Parts & Accessories

The best campsites Scotland has to get close to nature

15th April 2021 | Bailey of Bristol
When choosing a nature-based UK holiday away from the coastline, few places offer as much to see as Scotland. With jagged mountain ranges, endless lochs, stunning national parks and a chance of seeing the Northern Lights, there’s enough to keep almost anyone entertained.
On the road in the Cairngorm National Park
On the road in the Cairngorm National Park

Yet, from the Vikings to modern-day trawlers at Inverness, Scotland is a proud seafaring nation famous for its coastline. So with many campsites in Scotland near the sea, finding the best options for alternative adventures and family-friendly ones can be challenging.

Considering natural attractions in the Lowlands and Highlands, this article will give you a rundown of the best places to visit away from the coast. All within easy reach of some of the best campsites Scotland has to offer from the Caravan and Motorhome Club or Camping and Caravanning Club.

Where to find some of the best campsites Scotland offers close to natural sites

The natural sights listed below are all located within walking or driving distance of campsites owned or affiliated with at least one of the two major UK leisure vehicle clubs: The Caravan and Motorhome Club or the Camping and Caravanning Club.

Both of these clubs have site finders allowing you to filter campsites by location, facilities and price. To get the full benefit from either club, it’s worth signing up as a member for a small annual fee. Membership gives you access to their full range of approved sites and other member benefits, such as deals on insurance and entry vouchers for attractions.

View the Caravan and Motorhome campsites Scotland site finder.

View the Camping and Caravanning Club UK campsites Scotland site finder.

For those wanting to get away from it all, both clubs feature some of the best small campsites Scotland has to offer. Named either Certified Locations (by the Caravan and Motorhome Club) or Certified Sites (by the Camping and Caravanning Club), these are private campsites that permit a maximum of five vehicles at any one time. They often have fewer amenities, but many rural areas provide a Scottish campsite experience you can’t get anywhere else.

Where to stay in Scotland: Highlands and Lowlands

Scotland is a large country roughly split in half by what’s known as the Highlands and Lowlands. The split begins just north of Loch Lomond National Park and runs through the middle of the Cairngorm National Park to between Nairn and Forres. Due to its size and natural attractions, the country is ideal for those wanting to do a touring holiday.

For those wanting to explore the Highlands, using the Cairngorms National Park, the Isle of Skye and Lairg as bases allow you to cover a large area.

If you’d instead visit the Lowlands, staying around Galloway Forest Park, Galashiels near the Scottish borders, and Lochwinnoch respectively allow you to be within driving distance of all corners of the lower half of the country.

On the edge of a Scottish Loch
On the edge of a Scottish Loch

Scotland’s Natural Attractions

The Lowlands

The Devil’s Pulpit

Located just South of Loch Lomand National Park is the aptly named Devil’s Pulpit. The Pulpit, found in the Finnich Glen, is a small moss-covered gorge carved into the countryside and the site of much folklore. Its name comes from a mushroom-shaped rock that occasionally peaks above the rushing stream and is allegedly where the Devil stood to address his followers.

Made all the more intense by red sandstone that’s turned the riverbed a crimson colour, the Pulpit is a must-see site in the area. However, watch out for the steep, slippery walkway down into the Pulpit, which is not suitable for young children or for those who are unsteady on their feet.

The Devils Pulpit in the Finnich Glen
The Devils Pulpit in the Finnich Glen

Galloway Forest Park

Situated on the far West coast of the Scottish Lowlands, it’s claimed Galloway Forest Park is the largest forest in the UK. One of the parks in the designated International Dark-Sky Association and considered a Gold-Tier park for breathtaking and rare stargazing conditions, visit the park at night for spectacular views of the Milky Way or maybe even the Aurora Borealis.

Sunset in the Galloway Forest Park
Sunset in the Galloway Forest Park. Photo by Jody Hodnett on Unsplash

Gala Policies Community Woodland

Just North of Galashiels, you’ll find the Gala Policies Community Woodland. Offering a stunning small circular walk through a woodland designed for the local people by Selkirkshire County Council, the woods offers sites of native Elms as well as introduced Giant Redwoods. You may even be lucky enough to spot a red squirrel, as there have been sightings of them in the area.

The Highlands

Glencoe, Glen Nevis Glen Etive and Three Sisters

Just south of Fort William is Scotland’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis, and the village of Glencoe. Glencoe acts as a gateway to some of the most spectacular views in all of Scotland. Take a day to explore Glen Nevis and the Three Sisters, with the best viewpoints along the A82, before turning off to Glen Etive Drive. This stunning road winds through valleys, meadows and forests to culminate in Loch Etive.

View of Ben Nevis from a forest path
View of Ben Nevis from a forest path

Loch Ness

The most famous Loch in Scotland offers more than just the Monster Legend. With pine forests in abundance on its southern side, perfect for taking your mountain bike and a road running around its circumference, Loch Ness is ideal for fitness enthusiasts and drivers alike.

Pine Forest road on the side of Loch Ness
Pine Forest road on the side of Loch Ness

Broubster Leans

South of Thurso, you can visit one of Scotlands most important RSPB bird sanctuary reserves, Broubster Leans. Home of rare species including Greylag Goose, Lapwings, Twites and Whooper Swans, and an essential site for bumblebee conservation, visiting the place allows you to get close to nature.

When staying on a club site in your Bailey caravan or motorhome, there is a wealth of places to explore Scotland away from the coast. Whether you decide to explore the Highlands or Lowlands, many beautiful natural attractions are waiting for you. The only question left is which to visit first?

For more ideas on where to stay in the UK, view other blog posts from the nation’s favourite motorhome and caravan manufacturer, Bailey of Bristol. If you’re looking for an adventure in Wales away from the beaches, why not start with our article on Some of the best campsites in Wales for alternative adventures.

Writer profile: Bailey of Bristol

The Bailey story started back in 1948 when Martin Bailey designed and built the first Bailey caravan in his South Bristol garage. His caravans soon captured the nation’s adventurous spirit, and Bailey grew into the thriving, family-run business it still is today. Now the UK’s favourite leisure vehicle manufacturer, you can view our caravan range here and our motorhome range here.