Camping holidays in the UK - cheap, cheerful and good fun!

Caroline Cassidy

Most of us are looking at ways to save money these days, and if a foreign holiday is out of the question, what about spending a week or two under canvas?

Family camping
Family camping

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While fewer of us are travelling abroad, UK camping site bookings rose by 20 per cent last year, and Easter bookings were up by a quarter according to the Camping and Caravanning Club.

Thankfully, camping gear and sites have improved considerably over the years. Is it time you discovered the joy of camping?

Camping gear
Camping equipment has come a long way in the past 10 years. Tents are roomier and more comfortable and advances in design mean they're easier to put up (at least compared to when you went camping as a kid!).

You can pick up some reasonably priced gear on the high street (Millets and Blacks have some good offers in their sale right now), or hunt out a second hand bargain on eBay or the local paper.

If you're new to camping there will be some initial outlay (you'll also want to budget for furniture, stove and utensils) but as this is a one off, you're guaranteed to make considerable savings over the years compared to hotel, holiday cottages or B&B prices.

Camp sites
Of course, you'll also need to pay camp site fees – and these can vary hugely depending on the location and facilities on offer. Some luxury 'glamping' sites cost hundreds of pounds a week but there are plenty of small, basic sites with good facilities charging around £5 a night for adults or £15 for a family of two adults and two children.

Once you've chosen the area you want to visit, do some research online. You'll find plenty of sites that offer independent reviews. Some good ones are (what TripAdvisor is to hotels), (lists sites with spectacular views from your tent), and for caravan and camping guides.

If you really want to get away from it all, check out, which lists Britain's best campsites in Forestry Commission woodland or, which details more than 50 campsites on National Trust land.

Here are a few sites to give you an idea:

Trevornick Holiday Park, Cornwall
A family-friendly site with some great facilities, including a children's adventure play area, a swimming pool, bars, restaurants and golf – not to mention Hollywell Bay beach just a short walk away.
Location: Trevornick Holiday Park, Holywell Bay, Newquay, Cornwall (01637 830531;
Open: Easter-September
Cost: adults from £4.70, children (4-14) from £1.20, car from £1.15

Three Cliffs Bay, Wales
Wake up to spectacular views of the Gower coastline. There's a reasonable (if steep) walk to the beach from the site.
Location: Three Cliffs Bay Caravan and Camping Site, North Hills Farm, Penmaen, Swansea, Gower (01792 371218:
Open: Easter-October
Cost: A Family tent (two adults plus two children) £14, small tent (two adults) £11

The Warren, Kent
Enjoy fabulous views of the ocean from the famous white cliffs between Dover and Folkestone. While much of the site is open to the weather, you'll find a few sheltered spots tucked away among the trees.
Location: The Warren, Folkestone, Kent (01303 255093)
Open: 30 March-30 October
Cost: Adults from £4.65, children from £2.05, plus £5.40 per night for non-Caravanning and Camping Club members.

Can you recommend a fantastic campsite? Leave a comment below...