The best family campsites in the UK to snuggle up under the stars

best family campsites in the UK

by Arabella Horspool |
Updated on

We get it, camping isn't for everyone. But admit it, there's something enchanting about the chance to sleep under the night sky and get closer to nature with your family, cuddled up in a tent together. If we've managed to tempt you, grab your family-sized tent and head to one of our best family campsites in the UK.

Arthur’s Field, Cornwall

Named after the farmer who originally owned the land, it's no surprise why Arthur's Field is so popular, with its location on the cliff-top just above Treloan Cove and private access to three secluded beaches. Pitch up your tent and make friends with the resident sheep, chickens and pigs, taking your little one to collect freshly laid eggs. During the evening, there are weekly social events by the fireside for families, a great chance to socialise and make friends.

Nethergong Camping, Kent

Sitting in 26 acres of woodland, this family-run campsite offers the chance to stay in either a bell tent or a wagon or hut. We love the shallow Frog Pond, populated by marsh and common frogs, toads, dragonflies and damselflies and even the odd grass snake and suitable for pond dipping and paddling; it makes for the ideal family staycation.

Drayton Manor Camping and Caravanning Club Site, Staffordshire

If you're heading to Thomas Land, why not stop at this campsite which sits within the ground of the Drayton Manor theme park? There is 90 pitches on the slightly sloping campsite with a large facilities block, washing up area, well-run shop and children’s play area. You're in a great location to head to Cadbury World too which is a must for any choc-mad family members.

Loch Katrine Eco Camping, Scotland

An area steeped in history, Loch Katrine and its surrounding areas make a stunning setting for this eco campsite. It has suitably modern facilities and can cater for eight camping pitches and up to 10 motorhomes plus there's also a selection of secluded glamping lodges if you fancy ditching the tent. There's a gift shop, cycle hire centre and fleet of boats to enjoy as well as the cafe with beautiful views of Loch Katrine.

River Dart Country Park, Devon

One of the best family campsites in the UK is set in 90 acres of parkland within the Dartmoor National Park. There's plenty for little ones to enjoy at this campsite including a wooden play fort, toddler beach and adventure playground. The rest facilities are top-notch too like the modern shower blocks, electric hook-up points, washing up areas and tennis courts. The park shop stocks everything you could need from groceries to camping equipment and BBQ meat.

Cotswold Farm Park, The Cotswolds

Owned by Countryfile’s Adam Henson, Cotswold Farm Park offers great facilities, including a kitchen, laundry room and heated shower block plus a café selling local produce and gifts. There is lots to do for all ages and the Farm Park is a real highlight - you can meet the animals, take a 2-mile wildlife walk or head to the muddy kitchen to make some mud pies. There's also plenty of outdoor play equipment like pedal tractors, swings and two large sandpits so you can really take advantage of the fresh air.

Wild Riverside Camping, Suffolk

If you fancy going back to basics, Wild Riverside Camping is the place to go. With the sea, river and the countryside all rolled into one, this campsite is completely off the grid with few facilities other than portable toilets, bins and plastic bowzers to provide a fresh water supply. The location is incredible for exploring though, with just a two-minute walk to the estuary beach, where you can relax and have a splash in the River Deben plus an ideal spot for foraging whether that's salt-water plants or blackberries.

Love 2 Stay, Shropshire

Although not technically 'camping', this resort instead offers the opportunity to 'glamp' instead, with the options of a safari or woodland lodge (some with hot tubs!) or even caravan touring. Set across 22 acres of rural Shropshire, there is lots to get involved with at the site such as stargazing, den building, kayaking, fishing and an incredible natural swimming pool. We love the huge fully natural adventure play zone for kids of all ages, which handily is right opposite the coffee shop...

Graig Wen, Wales

Situated in the southwest corner of the Snowdonia National Park, Graig Wen is set among some 45 acres of its own wild woods and meadows and is the perfect base for exploring Snowdonia. Pitches are well spread out and peaceful with owls and woodpeckers for neighbours while facilities are simple yet clean, including a hot shower trailer, drinking water tap and compost loos. Don't forget your kids' sleeping bags!

Kelling Heath, Norfolk

Set amongst 300 acres of woodland and rare open heathland in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Kelling Heath is one of the best family campsites in the UK. It has lots for all the family such as a bug hotel, storytelling walks, a fun pool and an adventure playground. In 2017, Kelling Heath was awarded ‘Dark Sky Discovery Site' status, being an exceptionally dark site that is unaffected by light pollution and accessible for people to view the night sky. Designated a ‘two-star' site, this means the seven stars of the Orion constellation and the Milky Way are visible to the naked eye.

What to look for in a family friendly campsite

Whether you're camping with toddlers or staying in a tent with the whole family, here are our top tips and things to look out for:

Extra-large pitches - When you're camping with little ones, you'll want enough green space for them to run around freely and enjoy the open space without feeling too restricted or too close to your neighbours. Also, if you've got a big tent with lots of rooms, you'll need a large grassy pitch to install it.

Battery charging - This is important if you're going to be using a lot of electricity on your camping journey, whether that's to charge your phone or to keep the kids entertained on their devices whilst it's raining and muddy outside, because let's face it, us parents need a break every now and again on holiday.

Laundry facilities - A big must, particularly if your little one loves exploring and jumping into muddy puddles. You won't want to pack too many clothes as there may not be much space in the tent or the car, so having a place to wash and re-wear them is essential.

Park/play area - If you don't want to stray too far from the campsite, a nearby park or play area is the perfect place for kids to run around, let off steam and socialise with other children during your stay.

Local shop - Having shops or cafés nearby where you can stock up on food and essentials is important. Even if you're going on days out and eating away from the site, you'll still need a good breakfast or you can grab some snacks and make sandwiches for the day ahead.

Accessible facilities - You'll probably be feeling a bit grimy after a week with no bath or shower. Baby changing areas and accessible showers are great for families with young or disabled children, parents, grandparents or family members.

What is the best age to take children camping?

It's up to you and whenever you feel ready to take them. There's no set age to take your child camping - some parents take them from as little as 2 months old, but there's no rush. If you are planning on taking a baby camping, make sure you take all of their supplies along and always have spares of everything, just in case!

Four and up is a great age to take your little one camping, as they're likely to understand and enjoy everything that's going on and they may like to play with other children who are staying on the site too. Plus, they can join in with lots of the activities that the countryside has to offer. Plus, they're still small, so the tent shouldn't be too crowded.

If you're still apprehensive about taking them camping, why not test it out by camping in the garden first? It makes a fun summer holiday activity and the toilets aren't too far away!

Arabella Horspool is a Commercial Content Writer for Mother&Baby at Bauer Media. She's a bookworm who enjoys cooking and spending time with her many pets.

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