avatar Andrew Burgess October 7, 2021

Your campervan is your invitation to get close to nature

Discover how easy it is to find the perfect spot in the great outdoors

The beauty of a campervan holiday is getting close to nature and enjoying spending more time outdoors. A campervan automatically connects you with the outside and makes you adopt a new routine that’s much more ‘outdoorsy’ than being at home.

By comparison, if you stay in a hotel or AirBnb, it’s far too easy to slip back into the same indoor habits you do every other day of the year. And there’s little point in planning a getaway if you then end up following the same routines you would be doing if you were at home.

Free to choose your holiday spots

It’s well known that getting close to nature benefits our mental health, so you’re probably keen to get your campervan packed and ready to roll. But where to?

Almost anywhere! The UK has an abundance of beautiful countryside to take your campervan to, so take your pick.

Getting close to nature means different things to different people. For some, just staying on a quiet campsite and taking the time to sit outside your campervan with a cup of tea might be as close as you want to get to nature. After all, campsites, by their very nature, will have grass and some wildlife to watch. However, for others getting close to nature means much more – for example, getting outside to go hiking, biking, surfing, kayaking, fishing, or bird watching.

Urban or rural?

Some holidaymakers will want to get close to nature with views of green fields or mountains, while others want rivers, lakes, or the sea. It’s a good job there are campsites to cater for everyone.

Granted, a city centre campsite might not be the first choice for getting close to nature, but it’s important to put everything in perspective. If you live in a crowded conurbation or high-rise tower block, even a tree or two or maybe a river nearby could be enough to provide some nature to observe and appreciate while you’re away from the daily routine of home or work.

There are plenty of options if you really do want nature on your doorstep and, literally, under your feet. There are campsites directly on walking or cycling routes, so you don’t need to drive anywhere. Others are located by lakes or seas, perfect for water sports lovers. Animal lovers can park up on farms, while those who enjoy a glass of wine (or two) can stay on vineyards.

Tips for finding your ideal spot

To immerse yourself in nature as much as possible, a smaller campsite that’s a little bit more informal might be your best bet. If so, look for campsites that are more focused on tents and campervans, rather than caravans or motorhomes that need to be lined up to be within reach of an electric hook-up point.

Search engines such as Cool Camping or Pitchup are good places to start when looking for campsites that might be a bit more ‘back to nature’. Note, however, that simpler sites like those don’t always have amazing facilities as well. If you want a choice of facilities within easy reach, stick to larger sites.

High on quality, low on children

With a bit of research you can be very particular about where you stay. For example, if you don’t camp with children and like a campsite with high standards, then check out Tranquil Parks to discover listings of over 40 adults-only sites across the UK. Or you could also look at the Best of British Quality Touring and Holiday Parks. Both have campsites of varying sizes, but all are to a high standard in countryside settings.

Join the club

If you want facilities of a guaranteed standard, why not consider joining the Caravan and Motorhome Club (CAMC) or Camping and Caravanning Club (C&CC)? Both Clubs have plenty of campsites in stunning locations across the UK and they know that most of their members want to be close to nature. For example, the CAMC’s Trewethett Farm Caravan Club Site near Tintagel in Cornwall has amazing sea views and access to the beach, plus the South West Coastal path runs right past the site. Or check out the list of walking routes that pass (or are near) C&CC’s sites.

Tree-mendous campervan trips

If forests are your ideal way to get close to nature, then Camping in the Forest is for you. It has 16 campsites in woodland locations around the UK, all of which have direct access to the forest. Stay at one of its campsites in the New Forest on the south coast, and you will have wild ponies on site as well (e.g. Ashurst Campsite).

Both clubs also have networks of privately owned sites called Certificated Locations (CL) or Certificated Sites (CS). These are only licenced for a maximum of five units so tend to be quieter, and are owned by farms or landowners, usually with a generous amount of space – perfect to let the children have fun. The only facilities they offer as standard are fresh water and toilet or waste water emptying points, but some do have toilets and showers available.

Put your trust in the National Trust

Nature comes as standard with all the campsites owned/operated by the National Trust. As you’d expect, its sites are in beautiful locations such as Cornwall, the Lake District, Wales, Yorkshire (e.g. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays/buckden-camping-heber-farm), Cambridgeshire and County Down in Northern Ireland.

For examples of smaller, independent and more informal sites, Cool Camping features campsites with ‘wildlife corridors’ that have an emphasis on nature and sustainability. They look very peaceful and are a complete contrast to regimented, traditional campsites.

Similarly, Pitchup has search functions to make it easier to find what you want, such as ‘wild camping’ for smaller (usually more ‘basic’ campsites) in meadows or woodland, and ‘walkers’ paradise’, ‘remote location’ , ‘farm campsites’ and other tempting options.

Overseas campervan breaks

If you’re heading across the channel, try roadsurfer spots which promises stays “at the most beautiful spots in Europe” (but doesn’t seem to include the UK yet).

Another continental option is France Passion, offering stopovers at farms and vineyards across the country. However, it’s more aimed at motorhomes with their own facilities, but a campervan could cope for one night.

Summary / Takeaways

Getting close to nature is easy with a campervan, and there are plenty of options out there for you to get exactly what you want. But remember to go prepared with the right clothes for any type of weather at any time of year. While we can’t guarantee the weather, one thing is for sure – you’ll come home feeling like you’ve had a proper break from the norm.

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