There’s no denying that there’s something special about pitching a tent next to the sea. Zipping open your own canvas cocoon right next to the roaring power of the ocean makes you feel closer to the elements. Coastal campsites often have quirks of their own – the best ones are smaller, slightly off the beaten track and offer limited facilities, to enable you to fully enjoy the expanse of wild space on offer.
We all recognise that coastal holidays in particular may need to look different after lockdown comes to an end. Small communities, who enjoy remote, isolated locations, often struggle to facilitate the increasing demand for holiday cottages and services, so now is a great time to consider your impact on these areas and opt to become more self-sufficient. Camping is a great way to do this, and if you’re so inclined, some of these campsites make perfect stopping-off points if you’re travelling on foot or by bicycle in these areas:
Treen Campsite – Cornwall
Tucked between the famously azure waters of Pedn Vounder beach on the south coast of Cornwall, and the world renowned Minack Theatre, Treen is a simple space with good facilities and a campsite shop. Views of the sea are second to none, and a small path at the back of the campsite takes you directly down to the Southwest Coastpath and to some of the area’s best beaches. The Logan Rock pub, a short walk down the road from the campsites, is a great place to sit out and enjoy a slow, sunny pint of Cornish ale.
Bryher Campsite, Isles of Scilly
Bryher is the most rugged of the Scilly Islands, with wild moorland, a variety of flora and fauna and a craggy, shipwreck-strewn coastline. There are however, sheltered coves, and the family-run Bryher campsite is nestled in a peaceful valley, comprising five small fields at the water’s edge. There is plenty of space however, and the campsite boasts excellent facilities as well as a games field with football and volleyball nets. The campsite is dog-free.
Troytown Campsite, St. Agnes
Another option on the Isles of Scilly, Troytown Campsite, provides a unique camping experience right by the sea in one of the most remote parts of the island archipelago. The campsite has access to a sandy bay and sheltered beach, with pitches right up to the sand. The farm the campsite sits on also makes its own ice-cream, which can be purchased from the basic campsite shop. Sunsets here need to be experienced to be believed.
Lepe Beach, New Forest
This part of the south coast is littered with campsites but there aren’t many options for beaches, so Lepe Beach is a rarity in this area and allows for camping right on edge of the sand, with excellent views across the Solent. The campsite backs onto Lepe Country Park, with miles of woodland and rolling fields neighbouring the site, which boasts its own shop and facilities. A nice way to explore this area is to rent or bring bicycles, allowing access to the many paths and bike-friendly country lanes.
Nant Y Big, Wales
Although Welsh lockdown restrictions will mean that campsites in this part of the world will open slightly later than in England, Nant Y Big is worth the wait. Perched above Porth Ceiriad beach on the Llyn Peninsula near Abersoch, there’s a lot of space here, so the camping is low-density and the isolation is intoxicating. The campsite is a quiet space, so there’s no music allowed and no noise after 11pm, but it is only a 15 minute walk to the beautiful sands at the bottom of the cliffs.
Borve Campsite, Barra
Open from April to October, Borve Campsite is one of the most westerly campsites in the United Kingdom, and provides spectacular views on this isolated stretch of the remote Hebridean island of Barra. A stone’s throw from amenities at the Isle of Barra Beach Hotel, the campsite also is well equipped with toilet and shower facilities, and provides easy access to the large stretch of sand at Tangasdale Beach.
Muasdale Campsite, Kintyre
Getting to Muasdale Campsite is an adventure in itself, located on the western side of the Kintyre Peninsula. Stunning views across the water to Islay and Jura are worth the journey in their own right, and the campsite provides easy access to the calm waters and stunning white sand this part of Scotland is well-known for. It’s a small campsite, with no more than 8 pitches available.
Ocean Pitch, Croyde
This part of Devon has welcomed campers and surfers from across the country for years, and the well-known Ocean Pitch campsite has excellent facilities for tents and campervans, whilst still retaining a quiet, peaceful atmosphere along what can be a busy and populated stretch of coastline. Opposite the campsite, there’s access to the coast path and Biffen’s Kitchen, the on-site snack shack, provides a tasty menu for beach picnics with a range of surf-inspired homemade street food.
Smugglers Cove Boatyard
A wonderfully tucked-away spot on the mid-Wales coastline, Smugglers Cove Boatyard campsite offers three small pitches located on the edge of the river Dyfi looking across to Ynyshir bird reserve. They also provide cottage accommodation. Each camping pitch has its own firepit – but be warned – these often get booked up quickly!
Eweleaze Farm, Dorset
Eweleaze Farm is opened up each August for 4 weeks of camping by the sea in this spectacular part of Dorset. The pitches are spread across a number of fields, providing plenty of quiet, safe space meaning the site is perfect for families. It’s a tent-only campsite and fires are allowed. The beach at Eweleaze is a shingle cove and is a quiet area where fires and BBQs are allowed too – providing an opportunity to catch and cook your supper in the cove’s beautifully clear waters!
Three Cliffs Bay, The Gower
One of the larger and more well-known campsites on this list, the Three Cliffs Bay campsite is situated atop a stunning cliff top on the beautiful Gower Peninsula in Wales, with views over the beach. It’s a short walk to the Three Cliffs Bay beach below and the site offers access to the coast path, features a site shop and coffee shop and is dog-friendly.
Cnip Grazing, Isle of Lewis
This tiny campsite amongst a small ancient crofting community on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides is the definition of ‘getting away from it all.’ Surrounded by sand dunes on the water’s edge, the bright blue waters of Traigh na Beirigh bay play host to seabirds and other wildlife, 40 miles away from Lewis’s only major town, Stornoway. True isolation and peace and quiet is to be found on this magical stretch of Scottish island coastline.