Booking a holiday escape always comes with a difficult question: “where do we want to go?” Airports throughout the UK are facing disruptions with long waiting times and cancelled flights, so you might want to stay domestic for your getaway.
There’s been an uptick in interest in wild swimming and outdoor exploring. Google search data shows that over the past three months, there has been a 50% increase in searches for both open water and wild swimming and a 46% increase for outdoor swimming. There was also a similar increase in interest in searches for lakes to visit by 50%. This could answer the holiday destination question.
In this article, we’ll look at the ten best lakeside camping locations. So, grab enough camping gas bottles to light your burners, pack your tent and trunks, and get ready for a summer by the lake!
Low Wray campsite – Ambleside, Lake District
With a lake in the name, it was guaranteed the Lake District would feature on this list. The Low Wray campsite can be found on the western shores of Windermere and has a quieter and more relaxed atmosphere. It features pitches for classic camping or safari tents for all your glamping needs. Being right on the shore means you can easily dive in and go for a wild swim. It’s an incredibly popular campsite, so you’ll need to book in fast.
Nanctol Waterfalls – Llanbedr, Gwynedd
Many campsites may boast a “back to basics” feeling for a waterside trip, but none feel more so than Nanctol Waterfalls, the site at the bottom of the Rhinog mountain with seven acres of land. You can pitch a tent, park a caravan, or even check out one of the glamping pods and Bell Tents ready to go. There are plenty of charging points and amenities, and the river is so close to the site you can throw on your wetsuit and dive right in.
Loch Lomond – Scotland
Moving up past the Scottish border, Loch Lomond is a scenic location for camping and wild swimmers. You can camp at various sites and locations within this stunning National Park. However, some areas require a permit that can be booked online. Loch Lomond hosts the annual Open Water Swim festival for all you wild swimmers out there, so you’re getting a tried and tested swimming experience.
Hurley Lock – Maidenhead, Berkshire
You don’t have to travel to the very top or bottom of the UK to find a waterfront campsite. In fact, one of the best is a short trip outside of the capital, with Hurley Lock being on the Thames. This is a more secluded location with only ten sites, but the river splits into several channels, and you can enjoy plenty of time in the water. Within walking distance, there’s a village of Hurley for a proper pub lunch, and bookings are made by contacting 01628 824334.
Derwentwater – Lake District
Returning to the Lakes for this next entry, Derwentwater is another popular site for camping and caravanning. This location is close to Keswick and its markets, just a walk away from the river. With its family-friendly atmosphere, even if your kids aren’t the biggest swimmers, there’ll be something for them to try. Canoeing, fishing, and walks are all on offer.
Masons – Appletreewick, North Yorkshire
Perfect for families, the Masons campsite is located in the Yorkshire dales and offers unobstructed camping views and plenty of lake space to splash around. With two main fields to choose from, you can pitch your tent or caravan by the water, ready for a good swim or splash around. The site is also within walking distance of scenic trails and the village of Appletreewick so you won’t be far from a classic British pub.
Bewl Water – Kent & East Sussex
Another location not far from the country’s capital, Bewl Water, has a lot to boast about. From camping to fishing, or even booking furnished yurts, this is a fantastic holiday getaway. The site is directly on the lake so get ready for wild swimming and canoeing. Or put your walking boots on and visit Scotney Castle, a scenic townhouse in the rolling East Sussex Countryside.
Llyn Gwynant – Wales
For a breath of nature with an option for a hot shower and facilities, Llyn Gwynant in Snowdonia is an excellent choice. You get back to nature camping style, but with clean drinking water taps, toilets and baby changing. Enjoy a wild swim or camping sleep without worrying about being too far removed from comfort.
Glenbrittle – Carbost, Isle of Skye
Similar to the previous entry, Glenbrittle offers a rugged, natural camping experience with modern luxuries. This award-winning site has stunning views of Loch Brittle, with over 36 electric hook-up points and access to shower and laundry facilities. Whether swimming in the loch itself or wandering a short distance up to the Fairy Pools, there’s plenty of open water to enjoy.
Henry’s – The Lizard, Cornwall
Okay, so while it’s not really a lake, we couldn’t miss Henry’s off this list. You can find this campsite within the Lizard peninsula, a peaceful and artsy getaway. Murals and sculptures are located all around. Within a short walk is the beach, and it’s perfect for swimming.
There are lots of waterfront holiday locations in the UK. With the issues surrounding travelling overseas and the peaking interest in wild swimming, there’re plenty of reasons to stay domestic and explore the lakes and rivers of the country.