Choosing a campsite can be a daunting decision, especially for first time campers, so we have created the following mini guide to help you choose your ideal camping location.
The first and most important factor to consider when choosing a campsite is location. There are many campsites scattered across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, all with different things to offer. If you want a seaside break, consider popular coastal locations such as Cornwall and North Wales. If you enjoy peaceful, tranquil settings, Somerset, the Yorkshire Moors and the Scottish highlands are common camping destinations. If you camp in the UK often, perhaps consider becoming a member of the Camping and Caravan Club.
Do you want to stay in the campsite most of the time, or just use it as a base; somewhere to eat and sleep before heading off for the day? Many campsites nowadays have toilet and shower blocks and some larger campsites have extensive on-site facilities including social areas, shops and laundrettes. However, if you want to open up a wider range of camping destinations, consider getting a portable toilet. Modern toilets are very hygienic and easy to keep clean and fresh. If you are buying in the UK, visit Waudbys.com for a large selection.
Are you hiking, biking or driving? If you are walking, make sure the campsite is within reachable distance of the bus or train station and invest in a large hiking rucksack. A few sites will even arrange pick-up/drop-off to promote car-less camping, whilst some ban all vehicles from the site completely! Most car-less campsites will heavily promote this fact, but make sure you check if you’re in any doubt.
Catering for the family
Do you need a child or pet friendly campsite, an adults-only campsite, or even a campsite that allows naturism? Adults-only campsites tend to be quieter, and are often a good choice during school holidays when family campsites may be busier. On the other hand, if you are a family with children, you need to be sure that the campsite is child-friendly. For less popular campsites ask about site security, closeness of playparks and whether you are able to camp within a short walk from the toilet blocks. When it comes to camping with pets, remember that although a lot of campsites allow dogs, nearby beaches, countryside areas or nature reserves may not. Check how dog-friendly local attractions are, how many dogs you are allowed and whether your dogs need to be kept on leads in the campsite or just ‘under control’.
As with hotels and other forms of holidays, the more facilities you want, the more you will have to pay. If you want a lot of facilities on-site or a close proximity to local attractions, this is likely to increase the price per night of your stay. Check the basic price is per plot and not per person. The latter is unusual, and the reason why the site charges per person should be clearly explained. Make sure you have factored in ‘extras’. For example, some sites charge extra for things like vehicles, dogs, awnings and extra tents.
Take your time looking for campsites and involve your fellow campers. Perhaps make a shortlist of your favourites within a specific price range or location and then ask your friends or family which they prefer. To some people an idyllic location will matter more than whether there is a pub onsite. To some people a small, adults-only, dog-friendly campsite in the middle of the countryside will be ideal, whilst others will prefer a large, family-friendly campsite within waking distance of the sea. Whatever you are looking for, there will be a perfect camping opportunity out there for you. So we wish you good luck and happy camping!