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Springtime camping in the UK

Spring is a wonderful time for camping across the UK with longer, brighter days, warmer weather, and wildlife aplenty.

22 April 2022
Read time: 9m 4s

Spring is a wonderful time for camping across the UK with longer, brighter days, warmer weather, and wildlife aplenty. 

If you're searching for camping ideas for the whole family, look no further. We've compiled your ultimate list of child- (and adult) friendly activities with some fantastic campsites nearby. No matter what the British weather has in store, you'll be able to keep everyone entertained.

Whether you fancy woodland walks, stunning stargazing, coastal or castle capers – here's where to go and what to do for the perfect springtime weekend getaway.

Ready? Let's get exploring…

Brilliant Bluebell Walks

If there's one marker of British Spring, it's got to be the appearance of deep violet flowers adorning peaceful woodland glades.

But did you know almost half of the world's bluebells are found in the UK? It's a relatively rare flower, making this a perfect time-limited family excursion.

The Woodland Trust has compiled a list of the best bluebell woods across the UK, so why not start planning your bluebell stroll?

Bluebells carpet the forest at the Ashridge Estate
Bluebells carpet the forest at the Ashridge Estate
Our camping suggestion:

Incleboro Fields Caravan and Motorhome Club Site

Incleboro Fields campsite is a beautiful family-friendly campsite nestled in a spectacular North Norfolk coastal location. What's more, it's just a few kilometres away from "Old Wood" at the National Trust Sheringham Park – one of the Woodland Trust's top picks for bluebell walks.

When you've had your fill of woodland walks, explore one of the nearby pubs and restaurants, experience the breath-taking sea views or make the most of an opportunity to take a boat trip from Blakeney Point for some seal spotting.

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Castle Capers

The UK is a country with a long and fascinating history. There are so many castles dotted all over our shores, from the awe-inspiring Warwick and Kenilworth Castles in the midlands to the ruins of Cornish Tintagel and Scotland's Edinburgh Castle.

It's also a great family day out, as many UK castles host interactive activities for children. Your little ones would be particularly impressed by a visit to Alnwick Castle – now better known as "Hogwarts" from the Harry Potter film franchise.

Sunsets over Warwick Castle
Sunsets over Warwick Castle
Our camping suggestion:

Rhyd Y Galen Caravan and Camping Park

This campsite is ideally situated for family explorations of North Wales and the Snowdonia National Park. The Snowdon path is just seven miles away, with access to the Wales Coastal path and Lôn Las (the national cycle route), also just over a mile away.

It's just outside of Caernarfon Castle, which holds the second spot (only behind Windsor Castle) on Time Out's list of the best castles in the UK. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, it occupies a pretty harbourside location. Once you've soaked up all the history, Caernarfon is also a charming coastal town with plenty to see and do for the whole family.

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Theme Park Thrills

From stomach-churning roller coaster drops to a thorough soaking on river rapids – nothing says a great family day out more than a trip to a theme park. It's a terrific way to entertain the entire family, with plenty of rides and activities tailored to different age groups and interests.

From Alton Towers and Drayton Manor in Staffordshire to Berkshire's Legoland Windsor and even Blackpool's Pleasure Beach or Brighton's Classic Pier – where will your adventure take you?

Brighton's Palace Pier
Brighton's Palace Pier
Our camping suggestion:

Chertsey Camping and Caravanning Club Site

Chertsey Camping and Caravanning Site is ideally located on the banks of the River Thames, just a stone's throw from one of the UK's most exciting amusement parks – Thorpe Park.

With white-knuckle water chutes and some of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in all of Europe (as well as more sedate teacup rides and themed shows), there's something for the whole family.

If that wasn't enough to impress the adrenaline seekers in your life, Chessington World of Adventures (which boasts a Zoo and Sealife Centre) is also half an hour's drive away. Despite its proximity to the capital (just a short train trip from central London), Chertsey Campsite offers plenty of riverside walks, cycles and wildlife spotting.

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Superb Stargazing

Did you know that six UK National Parks have International Dark Sky Reserve status? Including Exmoor, the Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia, North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales and Moore's Reserve in the South Downs – these beautiful national parks aren't just fabulous places to explore by day but a fantastic opportunity to show your family the wonders of the night sky.

Every year, these parks celebrate the wonders of the cosmos with fun family events throughout the school holidays.

If you've got some budding astronomers in your life, check out the UK National Parks guide to Dark Sky Stargazing and pitch your tent or campervan under the light of the stars.

Camping under the stars
Our camping suggestion:

Bellingham Camping and Caravanning Club Site

Northumberland is home to England's most pristine skies and holds Gold Tier International Dark Sky Park status. Bellingham Camping and Caravanning Club site is ideally placed for families exploring this astounding location.

The campsite is also perfectly situated for visiting Alnwick Castle to keep everyone entertained during the day. The castle is a short distance away from the magical Hareshaw Linn waterfall, Kielder Water and Forest Park (England's largest forest and the biggest manufactured lake in Northern Europe) and historic Hadrian's Wall. What's not to love?

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City Camping

A family camping adventure doesn't have to be in the middle of the countryside! Have you considered a campsite near one of the UK's beautiful and vibrant cities?

To give just one example, Edinburgh's New and Old Towns gained UNESCO World Heritage status in 1995. This is just one of six World Heritage Sites in Scotland – offering a whole host of cultural and cosmopolitan delights.

If you've had a weekend city break in mind for a while, why not take your family along for the ride?

Dean Village, Old Town Edinburgh
Dean Village, Old Town Edinburgh
Our camping suggestion:

Edinburgh Caravan and Motorhome Club Site

Situated on the northern outskirts of Edinburgh, this bustling caravan site is an ideal base for visiting the city. It's also a short distance from the picturesque coastal suburb of Portobello, where families can explore the local neighbourhood's pubs, restaurants and shops.

Edinburgh is a stunning city for exploring as a family. It's friendly and easy to travel around, with plenty of landmarks and attractions, including Edinburgh Zoo, city sightseeing tours, the iconic castle and plenty of other events.

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Outdoor Adventures

The UK has so much to offer, from river rafting to pony trekking, cycling trails, canoeing or kayaking on shimmering lakes in terms of outdoor pursuits.

If you're already camping or caravanning in the great outdoors, it's the perfect opportunity for an alfresco adventure.

Man kayaking
Our camping suggestion:

Fleming's White Bridge, Killarney

Fleming's White Bridge camping park is within walking distance of Killarney, one of the most famous towns in Ireland for outdoor adrenaline junkies.

From the stunning Killarney National Park to kayak trips along the sparkling waters of Lake Killarney, horseback trail riding, and boat tours through the Gap of Dunloe, there are plenty of family-friendly outdoor adventures.

The campsite itself is green, leafy and beautifully maintained – and often hosts on-site activities to keep young visitors happy and parents relaxed.

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Family-Friendly Beaches

The UK is home to some fantastic child-friendly beaches, with over 128 Blue Flag locations promising safe and clean swimming and educational opportunities.

With activities such as surf schools, kite-flying, rock-pooling and wildlife spotting, everyone (young and old) will be well and truly entertained.

Bournemouth beach huts
Bournemouth beach huts
Our camping suggestion:

Godrevy Park Caravan and Motorhome Club Site

This fantastic campsite offers easy access to quaint Cornish fishing villages as well as the beautiful beach facing St. Ives Bay. It's no wonder the site is massively popular during Spring and Summer, with a rear gate giving direct access to gorse-covered dunes.

It's also just outside of the beautiful town of St Ives, home to the sheltered cove of Porthminster (Country File's top pick for family-friendly beaches). This beach enjoys some of the UK's mildest weather, perfect for an springtime jaunt. Head onto the sand with your buckets, spades and windbreaks before enjoying an afternoon snack in the award-winning seafood café.

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Fun Farms

Spring is full of new life. So why not pay a visit to a local farm?

Depending on the location, you may be lucky enough to meet the animals or even partake in a bit of seasonal "pick your own". It's a fantastic way to teach your children valuable lessons about where their food comes from – as well as spend some quality family time together.

There are hundreds of farm attractions dotted around the country, all geared towards educational opportunities and fun activities for the school holidays.

Children at petting farm
Our camping suggestion:

Grange Farm Brighstone Bay, Isle of Wight

This campsite, nestled in a beautiful coastal spot on the Isle of Wight, also doubles up as a small, family-run working farm. There are many friendly animals for your children to pet – including pigs, goats, alpacas, ponies, donkeys, chickens and even water buffalo!

It's an unspoilt spot, with easy access to a nearby sandy beach and views of the Chine and Brighstone Forest. The entire island is perfect for cycling and fossil hunting and is home to the heritage Isle of Wight Steam Railway – offering rides on steam-powered locomotives. All aboard!

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Considerations for Family Camping in spring

When the sun is shining, there's nothing better than a bit of springtime camping. Especially if you're camping in the countryside or near our superb woodlands, flowers will be blooming, trees coming into leaf, and the dawn chorus bursting into life.

With its combination of school and bank holidays, spring is the perfect time for a whole family break without taking annual leave or time off school.

Remember, whilst the British weather can't be guaranteed at any time of the year, spring brings more unpredictability and lower average temperatures than the summer months. So if you're camping with the entire family, it pays to be prepared.

Waterproofs and wellies are a must for any unexpected April showers, whilst blankets and additional clothing layers are a clever idea for slightly chillier mornings and evenings.

Of course, packing a few extra books and board games will help entertain everyone if the weather stops play. Campsites allowing campfires are an added bonus to keep toasty in the evenings with marshmallows and hot drinks around the fire.

Family cycling

Like any camping or caravanning holiday, research the local area before you go. Knowing what family-friendly activities are available will reduce last-minute worries. Investigate a mix of outdoor and all-weather activities and cosy spots to eat inside should there be a dinnertime downpour. Campsites with nearby pubs and restaurants are particularly good for family camping – leaving plenty of options no matter what the weather.

With lower prices than the peak of summer too, it is a special time to experience the great outdoors. So, what are you waiting for? It's time to get exploring!