Top 10 UK winter camping spots for you and your motorhome
No need to worry about where is best to go in your motorhome, as the experts at MMM Magazine - Britain's best-selling motorhome magazine have picked the best top 10 places for you.
1. Islawrffordd Luxury Holiday Park, North Wales (PREMIER PARK)
Address: Talybont, Barmouth, Gwynedd LL43 2AQ / Tel: 01341 247269 / Web: islawrffordd.co.uk / Open: all year
North Wales might not be your first thought for sunshine and warmth in winter, but records show that during the past 100 years the mercury has risen above 62°F (17°C) eight times in January, and each occurrence was on the coast of north Wales. This is likely due to the föhn effect, common in the Alps, in which a warm, dry wind blows down the downwind side of mountains.
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.
Islawrfordd is 30-minutes’ drive from Portmeirion and offers hardstanding super pitches with electric, fresh and waste water points, digital TV connection and courtesy light. 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. Concierge Camping, West Sussex (PREMIER PARK)
Address: Ratham Estate, West Ashling, Chichester, West Sussex PO18 8DL / Tel: 01243 573118 / Web: conciergecamping.co.uk / Open: February – January
Weather websites claim that 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.
Concierge Camping is a luxury touring park just 30-minutes from Bognor Regis. Here you’ll find 15 spacious, immaculate hardstanding pitches with electric, and a toilet block that wouldn’t be out of place in a boutique hotel. Concierge Camping is also close to plenty of great attractions whatever the weather. These include the city of Chichester, Arundel Castle, and Portsmouth with its Spinnaker Tower, historic dockyard, and many shops and restaurants.
3. Carpenters Farm Campsite, Isle of Wight
Address: Carpenters Road, St Helens, Ryde, Isle of Wight PO33 1YN / Tel: 01983 874557 / Web: carpentersfarm.co.uk / Open: all year
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, sees on average 1,887 hours of sunlight a year. Compare that 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.
Carpenters Farm Campsite is just one mile from Bembridge Harbour with an easy walk to the beach. The site is situated in 16 acres, next to St Helens Marshes, an RSPB reserve. You can walk along the old railway line from St Helens to Brading, through the marshes and red squirrels are often seen around the site. The grass pitches have electric hook-up and there are toilets and showers, a laundry and WiFi.
4. Parkland Caravan & Camping Site, Devon
Address: Sorley Cross, Kingsbridge, Nr Salcombe, Devon TQ7 4AF / Tel: 01548 852733 / Web: parklandsite.co.uk / Open: all Year
‘Winter in Salcombe is winter only in name,’ said Victorian historian James Froude. And he was spot on. The scenery is 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, such 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 Parkland Caravan and Camping Site. Open all year, the site is great for out of season breaks to Devon. There’s three acres of landscaped grounds with panoramic views over Salcombe. Choose from hardstanding and grass pitches, or super pitches with water and drainage, and even RV-sized super pitches. Please not that dogs are not accepted at this site.
5. Cardinney Caravan & Camping Park, Cornwall
Address: Crows-An-Wra, Penzance, Cornwall TR19 6HX / Tel: 01736 810880 / Web: cardinney-camping-park.co.uk / Open: February – November
According to weather forecasters, the Isles of Scilly are the warmest place in Britain, with a mean annual temperature of 12°C. The daily average in January (7°C) even tops Nice in France, and there a generally only two frosts a year. Even if the Scilly Isles’ weather isn’t up to its usual recorded standard, you can still get a feel of the Canary Islands at Abbey Garden on Tresco.
Abbey Garden is a subtropical haven housing a collection of 20,000 plants from places such as South Africa, New Zealand and Brazil that wouldn’t survive on mainland Cornwall, and there’s also the type of towering palms that you only normally see abroad. A word of warning - winter storms on the island can be fierce, but on a clear day, the white sand beaches are idyllic.
You can get to the Scilly Isles by boat from Penzance (March to November) or on a flight from Land’s End islesofscilly-travel.co.uk/day-trip-fares
If you stay at Cardinney Caravan & Camping Park you are only 15 minutes from both locations. There are 90 pitches (56 with electric), toilets and showers, a laundry, shop, café and takeaway.
6. Daisy Cottage Campsite & Retreat, Jersey
Address: Rue De Vinchelez, St Ouen, Jersey, Channel Islands JE3 2DB / Tel: 01534 481700 / Web: daisycottagecampsite.com / Open: all year
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.
Daisy Cottage is a small site with an emphasis on relaxation. As well as toilets and showers, a shop and a laundry, there are also onsite treatment rooms. Therapies offered include massage, hot stone, sports massage and reflexology. There are also yoga sessions, guided meditation and various workshops and courses throughout the year.
7. Camping La Vieille Ferme, Côte d’Azur, France
Address: 296 Boulevard des Groules, 06270 Villeneuve Loubet plage, France / Tel: 0033 493 334144 / Web: vieilleferme.com / Open: all year
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 WiFi. 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 that is 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 only 15-minutes walk away, giving easy access to Monaco. You can of course also take a sort walk to the sea and dip your toes in the warm-ish waters of the Med.
Address: Málaga Monte Parc s/n, Arroyo Hondo, Alhaurin de la Torre, Málaga 29130, Spain / Tel: 0034 951 296028 / Web: malagamonteparc.com / Open: all year
This is an all-in-one holiday village set amid stunning scenery, overlooking the city of Málaga on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, midway between the sea and the mountains. Meaning ‘coast of the sun’ or ‘sun coast’ this region of Spain is full of beautiful landscapes, fabulous beaches and mild winter temperatures.
Located about 25 kilometres to the west of Málaga in the town of Alhaurin de la Torre, Málaga Monte Parc Holiday Village offers 40 touring pitches. The plots are arranged in individual patios with separate electricity and water points.
The facilities on site include toilets and showers, a fully-stocked supermarket, and a large swimming pool with a sun terrace. With an average of 300 sunny days per year in Málaga, the pool can be enjoyed all year round. The site’s bar and grill is also open all year round serving breakfasts, lunches and evening meals along with a variety of alcoholic and soft drinks.
9. Scarabeo Camping, Sicily
Address: Viale Dei Canalotti s.n, C/da Punta Braccetto 97017, S. Croce Camerina / Tel: 039 932 918391 / Web: scarabeocamping.it / Open: all year
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 southeast 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 WiFi. Fresh bread and fish are available daily, there’s car and bike rental, and a market and shop are nearby. The nearest restaurant that is open all year is six kilometres away.
10. Camping des Oliviers, Essaouria, Morocco
Address: BP 13 Centre Ounagha (Ounara), Province d’Essaouira, Morocco / Tel: 00212 613 954382 / Web: campingdesoliviers.com / Open: all year
Temperatures in the North African country of Morocco, in the same time zone as London, hover around 20°C throughout November and December, even reaching highs of 29°C in October and 23°C in November.
Camping des Oliviers is located 24km inland from the Atlantic coast city of Essaouira. For those that love the ocean, the site is just 20 minutes from the crescent beach of the city which, thanks to strong trade winds, is popular for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing.
Essaouira is a port city and resort, its old town protected by 18th century seafront ramparts with old brass cannons lining the walls. The town is a warren of whitewashed houses and crumbling, honey-coloured fortifications, with stalls and souks, but thankfully not to the standard of pestering found in the mayhem of Marrakesh.
The campsite has large pitches with electric, separated by ropes and serviced by unisex toilets and showers. There’s a pool open April to September and a restaurant and café open all year. Table tennis, volleyball, badminton, and billiards are all available on site.
This short guide was created by the team at MMM magazine, which has been Britain's best-selling motorhome magazine for the past 51 years! Every issue contains:
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