The happiest of family holidays are often the simplest (and the cheapest!) which is why camping is so popular: think sitting round a camp fire, star gazing and dining al fresco. Of course, you need to make sure you pick the right spot, which is why AOL Travel asked Jonathan Knight, author of the Cool Camping Kids, to choose some of his favourite places for blissful breaks under canvas with kids. So here's his top ten child friendly camping holidays below. Tell us your favourite family campsite and add it...
Top UK campsites for cool kids
Brilliant child-friendly campsites in the UK
Perched atop the cliffs around Falmouth Bay, Arthur's Field not only has a heritage farm but is also within strolling distance of three little beaches and Porscatho. Its attractions include fireside storytelling sessions, feast nights celebrating local food, and activity workshops for making stained glass to foraging. This is "the sort of site that stressed-out urbanites dream about", says Cool Camping. Visit coastalfarmholidays.co.uk; pitch for 2 adults from £13.50–£21.50 per night, children £3.50, dogs £1.
With a backdrop of the Welsh Black Mountains, this peaceful campsite overlooks hay meadow. You'll find no light pollution here, making it a great spot for stargazing. Other activities include pond dipping and badger spotting. For more information visit astroclearviewcampsite.co.uk
The Isle of Iona boasts has some of the UK’s 'most wonderful and virtually deserted beaches'. There are no designated pitches or hook-ups at Iona Campsite, but plenty of level patches of grass are interspersed among the hills and rocks that provide welcome shelter from Iona’s winds and a little privacy from other campers. Facilities are very basic. Visit ionaselfcateringaccommodation.co.uk; adults £5 per night, children £2.50, under-5s free.
The ten pitches here are set among the wild grasses and flowers of the meadow. Two of the pitches are taken up by pre-erected safari tents. Children can enjoy a variety of activies including a rubber-stamp nature trail, a willow den, animals to feed, a mini football pitch and streams to hop across. The site also offers campfire nights, where everyone sits around the huge firepit and enjoys homemade pizza. The atmosphere here is described as 'tranquil and restorative, but happy and friendly too'. naturesbase.co.uk; tent plus two people and a car £20 per night, children £5, under-3s free, dogs £2.
Noongallas, which sits on croft land, is nestled at the edge of a fairly steep area divided into five fields by gorse hedges and waist-high bracken. There are views of St Michael's Mount in the distance, and he site offers plenty of space for children to run around, and is described as a 'convivial and peaceful' location. In the mornings, a pop-up shop appears in the form of Adrienne in her campervan with a host of fresh pastries, bacon sandwiches and coffees. Visit noongallas.com; adults £6 per night, children £3.
Perched atop the cliffs around Falmouth Bay, Arthur's Field not only has a heritage farm but is also within strolling distance of three little beaches and Porscatho. Its attractions include fireside storytelling sessions, feast nights celebrating local food, and activity workshops for making stained glass to foraging. Arthur’s Field is described as 'the sort of site that stressed-out urbanites dream about'. Visit coastalfarmholidays.co.uk; pitch for 2 adults from £13.50–£21.50 per night, children £3.50, dogs £1.
Cool Camping highlights the "pristine loos" and the "generous play area" here, meaning it's well suited for families. The Meadow is tents-only and has plenty of space in which to spread out. A shop at reception stocks basic provisions as well as ice creams and locally pressed apple juices, and you can order bread for the next day. Perks include a bike and boot-wash, and the camping fields are kept well drained to reduce the amount of tarmac on site. Visit pencelli-castle.com; adults £6.50–£11.50 per night; children £5–£6.50, under-5s free.
Sitting right in the midst of rolling moorland. There are no pitches or hook-ups, just two fields next to the river, where campers are free to do as they please. Kids can enjoy running around in the wilderness, looking at the horses and splashing about in the stream before settling down to toast marshmallows over the campfire. www.runnagecampingbarns.co.uk; adults £5 per night, children £3.50, dogs £2.
Balloch O’ Dee’s farm campsite is located right on the edge of the fir-cloaked Galloway Forest Park, with its clear night skies (it’s the only European designated Dark Skies forest). There’s 15 acres of space and the large camping field offers spectacular views across the surrounding countryside. By day, kids can watch rare birds soaring overhead and wild deer slinking through the trees, and by night, they can keep watch for shooting stars. www.ballochodee.com; £6 per night for tents/£10 for caravans, regardless of occupancy numbers. Dogs free.
This site offers spectacular Dartmoor views since each of the two yurts on site hogs a prime spot on the edge of the Tamar Valley. There are hens, sheep, geese and ponies on site, plus there’s a ride-on tractor for kids. There’s also a barbecue-cum-campfire area, a cosy wood-fired bathtub and a glass-fronted wetroom overlooking the rolling moors. You can expect freshly laid eggs for breakfast, a veg and herb garden and home-baked cakes. www.devonyurt.co.uk; £595–£795 per week, midweek breaks from £295 for 3 nights.