21 Fantastic Campsites Near Canals in the UK
Easy access, cheap offers and more predictable weather are all factors that lead people to look to foreign lands when it comes to travelling away for a much-needed break. With so many fabulous destinations around the world bookable with just a few clicks, it can be understandable why. What should never be underestimated, however, is the beauty and majesty offered by the UK’s nature.
Whether it be for a weekend, a week or a much longer visit, for adventure, relaxation or to see what a totally different part of the country has to offer, staying in a canalside campsite is an affordable, memorable and exciting way to holiday. Building skills and character, relationships and bonds, it really is an all-action option.
Britain’s waterways represent plentiful opportunities for scenic and peaceful escapes and this is particularly true of canals. Offering so much freedom and the possibility for adventure, canals are a relatively underused resource for holidaymakers in the UK, meaning that you will be among the few to take advantage of such a rich resource so close to home. Release the potential of canal camping holidays in one by visiting a campsite found close to one of the UK’s very best canals. To kick you off, we’ve found 21 fantastic campsites that are close to canals for you to consider for your next experience.
Wolverley Club – Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal
Set in the beautiful Worcestershire countryside and just 60 metres from the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal, Wolverley Club campsite is perfect for hikers, cyclists and those introducing children to canal camping life. The rural location makes for a relaxing break, while a number of interesting attractions can be found just a short distance away. There is a large playing field and a recreation room with table tennis and pool tables, as well as excellent dog walking trails. Nearby shops and eateries serve fine local produce. Walks along the canal path attract a number of visitors and locals alike, as well as fishermen and there is a great play park for the children to enjoy. The campsite itself has flushing toilets, showers, washing machines and storage facilities. Although there is wifi, it is inconsistent due to the campsite’s location.
Devizes Club – Kennet and Avon Canal
With over a hundred pitches to choose from, the Devizes campsite is found in the heart of Wiltshire on the banks of the Kennet and Avon canal, on which boat hires and public trips are available. Around 87 miles long, the canal runs through Bristol, Bath, Newbury and Reading.
An ideal spot for walkers and cyclists, the surrounding countryside is home to the famous Stonehenge and Avebury Stone circle. The campsite itself is lined by trees and uses hedges to increase privacy. It features a children’s play area and playing field with a separate large field for dogs. Ball games and pets are welcomed, while motorhomes and caravans are also accommodated for. There is a museum nearby for the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust and several farmers’ markets are held locally selling home-reared products.
Canal Camping – Dilham, Norfolk
With a private canal running through the campsite, Canal Camping in Norfolk is the ideal location for those looking a relaxing, secluded getaway or a natural adventure. Walk out of your tent and find yourself immediately on the water’s edge where you can launch your canoe on a truly unique canal. When you’ve finished a long day of exploring, head back to the camp where warm showers and open campfires await under magical night skies.
Pet friendly, the camp has many walking and cycling paths for visitors to use and tent and glamping sections to suit different styles of camper.
The Pig Place Campsite – Oxford Canal
An adults-only camp on an Oxfordshire pig farm, this is a really unique place. The Pig Place Campsite is open to campervans, caravans and tent campers, as well as having moorings for holiday narrowboats on the Oxford canal. It is a small-scale camp and personal, rustic and natural. Amenities are thin on the ground, but that adds to the traditional and natural feel of the site. The site is still a working farm and that is a huge part of the experience and what makes it a standout place to stay. As you’d expect, the food is a real selling point and is arguably the signature of the camp. There are designated canalside areas complete with sofas where guests can have a barbeque, and attending a feeding time for the pigs during your stay is not to be missed.
Bridgehouse Marina and Caravan Park – Lancashire Canal
Just a ten-minute walk from the historic market town of Garstang, the Bridgehouse Marina and Caravan Park offers affordable canalside camping for tents, campervans and caravans. Around fifty pitches are available with electricity and modern, heated shower and toileting facilities are available. The surrounding countryside is a huge attraction of the site and it is deceptively close to many tourist attractions. Within an hour, campers can be in the Lake District, North Yorkshire Moors, Blackpool or at Manchester’s Trafford Centre, while the famous city of Lancaster and Preston are nearby. In Garstang and the surrounding areas, campers can participate in fishing, clay pigeon shooting, horse riding or boating, before ian evening at a local pub or restaurant serving food from around the globe.
Wigrams – Grand Union and Oxford Canal
A secluded hideaway at the junction of the Grand Union and Oxford Canals, Wigrams is a member-only campsite that has retained its small size and community feel. Dog and child friendly, it is a great spot for exploring the surrounding nature, or as a base for delving into the whole of Warwickshire including Warwick Castle and the royal town, Leamington Spa. Though a very peaceful location, it is only a short distance from several market towns and offers easy access to the canal heading in three directions. Modern facilities add an element of comfort.
Atlantic Camping – Bude Canal
Famous more for its beaches and surfing spots than its canal, Bude is a glorious area in North Cornwall. Atlantic Camping is a tranquil site ideally located for exploring all that Cornwall has to offer. The camp offers everything you would expect in terms of facilities, including showers, toilets and water, plus a couple of bonuses in a children’s play area and an honesty shop. Bude is just a short distance away and has shops, cafes and restaurants as well as the canal. The canal itself was originally built to transport sand, coal and limestone in rural Cornwall and north Devon to improve the crops and soil. Recently restored following a period of disuse, many original features have now been regenerated and restored, making it a great place to explore on foot, by canoe, kayak or rowing boat.
The Old Dairy Farm – Grand Union Canal
A picturesque canal campsite along the Grand Union Canal, The Old Dairy Farm is popular for anglers and travellers with pets. Pitches are available for tents, caravans and motorhomes, and electrical hookups are available. The camp is small in size and intimate. It is a family run site including a shower and toilet block, with nearby options such as a pub with a restaurant that is a short stroll along the towpath away. Open all year, fishing is a possibility in the area with a permit.
Wharf Caravan Park – Shropshire Union Canal
Boasting fantastic countryside and fine food in the local area, the Wharf Caravan Park can be found a short distance from Shrewsbury and the Potteries. Fields equipped with electric hookups, shower and toileting facilities are open to campers year-round. The site promises peace and tranquillity at affordable prices and is considered a great spot to visit all, from families with young children to couples looking a romantic weekend. Leisurely walks along the canal are a favourite of guests, while the camp itself features a small children’s play area and a pub on site. Wharf Caravan Park has been family-run for over 40 years and seeks return visitors each year, meaning their emphasis is on providing a high-quality service.
The Wheel Caravan Park and Campsite – Forth & Clyde Canal
A wild camping site with access to kitchen, shower and toileting facilities, the Wheel Caravan Park and Campsite offers a warm, Scottish welcome. One of the main attractions to the area is the Falkirk Wheel, just a ten minute walk from the park. The wheel is a rotating boat lift that connects the Forth & Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. The Kelpies, too, are a popular sight for tourists. Thirty metre high horse-head sculptures, they are part of a parkland project. And each weigh around 300 tonnes.
Glanusk Caravan Park – Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal
With the most modern amenities imaginable for a campsite and a plethora of natural surprises, Glanusk Caravan Park is a beautiful location for a canalside camping break. It is found in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park and offers a dog-friendly location for campervans, caravans and tents. Walking, cycling, fishing, pony trekking and canoeing are all available in the local area. A visit to Glanusk is for both the adventurer and the person seeking a relaxing time. The pretty Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal meanders for 35 miles through the Brecon Beacons following the line of the Usk Valley.
Netherwood Touring Site – Shropshire Union Canal
Accepting campers in tents, caravans and motorhomes, the Netherwood Touring Site is a delightful and popular country site. Campers can visit Chester by walking along the canal towpath. Electrical facilities are available for shaving and hair drying, while both cold and hot showers are found at the site. Several village pubs are in the area and there are good transport links to help visitors explore a slightly wider area. Campers of all ages are allowed to visit, although pre-booking is always recommended as the site can quickly fill up, particularly at busy times of the year.
Marsh Farm Caravan Site – Kennett and Avon Canal
Located near Bath in the heart of the beautiful Wiltshire countryside, Marsh Farm is split over two sites, one of which is open year-round. Well-maintained lawns are a feature of both sites and there are options to walk, cycle or canoe along the canal. Adult-only, both sites welcome well-behaved dogs and have access to showering and toileting facilities. One of the sites does not have access to any electricity, making it a good place to visit for those wishing to escape a bustling world for some countryside peace.
Canal Side Park – Llangollen Canal
An adult-only site, Canal Side Park lies amid wonderful countryside next to the Llangollen Canal and Sandstone Trail. The area contains a number of country walks, while Chester, Shrewsbury, Wrexham and Crewe are all within twenty miles. Coffee shops and the market town of Whitchurch can be reached within a short half-an-hour stroll. A couple of facility blocks with toilets, showers and washing up stations provide the necessities, while campers have access to a small laundry room and a fridge-freezer to store any perishable goods.
Lochgilphead Caravan Park – Crinan Canal
Featuring serviced pitches ideal for your own caravan, motorhome or tent, Lochgilphead is a family run park overlooked by the Crinan Canal. Its location is ideal for an adventure in or around Mid Argyll, whether you prefer to go by car, foot or bike. With good dog-walking routes and a children’s play area, the canal campsite is a great place to visit with all the family. From outdoor adventurous sports, to calm strolls and a beach, the surrounding area has plenty of activities to keep everyone busy whatever their preference.
Foxhangers – Kennett and Avon Canal
A small campsite just a short walk from the canal, Foxhangers has twenty pitches offering electricity and water. Showering and toilet facilities can be found nearby. The site is the ideal location for visitors wanting to relax, partake in walking and cycling activities or spend some downtime fishing in a tranquil, friendly location.
Pencelli Castle – Brecon & Monmouthshire Canal
Found in the Beacons National Park, Pencelli is just a short drive from the historic market town of Brecon. It is perfect for campers who would like to go on long walks, cycle, pony trekking, mountain biking or canoeing. Bird watching is also a popular activity in the area. The canal borders the camping field and features a number of footpath and cycling trails. An award-winning facility block can be found on site, and different fields accommodate tents, motorhomes and caravans. Within a short distance, you will find a number of welcoming pubs and restaurants to enhance your stay.
Niffany Farm – Leeds and Liverpool Canal
Close to the busy and historic market town of Skipton, and ideally placed for ventures into the Yorkshire Dales, Niffany Farm has a camping field and space for caravans and motorhomes. Facilities include toilet and showerooms, a function and games room with a pool table, dart board and television and the offer of catering if it is required. The camp has panoramic views of the Aire Valley and is part of a working farm. Walking and cycling along the canal makes for a wonderful day out for the whole family, with stunning countryside as good as anywhere in the British Isles.
Tudor Caravan Park – Gloucester-Sharpness Canal
A quiet countryside site, Tudor Caravan Park is open year-round for tents, caravans, motorhomes, campervans and RVs. The picturesque location offers sublime views of the Cotswold Hills. Award-winning pubs can be found close-by, and the canal is found just next door. Cycling and walking routes are popular in the area, as well as fishing along the canal towpath. The park is a regular winner of conservation awards, guaranteeing a picturesque time away
Braunston Marina – Grand Union Canal and Oxford Canal
Popular with people visiting the area and with those just passing through, Braunston is a great place to relax and enjoy attractive countryside, or visit many of the local tourist attractions. Fairly secluded, yet close to major roads like the M1, booking ahead is vital as there are limited pitches and the camp fills up regularly. Warwick Castle, The National Exhibition Centre, Coventry Motor Museum, Althorp House and the Ryton Organic Gardens are just a few of the popular places for campers to visit during their stay.
Minnows Touring Park – The Grand Western Canal
An adult-only, small and intimate camp, Minnows is an ideal touring park for those who enjoy cycling, walking, canoeing and fishing. Tranquil and charming, it is a secret gem of Devon. With around sixty all weather pitches across five and a half acres, the park is ideally located close to the Grand Western Canal and just a short stroll from villages with pubs, a farm shop and golfing facilities. The towpath is part of the Sustrans National Cycle Network and offers safe cycling for all the family.
Canalside camping is an amazing way to reconnect with nature and spend some time with the great outdoors. The British Isles has a plethora of natural beauty just waiting to be explored. Often overlooked with the ease of access to holidays abroad, there are campsites around the country offering unmeasurable amounts of fun and excitement to people of all ages, wishes and wants. Take advantage of Britain’s best by booking your next vacation to one of the fine campsites to be found near some of the best canals in the land.
Are campsites suitable for families?
Some camps are strictly adult only, however many others are absolutely suitable for a whole family and can be an amazing way of introducing young children to the outdoors. Campsites vary in facilities and size, so it is worth checking whether what individual sites offer and whether that will suit your family.
Do all camps provide showering and toileting facilities?
No, although most do. Some camps are a real wild experience and do not have any changing, toileting or showering facilities on site. However, these sites are in the minority, and many of the sites listed above have modernised facilities offering a reasonably high degree of comfort for your trip away.
Do I need to take my own food and drink?
Most camps won’t provide food and you may need to take your own supplies with you. Drinking water may be found at many camps but cannot be guaranteed. Some camps now offer storage facilities for you to keep food in refrigerators before using it, but this is not common. Make sure you check what facilities a camp has before travelling there and consider taking non-perishable foods if you will not have the facilities to keep items at the required temperature. Many camps are ideally located close to shops, pubs or restaurants. Again, you will need to check for each specific campsite.