We hanker after the sea. Maybe it’s because we’re a proud island nation that the coastline has a special allure. Whether it’s wintertime gusts to blow away the cobwebs or the gentle breezes of summer, the coastline seems always to beckon – and the memories are long-lasting.
It might be a small island, but Britain has a surprisingly long coastline. The authoritative Ordnance Survey puts the total length of our coastline at a precise 11,072.76 miles (17,819.88 km).
When it comes to exploring any part of that long, long coastline it is probably difficult to know just where to start. And whenever you’ve worked out where you want to start, you’ll also want tips on the best places to stay mid-route.
With a motorhome or auto-sleeper, of course, that’s a problem easily solved. And there are some real gems – probably not far from your doorstep – accessible by motorhome and with well-appointed campsites perfect for an overnight stay.
Here are just a few tempting stretches of coastline for your next coastal trip.
A taste of history
The coastline between Worthing and Hastings is not only a short drive from London – or anywhere in the southeast of England for that matter – it is packed full of history.
The “Haestingas” – as they were then known during Saxon times – became a still richer part of the country during the Roman occupation. Later, the Battle of Hastings in 1066 is probably one of the few dates in history likely to be remembered by most of us.
Today’s coastline also reflects the glories of those iconic English seaside resorts of ages past. Promenades abound and provide a gentle drive until you get out to stretch your legs.
The Victorian facades of the buildings still echo the times when these resorts were in their prime, yet just a mile or two along the road and you come upon some of the most well-known and stunning views of the English coastline – where the Downs meet the sea at Birling Gap or Beachy Head, for example.
Fairfields Farm Caravan and Camping Park mid-way between Eastbourne and Hastings on the Pevensey Levels, is situated within an area of natural beauty.
Travel far enough along England’s south coast and you will eventually hit upon one of the most popular and frequently visited parts of the UK – Poldark country.
Since the mid-1970s a succession of Poldark series have appeared on television channels and brought even more awe and wonder to the glories of the country’s most south westerly county, Cornwall.
Cornwall – a peninsula – has the longest coastline in the whole of the UK. At more than 433 miles (697km.) even a fit walker is likely to take between 8 to 10 weeks to walk its length – admiring the county’s more than 300 fine beaches.
You could be joining the estimated 4.5 million tourists who visit Cornwall each year and share one of the 25 million or so nights that visitors spend in the county – where they contribute at least £1 billion every year to the local economy.
Amidst the inevitable crowds during peak season, therefore, you might want to choose one of the campsites known to remain relatively calm and peaceful – such as Tollgate Farm Caravan and Camping Park which is quietly tucked away in the countryside yet still well within walking distance of Perranporth Beach.
The Gower Peninsula
It’s no accident that this scenic marvel of the South Wales coastline should have been designated Britain’s very first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – its reputation continues to attract birdwatchers, walkers, surfers, and sunbathers.
The Gower is a haven of peace and rural tranquillity that sits a mere stone’s throw from the more built-up and industrial areas of the principality. It packs a lot into its mere 70 square miles (180km2) as the peninsula spreads westwards from the Mumbles near Swansea – taking in some dramatic cliffscapes and the underground warrens of Minchin Hole Cave and Paviland Cave.
Hillend Caravan and Camping Park lays creditable claim to being close to probably the most breathtaking of the Gower’s many fine beaches – Rhossili Bay.
The grandeur of Snowdonia National Park comes down to the sea in this wild and rugged part of northwest Wales, with the historic and rolling countryside of the Llyn Peninsula just to the west.
There are beaches accessible by motorhome, too, when it’s time to just relax, potter about in the shallows or stroll along the front.
Cae Du Farm couldn’t be better – or more spectacularly – situated within the National Park, right on the coast, and with views on a fair day of the entire Welsh coastline as far as Pembrokeshire.
The wild, wild north
If you want to give your motorhome a really good run for its money, think about driving just about as far north as you can go in mainland Britain to the wild, wild coast of northern Scotland between Durness in the west as far as John O’Groats in the east.
Views across to the northern isles – coastal scenery to die for – and the certain probability of being able to explore wild and remote beaches all to yourself.
And, yes, there are well-equipped campsites even this far north! Try out John O’Groats Caravan and Camping site. Once you’re done, if you’re up for a drive the entire length of the country, head off to Land’s End in Cornwall – some 874 miles away!