In 2015, over 15 million camping and caravanning trips were taken in the UK. That amounted to over £2.5 billion for the economy.
But what are the best campsites for wild camping? We'll tell you where you can go for a more authentic camping experience and we'll provide some family-friendly sites as well.
Before you embark on your wild adventure, there are a few things you should know about camping.
Know What You're Getting Into
Campsites can be equipped with water, electricity, even WiFi or they can have none of the above.
Make sure you know what you're getting yourself into. There's nothing worse than planning a 3-night camp and being unprepared for the weather or lack of water. Prepare yourself with the right food, clothing and camping accessories.
Find Out Where You Can Camp
Other than Dartmoor National Park, the UK doesn't have a policy for open access camping, meaning that wild camping can be tricky.
All of the land in the UK is owned by someone. It's best you ask their permission before planning a stay on their land. If that's not possible, remember that you legally have to leave if you're asked to.
You're also not legally allowed to camp on Open Access Lands.
Follow the Camping Code of Conduct
The most important rule of wild camping is to leave no trace. You should leave your site as you found it. That means cleaning up thoroughly.
If you're wild camping in a park, you should pitch your tent a good distance from walking paths and tarns. You shouldn't stay in one spot for more than one night.
To avoid any disturbances, you can pitch your tent late and leave the spot early. You'll also want to avoid busy season if there is one. Travel in small, discreet parties so you have as little impact as possible.
10 Best Campsites for Wild Camping
We've broken down the 10 best campsites for wild camping into 2 categories. Below we've listed 5 campsites for a completely wild and rugged experience and 5 more family-friendly, almost-wild campsites.
1. Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons
For a truly wild experience, head away from Brecon Beacons National Park. Although the National Park offers some beautiful spots, the Black Mountains to the east are where you'll find a solitary campsite.
You can choose between sleeping on the summit of the Rhos Dirion or riverside on the Myndd Bychan. Although it's relatively close to the National Park, it's not crowded and offers the peace you're looking for. It also has ample opportunity for hiking and climbing, so be sure to pack the right clothing.
2. Carneddau, Snowdonia
You'll find some of the highest hills in the UK in Snowdonia. Pitch a tent on this 400-million-year-old landscape filled with grass, boulders, rivers, and small lakes.
Although nearby Snowdon has a camping crowd, Carneddau is far enough away to be undisturbed. Be sure to check out the lakeside of Melynllyn that boasts amphitheaters of rock.
3. Camasunary, Isle of Skye
Does wild camping on the beach sound like your cup of tea? Then this beachside estate is for you.
But what makes it even more extraordinary are the mountains that reach down to the sea. In Am Mam, you'll find a remote beach at the bottom of a mountain. It's the best of both worlds and wild camping.
4. Sandwood Bay, Sutherland
Found in the west end of Scotland, this wild camping spot is for lovers of the beach. You can pitch a tent in the endless sand dunes.
It'll take you some time to reach Sandwood Bay. Its remoteness makes the trek worth it for those who crave complete solitude.
5. Ugborough Moor, Dartmoor
The only park to have such rights, Dartmoor National Park allows for wild camping. This old bylaw is part of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act and makes it a favourite spot for wild camping seekers. It's full of breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife.
6. Wimbles Farm, East Sussex
In rural Sussex, you'll find this campsite that offers a bit of wild and a bit of luxury. That is if your idea of luxury involves little more than a shower and a compost toilet.
This small farm has 5 to 6 campsites so you'll never be surrounded by a crowd. The site offers fishing on a private lake, bike riding, as well as cycling tours headed by a local guide.
7. Gwern Gof Isaf Farm, Snowdonia
For £5 per person per night and half that cost for kids, this campsite in Snowdonia was opened in 1906. It's been family-run since then and falls between two mountains in the Ogwen Valley.
With only enough room for 50 pitches, you'll find climbing and walking enthusiasts around you. There's not much in terms of facilities. Other than a flat campsite, you're almost wild camping while you're here.
8. Lee Valley Almost Wild Campsite, Hertfordshire
This campsite is relatively new and easy to get to. It's approximately 5 miles from the M25, but that fact is easy to forget when you reach the quiet and cosy site.
With basic facilities that don't include a shower but do include hammocks, you can have a campfire or canoe. You're also able to launch boats on the site. Or consider taking the 1-hour bike ride from Stratford to the Olympic Park.
9. Gimme Shelter, Fife
Without showers or hot water, this is a basic campsite that takes the environment seriously. The toilets are composting and most of the facilities that are provided are self-built.
Choose between camping in the open meadow or under the shade of the lower field. Each quiet site is equipped with a campfire. What more do you need from a camping trip?
10. Badgells Wood, Kent
This site is set on a 30-acre clearing that has more than enough room to pitch your tent in a secluded spot. With room for tents and campervans alike, you can spend your time exploring the woodland or drive to some of the nearby castles for a day trip.
Ready For Your Camping Trip?
Everyone’s idea of the best campsite is different but if you're up for wild camping with no facilities or people, the UK has some beautiful sites to offer. If you prefer something halfway between wild and a daily shower, there are plenty of affordable and remote options to choose from with a few home comforts included.
Before you head out on your adventure, you want to be sure you're properly prepared. Check out our new products and pick up anything you're missing.