England’s unique coastline is home to a mountain of indoor and outdoor attractions offering history, heritage, and some of the best beach combing in the UK. Inns and hotels dot the oceanfront and so do some of the most sublime campgrounds, offering convenient facilities for visitors exploring the many varied backdrops along the coast. Whether pitching a tent, popping open a camper, or booking a cozy camping snug, a world of natural treasures opens up along the brilliant waterfront: beaches, castles, gorgeous walking paths, historic pubs, and rich wildlife create divinely diverse experiences.
- Isles of Scilly | Bryher Campsite
The mostly sheltered Bryher Campsite in Isles of Scilly, tucked between two large hills, is the perfect place to catch views of Tresco and Hangman Island. Isles of Scilly is set in Cornwall County and surrounded by waters so clear and blue they could easily be mistaken for a Caribbean backdrop. The archipelago off the southwest end of the Cornish peninsula has a tiny population and is the perfect spot to breathe the air and recharge your mind, body, and soul. At Green Bay there’s a beautiful sandy beach and a peaceful feel at Rushy Cove where swimming conditions are ideal. With showers, washing machines, clothes dryers, and proper restrooms, it doesn’t feel much like roughing it. For a break from the campfire, visit one of the most popular nearby pubs, Fraggle Rock, or enjoy delectable seafood suppers at Hell Bay Hotel.
- Pembrokeshire | Dale Hill Farm
Another noteworthy camping area in Pembrokeshire, Dale Hill Farm offers the riches of the exciting coastline where outdoor activities abound and the scenery is something difficult to take your eyes off. Dale Hill Farm provides a large, open field, a backdrop of a rocky escarpment, and fantastic vistas of Milford Haven estuary. Enjoy basic amenities including showers, bathrooms, and a space for doing dishes with handy access to a freezer and refrigerator. Diving and surfing is possible at West Dale and pontoon crabbing is a delight for kids. Skokholm and Skomer are both natural reserves explored via a quick boat trip to the stunning islands. The coast is showered with natural attractions found along the 299-kilometer coastal route beginning in Cardigan and ending at Amroth Castle. It can be walked, driven, cycled, or explored in any combination of ways.
- Penzance | Treen Farm Campsite
Located in the port of Cornwall on the west side, Treen Farm Campsite faces the gleaming English channel, borders Newlyn (a popular fishing port) and is just 600 feet from Treen Cliff. Facing southwest, Treen receives excellent sunlight, and there are beautiful, 360-degree vistas, a large recreation area, and a handy, onsite shop. There are beaches within easy walking and driving distance. Nearby Penzance and the pretty port are also close by where there are quaint shops and a harbour where fishing boats can be rented or trips arranged. Logan Rock is one of the nearby possible cliff walks best for beginners or intermediates and the Southwest Coast Path can be hiked in either direction: west for Sennen Cove and Lands End and east for Newlyn, Lamorna, and Mousehole–the entire coast is a cycling Mecca and bikes can be borrowed from Treen Farm.
- Cornwall | Bay View Farm
Overlooking broad Looe Bay in Cornwall, Bay View Farm is a mesmerizing place to pitch tent, park a trailer, or stay in one of the farm’s onsite (tiny) huts called snugs. These are some of Cornwall’s finest views, a perfect spot for a camping trip. Onsite, there are electric hookups, free hot showers, and free WiFi too if disconnecting is too much to bear. If the weather turns grim–or even if it doesn’t–don’t miss exploring nearby Eden Project, described as the “largest indoor rainforest in the world,” set within manmade bio-domes featuring plants brought in from all around the world. Just outside the entrance to Bay View Farm is the start of several striking coastal walks: one route follows a path to Mellendreath, onward to Looe, and finishes at Polperro while the other heads along Bodigga Cliff toward Seaton and finishes at Downderry.
- Dorset | Burnbake Campsite
Burnbake Campsite is an essential visit for die-hard campers seeking an enchanting coastal backdrop, sublime views, and the delights of Studland Bay beaches. Featuring 130 campsites near many cycling routes, haul the family’s bicycles and enjoy the great outdoors at beautiful Swanage and Corfe Castle, less than ten kilometers away. Situated on Dorset’s south coast on the Isle of Purbeck, Burnbake Campsite spans 12 acres in a partially forested chunk of land where campers can pitch a tent out in the open or under the canopy of trees. Onsite, there is a small store stocking cooking and camping equipment and also washing machines and hot showers. There’s also a great café offering baked goods, wood-fired pizza, local produce, and vegetarian meals. Milk comes from local Swanage Dairy and meat from revered Warehams’ Curtis Butchers and the kids will love a cone from Purbeck Ice Cream Shop.
- Pembrokeshire | Trehenlliw Farm
The camping scene within coastal farm communities has been a boon for outdoor tourism in the U.K. Summertime visitors are exploring new areas based out of a tent or snug–and avoiding expensive hotels. At Pembrokeshire, campers have access to more than 115 acres of farmland near the coast and tucked between St. George’s Channel and Bristol Channel on the Celtic Sea. Fringed by the Penberi and Carnllidid mountains, the coast area has excellent sand beaches, including Whitesand Beach which is a favoured surfing point about a kilometer away. Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is a stone’s throw away and a natural gem filled with coastal walking opportunities. Head off dolphin and seal watching to Ramsey Island or take a trip into charming St David’s village, the smallest in England, and explore 4th century St David’s Cathedral with its stunning stone facade and myriad windows.
- Suffolk |Cliff House Holiday Park
Situated on England’s east coast, Cliff House Holiday Park features 30 acres of woodlands, immediate access to Dunwich Heath’s rocky beach (perfect for beach combing), and is within walking distance to the beaches of Southwold and Walderswick. The Coastal Centre has a Seawatch Room for porpoise and seal viewing. The flourishing bird reserve at Minsmere has woodland nature trails, dunes, and beaches to visit while the pier at Southwold takes you into the world of slot machines and vibrant bathing huts flanking a nice beach for a mix of fun activities on the North Sea coast. Back at Cliff House, guests enjoy a newly renovated shower block and bathrooms with hot showers along with laundry facilities and a washing spot for dishes. On rainy days, the games’ room entertains with pool tables and TV and the restaurant serves real ales and classic pub dishes.
- Norfolk | High Sand Creek Campsite
Within easy distance of three coastal nature reserves (Holkham, Blakeney, and Scolt Head), High Sand Creek occupies a large section of land skirting the water’s edge so oceanfront views are still possible (book as early as you can). Bird-watchers come for the whimsical salt marsh lying beyond High Sand and hikers for the beautiful North Norfolk Coastal Path running through Stiffkey village. Crabbing is possible at the bridge by the marshes and if you’re lucky, you’ll be cooking up a feast come dinnertime. Daytime hours are easily swallowed up by time spent along any of the deluge of beaches along the coast; Hunstanton is most notable for its rock pooling and banded cliffs. With 80 sites across five acres to choose between and access to hot showers, bathrooms, and washing sink, High Sand Cree has everything needed for an easy holiday by the coast.
- Isle of Wight | Grange Farm
East of Brighton is Grange Farm, a cliff top campsite overlooking Brighstone Beach. The farmland fringes the cliff, offering striking views of the English Channel and though it’s fairly exposed to high winds, it’s a thrilling spot to camp. The closer to the edge, the easier the walk to the beach below and the better the panoramic waterfront views–it’s a trade-up. For a more sheltered stay, book one of the camp pods offered; these are basic units requiring everything but a tent. Washing and bathing facilities, a small shop, and free hot water are offered. There’s so much to do and see in the area; visit Carisbrook Castle where donkeys power a 16th century tread wheel, drawing water up to the castle; try land-sailing on a wheeled vehicle powered by a sail; eat award-winning ice cream at Briddlesford Farm; the list goes on and on.