There are hundreds, possibly even thousands, of campsites in the UK. Some are just fields on farms where people can set up a tent for a fee, while others are large commercial enterprises, able to accommodate tents, caravans and camper vans.
Similarly, the facilities on offer will range from nothing – fending completely for yourself – to all mod cons on site, so guests want for nothing, even down to a shop selling necessities.
The big campsites are going to have a lot more to offer guests. But there are many factors that help make a really good commercial campsite.
Any good commercial campsite should offer several basics – a flat, well-drained area for pitching a tent, available drinking water, and easy access. That’s the very least that’s acceptable, and any place worth its salt will offer more. Obviously, the prices charged will vary according to the facilities available.
What’s acceptable to you depends on what you really want. The more rugged the experience you desire, the happier you’ll be with less in a campsite (and often you won’t use a campsite at all, preferring wild camping). But for family camping, you desire a lot more – a shower block, definitely, and a playground where the kids can go and exhaust themselves is a big plus.
Location is also very important in selecting a place to stay. You want somewhere close to the area you’re visiting, and in some instances that means settling for a little less in terms of facilities.
However, if you’re basing yourself in an area and planning a number of day trips, then you’ll want a campground that offers most things, where you won’t feel as if you’re roughing it, but can relax after being out and about.
What The Best Campsite Should Offer
An outstanding campsite will have been planned with thought, giving ample space to each camper, and having caravans and camper vans in a separate area. Running water will be available on site, preferably from several taps, and the shower block should be large enough to accommodate a number of people (and segregated between men and women). If the site isn’t close to a village, then a shop selling basic items is vital, with set opening hours geared to the guests – in the mornings and evenings when people are likely to need things.
A well-kept and safe playground for children isn’t vital, but it’s a nice bonus. It should be away from roads and streams, but also separate from the camping area. Access is important, so the road leading to the site should be gravel, or even tarmac, not mud.
All that requires investment, of course, and the prices charged for a pitch will reflect that. But it’s worth it; the best sites, where people go over and over again, are often booked up months in advance, especially if they’re close to heavily-visited areas, such as the Peaks or the Lake District.
Finding Good Campsite
There are a number of camping directories available online, some more complete than others. It’s advisable to check several, and to read reviews of different places before booking (many campsites will have their own websites, with photographs showing what they offer).
Also, talk to friends who’ve used campsites and solicit their opinions. Everyone will have favourites, of course, and you’ll develop your own. But the more you know beforehand, the better your chances of finding a good commercial campsite.