10 beachside campsites in the UK
Want a seaside adventure on the cheap? Hit these campsites…
Hidden in sheltered bays, perched on clifftops and gazing out over golden sands – the UK coastline is scattered with stunning campsites where you can watch the sun set over the sea, cook fresh fish on a beach fire, and fall asleep to the sound of the surf. From Scotland to the Isles of Scilly, pitch up at any one of these ten beachside campsites and start making more of the great British outdoors.
1. Ewelease Farm, Dorset
Great for: Festival-style family fun
Open for just one month each year (August), this family-focused farm campsite has a private shingle beach and a festival vibe. A huge site with around 1,000 pitches, the facilities here include a pottery workshop, bakery, restaurant and wood-fired sauna. Down on the beach there’s a pontoon (perfect for plunging off) and a sheltered area with rock-pools – bring a snorkel. Campfires and fishing are allowed, so you can catch your own supper and cook it up right on the beach.
Top tip: Pitches sell out fast, so book online well in advance
2. Kintra Farm, Isle of Islay
Great for: Wild camping with creature comforts
This secluded site is set on a traditional Hebridean sheep farm at the end of a seven-mile, picture-perfect beach. You can camp in the dunes, watch the sun set, then light a driftwood fire and tell stories into the night. Open from May to September, Kintra Farm has a wonderfully wild feel, with fairly basic facilities (showers and loos). If you crave more luxury, book one of the cottages or B&B rooms instead.
Top tip: A great beach for wind and waves, bring your surfboard or kitesurf kit.
3. Glenbrittle, Isle of Skye
Great for: Climbers, hikers & whiskey lovers
If you’re fed up of getting sand in your sarnies, how about camping by a loch beach instead? At the foot of Skye’s Black Cuillin mountains, this rugged campsite sits a pebble’s throw from Loch Brittle Beach. Rock climbers can scale the local peaks by day, then cool their feet in the loch each evening. If you’re feeling less energetic, you could laze by the loch or stroll down the road to the Talisker distillery for a wee dram of whisky. Open from Easter to October.
Top tip: Get your caffeine kick at the campsite café – the beans are hand-roasted in the Highlands.
4. Sango Sands Oasis, Durness, Sutherland
Great for: Sunrise and sunsets
Wild and remote, this stunning site sits in one of Britain’s most northerly points. With its unique location, you can watch the sun both rise and set over the ocean. In the summer, this far north, it doesn’t go down until gone 11pm. Pitch your tent on the cliff-top and follow the tracks down to one of the two sandy beaches. Cape Wrath (Britain’s most north-westerly point) is a few miles away, where the lighthouse crowns the highest sea cliffs in Britain. Open from April to October.
Top tip: The nice people at Sango Sands say that, out of season, you can camp here free of charge without facilities.
5. Coastal Stay, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Great for: Extreme sports fans & spectators
On the Western tip of the Pembrokeshire Peninsula, this back-to-nature site is less than a mile from Abereiddy beach and the famous Blue Lagoon – host of the Red Bull Cliff Diving Championships. Every camping pitch has a view of the coast, so you can watch the sun sink into the sea, then get out the marshmallows, light a campfire and stay up late to stargaze. There’s a café and shop on-site, and you’ve got everything from surfing and climbing to kayaking and coasteering on the doorstep. Open from late march to early September.
6. Aberafon, Llyn Peninsula, Wales
Great for: Surfing, sailing and sea fishing
Nestled beneath the mountains and the sea, Aberafon campsite sits next to a private pebble beach, and you can pitch your tent on the low cliffs that back it. Surfers, swimmers and sunset-lovers are in their element here, and you can even launch a boat and sail off into the blue for a spot of sea fishing. Nearby, you can try everything from wakeboarding to paragliding, or the tallest peak in Wales (Snowdon) is half an hour’s drive away. Open from Easter to October.
Top tip: For a spot of culture, the beautiful old town of Caernarfon is ten miles north.
7. Beach View Holiday Park, Suffolk
Great for: Full-service camping and glamping
Geared towards campers, glampers and caravaners who like to have everything on-hand, this well-equipped site has a games room and a café with coastal views, plus a bar that serves local Adnams bitter. Set right beside the beach, within walking distance of RSPB Minsmere, there’s no denying that this popular site has bagged a stunning spot on the Suffolk coast. If you fancy a change from camping, choose between the wood-clad lodges, apartments, ‘snug-pods’ and retro caravans. Open March to November.
Top tip: Bring a bike and cycle along local tracks to Thorpeness and Aldeburgh.
8. Ocean Pitch, Moor Lane, Croyde, Devon
Great for: Hanging ten and watching the waves
Fifty yards from one of Britain’s best surf spots, Ocean Pitch campsite is so close to Croyde Beach that you can watch the waves from the comfort of the campsite. After hanging ten on your longboard, it’s a one-minute walk back to the site for a hot shower and barbecue. Surfboards and wetsuits are available to hire, and the site can hook you up with lessons. For a comfy bed and daily breakfast deliveries, book one of the bell tents. Open from June to the end of August.
Top tip: Book the site’s powder-blue VW campervan and sleep in real surfer-style,
9. Troytown Campsite, Isles of Scilly
Great for: Britain’s best beach weather
With the highest annual average temperatures in Britain, sunny summer days are no stranger to the Isles of Scilly. The most southerly island of St Agnes has stunning white sands, which you can camp right next to at Troytown Campsite. Run by farmers who own the only dairy farm in Scilly, your luggage is transferred by tractor, and the on-site shop sells the farm’s own produce. Spend your days on the beach or taking boat-trips around the islands, then head to the island’s only pub for a sun-downer. Open March to October, and in winter if you ask in advance.
Top tip: Bring your binoculars – there are no streetlights on the island, so the stargazing is spectacular.
10. Overstrand campsite, Norfolk
Great for: Arriving by train and travelling light
Open in July and August each year, Overstrand campsite sits atop the cliffs in East Norfolk. A rough path leads to the sandy beach, so you could nip down for a morning dip, sneak out for a midnight swim, or stroll along the sand to Cromer pier. The campsite itself has a café, shop and games room, or there’s a pub, shop and Post Office in Overstrand village. To travel light, book one of the pre-pitched tents.
Top tip: Arrive by train into Cromer and walk two miles along the beach to the site.
Lucy Grewcock is co-author The Wild Guide which features over 1,000 wild places to explore, eat and stay in southern and eastern England.