2020 - The Year of UK Campervan Staycations
So it seems like the UK is set for a year of staycations whilst we try to balance maintaining social distancing whilst still exploring and enjoying time off on holidays. Campervan travel is one of the best ways to explore the UK giving you the freedom to roam whilst still staying away from other people as much as possible. This is particularly true with campervans that are fully contained with toilets and showers on board.
It’s easy to forget how beautiful the UK is and how much we have to explore on our doorstep. There are so many places throughout the country which have something to offer for everyone. We have beautiful beaches, big craggy mountains, wild moorlands, rolling hills and some fantastic cities, towns and villages to explore too.
In this blog we wanted to describe what we think are the top 10 staycation destinations for campervan travel which will especially appeal to adventure seekers. These are all places which lend themselves to being able to roam with plenty of places to stay for the night including wild camping, campsites and pub stops. If you’re unsure how to find overnight parking then check out our blog on Campervan Overnight Parking and Wild Camping.
What are the Top 10 UK Campervan Staycation Destinations?
1. Glencoe & Fort William - Scotland
Above: The Three Sisters - Glencoe
The first thing you see when entering Glencoe is the monstrous beauty that is Buachaille Etive Mor that almost seems to stand as the gateway to the beautiful landscape that lies behind. If you love mountain scenery then Glencoe has to be top of your UK staycation list - the A82 drive through Anoach Mor up into Glencoe has got to be one the UK’s most beautiful drives.
One of our favourite ridge lines is here which is famed as one of the narrowest ridges in the UK - the magnificent Aonach Eagach. If you like Scrambling then this is not to be missed, along with many other quality routes like Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor and the Zig Zags on Gear Anoach (a fantastic winter route). There are also many other non-scrambling pretty walks like the gorgeous Lost Valley walk or just outside of Fort William is Steall Falls.
Above: Aonach Eagach
Of course, Scotland is home to the biggest mountains in the UK with the highest being Ben Nevis which can be climbed from Fort William. There are lots of routes up this famous mountain with the Pony Track being the most straight forward. If you like a bit of scrambling then their are many amazing routes up the north face including CMD arete and ledge route.
Above: The summit of Ben Nevis
Scotland is well renowned for having fickle weather so it’s good to have rainy day plans. We recommend The Ice Factor at Kinlochleven which has the tallest indoor ice climbing wall in Europe. It also has a regular climbing wall and a well-stocked shop.
2. Snowdonia - Wales
Above: Cloud inversion on Snowdon
We feel like this is one of those places we shouldn’t talk about in a blog to keep it a secret - it’s one of our favourite places to go adventuring. Somebody once said our photos from Tryfan looked like we had been to Mordor - and they were right, this place really does look like something out of a Tolkien book.
Above: The summit of Glyder Fach
It’s sharp jaggy rocks don’t look like they have a place in our world and certainly look intimidating at first glance. It is a playground for those that love scrambling and climbing with so many awesome routes. A scramble up the north ridge of Tryfan is a classic day out and within most adventurous people’s capabilities not requiring any specialist gear. If you are feeling brave why not get the classic photo on the cannon or take a leap from Adam to Eve?! Alternatively head on up The Glyders and get an epic photo on the cantilever.
Above: The Cantilever on Glyder Fach
On bad weather days why not explore one of the many underground caves such as those offered by Go Below. They do some exciting via ferrata tours and also have underground trampolines (Bounce Below) which are so much fun!
3. The Peak District
Above: Looking over Hathersage from Stanage Edge
Loved by hikers and climbers, the Peak District has fabulous open views and so many nice places to visit all close together. We recommend a fantastic 6 mile walk by the National Trust starting near Curbar that takes you around the white edges and the dark peak which also includes a pub stop half way - perfect!
Another must visit place whilst in the area is Winnats Pass which is absolutely beautiful.
Above: Winnats Pass
If climbing is more your thing then the peaks is the mecca of gritstone which offers many different crags of varying levels of difficulty. Among the favourites are Stanage Edge, Burbage Edge and Birchen Edge. Although the majority of the crags are trad or for bouldering there are some sport routes in local quarries such as Horseshoe or Harpur Hill.
Wet weather activities include various indoor climbing centres in nearby Sheffield (Awesome Walls and The Foundry are excellent) and interesting underground cave systems such as Blue John Cavern and the famous Thors Cave.
Above: Thors Cave
4. The Lake District
Above: The corridor route heading towards Scafell Pike
There is no denying the beauty of The Lake District, even in rubbish weather! It is essentially a much more accessible, smaller version of the Scottish Highlands making it a great place to be able to go for a weekend retreat.
No doubt any enthusiastic hill walker will have a trip to the Lake District in their diary each year as there are just so many enjoyable to routes to do. For a long flat walk we recommend a 10 mile loop around Derwent water which takes in 2 waterfalls along the way and you start and finish in Keswick with lots of shops, pubs and restaurants. There are so many fell walks to choose from, it’s very difficult to narrow them down but 3 of our favourites are Scafell Pike from Seathwaite, Blencathra via Sharp Edge (a classic grade 1 scramble) and Helvellyn via Striding Edge (another grade 1 scramble).
Above: Sharp Edge - Blencathra
Wet weather days can be spent indoor ice climbing/rock climbing at Keswick Climbing Wall or Kendal Climbing Wall (which has the tallest wall in the UK) or how could you resist shopping at Ambleside which has some fantastic outdoor gear shops such as the Epicentre, The Climbing Shop and Gaynor Sports.
There is also kayak and canoe hire available on Derwentwater or Windermere which can be done on dry or wet days and the dogs can come along too!
5. Falmouth - Cornwall
Above: Falmouth Harbour. Photo courtesy of Nigel Brown
How could you not love this bustly town which has some gorgeous beaches? There are so many things to do here like, surfing, paddleboarding, kayaking, walking and Dolphin spotting! Yes dolphin spotting- check out Captain Keith’s company - AK Wildlife Cruises which give an opportunity to see dolphins, sharks, minke whales, porpoise, seals and a variety of sea birds. A trip out with these guys is worth every penny.
Above: Dolphin spotting with AK Wildlife Cruises
There is a fabulous coastal walk on the south west coast path from Gylly beach to Maenporth beach. If the tide is right keep a look out for the shipwreck of Ben Asdale on the rocks near Maenporth). Make sure you hop into Gylly Beach Café or if you are wining and dining in the town try Warehouse - the food there is delicious!
6. Yorkshire Dales & Moors
Above: Roseberry Topping
Climbing, caving and walking are pretty much found in most places in the Yorkshire Dales and moors. You can often be all alone on some stunning walks in Yorkshire as it sees far less traffic than the close by Lake District. We have a blog on some of the best quiet walks in Yorkshire here.
Above: The Cleveland Way on Ingelby Moor
There are vast array of caves worth visiting- http://www.ingleboroughcave.co.uk/ and https://whitescarcave.co.uk/ are fantastic and of course Gaping Gill (which is the largest underground chamber in Great Britain) which links to Ingleborough cave. If long distance walking is your thing then why not try the Yorkshire Three peaks which is very well sign posted bagging you the 3 peaks of Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough and the route covers 26 miles in total.
Above: Ribblehead Viaduct on the Yorkshire Three Peaks
If it’s particularly wet and miserable then York has loads to do such as the famous York Dungeons, lots of haunted houses and the fabulous York Minster.
Northumberland is an absolutely stunning area with fantastic castles, beautiful beaches and lovely quaint towns and villages to explore. It’s one of those places that often gets forgotten about or disregarded but it really shouldn’t be - the long white sandy beaches give the southern Devon and Cornwall beaches a run for their money.
Above: Cocklawburn Beach
If you like castles then you must go and visit Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island which is only accessible at certain times of the day due to it’s tidal causeway. It’s a magical place that you will never forget.
Above: Lindisfarne Castle - Holy Island
There is also the impressive Bamburgh Castle which sits high above the Northumberland coastline and is one of the largest inhabited castles in the UK.
Whilst in the area you should also visit the lovely village of Alnmouth which has some great shops, cafes, galleries and a white sandy beach.
If beaches are your thing then be sure to go and spend a few days on Druridge Bay, Cocklawburn or Seahouses (which has the best fish and chip shop called Neptune).
8. Forest of Dean - Herefordshire
Above: The River Wye. Photo courtesy of Lemoncurd
Stand up paddle boarding, caving, abseiling, mountain biking, climbing, kayaking and canoeing are to name but a few exciting activities you can do in the Forest of Dean. The river Wye is famous for kayaking and canoeing having exciting rapid sections or quieter sections where you can easily go for a 2 day paddle with a campsite stop half way.
Above: Canoeing near Symonds Yat. Photo courtesy of Wallpaper Flare
There are some lovely local attractions to explore such as Puzzlewood or the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail.
For wet weather days then why not go cave exploring at Clearwell Caves or take a look at Goodrich Castle which is one of the best preserved medival English castles.
9. Jurassic Coast - Dorset
Above: Rock Climbing in Portland
Portland in Dorest arguably offers the best sport climbing and watersports in the whole of the UK - it is certainly in our top 5 climbing destinations in the UK.
If you prefer watersports such as diving, kayaking, sailing and stand up paddle boarding then Portland is also a great place to launch from to explore the jurassic coast by water.
There are some stunning walks along the Jurassic Coast - make sure you do the coastal walk to see Durdle Door and Old Harry rocks which look especially amazing at sunrise or sunset.
Above: Old Harry Rocks
Portland Bill is also worth checking out with it’s impressive lighthouse and if you are brave enough you can take the steps up onto the Pulpit Rock.
10. Devon & North Cornwall Coastline
Above: Rock formations at a Beach near Bude
The Devon and north Cornwall coastline is great place to explore by campervan with interesting geology with some simply outstanding beaches. Of course watersports is a big thing along here with it being popular for surfing, sea kayaking and stand up paddle boarding but it also offers fantastic sea cliff rock climbing and bouldering.
Above: Beach near Polperro
You should also take the time to explore the coast path to take in the scenery. There are some lovely cafes along the way and we thoroughly recommend checking out Bude on a rainy day. Tintagel, Boscastle and Padstow are also gorgeous places to visit along the way down or up the west coast.
Slightly more inland there is an old Hermitage called Roche Rock- you need to check that out - it’s bizarre and is surrounded by mystery! According to folklore it was home to a hermit and his daughter but nobody knows for sure. It occupies a position high up above the village of Roche and looks over Bodmin Moor and the china clay pits at St Austell.
Above: Roche Rock
We hope you get some inspiration for planning you next UK Campervan staycation after reading this blog - please feel free to contact us with any questions or leave a comment below.