Seasoned campers will know that with the unpredictability of the Great British Summer, what should be a week of glorious sunshine can often lead to leaky tents, caravan fever and rain for days on end. The good thing about this is that campsite owners are prepared for all aspects of British weather, and so nowadays camping in winter is as simples as it is in summer.
Whether you’re camping or caravanning, there are loads of options for snug and toasty breaks all around the UK at any time of year. Read on for our top tips on winter camping (more tips here at our winter caravan sites guide):
Start here: you'll find more campsites and caravan parks than you could shake a snowy stick at. Filter the results by date, location, price and dozens more to find the perfect winter camping holiday; for an added bonus, extend your search to open all year sites that allow campfires.
For example, build a campfire in Somerset near England's smallest city, stroll on the beach in Cornwall, birdwatch at a splendidly secluded site in Shropshire, pitch up on the banks of Loch Lomond or on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, or near Paris or Barcelona... we also have a couple of open all year naturist campsites for the very brave or foolish.
After all that pitching up and walking about in the cold (especially if you’re at a naturist campsite), take a look at the Pitchup.com listing of your winter campsite for details of pubs nearby under the 'Local attractions' tab. Or have a look under 'Features' to see what winter treats will be available at the campsite, such as on-site restaurant or café.
If you're glamping, many yurts feature a woodburning stove inside – for toastiness as well as making hot drinks. But if not and you're sparking up outside, see our tips on how to make a campfire, keep it topped up and don’t forget to try our toasted marshmallow recipe.
... and use any available trees nearby to shelter away from it. You can also use your bike as a windbreak if you have one: just make sure it won’t fall on the tent if it topples over.
This is not the time for diets or sensible eating – your body needs energy and loads of it. Pile your kit high with starchy carbs and the ultimate camping in winter must-have, a whiskey-filled hip flask.
(Or two – one to lie on and one to sleep in.) Sleep with your clothes for the next day inside the bag with you so they’ll be warm when you’re putting them on.
If you’re not sure you’ll be able to handle the cold, pitchup up one night in your garden first. It should at least give the neighbours something to talk about.
If it gets too cold or too tough, leave the winter tent camp for another time and take yourself off to the pub for a hot toddy. Or, y'know, you could go and find a static caravan to stay in instead.