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Cool Caravanning

England’s top sites to park up your caravan, campervan, motorhome, or a Siberian UAZ

Olivia Lee talks to Caroline Mills — editor of Discover Touring magazine, and author of Cool Carvanning (IMM Lifestyle Books, 2017) — about some of her top picks for caravanning sites in England, from a field just off the M25 to a hidden pitch deep in a lesser-known corner of County Durham.

Howgill Lodge, North Yorkshire — For walkers
This site, at the western foot of Barden Fell in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, offers views across Wharfdale all the way up to Thorpe Fell. It’s small, with only 20 pitches, and is owned by the very welcoming Foster family. There are long walks and littles walks, walks around the Bolton Abbey Estate, walks onto the hills behind the campsite, and the most impressive walk of all: the 84-mile Dales Way, just five minutes from the site.

Rowlestone Court, Herefordshire — For families
This campsite has only five pitches, each with a 360-degree panorama across Herefordshire and the Black Mountains in Wales. What makes it really special is the multi-award-winning ice cream they make on site. There are plenty of spots for kids, including a fantastic, old-fashioned play area complete with a sit-on vintage tractor and huge tyre swings, as well as the woods that run alongside the site and a river to cool off in.

Highside Farm, Country Durham — For landscape lovers
I’ve been several times, but each time it’s more beautiful than I remember. Highside Farm has four pitches and allows only eight people on the site at a time. It is surrounded by wildflower meadows and traditional yellow hay fields. It’s an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but because it’s not an official National Park, there are far fewer tourists flocking to the hilltops like in the neighbouring Lake District and Yorkshire Dales.

Tristram, Cornwall — For adventure lovers
Tristram has amazing ocean views, and plenty of surf, sea and sand. This large site, with over 100 pitches, is just a longboard-length away from the beach. You can go crabbing, fishing, swimming or rock-pooling, and there’s also a great surf school for those who want to hit the waves. The Camel Trail — a 17-mile cycle way — runs near the site, as does the South West Coast Path, which carries on all the way to Dorset.

Chertsey, Surrey — For urbanites
Chertsey, set beside the river Thames and only a few miles from the M25, offers easy access to central London. If it rains, you can take a 30-minute train to Waterloo and stretch your legs in the capital, instead of on the Thames Path which runs beside the site. Kew Gardens is within easy access, and there are plenty of places for dinner if you don’t fancy a campsite BBQ.