ mile coastal walk from Craster) to Dunstanburgh Castle. This iconic ruin is situated on a headland, dominating a beautiful stretch of Northumberland coastline. The castle was the focus of much fighting during the Wars of the Roses. Craster itself has a traditional kipper smokehouse, and the restaurant here is great for seafood. It is open seasonally so it’s best to check opening times and book in advance. The Coasthopper bus service is handy for anyone wanting to easily explore more of the expansive coast here. The campsite is an open site bordered by hedging; pitches are on grass or hardstandings with electric hook-ups. Facilities are simple but clean and there’s a handy well-stocked tourist information area.

Tintagel Castle2 Trewethett Farm Caravan Club Site, Cornwall

Trethevy, Tintagel, Cornwall PL34 0BQ
Tel: 01840-770222  Web: www.caravanclub.co.uk
Open: 22 March - 4 November

Tintagel Castle is steeped in legend and mystery and reputed to be the birthplace of King Arthur. Its awe-inspiring remains of steep stone steps and crumbled walls sit on a windswept cliff edge with dramatic views. There’s a beach café serving cream teas, snacks and drinks too. Tintagel town has enough shops, bars and restaurants to keep everyone in the family happy. Trewethett Farm Caravan Club Site gives easy access to the coastal path that leads to Tintagel and Boscastle. Set on a cliff top, the site overlooks Bossiney Cove which has a sandy beach (but the descent is difficult). The site is open to non-Club members and has all the facilities you would expect from a Caravan Club site.

Chatsworth House3 Chatsworth Park Caravan Club Site, Derbyshire

Baslow, Bakewell, Derbyshire DE45 1PN
Tel: 01246-582226  Web: www.caravanclub.co.uk
Open: All year

This Caravan Club site is set in an old walled garden on the Chatsworth Estate. Chatsworth House has passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family and has over 30 public rooms to explore and an internationally-significant art collection. Outside, the formal gardens and 1,000-acre park laid out by Capability Brown include the the famous cascade and fountain. Visit the farm shop – which offers marmalades and jams among its many scrumptious delights. All the pitches on the campsite are hardstanding and the toilet block benefits from privacy cubicles. Non-members are welcome. A discount entry to the house and gardens is offered to campers staying on the site too.

Whitby AbbeyPremier Parks4 Whitby Holiday Park, North Yorkshire

Saltwick Bay, Whitby, North Yorkshire YO22 4JX
Tel: 01947-602664  Web: www.whitbypark.co.uk
Open: 1 March - 31 October

Whitby Abbey sits on a headland overlooking the popular seaside town. The abbey’s long history dates to the thirteenth century and today it encourages visitors to discover the daily life of the monks who once lived here. Bram Stoker was inspired by its Gothic splendour when writing Dracula and close by is the Norman church of St Mary’s which was made famous by featuring in the novel. Enjoying a clifftop location, Whitby Holiday Park is one of the closest campsites to Whitby and the abbey ruins are just a short stroll away – you can see the ruins from the site itself. Many of the pitches have a view out over the sea and the site has a bar, café, games room, takeaway and shop.

Corfe CastlePremier Parks5 Norden Farm Touring Caravan & Camping Site, Dorset

Norden Farm, Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset BH20 5DS
Tel: 01929-480098 Web: www.nordenfarm.com
Open: 1 March - 31 October

Surrounded by countryside and the Purbeck Hills, this site is peaceful and a great countryside retreat. Norden Farm has an on-site shop and modern amenities, along with a children’s playground and fishing lake. Set on a working farm, this rural campsite is a hit with children due to the variety of animals on site. The site is only about half-a-mile from the village of Corfe Castle, which is dominated by the castle ruins. The walk up the hill to the castle is quite steep but worth it for the views across Purbeck and to spend some time discovering the fallen walls and secret places. There’s 1,000 years of history to be uncovered here.

Wells Holiday ParkPremier Parks6 Wells Holiday Park, Somerset

Haybridge, Wells, Somerset BA5 1AJ
Tel: 01749-676869  Web: www.wellsholidaypark.co.uk
Open: All year

This adult-only campsite is within walking distance of historic Wells, known for its cathedral and Bishop’s Palace. The Gothic cathedral dates between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries. There’s also a café and restaurant. The Bishop’s Palace is Somerset’s only 800-year-old medieval palace and features a moat, flagstone drawbridge and portcullis, plus 14 acres of gardens. Wells Holiday Park’s pitches are all-weather and some are fully serviced. The heated facilities are high quality, plus for that added luxury there’s an on-site beauty room. Add to this a shop, pentanque courts and views across the Somerset countryside and you have everything you need for a relaxing holiday.

Eilean Donan Castle7 Ardelve Caravan & Camping Park, Northen Scotland

Ardelve, Nr Kyle, Northern Scotland IV40 8DT
Tel: 01599-555231 Web: www.ardelvecaravanandcampingpark.co.uk
Open: April - October

Eilean Donan Castle is probably the most photographed castle in Scotland. Situated on an island where three sea lochs meet, and surrounded by great Scottish scenery, it is a sight to behold. Nearly every part of the castle is open to visitors giving them a valuable insight into the history of the area. Ardelve Caravan & Camping Park is located at the edge of Loch Alsh, across the bay from Eilean Donan. The campsite is an area of hardstanding with metred hook-ups and basic facilities, but the stunning lochside location of pitches, and the easy ten minutes’ walk from the castle and Dornie village make this site truly special.

Bosworth Caravan Park8 Bosworth Caravan Park, Warwickshire

The Gatehouse, Cadeby Lane, Cadeby, Market Bosworth, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV13 0BA 
Tel: 01455-292259  Web: www.bosworthcaravanpark.co.uk
Open: All year

The Battle of Bosworth in 1485 saw the houses of Lancaster and York fight for the throne of England. This battle led to the death of Richard III and the loss of his crown to Henry Tudor. The battlefield is now a heritage centre and country park and home to a new trail which enables you to discover the battle while enjoying breathtaking views. Bosworth Caravan Park, opposite the country park, is ideal for visiting the battlefield. This site is bordered by trees and provides a secluded place to pitch. The town of Market Bosworth is close by offering all manner of amenities. Your motorhome will need sanitation facilities to stay at this site.

DornafieldPremier Parks9 Dornafield, Devon

Two Mile Oak, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 6DD
Tel: 01803-812732  Web: www.dornafield.com
Open: 14 March - 4 January

Dornafield is set around a fifteenth century farmhouse, once besieged by Roundheads during the Civil War. The farm buildings have been adapted to house the reception, shop and games room but retain their old-world charm. The area around Dornafield has attracted people for thousands of years. Stone-slabbed burial chambers, dating from the first millennium BC, lie at the top of rising ground a little to the east. As you make your way along the road through the site you will also come across an old lime kiln. Dornafield’s facilities are first class. There’s all-service, all-weather pitches, two play areas (one including a living willow den) and a tennis court.

Nairn C&CC Site10 Nairn Camping and Caravanning Club Site, Morayshire

Delnies Wood, Nairn, Inverness, Morayshire IV12 5NX
Tel: 01667-455281 Web: www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk
Open: 1 March - 28 October

Following the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1746 at Culloden, George II created the ultimate defence against any further Jacobite unrest – Fort George. Situated on a promontory jutting out into the Moray Firth, it took 20 years to complete and still serves as a military base. Providing a fascinating insight into eighteenth century military life are its garrison buildings, artillery defences with cannons and a huge collection of arms. There’s also a regimental museum, shop and seasonal café. Nairn Club Site is sheltered within part of a Highland forest near the town of Nairn and its sandy beach. Hardstandings and electric hook-ups are available along with a facilities block, TV lounge and games room.

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