More and more Brits are discovering the freedom and flexibility that a campervan brings, with booming sales fuelled by the recent pandemic and the work-from-home trend.
As staycation campervan holidays surge the ‘#vanlife’ hashtag also continues to trend widely on social media
So what better way to explore everything Britain has to offer than on your own road trip in a campervan?
To aid you in your van life trip, experts at Select Van Leasing have revealed an exclusive guide to the very best UK locations to visit in a campervan.
Our exclusive campervan index and ranking is based on a number of different factors – including cost, the number of campervan-friendly campsites an area has, how generous the weather might be, and even how Instagram-friendly the scenery is.
We assessed all of the UK’s national parks on their campervan friendliness, before giving them a unique Select score out of 100.
So, read on to find out where your own personal favourite national park sits in our best campervan locations Top 10.
And below we’ll talk you through all of the different elements that were factored-in to create our final list.
The most campervan-friendly National Parks
Not all campsites are campervan friendly.
And each national park has its own rules and regulations when it comes to sleeping overnight by the side of the road, or in a layby, and you may need permission from the landowner to do so.
With that in mind we looked at not just how many campsites were located within each national park, but actually how many of them allow campervans to stay.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park in Scotland leads the way for being the most campervan-friendly national park with a ratio of 75% of the sites, overall, welcoming visitors behind the wheel of a campervan.
The 720 square mile national park is home to some of the UK’s most stunning scenery, from far-stretching, freshwater lochs, natural wildlife and an abundance of hilltops and ‘munros’ – a mountain with a height over 3,000 feet – that offer extensive views of Scotland’s beauty.
Securing the spot of the second-best national park for being campervan friendly is The North York Moors National Park, with an accommodating ratio of 71%.
Combining everything you could possibly want in a national park, The North York Moors boasts heather-clad moorland and beautiful forests to explore on your rambles, to scenic coastlines like Saltburn by the Sea, Whitby, Sandsend, Staithes and Robin Hood’s Bay. You can even hop aboard the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to explore the destinations by steam train.
Eryri National Park, Snowdonia, takes third place as the most accommodating for campervans with a ratio of 66% of campsites, overall, that are campervan friendly.
Wales’ largest national park spans across 823 square miles and boasts stunning mountain views, scenic lakes and stretches of green rolling hills to explore on your travels – with plenty of places to stay over along the way.
The UK’s top-rated campervan holiday spots
You wouldn’t book a restaurant without finding out what previous diners thought of it.
And similarly, it’s important to look at a campsite’s visitor rating before arriving.
To find out what campers really think of a site, we looked at the ratings listed on popular website Campsites.co.uk and found the most-loved sites in each national park.
Emerging as the best-rated campsite for campervans overall is Glengoulandie Camping and Caravanning in the Cairngorms National Park, with a score of 10/10.
Situated in the picturesque Highland Perthshire, the family-run site is only eight miles from the bustling towns of Aberfeldy and Pitlochry. The spot is also perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, with plenty of cycle routes and water sport locations close by, alongside multiple walking trails that take in Scotland’s natural beauty and stunning deer park nearby.
Joining Glengoulandie Camping and Caravanning in joint first, is the Welsh campsite Hendre Mynach Camping and Touring Park in The National Park of Eryri, Snowdonia, which also scored 10/10 in our run-down.
Just a five-minute drive from The Snowdonia National Park and 20 minutes from Barmouth Beach, the site is the perfect base to do everything from hiking to sunbathing. Whether you choose a grass or hardstanding pitch, relaxing scenic coastal views are to be enjoyed across the site.
Cosmos Camping in the Brecon Beacons National Park scores an impressive 7.7/10.
The cosy site sits in the Brecon Beacons Dark Sky Reserve, making the peaceful retreat the perfect place for relaxation and some stargazing. The adult-only site in the area boasts incredible views of the Black Mountain – and whilst children aren’t allowed, your four-legged friends are.
Accompanying Cosmos Camping in joint second place is Westdown Farm Wild Camping and Caravanning Centre in the Dartmoor National Park, with a score of 7.7/10.
The family-run site is surrounded by 92 acres of farmland that is populated with a range of wildlife, from 32 different species of wildlife to all of its farm animals. The site is a short 10-minute drive to Okehampton Castle and within easy reach of Dartmoor National Park.
The UK’s most searched-for campervan holiday spots
We all Google before we go.
And we analysed online data to reveal the most searched-for national parks in the UK among campervanners.
The New Forest National Park on the south coast – sandwiched between Bournemouth and Southampton – took the top spot, amassing 1,100 campervan-related searches every month and earning a Select score of 10 out of 10.
Overnight stays are, however, prohibited in the national park, unless a landowner has granted you permission to park in their layby.
The Lake District National Park secured second place, with 500 monthly searches and a Select score of 9.3/10.
Meanwhile Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park was placed third, with around 350 campervan-related searches per month. Some car parks in Bannau Brycheiniog allow campervanners to stay overnight, but have a 24-hour limit.
The UK’s most budget-friendly campervan holiday spots
The cost of living crisis isn’t going away in a hurry – so it’s good to know the UK’s most affordable campervan destinations.
To find out, we looked at data from the camping website Pitchup.com to find the average price, as well as some of the cheapest spots.
Leading the way as the most budget-friendly destination for a campervan holiday is The Broads National Park, located in Norfolk and Suffolk, with the average campervan site price costing £19.00.
Following closely behind as the second-most affordable campsite is The North York Moors National Park, costing £23.00 on average.
Exmoor National Park ranked as the third most budget-accommodating location, with the average campervan pitch costing £24.00.
The UK’s most-Instagrammed campervan holiday spots
If you’re looking for a campervan holiday destination that’s going to look aesthetically pleasing on your Instagram grid, then there’s no better place to start than the most-Instagrammed National Parks.
Taking the lead as the most-hashtagged campervan location is The Cairngorms National Park, scoring a photo-worthy 10 out of 10. From scenic shots from campervan windows to photographs of people’s campervan setups, this national park has 493 hashtags dedicated to it.
Claiming its place as the second-most snap-worthy destination is The Lake District National Park – with hundreds of hashtags dedicated to everything from breakfast shots from campervans with a view, to staged campervan shots with the mountains and lakes as the backdrop.
The UK’s campervan holiday spots that promise the best weather
It’s the nemesis of any UK campervan trip – the Great British weather!
With that in mind, we used official climate data to take a look at which national parks enjoy the best weather when it comes to average temperatures, as well as average rainfall.
The sunny South Downs National Park and The New Forest National Park take joint first place as the best locations for guaranteed good weather, with matching scores of 16.5/20. The two destinations have an average yearly temperature of 11.1°C and average rainfall of 779mm, making for comfortable weather to explore everything the stunning nature spots have to offer.
Taking the title of the second-most promising climate – despite being in northern-most England – is The Northumberland National Park, with a total score of 14.3 out of 20.
Boasting an average temperature of 9.5°C and an average rainfall of 718mm, the dry and mild climate is perfect for exploring the historic landscapes of the national park, including the rich heritage of Hadrian’s Wall.
The North York Moors secured its place as the third-warmest and driest holiday spot.
AND THE OVERALL WINNER FOR BEST UK CAMPERVAN HOLIDAY LOCATION IS…
The scores from each round (above) were totted-up to give us a final, unique Select Van Leasing score out of 100.
So, which national park should you choose, with ‘all things campervan’ considered?
Our triumphant overall winner is the North York Moors – which significantly out-scored its nearest rival, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, by almost 10 points.
The North York Moors enjoys comparably good weather, an abundance of campervan-friendly campsites, and it’s affordable, too. In fact, the cheapest campervan location can be enjoyed from just £16 per night.
And when it comes to spectacular landscapes, the Moors has everything from stunning coastlands to the colourful Cleveland Hills – all of which will look fantastic on the ‘Gram.
Runner-up in the Select Van Leasing analysis was the glorious Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, where you can spot spectacular sea life like basking sharks, dolphins and Atlantic grey seals.
Meanwhile the Peak District is the third best national park for campervanners – being a mecca for rock climbers, mountain bikers, cave enthusiasts, and tourists who simply want to enjoy the picture postcard perfect villages.
And don’t forget you can lease a campervan with Select Van Leasing and Select Car Leasing, and you can choose from popular models like the Volkswagen California and the Ford Transit Custom Nugget camper.