Top 10 UK campsites

Plenty of fresh air, zero screen time, and affordable too – camping is the perfect option for holidaying with kids young and old. Unsure where to pitch your tent this year? Here are the family-friendly campsites Mumsnetters love.

Thistledown Farm, Gloucestershire

Thistledown Farm, Gloucestershire

Thistledown Farm, located near Stroud in Gloucestershire, offers a cure for the stresses and strains of family life: space, tranquillity and freshly baked pizzas. Located in the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Thistledown Farm is family-run and organically-managed. The camping fields are car-free (there are wheelbarrows for carting your stuff from the nearby parking area) and there are no allotted pitches, but the pastures are large and numbers are restricted so you'll definitely have plenty of space. Kids will love roaming through the surrounding woodland and helping to feed the pigs, sheep and pygmy goats (yes, they're as cute as they sound).

If you don't fancy eating burnt lightly-charred sausages every night, make sure you book a table at the Thistledown Café. It's open every day throughout the summer, serving coffee, local booze, homemade cakes and Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-inspired food. Best of all, on Fridays and Saturdays it stays open late for wood-fired sourdough pizza nights.

  • Prices: £10 per tent, £8 per adult, £4 per child and £2 per dog (per night)
  • Toilets: yes – they're compostable, obvs
  • Showers: yes
  • Drinking water: yes
  • Electric hook-up: no
  • Dogs welcome: yes

“Woodland aplenty, streams, rope swings, campfires, a shop selling local produce – even a hide for badger-watching. It all backs onto National Trust woodland, with lakes and a cool house (Woodchester Park).”

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Fforest Fields, Wales

Fforest Fields, Wales

Fforest Fields is set in the middle of a 500-acre family-run farm, surrounded by green hills, woodland trails, and two lakes – complete with free kayaks – which campers are welcome to explore during their stay.

Although you'll feel pleasingly off-grid, this small site has plenty of facilities that make camping with little ones easier. Mumsnetters recommend Fforest Fields for its spotless shower block, including a family washroom, and there's also a launderette, washing-up room, fridges and a drying room on-site – there's even free site-wide WiFi (just don't tell the kids). The licenced cafe is well-stocked with local ales and ciders, as well as proper coffee for your morning caffeine fix, and there's a little shop where you can pick up any forgotten essentials.

Reluctant campers will be pleased to discover there are glamping yurts available for a more luxurious visit. Each yurt sleeps four and is equipped with a wood-burning stove, floor cushions and solar lights – you'll also have a dedicated kitchen hut, complete with gas cooker, cool box and eating utensils.

  • Prices: £12-14 per pitch, £3 per person, £4 electric hook up (per night)
  • Toilets: yes
  • Showers: yes
  • Drinking water: yes
  • Electric hook-up: yes
  • Dogs welcome: yes

“There is something for everyone here; little stream-side pitches or more open spaces, a gorgeous lake for swimming, the loveliest of owners and (shudders with joy) bathroom blocks that are marvellous beyond words. Logs, phone charging, all that important stuff – as well as the feel of a small site.”

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Gwithian Farm, Cornwall

Gwithian Farm, Cornwall

Sandwiched between miles of sandy Cornish beach and a decent pub, Gwithian Farm is ideally located for exploring Cornwall (but also pretty great if you just want to stay put).

The campsite is well-equipped with a family shower room (ideal for hosing them down after a day of getting coated in ice cream and sand) and children's bathroom, as well as a laundry room with washing machines and dryers – there's even an iron and ironing board, though we'd recommend sitting down with a glass of wine instead. If you don't fancy cooking on a camping stove, the local pub grub is excellent and the campsite hosts regular food vans serving fish and chips, pizza and fresh fish.

There's also loads to keep little ones occupied, from the sandpit and guinea pigs on-site to body-boarding on the nearby life-guarded beach, and the galleries of St Ives are only a short drive away too.

  • Prices: £16-34 per pitch, £5 per adult, £2 per child, £1 per dog (per night)
  • Toilets: yes
  • Showers: yes
  • Drinking water: yes
  • Electric hook-up: yes
  • Dogs welcome: yes, but must be kept on leads

“Lovely, quiet, friendly vibe, clean and comfy facilities – and great beaches within a few minutes' walk.”

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Hook Farm, Dorset

Hook Farm, Dorset

Delight young dinosaur enthusiasts with a trip to Hook Farm on the Jurassic coast. This peaceful rural campsite overlooks the scenic Lym Valley, but is only 1.5 miles from Lyme Regis – the “pearl of Dorset” – and, best of all, is only five minutes' walk from a brilliant pub. The East Devon Way provides a lovely riverside route from the campsite to the sea and budding archaeologists will love fossil hunting on the beaches. Foodies can pay a visit to River Cottage for an expert cookery class or a delicious four-course meal made with local, seasonal produce.

The campsite has all the necessary amenities – immaculate toilets and showers, plus laundry and drying facilities – as well as some nice extras like a climbing frame and swings for kids. The on-site shop stocks basic groceries, camping essentials and, during high season, fresh bakery treats.

  • Prices: on application
  • Toilets: yes
  • Showers: yes
  • Drinking water: yes
  • Electric hook-up: yes
  • Dogs welcome: yes, but must be kept on leads

“It's really friendly, fairly quiet, and there's a really nice walk down into Lyme Regis, where we can sit on the beach and enjoy all the usual seaside treats whilst the kids get blown away!”

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Trevornick, Cornwall

Trevornick, Cornwall

Trevornick campsite offers lots of different ways to camp: from traditional non-serviced pitches, to lodges and cottages. Plus, if you're new to this camping lark, you can stay in one of their pre-pitched Eurotents before splashing out on a tent of your own.

There's so much going on on this campsite that you never need to leave. For little ones there are kids' live shows, arts and crafts, sports and family games, outdoor adventure playground and a heated outdoor swimming pool – as well as indoor soft play if the weather isn't favourable – all included in the cost of your stay. During the school holidays the campsite also runs a kids' club, meaning you can have a bit of time off to enjoy surfing, golf, fishing or the on-site spa. Bliss.

If you venture beyond the campsite you'll find plenty of sandy beaches, miles and miles of glorious coastal paths, and lots of Cornish seaside towns to explore. There are more local restaurants than you can shake a stick at, but, if fresh seafood is wasted on your kids, there's a bar and restaurant back at the campsite which serves family favourites.

  • Prices: from £7.40 per adult, £2.20 per child and £5.20 per dog (per night)
  • Toilets: yes
  • Showers: yes
  • Drinking water: yes
  • Electric hook-up: yes
  • Dogs welcome: yes

“We stayed here last summer and will definitely be returning again this year. The whole campsite was really well-kept and there is lots for the children to do. It's a short walk to the beach, and everyone is really friendly – all in all, a wonderful place.”

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Cloud Farm, Devon

Cloud Farm, Devon

Perfect for nature lovers, a shallow river runs through this campsite nestled in the picturesque Doone Valley and you may well spot a pony or deer when emerging from your tent of a morning. However, this doesn't mean you're deprived of creature comforts, there's a quaint tearoom, with a beautiful walled garden, which serves full English breakfasts in the morning and traditional cream teas in the afternoon (as well as boring sensible meals like lunch and dinner). The shop stocks everyday camping essentials and is open daily.

The ideal base for days spent rambling on Exmoor and nights sitting around a campfire, Cloud Farm certainly provides an authentic family camping experience. The toilets and showers are clean and well-presented, but it's worth noting that electrical hook-ups are limited.

  • Prices: from £8 per adult, £3 per child and £2 per dog (per night)
  • Toilets: yes
  • Showers: yes
  • Drinking water: yes
  • Electric hook-up: yes
  • Dogs welcome: yes

“Great facilities, a stream running through the site, great walks without needing the car and a fab shop with yummy homemade cakes on site.”

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Heathland Beach, Suffolk

Heathland Beach, Suffolk

Only a short drive from the picturesque seaside towns of Lowestoft and Southwold, with Kessingland and Pakefield beaches within walking distance, Heathland Beach is ideally located for exploring Suffolk as a family. The camping pitches are all equipped with electric hook-ups, with shared water taps and TV outlets. If you're thinking of visiting during the cooler months, there is also the option of staying in one of the park's holiday homes instead of under canvas.

As well as the North Sea (which may be a little fresh), campers at Heathland can splash about in one of the three heated swimming pools – including a children's pool with a waterslide – onsite. There are also play areas dotted throughout the site and an all-weather tennis court with rackets available to hire in case the weather is less than perfect.

  • Prices: from £22 per tent, £2 per person and £3 per dog (per night)
  • Toilets: yes
  • Showers: yes
  • Drinking water: yes
  • Electric hook-up: yes
  • Dogs welcome: yes, but only one per pitch at peak times

“Lovely place, very clean. Really good facilities and right by a fantastic, empty beach.”

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Glenmore Camping, Aviemore

Glenmore Camping, Aviemore

Nestled between the mountains of the Scottish Highlands, on the shores of Loch Morlich, you'll find the Mumsnetter-favourite Glenmore campsite. Situated in the middle of the Cairngorms National Park, but close to the town of Aviemore, so outdoorsy types can hike, swim, kayak and canoe to their heart's content – without being stranded in the middle of nowhere with little kids. The site is well-equipped with showers, toilets, laundry and dish-washing facilities but, unlike others mentioned above, it doesn't have a shop so make sure you stock up before you arrive.

Little nature-lovers will be able to spot deer, otters, ospreys and, sometimes, even golden eagles as you roam around the park and older kids can try their hand at windsurfing or paddleboarding at the watersports centre. Slightly further afield, there's lots to do on Cairngorm Mountain and a Highland Wildlife Park near Kincraig which is well worth a visit.

  • Prices: from £16.95 (per night)
  • Toilets: yes
  • Showers: yes
  • Drinking water: yes
  • Electric hook-up: yes
  • Dogs welcome: yes

“Great access to the mountains: take the funicular up Cairngorm with the little ones or set off on a great trek for bigger adventurers. There is also plenty of forest to wander around, a beach on the loch and a play area tucked away in the woodland.”

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Henry's Campsite, Cornwall

Henry's Campsite, Cornwall

For sea views and amazing sunsets, head to Henry's Campsite in Cornwall. The campsite is a bohemian retreat – and haven for rescue animals – set among exotic plants and dotted with local art, only a few minutes walk away from the village of Helston on The Lizard Peninsula – the most southerly point of the UK. There's lots to do and you'll have some of the best beaches in Cornwall within easy reach. The owners also host a lively but family-friendly music and ale festival at the campsite every September.

The campsite is small, so only has four showers and seven unisex toilets, but it does have hot water for washing up, a washing machine and tumble dryer, hair dryers, and a shop which sells everything you need – from calor gas to ice creams and Old Rosie cider.
  • Prices: on application
  • Toilets: yes
  • Showers: yes
  • Drinking water: yes
  • Electric hook-up: yes
  • Dogs welcome: not during school holidays

“Last time we were there we saw bats flying above our heads on the first night. Second night there was an epic thunderstorm; we watched it over the sea for two hours – amazing. You are within walking distance of Lizard Point, Kynance Cove, and loads of other beautiful places.”

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Brockwell Woods, Tyne and Wear

Brockwell Woods, Tyne and Wear

For serious nature lovers, only wild camping will do. Only seven miles from Newcastle, the owners of Blaydon Burn Farm allow camping in their 26 acres of woodland – as long as campers remember the bushcraft code: “Take nothing, leave nothing, leave no trace”.

The owners will provide you with a map to find your way and a spade to bury human waste – and that's it. You can fill up your water bottles and buy extra logs for your campfire at the farmhouse, but otherwise you're on your own. Though there are pubs and shops a few miles away if you get desperate. Mumsnetters recommend you embrace the lack of creature comforts and throw yourselves into the adventure – the kids will love it.

  • Prices: £8 per adult, £4 per child, dogs and under-fives free (per night)
  • Toilets: no
  • Showers: no
  • Drinking water: yes
  • Electric hook-up: no
  • Dogs welcome: yes

“Back to basics; the only facilities are a tap for water and lots of wood for fires. But it's camping as it (in my humble opinion) should be – and the kids love it.”

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Related: Camping not your thing? Save 5% on Hoseasons Park, Lodge and Boating holidays

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