Going camping in Britain is one of the finest ways to experience the unique beauty of the British countryside. The Brits go mad for camping, they love to get out into a field with a load of other likeminded people, drink beer and get rained on.
That’s a stereotype, but stereotypes usually have a basis in a truth, however small. The stereotype of Britain and rain is, in fact more or less true. It does rain a lot, so if you’re thinking of going camping in the British countryside, you’ll need to go prepared for dampness. It is probably going to rain at some point.
If that all sounds rather grim, don’t be put off. There’s a reason so many Brits go camping, and you can always find travellers from around the world on British camp sites. The reason is that Britain is unbelievably beautiful, welcoming and hospitable. That, and it’s a cheap way of going on holiday. Brits love a bargain, even if it does mean campsite showers.
Nearly every town, city and village in England, Scotland and Wales has a campsite close to it, or even in it. All the national parks have a way of camping in or near them, there are literally hundreds of festivals to choose from right the length and breadth of the island.
The choices are fantastic. There are tents suspended in trees, yurts, tepees, vast marquees and tiny bothies. Britain is one of the rare places you can get freshly ground coffee and artisanal bread served to you in your authentic Mongolian yurt every morning or choose to take your one-man tent into the wilderness and eat Spam fritters in the rain. It really is up to you.
Whichever way you choose, you’ll be out in the British countryside, marvelling at the sparse beauty of the Yorkshire moors or the rich beauty of the Devonshire coastline. The landscape of Britain is as varied as it is fantastic, getting out there in a tent is the most intimate way to experience it.
Campsites in Britain
In the last 15 years the British have taken to the idea of “glamping” wholeheartedly. There are still a few who like to slum it and do their business in the woods but the vast majority of British campsites have hot showers, power, water and Wi-Fi (unless it’s one of those places you can go to detox from technology, and there are quite a few of those too!).
Long gone are the miserable experiences of camping in the 20th century, now the Brits have proper tents, good roads, excellent customer service and great food, it’s a brilliant way of spending your holidays.
Camping with Kids
The Brits love kids and do a really good job of providing for them. Camping can be a rite of passage for many youngsters and the wide range of activities available in Britain for campers will suit kids of any age.
You’ll find bike rides, short and long walks, kayaking, sailing, adventure playgrounds, wilderness exploration, beaches, woods, castles, ruins, fishing, battle sites, fossil hunting, big hills, winding rivers, bookshops, ice cream vans and more history than you could possibly imagine.
And that’s just a start on what’s achievable when you’re camping with kids.
In Britain, you’re never that far from a town or city, so it’s easy to alternate between days in nature and days where there’s Wi-Fi and cinemas, perfect for energetic and then exhausted kids.
Call ahead to make sure there are facilities available but it shouldn’t be a problem, the Brits always take their kids camping so they’re well catered for.
Britain has been at the forefront of disabled access across the board and camping is no exception. While some of the more remote campsites won’t be accessible to anyone but the able bodied, there is wide provision for disabilities of all kinds across British campsites.
It’s well worth calling before you turn up to check what is available and give them a bit of time to get what you need in place, but Britain is one of the best places to go camping for disabled people.
Festivals are the in-thing at the moment, basically every town and city has a festival or two. So which to choose from? A few highlights include:
- Glastonbury – the music festival. It needs no introduction. Going is like finding a home, going back is like returning home.
- Download – one of the best metal festivals in the world, it’s full of crazy camping Brits having a wild time. Sheer good fun.
- The Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival – more bookshops per square mile than anywhere in Britain, everybody who is anybody in the literary world converges on Hay for a week of bookish abandon.
- Isle of Wight Festival – a huge, joyous festival held on an isle in the channel at the height of summer, it’s one of the highlights of the British festival year.
There are beer festivals, cheese, wine, bread, hip hop, jazz, death metal, trance, spoken word and vintage traction engine festivals. In fact, if you can think of it, chances are there’s a festival in Britain for you.
A Few Things to Take with You:
- Waterproof clothing
- Dry socks in resealable plastic bags
- Spare tent pegs
- Waterproof boots
- A few changes of clothes
- A big water bottle
- A smile and a sense of optimism!