We’ve been asking readers here and through Facebook what they look for in their perfect campsite. We all have different likes and needs – from top-notch facilities to basic and wild, from no dogs and no kids to animal- and child-friendly.
OK, so there are always compromises to make – especially between a beautiful location and decent facilities. The ingredients of the perfect site will also differ for a family or a dog-owner, a pub-goer, a walker or a socialiser – as this snapshot of our comments shows!
Eunice Mason: Bus or train into town – oh, and no kids
Jimmy Johnstone: No dogs, no children, no noise. Clean toilets and showers with no extra charge for showers.
Cherrie Morris: Plenty of dogs, no people, a lake, ocean or mountain. Heaven!
But, here’s the list we’ve arrived at. Below that, you’ll find some suggestions for favourite campsites that fit the bill. Add your own recommendations to be in with a chance of a prize!
Howgill Lodge in the Yorkshire Dales has good facilities AND a great countryside location. See more on Dales camping.
The ingredients of a perfect campsite?
Location, location, location
Privacy – space between pitches, hedges or trees
Good free showers – none of that inserting coins malarkey
Fresh drinking water
Quiet and peace
Nearby pub, shop or café
Friendly owners or managers
Information on the local area
Kitchen area or a communal space
Alice Parker: No young boy racers doing doughnuts in the car park in the early hours.
Nick Rich: Did everyone forget..reasonable prices?
Mandi Trout and Abi Clayton: Campfires allowed
A campsite right on the water at Coniston. Pier Cottage is basic but what a location! More on Lake District camping.
Sandi Leir-Shuffrey: A pinned-up OS map so it can be photographed for walking etc (Ed: Brilliant suggestion!)
James Baldwin: Somewhere the temperature is between 75 and 85 degrees.
Buck Aroo Niedersachsen: No caravans.
Richard Hudson: Campsite to use a mower with grass collection, so grass doesn’t get in the showers and all in the tent.
Rosemarie Cragg: Some type of water – sea, lake, river or canal. I’m not fussy.
Jane ‘Major’ Richards: Good dog walking areas.
Pieter Dirk Bruinsma: Absolutely none of that list. No campsite at all, no people, no electric. Just simple off-grid relaxation. I have a camper to get away from being a sheep in the day-to-day drudgery. I’m a shepherd not a sheep! (Ed: If you agree, have a look at our articles on wild camping.)
Lee Brady:Staff with local knowledge. Nothing worse than going to reception and asking a simple question like the nearest vet or hospital and getting the ‘no idea shrug’,
Your campsite favourites
Poppi Fields: Being able to use a firepit. Pitches look too regimented for me. I like an open field and pitch where you like. My recommendation is Westdown Farm on the Devon/Cornwall border. (Ed: Very pretty site.)
Sarah Knight: For us, it’s usually good, clean, FREE toilets and showers, then the rest is a bonus! We went to Wooda Farm in Bude and it was the best site we have ever been to. It has a restaurant and bar on site, the food was delicious! (Ed: Big site with lots of facilities.)
Emma Bascombe: I go to a lively campsite that ticks most of those boxes in Cornwall (Trewithen Farm), but it’s on a big slope, no communal area (apart from the laundry room/book swap area) and the nearest pub is 20 minutes walk. It’s a Rick Stein one and it’s lovely and not too dear. (Ed: Basic site near the sea.)
Diane Williams: Eden Valley at Lostwithiel is the perfect site. Only missing item is a pub. Other perfect site is Roselands near St Just in Cornwall. That does have an on-site pub. It was so cheap we were expecting there to be something wrong. £21 a night for a family of four with electric and awning. (Ed: Less commercialised than the photo suggests. Lots of trees and a nice location.)
Peter Borthwick: South Breazle Holidays in Okehampton, Devon ticks pretty well all the list. The nearest shop is six miles away, but Tesco will deliver to your pitch. Excellent, free power showers with endless hot water. (Ed: Big, open field in the countryside.)
Helen Jamieson: Woodlands in Sheringham, Norfolk is really good. (Ed: A big park with a swimming pool in a lovely setting.)
Lee Moore: Henry’s Campsite down on The Lizard. (Ed: Pretty, quirky and Britain’s most southerly campsite.)
David George: We grade our stops from one to ten. For example, tonight’s stop on a beach just north of Gibraltar – there’s a bar on the beach, free showers (outside beach ones), a view to die for and we’re right on the beach, plus friendly locals. It earned our first nine out of ten.
Gillian Watson: Loch Ness Shores has it all. Spotlessly clean everywhere, friendly helpful staff, so peaceful even when full. (Ed: A real beauty, and open all year. Camping and Caravanning Club.)
Paul Hayward: I’m beginning to wonder if I’m a tad peculiar? I am away in the van a lot, but haven’t stayed on a campsite for some years now. This isn’t being tightfisted, I don’t want to pay thing, but more about not wanting to be amongst too many people. I look for peace and an element of wilderness. I sometimes leave the van on foot, to go off bivvying, but it’s always nice to have that cosy base to get back to. So, am I an oddity or do others here feel the same way? (See our article on bivvying, by the way, if you like the sound of Paul’s camping life)
David Wilcock: Beinglass Farm, north of Loch Lomond, which is more of a walkers’ place as it’s on the West Highland Way. Hot clean showers, views and an awesome pub that can get lively with spontaneous guitar bagpipes and singing. (Ed: One of our favourites too. Laidback and lovely.)
David Wilcock: Bodfan Farm, Rhosneigr on Anglesey just a field with toilets and showers, cheap as chips but it’s in one of my favourite places with beaches, RAF base and nice little town. (Ed: A big site, a bit charmless but good for beaches. See our article on Anglesey camping too.)
David Wilcock: Gillside Farm at Glenridding is a field with decent showers, a short walk to a pub with grub and in the shadow of Helvellyn with a cracking view of Place Fell. (Ed: See more Lake District campsites too.)
Sissy James: Camusdarach in the Highlands has superb panoramic views of the islands and is sheltered by trees. Free wifi, great facilities, space and eco credentials. No hook-up, but they can charge batteries/phones for you.
Katrin D: Gibraltar Farm claims to be the prettiest campsite on Morecambe Bay. It’s got fantastic views and lots of nice touches, including its own icecream. Hook-up and a village pub within half-a-mile.
Tony Sheldon: Hooks House Farm is small and friendly with immense sea views. Not far from Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby on the East Coast. Pubs and shops within walking distance.
Mandy Park: Burnbake Lodges and Campsite is quite heavenly (though it can get busy). Campfires, fairy lights, pitch anywhere, but good facilities too. Take a bottle to the little cafe for a dinner of local mussels or pop in for breakfast.
Many thanks to everyone who responded to our call for thoughts and ideas. If you’d like to add your favourites to the list, leave a comment below. There’ll be a camping kit prize whenever we get a great suggestion!