I can’t recommend camping in the UK highly enough as a cheaper option for a family holiday – today I’m going to tell you why!
We’re going through a tough time here in the UK right now with the cost of living crisis with prices soaring and some families having to make some really tough decisions about where they can cut back on costs simply to be able to live.
This is not one of those tough decisions though and I almost didn’t publish this post as I feel like many people aren’t going to have the luxury of having a holiday at all, never mind getting to make a choice between camping in the UK or holidaying somewhere in a hotel, either here or in the UK.
But I decided to go for it because for those of you who do have some spare pennies then
The campsite we stayed at in the Summer costs between £18 and £36 per night and is literally right on Ullswater Lake in the Lake District. Beautiful views, plenty of space, toilets and showers on site, and in such a good location that whatever the weather, there’s something to do close by.
We spent no more on food than we would have done at home for the time we were there. OK, maybe a teeny bit more as we did go to McDonald’s and the Toby Carvery a couple of times but you could honestly just cook for yourself pretty much the same as you would at home.
We had a camping stove, a fire pit, and a rechargeable cooler box and managed perfectly fine for the week with toast, cereal, or fresh croissants bought from the on-site shop for breakfast and sandwiches and picky bits for lunch. We ate out a couple of times for tea but nowhere fancy, found an Asda nearby who cooked their pizza and garlic bread for you for an extra 40p each, and had some other lovely meals all prepped on the cooking stove.
It wasn’t expensive but we ate well and never felt hungry so food-wise, you could very easily just transfer your weekly shopping budget that you would spend on your food shopping when you’re at home to your camping shopping budget.
You can also stock up on a few bits in advance each week when you do your shopping for the weeks/months before you go so you have lots of snacks and tinned foods to take with you. Anything with a best-before date of after the end of your trip is good to add to your camping cupboard.
If you’re camping in the UK with kids then I recommend stocking up on things like fruit shoots and snacks you know they’ll ask for when you’re away so they don’t need to keep asking for things. Take a backpack with you when you go away and every time you’re away from the tent, just pop in a couple of drinks and some snacks so you’re prepared for the inevitable asks when you’re out and about.
Also, choose somewhere with shower blocks that look nice and clean – the ones where we stayed were lovely and a hot shower on a morning was just lovely – it properly helped set me up for the day!
I know I’ve rambled on a bit so I’m going to just quickly share 10 reasons why I think camping in the UK makes an amazing family holiday…
- It’s so cheap in comparison to travelling abroad or even staying in a nice hotel here in the UK.
- Your journey is pretty much stress-free! You can take your own car and just stop wherever you want to stop along the way. We drove straight through when we went away in the Summer as we were only driving a couple of hours but what was stress-free was the fact that we aimed to set off by about 10 am but we were running super late so didn’t set off until midday which would have been a disaster if we were flying and had a plane to check in for but there was no stress at all as it really didn’t matter if we were a bit later.
- Because you would usually be taking your own car then you can take whatever you want with you – favourite toys, board games, favourite foods, a supply of wine…
- Kids absolutely love camping as they get to enjoy the outdoors making new friends. It’s an adventure from start to finish and everyone just feels so much freer (is that an actual word?) – you don’t get that with any other kind of holiday that I’ve ever been on.
- It’s a much slower lifestyle with much fewer distractions. We went for a non-electric pitch to really get away from it all and although I did have my phone, I was much more conscious about using it choosing a book over my phone more often than not.
- The camaraderie of campers is fantastic! The number of people who offered to help others put up tents when they were struggling was amazing and I loved watching the men compare tents and kayaks sharing their hints and tips and reasons for buying the ones they had. Everyone is just so friendly.
- There are campsites all over depending on what you want out of a holiday. Where we stayed, there was everything from a laundry block to a freezer to pop your ice blocks in for cooler boxes and from a restaurant and takeaway on-site to a play park and mini supermarket. Some sites have nothing other than camping pitches for a real off-the-grid experience and some have entertainment on-site if that’s what you’re after. Basically, there’s a campsite for everyone!
- There are campsites everywhere and the UK is filled with some amazing places to visit so pick somewhere you’ve always fancied visiting and find a campsite in that area.
- You absolutely spend more time with the people you’re with than you would on any other kind of holiday and you’re making so many memories that everyone will remember for a long time.
- You can take your dog if you want to which so many people did when we were camping. I would think taking your dog with you makes it slightly harder to plan your trip as you can’t leave your dog in the tent (well, I don’t think you can). You’ll need to look at places to go that are dog friendly but there were so many people who had dogs with them that I can’t see that it was too much of an issue for them and obviously outweighed by the benefits of taking their pets with them.
You can choose how luxurious you go when it comes to your tent – some people had basic small tents whereas some people had full-on setups with giant tents, gazebos and windbreakers around their pitch. There were even people with generators running projectors which felt a bit mad as the field next door had electric pitches for about £5 a night more so why not just book one of those but hey ho. My point is that you can spend very little or a lot on your camping equipment depending on your situation but I’d definitely recommend spending less until you know if it’s for you.
The tent we have is pretty big and cost us £100 from Facebook Marketplace just recently – there are so many on there right now as people must be having a clear-out ready for Winter so it’s worth having a look on there if you’re considering a camping as a family holiday.
I can’t recommend camping in the UK highly enough as a cheaper option for a family holiday.
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