Fancy a beach break? We asked the folks from coolcamping.com for their pick of the best seaside campsites in the country.
Summer is here and now is the time to pack your flip-flops and head for the coast. To help you find the very best camping locations by the sea, we’ve asked James Warner Smith, editor of the Cool Camping guidebooks, to select his top five coastal campsites. So grab the beach ball, take your tent and hit the beach this summer…
Secret Spot Camping, Devon
Two miles from Saunton Sands and Devon’s surf capital, Croyde Bay, this aptly named campsite is remarkably hard to find (even with a Sat Nav). Persevere though, and the determined camper is rewarded with a scenic little slice of England to call their own – a flowery, garden-like revelation, set in a meadow beyond the local nursery. A short stroll reveals nooks and crannies peppered with comfy chairs, a barbecue, picnic tables and a wishing well, along with essential amenities such as a fridge-freezer, microwave and kettle. Bring your own surfboard, or rent them from Surfed Out, beneath the beachside restaurant.
The Bells of Hemscott, Northumberland
Behind the seven-mile-long sands of Duridge Bay, tents and camping chairs are scattered among the dunes, hidden in beachy pockets of sea sponge and marram grass. This is Bells of Hemscott, a pop-up campsite only open for the school holidays each year. Along with the luxury bell tents (further inland), which give the site its name, this beachfront base offers 30 or so wild camping pitches with compost loos, off-grid shower huts and a fresh water supply. Otherwise, facilities are sparse and there is no lighting, save for your evening campfire. Rise early to catch dazzling sunrises over the North Sea.
Celtic Camping, Pembrokeshire
Nuzzling the shores of the Irish Sea, few campsites can match the knock-out sea views of Celtic Camping. First opened on National Trust-owned land in 1992, this established farm site has direct access to the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and a sheltered swimming cove. The original corner of grass remains – now joined by a flat terrace with electrical hook-ups and a third, huge, undulating field – while converted outbuildings house an impressive facilities block. Throughout the years and the changes, however, the same laid-back, traditional attitude to camping has remained. Campfires are permitted, tent campers rule the roost and the view? Well, that’s just as stunning as ever.
Overstrand Campsite, Norfolk
You can’t get much closer to the coast than Overstrand Campsite, an apron of cliff-top grass overlooking a wide stretch of sandy beach. Campers can climb from the tent and race down to the sea for a swim or go for a walk in either direction along the shore – to Cromer, two miles to the north, or south towards the larger resort of Mundesley. On the edge of a sleepy village (with a pub, post office and children’s playground right next door to the site), the campsite has a wonderfully traditional seaside feel. Caravans aren’t allowed and breakfast comes in the form of a hearty bacon bap from the beachside café. What more could you want?
Pleasant Streams Farm, Cornwall
This 50-pitch meadow is a pleasant place indeed. A lake, in the centre of the field, not only attracts wildlife, but also beckons you to hop in the rowing boat for an afternoon afloat; there’s a summerhouse with books and games for rainy days; and, of course, there are the animals: goats, pigs and the chickens that lay fresh eggs for your breakfast. The crackle-pop of campfires offers one evening soundtrack, but you can break the tranquillity with a -minute stroll to the local pub. By day, cycle the nearby Pentewan Valley Trail or hire the campsite’s kayak and explore the beautiful coast around Gorran Haven and Charlestown.
Based on their leading guidebooks, the Cool Camping website now offers an online collection of the very best camping and glamping sites in the UK and Europe. Discover their full collection of seaside campsites here.