Top 11 Tour of Great Britain

vanlife camping sites lake district camping and caravanning club keswick

Top 11 Tour of Great Britain

With so many fascinating places around the world. We often overlook the incredible historic sights, rolling green countryside and pretty villages right here on our own doorstep in the UK. Before we get too carried away with our travels from other destinations further afield. Firstly let’s give an insight into some great places to tour right here in Great Britain. So let’s get started with our Top 11 Tour of Great Britain.

1.The Lake District – Top 11 Tour of Great Britain

This area, is of course, famous for the beauty of the lakes, mountains and pretty little villages. With so much to offer in Englands’ largest National Park.  How about boat trips on the lake and The World of Beatrix Potter at Bowness on Windermere. Walking the impressive landscapes and famed paths such as Skiddaw or Scaffel Pike, will certainly keep those more active vanlifer’s occupied.

The bustling towns of Kewsick, Kendal and Ambleside provide ample browsing opportunities, when those hiking boots need a good earned rest. Overall, it’s basically an outdoor enthusiasts dream which will leave you wanting to go back for more.

Roads are generally narrow and can be very busy in peak season. Making use of public transport is a good idea. Campsites get booked up quickly so it may be wise to ring ahead.

Our pick of the campgrounds:

Keswick

Camping and Caravanning Club on the shores of Derwentwater is perfect. Situated a few minutes walk to the town, there’s no need to worry about transport.

Coniston Water

Caravan and Motorhome Club site on the banks of Lake Coniston. It’s in a natural leafy setting with a bus stop close by.

2. The Cotswolds – Top 11 Tour of Great Britain

Surrounded by beautiful buildings, built in character Cotswold stone. Marvel at the quaint villages, green countryside and charming market towns.

It’s just adorable and it’s also an area of ‘Outstanding Natural Beauty’,  you can definitely can see why!  We love the gorgeous chocolate box towns of Chipping Norton, Chipping Camden, Bourton-on-the-Water, Moreton in Marsh, Lower Slaughter and Upper Slaughter and last but not least, Broadway.

There are just so many pretty towns to see here. All with a quintessentially English feel.  It’s also a short distance away from the university city of Oxford. Where you can explore the historic spires, home to so many scholars past and present.

Our pick of the campgrounds:

The Caravan and Motorhome Club has several sites. Starting with Moreton In Marsh, this has good transport links, whilst Bladon Chains in Woodstock is situated on the Blenheim Palace Estate. This being home to the Duke of Marlborough and birthplace to Sir Winston Churchill. Visit his resting place in the pretty village church.

Broadway and Bourton-on the-Water sites are also good and very central to everything, all have good public transport.

The Camping and Caravanning Club has a site just outside Oxford.

3.  Derbyshire – Top 11 Tour of Great Britain

Home of the Peak District National Park, the first National Park in Britain. There’s plenty of good walking to be done here, along with a mix of historic industrial towns and elegant country estates. Including the fascinating Chatsworth House. Surrounded by fields of rolling green countryside and a great farm shop.

Buxton is an elegant Spa town. Bakewell has a pretty, meandering river with an array of bustling shops and cafe’s.  Our favourite is Castleton, overlooked by the ‘shivering mountain’ of Mam Tor. It’s got some great walks, pubs and even caves to visit.

Our pick of the campgrounds:

The Caravan and Motorhome Club site at Castleton is great. It’s really convenient for walking to the village and local pubs. Several walks can be started from the village and the site is on a bus route too. The Caravan and Motorhome Club, have a selection of sites throughout the Peak District.

4. Cheshire – Top 11 Tour of Great Britain

From walking the Rows at the Roman City of Chester, to a shopping spree at the Cheshire Oaks designer outlet village. There’s canal walks, pretty villages, good restaurants and country pubs. If want a change, why not wonder back to the past to the heart of the Industrial Revolution, at Quarry Bank Mill. Then explore the world of English Aristocracy, at one of the many country estates such as Tatton Park, Lyme Park or Dunham Massey.

If technology is more your thing, there’s the massive satellite at Jodderill Bank or Concorde at the Manchester Airport Visitor Centre. For any active folk, taking in the gentle woodland walks and more energetic biking tracks through Delamere Forest is a good option.

Pick of the Campgrounds:  

The Camping and Caravanning Club Site at Delamere Forest. It’s perfect for the forest trails right next to the site and is also next to the railway station. From where you can hop on the train to Chester, for a great day out.

The Caravan and Motorhome Club Site at Cheshire Oaks. It’s within walking distance to the Cheshire Oaks designer outlet village. More conveniently is that it’s on the doorstep to a number of pubs and a canal walk. Leading to Chester along the tow path, if your energetic enough. There’s also good public transport.

Chester itself allows overnight payable parking at the Little Roodee Car Park next to the river.

5.  Cornwall – Top 11 Tour of Great Britain

A beach lovers paradise and on the whole, very van friendly compared to lots of counties in the UK. Some car parks offer designated van parking.  Roads can be narrow and busy, so make good use of public transport.

There are plenty of little gems here. Firstly, St.Ives with glorious blue waters, quaint harbour and narrow streets. We parked up just outside and got the train to town, which takes a good scenic route along the coast.

Padstow is a delight with lots of Rick Stein products and restaurants for foodies and a beautiful coastline. We parked up just outside of town and caught the bus, to avoid the narrow roads and crowds.

Tintagel, King Arthur territory is another delight. There’s easy van parking in the town and great walks.

Megavissey with it’s narrow streets and lovely little harbour is also a delight. The very narrow streets are best avoided, so park up outside of town and walk in!

Marazion has the St.Michels Mount. The tidal island which can be reached on foot when the tide is out. Just laze on the beach if the weather permits, Cornwall certainly has some of the best!

There are lots of campgrounds throughout Cornwall.

Visit Cornwall has a detailed list, we have stayed at Godrevy Park Caravan and Motorhome Club site at Hayle. We’ve also stopped at some car parks throughout the county. Ensure signs allow parking for motorhomes, as these are continuously changing, often to prevent overnight stops!

6.  Ireland

Perfect for a trip on the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin. There’s a wealth of things to do on the Emerald Isle. However, allow plenty of time to see it’s natural splendours and relax in the company of the extremely welcoming Irish Folk.

From the bustling City of Dubin life itself, to the famous Giants Causeway and the dramatic wild Atlantic coastline. Ireland has an incredible rich heritage, such as towns of Donegal, Galway, Limerick, Kerry and Cork, there is so much to take in.

How about a traditional Irish pub or marvel at the Titanic experience in Belfast City. Then, there’s The Game of Thrones itinerary for fans of the hit show.

Ireland has plenty of lovely camp grounds, so you won’t be disappointed in your pitch for the night.

Check out the Visit Ireland website for lots of extra information.

7.  Scotland

A must for the outdoor enthusiasts or the more sedate traveller! Scenery is in abundance, to keep you in awe. Incredible National Parks, such as Loch Lomand, The Cairngorms and The Trossachs. There’s so many fascinating and beautiful landscapes, stunning beaches and clear blue waters not to mention the hiking!

Then there’s the Lowlands. Lands of Glacial Gems and interesting gardens, nature reserves, castles and amazing wildlife.

Not forgetting, Edinburgh, the great Scottish Capital. Finally, Melrose and Ayr are all great places to visit.

Campsites:

Edinburgh, Melrose and Ayr all have sites by the Caravan and Motorhome Club.

Whilst Visit Scotland provides a list of campsites and more information on wild camping.

8.  Shropshire

With a UNESCO World Heritage Site at Ironbridge, this is the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. It’s also home to the truly impressive first Iron Bridge which crosses majestically over the River Severn.

There’s historical towns such as Shrewsbury, originally a Saxon town with splendid Tudor architecture. The market town of Ludlow is a foodie lovers paradise, boasting ever tempting food shops and food fairs. For traditional market town’s, how about Whitchurch? The oldest inhabited town in Shropshire.

If you fancy a lake or Mere, then Ellesmere fits the bill, with a picturesque lakeside setting for leisurely strolls. Church Stretton, known as ‘Little Switzerland’ and is famed for its bottled water.

Campsites:

Ludlow Touring Park, Ludlow, is within walking distance of the town.

The Camping and Caravanning Club have a site close to Oswestry and Shropshire, with a bus stop located outside. Footpaths lead to local villages.

Ellesmere has the Trotting Mare in Overton-On-Dee, complete with a pub on site.

Oxon Hall at Shrewsbury is ideal for walking trails.

9.  Yorkshire 

A indulgent mix of World Heritage Sites, including Ruined Abbeys and Castles. Countryside is made up of The Yorkshire Dales met with rugged, wild coastlines.

A van tour in Yorkshire can take you to the historic City of York. It has the magnificent York Minster, quaint, narrow cobbled streets and fabulous museums. On the doorstep is rolling countryside and weathered moors.

From James Herriott country and areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, to  walking trails to suit all tastes. It’s landscapes include historic houses and elegant towns such as Harrogate. Renowned for the famous and rather indulgent Betty’s Tea Rooms. Treat yourself to an afternoon tea and watch the world go by!

There’s Northallerton with its’ Georgian high street and one of the oldest pubs in town, The Fleece. Frequented by Charles Dickens, how incredible! Wenslydale is famous for the cheese of the same name. Whilst Leyburn, is a thriving market town, popular for antiques.

For a vibrant city day trip, take the bus or train to Leeds. Shopping here is rather excellent, strolling through the lovely ornate, indoor arcades with top class names!

Camping sites:

York has Beechwood Grange on the outskirts.

If you want to walk into the old Viking city, then Rowntree Park is in the centre itself. Situated alongside the River, it really is perfectly positioned. Both are Caravan and Motorhome Club Sites.

Hebdon Bridge Caravan and Motorhome Club Site has lovely walking, with buses passing the site. It’s a pretty town and is also close to Haworth Parsonage, where the Bronte Sisters’ once lived.

10.  Mid & South Wales

From the glorious Gower Peninsula and Breacon Becons to Pembrokeshire. The big name towns of Aberaeron, Newquay, Pembroke and not forgetting the capital, Cardiff are all waiting to be explored.

We may be biased, but we just love our own North Wales region, which we’ve dedicated a whole blog post to.

Must see locations in a Campervan tour of North Wales

Our amazing Welsh country is also just as fabulous.  Historic Castles, rugged coastline, wonderful wildlife and beautiful unspoilt beaches, will all keep you perfectly occupied.

Cardiff has so much to offer. It’s a cool capital, with a strong sporting connection. Check out the Millennium Stadium now called the Principality Stadium, for the latest Rugby, Music and Events.

Camping Sites:

Cardiff Caravan Park  in the heart of the city, but set within parkland with a natural feel. Within walking distance or a bus ride to the centre.

Freshwater East within Pembrokeshire National Park.

Shawsmead Head at Aberaeron, situated inland in pretty countryside about 4 miles from the coast. Both Caravan and Motorhome Club sites.

11.  North Wales

It may be our No.11 on the list but it’s actually our No.1 destination. So we are dedicating a whole blog to our totally favourite and maybe slightly biased, Welsh homeland region.

Full of dramatic and cultural landscapes, along with an historical past. North Wales is simply beautiful, so feel welcome to visit the  North of our Country, to see for yourselves!

Must see locations in a Campervan tour of North Wales

Top 11 Tour of Great Britain Extra Information – Wild Camping

You’ll notice that we have used lots of sites here to stay at.

We wish we could give you overnight parking spots, Aires or similar. Unfortunately, as a rule we don’t have those camperstop systems here in the UK that are available in other parts of Europe. Overnight parking in motorhomes in the UK is usually frowned upon by authorities, rather than encouraged!

So many of you will want to “wild camp” which again, is not necessarily permitted or even legal in the UK, so we’re not encouraging this behaviour!

Not forgetting, we’re from a tourist area. Regular local news articles often feature locals complaining about campervans and motorhomes. Annoyingly parking up for the night on their doorstep or in the “wild”!

Brit Stops

The UK does have the excellent Brit Stops Scheme . This offers a choice of various locations to stop the night, across the country. Ranging from pubs to farm shops, so it’s a great option. It’s not free as such, it usually involves spending money instead in the business itself, so a pub meal or drink or buying from a shop. Basically, you’ll be able to stay the night in exchange.

The big drawback, as yet, it’s still an annual book that you buy, hopefully they’ll develop an App to keep up with the changing world of technology.

CL’s and CS

There are also CL’s and CS’s, both offering stays on private land for up to 5 vans and linked to the two major clubs. The Caravan and Motorhome Club and The Camping and Caravanning club. 

Practical Motorhome Nightstops

Practical Motorhome Nightstops Scheme  also offers places to stop, all payable to stay at.

Last but not least, enjoy our beautiful country all year round, it’s quiet out of season and cheaper to stay on sites during low the season but do check what’s open as many close in the Autumn or Winter until Easter.

Thanks for reading our Top 11 Tour of Great Britain.

Finally – Venturing To Europe and Want to know About Aires?

If you want to know more about Aires in France and Europe. Maybe you wondering what they are? Do you know where to find them? Have you been told they’re free but aren’t sure? Do you know the difference between the motorway Aires and the Aire de Camping Car?

We’ve used hundreds of Aires, Stellplatz, Sosta and Camperstops over the past 20 years. We’ve also read some rather misleading articles from recent blogs.

Read all about Aires from our 20 years of travels in Europe and using the Aires system.

Aires in France and Europe

Campervan Castaways Cool Comments Welcome!

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