The best beachfront campsites in the UK

·6-min read
A white sand beach on the Isle of Berneray (Getty)
A white sand beach on the Isle of Berneray (Getty)

With summer on the horizon, we’re all itching for a warm weather escape - but have you considered camping? With a spike in bookings for cottages and self-catering accommodation across the UK, camping offers a budget-friendly option for your staycation this year.

Camping has seen a rise in bookings too - after the government’s roadmap out of lockdown was announced in February, camping guide site Cool Camping saw its busiest day of the month and February 2021 as a whole saw a 500% increase in bookings compared to the same month last year.

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“Cornwall remains the most popular location, followed by the Lake District in second place and the New Forest in third," James Warner Smith, editor of Cool Camping tells Yahoo UK.

"There's also particular demand for coastal locations, wilder camping sites and campsites with campfires."

“In short, demand is pretty through the roof at the moment," says Warner Smith, adding that the volume of bookings Cool Camping has received through February and March is comparable to what they would usually expect to see in the height of summer.

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“With foreign travel looking more and more unlikely, people are keen to get a date in the diary and beat the rush, particularly after last year where finding last-minute space proved quite difficult," he explains.

"We expect the same again this year, with many of the top campsites booking out for weekends well in advance – a few campsites on our website are already fully booked for August weekends.”

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Warner Smith adds that a “huge” part of the appeal of campsites right now, is the desire to get out into open spaces after so long spent in lockdown - particularly for those in urban areas.

“Camping is a fantastic way to meet with groups of friends and families and socialise again, whilst still spending time outdoors, which we know is a safer setting for the transmission of the virus,” Warner Smith continues.

“There's a huge pent-up demand for holidays right now, but the chance to take that holiday in an outdoor environment, particularly with summer and better weather on the way, makes camping the holiday of choice.”

While staycations in England should be a sure thing this summer, we should get a clearer idea of whether Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will open up on 12 April when a government taskforce report is released.

Read more: These are the fastest-growing destinations for post-lockdown travel

With this in mind, read on to see our pick of the best beachfront campsites in the UK, below.

Ocean Pitch Campsite in North Devon, England

(Cool Camping)
Croyde Beach is a surfing hotspot (Cool Camping)

Overlooking surfing hotspot Croyde Beach (with the expansive Saunton Sands just down the road), Ocean Pitch Campsite is the perfect spot to plonk yourself at sunrise and watch patient surfers on the lookout for the right wave. The site is also directly on the coastal path - so it’s easy enough to reach the neighbouring beaches by foot.

Price: from £15 per person, per night | Book here

Cnip in the Isle of Lewis, Scotland

(Cool Camping)
You'll be almost touching the sea when it's high tide at Cnip (Cool Camping)

It may take a ferry from the Scottish mainland and a short drive to reach Cnip (pronounced “neep”) but, once there, you’ll feel as if you’ve reached the end of the earth. Set in a tiny crofting community - locals own the campsite - there’s a lovely tidal bay where you can breathe in lungfuls of fresh sea air.

Price: up to £15 per unit, per night | Book here

Lepe Beach Campsite in Hampshire, England

(Cool Camping)
A tent-only haven (Cool Camping)

Hampshire probably isn’t the first place you think of when you’re looking for a seaside camping spot, but Lepe Beach Campsite is just 137 metres from the beach and overlooks the Solent and the Isle of Wight. It’s a tent-only site so no facing off against campervans for the best spots.

Price: from £32.50 per tent, per night | Book here

Troytown Farm Campsite in Isles of Scilly, England

(Cool Camping)
Choose between two small beaches at Troytown Farm (Cool Camping)

A plane or a ferry are the only two ways to get to St Agnes, one the smaller islands in Scilly. Known to be a sub-tropical haven just off the coast of Cornwall, these islands are packed with friendly locals, fresh seafood and boast a temperate climate. While there’s a pebbly beach in front of Troytown Farm Campsite, the sandy Periglis Beach is just around the corner.

Price: from £10 per adult, per night | Book here

Shore Campsite in Achmelvich, Scotland

Achmelvich Beach in Scotland (Getty)

Flanking Achmelvich Beach, one of Scotland’s best hidden beaches, visitors can wake up to the sound of lapping waves at Shore Campsite. The beach itself is set on the North Coast 500 route and is all white sands and crystalline waters, especially beautiful on a clear summer’s day.

From £11 per night | Book here

Pencarnan Farm in St Davids, Wales

Set on a 96-acre working farm on the most westerly point of Pembrokeshire, this campsite sits just above the teal-hued Porthsele beach. As well as tented sites, you can book into a romantic shepherd’s hut and the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and Wales Celtic Trail runs around the Pencarnan headland.

Price: from £21.50 per adult, per night | Book here

Treen Farm Campsite in Cornwall, England

(Cool Camping)
Popular Porthcurno beach is just a short walk from Treen Farm (Cool Camping)

A place where campers and cows co-exist, Treen Farm Campsite is just a 10-minute clifftop walk from the golden sand Pedn Vounder beach - at low tide you can access Green Bay and Porthcurno beach by walking along the sand. You can’t pre-book a tent space here, so be sure to turn up before 8pm to nab a spot.

Price: from £8 per adult, per night | Find out more here

Aberafon Campsite in North Wales

(Cool Camping)
Explore the varied rock pools at Aberafon Campsite (Cool Camping)

Perched on the Llyn Peninsula, flanked by a beach and mountains, you really couldn’t get any closer to the sea than at Aberafon campsite. The coastline here is rugged, but there’s lots of rockpools for kids to explore and there’s a coastal path to follow as well.

Price: from £8.50 per adult, per night | Book here

Manor Farm in Norfolk, England

With the seaside town of Cromer (and subsequently Cromer Beach) just a 10 minute walk away, Manor Farm is the ideal spot for a slice of solitude this summer. It’s set on a working farm so spring sees roaming calves and lambs while ponies are there year-round.

Price: from £17.50 per family, per night | Book here

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