We love a weekend away camping near the beach! Sand between toes; cool waves splashing on sun-warmed skin; Sea breezes blowing away the cobwebs… Camping on the coast brings a feeling of freedom and evokes memories of fun days out as children. We all enjoy being beside the seaside, whether to swim, explore rockpools or snorkel; walk, paddle or surf; or simply to enjoy listening to the ocean. Here’s are 20 great Coastal locations from coolcamping.co.uk to help you get your beach on!
1. Bryher Campsite, Isles of Scilly
Bryher Campsite enjoys lovely salty views of Hangman Island and Tresco, but its situation between two hills means it’s relatively sheltered. During the summer Bryher can, in the right weather, feel like an other-worldly paradise, with a glorious sandy beach at Green Bay and a quieter cove at Rushy Bay for swimming. Facilities include lavatories and basins, with coin-operated showers, hair dryers, washing machines and tumble dryers. The campsite is fully booked until August 25, 2014.
Where to eat: If you’re looking for a cosy pub, try Fraggle Rock, but if you’re tired of campfire cooking, treat yourself to local seafood on the outdoor bar at Hell Bay Hotel. Price: £10.25pp, under 4s free.
Contact: 01720 422886; bryhercampsite.co.uk
2. Treen Farm Campsite, Penzance.
Just three miles from Land’s End, Treen is also a short walk or drive away from some of Cornwall’s best beaches, including the isolated sands of Pedn Vounder. Sennen is a 10-minute drive away, and Whitesands Bay is one of the best places to surf. The site sits in a field back from the cliff top, so it’s not too exposed, even in inclement weather. Local attractions include Porthcurno Telegraph Museum for wet days, or the dramatic Minack Theatre, an open-air auditorium cut into the rocks. Facilities include showers, lavatories, laundry and washing-up area. No pre-bookings are taken.
Where to eat: there is also an on-site shop selling local meat, vegetables and bread, along with beach goods and camping gas. This year, cows from the farm will be providing pasteurised organic milk.
Price: from £5 per adult, from £2 per child. Tents from £2 per night, cars £1 each Contact: 07598469322; treenfarmcampsite.co.uk
3. Ayr Holiday Park, St Ives.
This site is situated within walking distance of the traditional Cornish fishing port and holiday resort of St Ives. There are really lovely views of the beach, so it’s not surprising that this is a popular spot for surfers who head to Porthmeor Beach for sand, surf and sunsets. Facilities at the site are first-rate, with a children’s play area and games room, a wet room for wetsuits, and plenty of hot water after a day in the sea. Hairdryers, showers and hot water are free.
Where to eat: Blas Burgerworks offers top-quality beef, chicken and more in arty St Ives. Read more on Britain’s best seaside cafes and restaurants.
Price: tents from £8, adults from £5, child from £2.50. £75 deposit required on booking. Contact: 01736795855; ayrholidaypark.co.uk
4. Bay View Farm, Cornwall.
The views from this charming site to West Looe on the far side of Hanner Fore, and over the water to St George’s Island, are some of the best in Cornwall. A small site, it’s beautifully run, with a good amenities block and free hot showers and Wi-Fi, and electric hookups (£3). Also available are “camping snugs” - wooden huts for which “you bring everything except the tent”. If the weather turns nasty, the Eden Project is about 10 miles away.
Where to eat: The picturesque fishing village of Polperro, where you can buy fresh fish for your barbecue, is just down the road. Or walk along the coastal path to the beach cafe at Black Rock resort.
Price: pitches from £10 for two adults and two children; snugs from £25 per night (sleeping two adults and two children).
Contact: 01503 265922; looebaycaravans.co.uk
5. Slapton Sands Camping and Caravanning Club, Devon.
As well as immaculate facilities and 115 generous pitches on manicured grass, this site also boasts stunning views over Start Bay and a gently relaxed atmosphere. There is a huge shingle beach at Start’s Bay. Dartmouth is a few miles up the road, from where you can take a boat trip up the river to Totnes. The excellent facilities include lavatories, showers, washbasins, laundry and a children’s playground.
Where to eat: The village of Slapton is just down the road, with a nice pub (the Queens Arms) and a good food shop with local organic food and vegetables.
Price: from £7 pppn
Contact: 01548 580538; campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk
6. Burnbake Campsite, Dorset.
The high number of repeat visitors is testament to the charm of this site, which has 130 pitches, close to the sandy delights of the beaches at Studland Bay, a short drive away and the proximity of excellent cycle paths means it is worth bringing children’s bikes. Corfe Castle and Swanage are just six miles away. Facilities include showers, washing machines, baby-changing facilities and a small shop stocking camping and cooking equipment. No individual pitch bookings are taken except for the spring and August bank holidays, so turn up early.
Where to eat: There’s a good on-site café selling pizza and vegetarian food and the shop sells some local produce, including baker’s goods made nearby by Williams of Wool, meat products from Curtis Butchers in Wareham, milk delivered daily from Swanage Dairy, and Purbeck Ice Cream. Head for a more formal option at Shell Bay Seafood Restaurant, on the shores of Poole Harbour, which has views to Brownsea Island.
Price: basic pitch charge is from £9 per night for one adult with a tent; extra adults from £4, children from £2.
Contact: 01929 480570; burnbake.com
7.Trehenlliw Farm, Pembrokeshire.
This charmingly basic site sits in 115 acres of farmland used for sheep and breeding cattle, framed by Carnllidid and Penberi mountains. This area of coast is studded with fantastic, sandy beaches, and the popular surfing beach, Whitesands Bay, is just a mile down the road. You can also take a boat to Ramsey Island for some seal and dolphin spotting, but if you want a break from the sea, you can walk to the exquisite tiny city of St David’s, with its beautiful cathedral, in about 10 minutes. The pretty basic facilities on site include shower blocks, free hot water and washing-up sinks.
Where to eat: there are independent food shops aplenty in St David’s, including a deli, butcher and a grocery store, CK’s. Cwtch* restaurant (01437 720491; cwtchrestaurant.co.uk) is good for something a little more formal, serving modern classics including smoked mackerel pate and Welsh ribeye steak.
Price: about £10 per pitch
Contact: 01437 721601
Dale Hill Farm Campsite, Wales
8. Dale Hill Farm, Pembrokeshire.
Overlooking the mouth of the Pembrokeshire Heritage Coast, this site consists of a basic field with a rocky outcrop behind and a great view over the Milford Haven estuary. Children will enjoy crabbing on the pontoon, and you can also take boat trips to the island nature reserves of Skomer and Skokholm. Teenagers might enjoy surfing at West Dale, and the area is also popular with divers. The location of the site on the Pembrokeshire Heritage Coast means that there are a huge number of lovely local beaches nearby, and some good cliff walks as well. There’s a basic amenities block with lavatories, showers and a washing-up room with a fridge-freezer.
Where to eat: The Griffin Inn in Dale (01646 636227; griffininndale.co.uk) is a real pub serving real ales and fresh fish landed in the village.
Price: £10 per tent, motorhome or caravan
Contact: 01646 636359; facebook.com/DaleHillFarm
9. Shell Island, Gwynedd.
A peninsula of sand dunes and grass on Snowdonia’s coast makes up this magical spot, which has 300 acres dedicated to camping, supposedly making it Europe’s largest site. There are lots of great spots to choose from: cliff-top pitches with stunning views, sheltered fields close to the extensive facilities and romantic pockets of space among the dunes. There are even a few pitches level with the seashore, though all pitches are close to the huge beach. Facilities include a reception area with supermarket, restaurant, pub, shop, free hot showers and a laundry, as well as 35 water points, 22 fire extinguisher points and over four miles of roads and tracks across the Island. There are also three flats available to rent. No caravans or single sex groups.
Where to eat: there is a tavern bar selling local beer for £2.50 a pint, a snack bar, and a restaurant in a converted barn, which serves a popular Sunday roast. Price: adult from £6.25 per night; child from £2.50 per night
Contact: 01341 241453; shellisland.co.uk
Alpacas at Grange Farm
10. Grange Farm, Isle of Wight.
This site is perched on tall cliffs behind the sandy beach at Brighstone, and the flat camping field goes all the way to the edge. In high winds the site is a little exposed, but the panoramic views across the ocean and the easy scramble down to the beach, 100 yards away, more than compensate. There are also camping pods that were designed and built on site. The basic facilities include free hot showers, lavatories and washing-up facilities in a heated block, as well as slot-operated washing machines and hair dryers.There'slay area with trains, a hay-cart, and a rope-bridge to keep young children happy, and a small area for football and cricket, and you might spot the odd alpaca. There is also a small shop for basic provisions.
Where to eat: the village of Brighstone is three-quarters of a mile away and pubs, including the Three Bishops (01983 740226; threebishopspub.com) and a tea room. Price: from £13.50 for a standard pitch (two adults with a car and tent/motorvan/caravan); child from £2.50 extra
Contact: 01983 740296; grangefarmholidays.com
11. Cobbs Hill Farm, East Sussex.
The adventure playground and a good selection of animals, including rabbits, goats, horses and guinea pigs, mean that children love this site, which is just three miles away from the old-fashioned seaside resort of Bexhill. There’s a pretty pebbly beach, and some fuggy tea rooms. For water action, visit Bexhill Sailing Club, where you can have boating lessons. Facilities include showers, a refurbished lavatory block, hair dryer, shaver points and laundry, and a small shop for the basics.
Where to eat: Bexhill, with shops, bars, cafes and restaurants, is one mile away. Barbeques are allowed on site but open fires are not.
Price: from £14 for a car, caravan or motorcaravan and two adults, extra people £3 each Contact: 01424 213460; cobbshillfarm.co.uk
12. Cliff House Holiday Park, Suffolk.
The beaches at Walderswick and Southwold are within walking distance of this 30-acre woodland site, which also has direct access to the stony beach at Dunwich Heath. From the beach you can walk to the Coastal Centre for porpoise and seal watching from their Seawatch Room. The nearby Minsmere bird reserve has hides and nature trails throughout the woodland, beach and dunes, and Southwold, with its pier, colourful bathing huts and slot machines, is fun for a day out. Facilities include a newly built toilet and shower block, which opened in December 2013, with hot showers, a washing-up room and a launderette. There is a games room with a TV and pool table.
Where to eat: the site has a new bar and restaurant serving local real ales
Price: camping pitch from £18 for two adults and an electric hook-up; extra children £1.80
Contact: 01728 648282; cliffhouseholidays.co.uk
13. Deepdale Farm, Norfolk.
This well-run site has space for over 80 pitches, including tents and small camper vans (no caravans), but there are also a small number of tepees available to hire, and shepherds’ huts have recently been added. The site is in the middle of the North Norfolk coastline, and there are some lovely beaches on either side. For huge skies and miles of sand head to Holkham beach. Farther around the coast you can go crabbing at Blakeney or walk across the romantic marshland at Morston. The seaside towns of Cromer, Wells-next-the-Sea and Sheringham are good for days out, or if you are looking for fish-and-chips and bucket-and-spade-shops. The eco-friendly facilities include solar-heated water, and clean lavatories and washing-up facilities.
Where to eat: Deepdale Cafe (01485 210200; deepdale-cafe.co.uk) is open daily from 7.30am, serving breakfasts, lunches and snacks. There are two pubs - the The White Horse and The Jolly Sailors - within walking distance.
Price: adult from £4.50; child from £2.50
Contact: 01485 210256; deepdalebackpackers.co.uk/camping
High Sand Creek. Photo: Cool Camping
14. High Sand Creek Campsite, Norfolk.
Slightly melancholic, but utterly romantic salt marshes lie just beyond this site which is popular with birdwatchers and walkers, who come for the North Norfolk Coastal Path through the nearby village of Stiffkey. The marshes are fun to explore, and there’s a bridge near the site which is a prime spot for crabbing. There are lots of local beaches to chose from, but Hunstanton, with its distinctive striped cliffs and potential for rock-pooling, is definitely worth a visit. Facilities on this 80-pitch site, spread over five acres, include showers, lavatories and a sink for washing clothes.
Where to eat: for the best local food, including dressed crabs, try Wiveton Hall Café, along the coast beyond Blakeney.
Price: £11 per pitch; adults £5 and children £2.50 extra
Contact: 01328 830235; coolcamping.co.uk
15. Hooks House Farm, North Yorkshire.
The rocky romance of Robin Hood’s Bay, site of much 18th-century smuggling, is just down from this relaxed site, which is situated in a field sloping gently to the bay. The rocky beach is brilliant for rock-pooling, fossil-hunting and crabbing, and marks the eastern end of the Coast to Coast Walk from St Bees Head. There’s a disused railway track nearby running from Scarborough to Whitby, which is lovely for walking and cycling (it forms part of the Moor to Sea cycle track). All the facilities are clean and well maintained: use of showers, toilets, sink, an electric kettle, microwave, fridge and freezer are all included in the price.
Where to eat: Robin Hood’s Bay has numerous pubs and restaurants.
Price: adults from £7 per night; child from £3 per night
Contact: 01947 880283; hookshousefarm.co.uk
16. Beadnell Bay Campsite, Northumberland.
This strip of the north Northumberland coastline feels romantically remote, largely thanks to the lack of recent development in the area. It makes a lovely spot for camping, and the site is situated by the sea, about two miles south of the little resort at Seahouses, with its pretty fishing harbour. The coastal road through Seahouses to the castle at Bamburgh makes a good cycle ride, and farther north are Holy Island and Lindisfarne. There are also lovely walks to the south of the site, past the bay to Newton Haven and Embleton Bay, with dramatic views to Dunstanburgh Castle. Facilities include lavatories, showers, washing machines and washing-up sinks. Where to eat: local fish can be bought from Swallow Fish Ltd in Seahouses, or Craster Smoke House.
Price: from £6.30pppn
Contact: 01665 720586; campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk
17. Gibraltar Farm Campsite, Lancashire.
The waters of Morecambe Bay are just visible beyond the low wall on the edge of the camping field at Gibraltar Farm. The bay stretches for miles along the northwest coast; it’s great for swimming, but watch out for the fast-rising tide. Just a mile from the site is Jenny Brown’s Point, a popular viewpoint and birdwatching spot overlooking the sands of the bay. There’s also a RSPB reserve nearby at Leighton Moss, with access to coastal lagoons and nature trails. Facilities include a new shower and toilet block, clean lavatories, and hookups. There is also a separate site of 10 acres of ancient woodland that can be booked as a private camp. Where to eat: homemade ice-cream is available on site.
Price: tents from £11 per night, ancient woodland camp from £130
Contact: 01524701736; gibfarm.weebly.com
18. Dunnet Bay Caravan and Camping Site, Scotland.
Situated against the sand dunes overlooking a sweeping, sandy bay, this is a spectacular spot just down from the cliffs at Dunnet Head, the most northerly point of mainland Britain. Perhaps because this is such a remote spot, the crescent-shaped beach is often empty, and the white sands are a great place for flying kites and having a picnic. The excellent facilities include lavatories, showers and laundry facilities.
Where to eat: there is a site shop selling milk, eggs, and local produce. The nearest supermarket is in Castletown, three miles away.
Price: adult about £6.20; child about £1.30; pitch about £5.10
Contact: 01847 821319; caravanclub.co.uk
Dunnet Bay. Photo: AP
19. Camusdarach, Inverness-shire.
This 42-pitch site is right next to miles and miles of white sands, and in the right weather it can feel more like the Caribbean than northwest Scotland. There are pretty views across the waters to the islands of Skye, Rhum, Eigg, Canna and Muck, and the relaxed, friendly atmosphere on the site means that many campers dispense with their cars during their stay. The small fishing port of Mallaig is five miles up the road, and from here you can take a ferry to the islands. The excellent, modern facilities include showers, lavatories, washbasins, facilities for those with disabilities and a launderette. Free Wi-Fi.
Where to eat: the on-site shop sells milk, fresh croissants and hot rolls.
Price: £15 for a four-person pitch
Contact: 01687 450221; camusdarach.co.uk
Wild camping in Scotland. Photo: AP
20. Seal Shore Camping and Touring Site, Isle of Arran.
Seal Shore lies on the southern tip of Arran and is well known for its abundance of sea-life, much of which can be spotted from the large, sandy beach. You will also be overlooking Ailsa Craig. The neat and well-run campsite slopes gently to the sea, and the finger of black rock protruding from the sands into the water makes a lovely place for sunbathing in hot weather. There are good facilities, including a lavatory block with hot showers, dishwashing area, laundry and campers’ day room with covered and windproof cooking facilities.
Where to eat: buy supplies from the Co-op in Brodick; the nearby Kildonan Hotel (01770 820207; kildonanhotel.com) has a decent restaurant with fine views
Price: £14 per two-person tent pitch per night
Contact: 01770 820320; visitarran.com/where-to-stay/seal-shore-camping
With thanks to http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/campingholidays/5577827/Britains-20-best-coastal-campsites.html Clover Stroud is co-author of ‘Cool Camping Kids’, from which the selection of campsites above is adapted, along with sites included in other titles in the Cool Camping series (Punk Publishing; from £14.95). Visit coolcamping.co.uk for further information. .