Explore the UK’s Best Camping Locations: A Guide to the Top 10 Sites

Seeking an unforgettable outdoor adventure? Look no further than the UK’s most popular camping destinations

Camping has surged in popularity across the UK, offering a unique way to immerse oneself in the natural beauty and tranquillity of the countryside. 

A 2022 news article reported that since the pandemic, one in five UK adults has been camping or caravanning, many of them for the first time. 

The simplicity of pitching a tent and sleeping under the stars has an undeniable appeal, especially in a world where digital connectivity often overshadows the joys of the great outdoors. 

A recent study has identified the most popular camping destinations in the UK, shedding light on why these locations are favoured by campers. 

Here, Andy Halliday, owner of the Expert Camper, shares some of these destinations, highlighting what makes each spot unique and what activities await eager campers.

#KeywordUK Monthly Search Volume
1new forest camping4800
2lake district camping3900
3peak district camping2400
4cornwall camping1500
5isle of wight camping1300
6snowdonia camping1100
7loch lomond camping1000
8brecon beacons camping800
9norfolk camping700
10dorset camping600

The New Forest: A Timeless Wonderland

Topping the list is the New Forest National Park, a vast expanse of ancient woodlands, heathlands, and picturesque villages. 

This ancient woodland, established as a royal hunting ground by William the Conqueror, is a haven for wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts. 

“The New Forest is a true gem,” remarks Andy. “Its meandering streams, tranquil glades, and amazing wildlife create a serene setting that invites you to immediately disconnect from the digital world and embrace nature’s beauty.”

Campers can explore numerous walking and cycling trails that weave through ancient woodlands and open heathlands. The forest is dotted with charming villages such as Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst, where one can enjoy traditional cream teas or hearty pub meals. 

Activities like horse riding and wildlife spotting are popular, and the serene environment is perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The Lake District: A Hiker’s Paradise

Coming in a close second is the Lake District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its stunning lakes, towering peaks, and charming villages. 

It’s no surprise that this region is a favourite among hikers and nature lovers alike. 

The area offers a plethora of activities, from hiking up England’s highest peak, Scafell Pike, to leisurely boat trips on Lake Windermere.

For those keen on adventure, the Lake District provides opportunities for rock climbing, kayaking, and wild swimming. The local cuisine, featuring Cumbrian specialities like Cumberland sausage and sticky toffee pudding, adds to the experience. Campers often find the tranquil, star-studded nights particularly magical.

“The Lake District offers a wealth of outdoor adventures,” says Andy. “From challenging hikes to serene lakeside strolls, there’s something for everyone. And what better way to end a day of exploration than by pitching your tent and falling asleep to the soothing sounds of nature?”

The Peak District: Rugged Beauty and Culinary Delights

The Peak District, with its rugged landscapes and quaint villages, has captured the hearts of campers searching for the perfect outdoor escape. 

Highlights include the famous Pennine Way and the scenic Dovedale valley.

The area is rich in history, with stately homes like Chatsworth House and the spa town of Buxton nearby. Outdoor activities such as caving, climbing, and cycling, are popular. The local market towns offer delicious regional foods, including the renowned Bakewell pudding.

“The Peak District is a true gem for those seeking a blend of natural beauty and culinary delights,” notes Andy. “After a day of hiking through the rolling hills and exploring the limestone dales, you can indulge in the region’s renowned Bakewell tarts and locally brewed ales, creating a truly memorable camping experience.”

Other Notable Locations

Beyond the top three, other notable camping destinations include Cornwall, celebrated for its stunning coastal campsites and surfing spots, and the Isle of Wight, which offers beautiful beaches and family-friendly attractions. 

Snowdonia National Park, in Wales, attracts adventurers with its rugged mountain landscapes and opportunities for climbing and hiking, while Loch Lomond is ideal for water sports and exploring the Scottish Highlands.

The Brecon Beacons provide a serene escape with their rolling hills and dark sky reserve status, perfect for stargazing. Norfolk is famous for its expansive beaches and the Norfolk Broads, a network of rivers and lakes ideal for boating. 

Finally, Dorset offers picturesque Jurassic Coast cliffs and fossil hunting opportunities.

Camping in these diverse and scenic locations not only allows for a range of activities and culinary delights but also provides an opportunity to reconnect with nature. 

As Andy aptly summarises, “Each of these destinations offers its own unique charm, ensuring that every camping trip is a memorable adventure.”

Stella Ryne

Stella Ryne is an art historian, traveller, conscious consumer and a proud mother. When she is not trying to improve the things around her (and herself, for that matter), she likes to lose herself in a good book. She’s deeply into green practices, cherishing the notion that sustainable living and sustainable travel will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit and what we eat, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on. Stay in touch with Stella via Twitter @RyneStella