Finding a camping that ticks all the boxes can be tricky. Family Traveller reader and mum-of-two Claire Parkes reveals her top two coastal campsites that are fab for families.
For me, a campsite must have four things:
1 Clean shower facilities
2 Electric hook up
3 Flat land
4 Be within walking distance of the sea
That’s not too much to ask for, surely?
It wasn’t too long ago that the thought of camping made me shiver. I love my sleep, my bed, my ‘essentials’ – hairdryer, tongs, phone charger – essentials by any girls’ standards, so ditching the luxury of a hotel for a damp, cold sleep under the stars filled me with dread. But my husband loved it so I tried it. And to be honest, it wasn’t that bad.
Whilst the first few times weren’t perfect, admittedly – we had a small tent, blow up bed and a camping stove and not much else – we quickly got the camping bug and started to build our now vast collection of real ‘essentials’.
We could now pretty much live out of our tent. It’s huge. With beds, full electrics, lighting, a kitchen, a ‘bathroom’. We LOVE it. I swear the kids would choose a week camping over a glamorous holiday any day.
There are loads of amazing campsites in this country but these are our two absolute favourites that you must try.
Lleithyr Farm, Whitesands, St. Davids, Pembrokeshire, Wales
This perfectly flat little site was introduced to us by our besties. Its crowning glory is its location, sitting a short walk up a country road from one of Wales’ most stunning beaches, Whitesands. We’ve been several times and all but once, have been blessed with fabulous weather.
The site itself is great for kids. It has a park and a farm where our girls made friends with the horses, and loved nothing more than wandering up to see them every morning whilst we had our morning coffees.
A five minute drive into St. Davids takes you to the most delicious ice cream shop we’ve ever seen. Well worth standing in that long snaking queue for 20 minutes. And there are some gorgeous little pubs there. We have spent many long, sunny evening hours in The Grove beer garden putting the world to rights.
Whitesands beach itself is gorgeous. It is also one of the best surfing beaches in Wales and with a local surf school, it’s great fun to try. We invested in bodyboards some years ago, but they’re inexpensive and keep the kids entertained for hours, so well worth it.
Whitesands is the perfect starter spot for camping and has everything you could possibly need including a vast array of food trucks each night in the summer months, if you do for some reason get bored with barbecuing.
This is, without a doubt, our favourite campsite, with a stunning beach, a gorgeous, bustling little town, delicious food and some of our most precious memories to date.
Bay View Farm, Croyde, North Devon, England
We only discovered this site a few years ago but fell in love with Croyde immediately. Once again, we were really lucky with wall-to-wall sunshine the entire time we were there, so the week pretty much consisted of long days on the beach, evenings in one of the busy local pubs and barbecues back at the campsite.
We loved the site, but it does sit on quite a slope. There are a small number of flat pitches, but I’m guessing these get booked up pretty quickly. There’s a park that kept the kids entertained for hours and the girls made some lovely friends here.
The facilities were lovely and you could hire a huge pull along bucket for all your beach stuff which was a godsend. I’d recommend one to any family that has to hump mountains of stuff that goes with spending a few hours down at the beach.
We loved Croyde. It reminded me of Cornwall, without the massive drive. The beach was gorgeous and again, surf central. The girls even braved some surf lessons and totally loved it.
Another beautiful beach, Saunton Sands, is just down the road. It has a really nice, slightly more upmarket Beachside Grill overlooking the beach that we stumbled upon on our last night. The sunsets here were some of the best I’ve ever seen. Simply gorgeous.
We will definitely be revisiting both of these sites this summer if the weather is kind to us (despite all the gear, I’m still really just a fair weather camper). The freedom, the seaside air, the relaxed vibe, the happy kids … what more could you ask for?
About Claire Parkes
Claire Parkes is a just-turned-40 mum of two girls. Claire and husband Matt are on mission to squeeze every ounce of fun out of the school holidays with their girls Poppy, 12 and Freya, 8. Their happiest holidays consist of food (lots of it), fresh air (preferably warm and dry) and freedom.
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