One of the joys of camping is that you can do it almost anywhere. There are campsites all over the country, so you can decide if you’d prefer a beach holiday or an active outdoor exploring kind of holiday. Don’t go too far for your first camping trip so it’s easy to go home after a day or two if the weather turns bad. Or why not try camping in your garden first to test out your kit? The kids will love it! It will feel like you’re camping in the great outdoors, but you’ll have the luxury of your own bathroom, and you can pop inside to fetch any home comforts. It’s a great way to really see what essentials you can’t live without.
You can camp all year round, but definitely go in the summer if you’re planning your first trip as it will be much more enjoyable than in the cold, wet winter. July and August are the most popular months in the UK so it’s best to book early to secure your spot. And as a beginner camper, it’s a good idea to book a campsite with good facilities and a town nearby so there are plenty of places to eat and buy supplies if you forget something.
Here are a few of the best places in the UK for your first camping trip, whether you’re going solo or with the family:
- Dol-Llys Campsite, Powys, Wales: A perfect place for first time campers to explore the beautiful Welsh countryside. There are lots of different options, from river pitches, secluded pitches and rough and rugged areas, so you can choose a spot that suits you. And there’s lots of space for large groups too.
- Glen Nevis Holidays, Inverness-Shire, Scotland: This award-winning camping park near Fort William has stunning views of Ben Nevis. There are plenty of facilities, and it has five dedicated fields for tents, so plenty of room for you to find the perfect pitch. It’s the perfect site for first-timers who want to go hiking and mountain biking in Scotland.
- Karma Farm Eco Campsite, Cambridgeshire, England: Situated in the idyllic east Anglican fen, it’s a great place for first-time campers who are looking for an easy escape from London. The campsite is the perfect retreat for couples, families and groups, and great for people who like bird watching.
- Red Shoot Camping Park, New Forest, England: Excellent for families, it has 100 pitches (half with electric hook-up). There’s a great play area for the kids and a well-stocked shop on site. And next door is the Red Shoot Inn so you can enjoy a tasty meal. It’s right in the heart of the New Forest and is close to Marwell Zoo, Monkey World, and New Forest Water park.
Or if you’d rather a trip abroad rather than a staycation, Camping Ca’Savio in Italy is a large, but laid-back family park with two large swimming pool complexes and direct access to a sandy beach. Or Camping Village Simuni in Croatia, which has direct access to not just one, but six beautiful beaches. It’s the perfect place for water sports, plus it has its own restaurant, shop, tennis courts and climbing wall.
How you’re getting to your campsite will determine how much ‘stuff’ you can take. If you’re cycling or using public transport, you will only be able to take as much as you can carry. If driving, consider getting a roof rack so you can take more of your home comforts.
If you’re planning on flying to your destination, try and pack as lightly as possible by investing in lightweight camping gear. Not everything will be allowed in carry-on bags. Camping stoves can be carried on but they must be empty of fuel. Cutlery and knives, and any other sharp items will obviously have to be checked in. And it’s a good idea to work out how much you can comfortably carry over long distances as you’ll have to carry everything at times. Invest in a good 60+ litre backpack with a padded hip belt and chunky shoulder straps which will help support and distribute the heavy load. The majority of your items will be stored in the large internal section, and the internal and external pockets will be great for storing gear that you may want to access more easily. It’s important that it fits you correctly to help you have a more comfortable trip and avoid injury.