CAMPING | How To Choose The Perfect Campsite For Your Next Camping Holiday

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Choosing the right campsite isn’t as easy as you might think and is surprisingly easy to get wrong. Luckily, we’ve made a whole bunch of rookie mistakes over the years so you don’t have to! Here we share our top tips on how to choose the right campsite.

Pssst. Scroll straight to the bottom to see the criteria we use to choose a campsite.

Camping in Whitby

When we camp, we generally avoid big regimented holiday park type campsites if at all possible. We don’t have anything against them, in fact for young families they are often the ideal choice, but on the whole, they don’t offer us what we are looking for when it comes to camping.

To choose the right campsite, you first need to look at what you want to get out of the camping experience. If this is your first time camping, then you’ll need to try and work out what characteristics your ideal campsite would have, as where you camp, can really make or break your weekend away.

What characteristics and facilities do you want?

If you are planning to roast marshmallows around the fire with the kids, or enjoy a fire side sing along, you are going to want a site that allows campfires, but a surprisingly large number do not allow them, so do check out the available facilities and campsite rules, and let these guide you in your decision making.

Cae Du Campsite Wales

A few considerations

  • Not all campsites allow you to park beside your pitch, meaning you may need to carry your tent and camping gear
  • Some campsites don’t allow  BBQs and the vast majority don’t allow campfires
  • Showers and toilet blocks aren’t always close and sometimes you have to pay extra for showers
  • Some campsites have excellent shops, whilst others don’t have a shop at all
  • Set up and take down can take longer than you think, so make sure you know what the campsites arrival and departure times are

Do your research

Different campsites have different personalities, no really they do. A campsites personality is influenced by it’s location, the type of campers it attracts and the campsite rules.

For example, a small and very remote campsite with very strict noise rules (I recently happened upon one that expects complete silence after 10pm) is likely not to be much fun and certainly not the right place for a group or anyone who generally likes to stay up and chat around the campfire.

A big site we stayed at last year, had prominent CCTV cameras everywhere and was incredibly busy and noisy, with anti-social guests, which gave it all the ‘charm’ of a city centre at 2am on a Saturday night.

The view of lake ullswater

We usually camp near water and love scenic sites

Reading online reviews can help, but remember people often only leave reviews when they have negative feelings they want to share, so use these for rough guidance only. Have a good read of the campsites own website, visit professional review sites like Cool Camping and Pitch Up, and read what they have to say so you get a true feel for the place, and finally always look at pictures and the location of the site.

Make a shortlist of potential campsites

Pinterest is my tool of choice for doing this. Any campsites that I really like the look of get pinned to my campsites board, making them easy to remember and refer back to.

Each time we plan to go away, we just consult our shortlist, and see which takes of fancy. You can see our Pinterest campsite shortlist here.

Consider the length of your break

If you are going away for just a night, you are unlikely to want to have to make a 400 mile round trip. However, if you have a few days, then you will have time to venture further afield, so plan your route in advance and note the distance of the campsite.


The length of your break will also influence practical things like what you’ll need to take with you, and activities and days out in the local area. Even if you end up spending most of your time chilling on site, make sure you have an idea of things available to do. This makes life easier, should you feel the urge to do or see something different.

Do all of the above and you stand the best chance of enjoying a stay at the ideal campsite for you.

To help you along the way, these are the things that we look for in a campsite.

What we look for in a campsite

  1. Allows BBQs and campfires
  2. Coastal or lake side, preferably with a water view
  3. Rural location
  4. No set pitches
  5. No very strict noise rules
  6. Parking available next to the pitch
  7. Within a 3 hour drive
  8. Set fee based on number of tents or number of people not the size of tent
  9. Good walks in the immediate area
  10. Smaller sized campsite rather than a large holiday park style site
  11. Nature, and loads of it
  12. Pretty scenery for me to photograph
  13. Visitor attractions within a half hour drive from site

What do you look for in a campsite? How do you decide where to camp? We’d love to hear from you, so leave a comment below and let us know.

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Shell Robshaw-Bryan
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