There’s no such thing as a typical campsite – they vary from simple farmers’ fields to sites with the facilities you’d expect to find in a five-star hotel.
But all campers have their own preferences. Some return to favourite grounds year after year, while others are perpetually searching for the most perfectly relaxing, Instagrammable, or entertaining site.
So what are the motorhoming must-haves for you – along with a reliable vehicle and suitable motorhome insurance? We’ve listed the top 14 campsite features that can make or break a holiday. Read on to find out more.
Some campers want an amenity-rich campsite, with games rooms, gyms, and spas. Others prefer back-to-basics, with little more than a tap and a toilet (bring your own toilet roll!). Read our blog on the best spas to visit by motorhome for a few more ideas.
But just about everybody agrees: the facilities must be clean.
You don’t want to be trying to shower or wash your dishes surrounded by others’ dirt, let alone be bringing it into your own nice, clean motorhome on your shoes.
Of course, a bit of mud, grass and dust is to be expected on an outdoors holiday.
But even campsites which pride themselves on their eco-credentials, eschewing bleach and other harsh chemicals, can find green alternatives and keep their facilities in sparkling, fresh condition.
The ones that don’t are probably best avoided by all but the hardiest of holidaymakers.
Surly staff or grumpy groundsmen can cast a shadow on even the sunniest campsite. At the very least, you want a smile from reception staff as you arrive at the end of a long journey.
Even better are staff who can speak your language – or listen patiently as you attempt theirs – and sell you some fresh farm goods for your evening barbecue at a reasonable price.
They need to be friendly to you and your kids, yet prepared to wade in and lay down the law if other campers are being inconsiderate.
Ideally, they should also be able to help you with local information.
If your vehicle suffers damage, for example, campsite staff could be your first port of call for details of local garages – remember to contact your motorhome insurance provider promptly, too.
Your motorhome is your home on wheels, so you might not actually need a kitchen or shower block – though you might appreciate the change of scenery.
What you do need, though, are waste and water facilities so you can dump your waste safely, rinse out your tanks, and fill up your water again.
You want electricity to run your appliances and charge up your leisure battery. And it’s always nice – and increasingly possible – to get wireless internet access, too.
And if you do decide to use the campsite showers, you want them hot, clean and free.
Fumbling with coins while trying to rinse your hair in a trickle of cold water is a campsite misery that’s best left in the last millennium.
For some people, the ideal pitch is a fully serviced Super Pitch with electric hook-up, a waste drain and a water tap.
For others, it’s a grassy, shady glade hidden from other campers and as close to nature as possible.
Whichever suits your style, there’s one thing you really don’t want to compromise on: space.
Sadly, some campsites squeeze in as many motorhomes, caravans and tents as possible.
UK sites generally allow for at least six metres between motorhomes for fire safety reasons – but some of this space can be filled with awnings and cars.
Unless you’re on holiday with the family in the neighbouring pitch, a crowded site can leave you feeling a bit like a sardine.
Your treasured motorhome could suffer scratches or knocks from campers stumbling across the campsite at night-time, or even get damaged by vehicles reversing out of tight spaces onto your pitch.
Motorhome insurance from Motorhome Protect covers your vehicle for any accidental damage.
Somewhere to swim
It could be a lake, the sea, an indoor pool or a full-scale aqua park – many of us relish the opportunity for a relaxing or invigorating dip while on holiday.
If you’ve got kids, this is likely to be high up your list, but even child-free holidaymakers may love a quiet splash in a beautiful setting at the end of a long journey.
A gentle or vigorous swim is a great way to stretch your limbs, free your mind, and let yourself feel properly on holiday.
Even a paddle in a wooded stream will help you forget your working life and get into vacation mode. And if you can do so without leaving your campsite, so much the better.
Sometimes, of course, you pick your campsite as a simple stopover.
But if you’re staying for more than a night or two, your perfect campsite is likely to be in a lovely setting, probably with a stunning view.
The motorhome owners’ ideal is to throw open the door in the morning and be greeted with a picture-perfect vista.
Failing that, a pleasantly green farmer’s field or a shady woodland glade will more than suffice. So long as it makes you smile when you pull back your curtains, it’s good.
But a busy road? Houses? A car park or an industrial estate? You’d be better off back home, staring across the street into your neighbours’ windows.
So pick your campsite carefully – read reviews, check maps, and make sure your proposed holiday spot will be everything you’re dreaming of.
Peace and quiet
Now, it’s true that some motorhome owners are seeking a campsite with bars, clubs and activities.
There are plenty that fit the bill, particularly those geared towards families in coastal resorts.
There are also campsites that cater for large groups and rallies, allowing them to make merry until the wee small hours.
But more often, motorhome owners are looking for the chance to chill in a peaceful green space, and perhaps catch up on their reading over a bottle of chilled white.
They might socialise with a few others, but in a low-key way.
Campsites that offer tranquil surroundings, or perhaps just the happy buzz of children’s voices, are highly sought after.
If you find a perfectly relaxing spot, you’re likely to return year after year for your well-earned downtime.
Motorhomes are fantastic for travelling long distances with all your gear.
They’re less well designed for manoeuvring into a tight parking spot, or driving round the windy lanes of an ancient hilltop town.
So especially if you’re on a city break, the very best campsites might be the ones with reliable public transport links to the centre or other attractions you wish to visit.
That way, once you’re parked up at your pitch, you can simply leave your motorhome for the day and head off exploring.
Sadly, thefts from vehicles are all too common at large, busy campsites, so make sure you lock all doors and windows when leaving your motorhome unattended.
With motorhome insurance from Motorhome Protect, you’re covered for criminal damage caused to your vehicle or its contents, up to a specified amount.
After a long day’s travelling or exploring, your kids need to let off steam.
They want to explore, play, and possibly even forge friendships with other children from all sorts of nationalities.
A great campsite playground, or even just a large field, is perfect to let little ones unwind, so they’ll sleep more soundly.
Maybe you like to let them run wild in woodlands and streams (keep an eye on them though).
Or perhaps you prefer the organised chaos of a kids’ club – with another adult paid to entertain your little darlings!
Above all, you want to know that your kids will be totally safe, and won’t be upsetting anyone with their excited antics. That’s what family motorhome holidays are all about!
… or child free
But if you’re travelling without children, it’s totally understandable that you might prefer to seek out campsites geared solely towards adults.
You’ll be able to relax with a glass of wine without fretting about feral five-year-olds tearing into your lit barbecue or running smack into your vehicle.
You’ll be free to head to the pub for dinner and a pint, and enjoy a lie-in come the morning.
You can sit in your quiet motorhome in the evening, planning your next day’s long walks or sightseeing visits without having to worry about keeping kids amused. Bliss!
For a proper worry-free break, make sure your vehicle’s in great condition, you’ve checked its tyres and oil, and have taken out suitable motorhome insurance.
If all that’s taken care of, you know you can sit back and relax.
Dog-free or dog-friendly sites
If you don’t like being disturbed by other people’s kids, you certainly don’t want to be bothered by barking!
Many sites, particularly on working farms, ban dogs, helping to ensure your stay is a peaceful one.
However, if you do have a collie as your companion on your travels, you’ll be glad of a site that welcomes dogs by providing a field where they can run free.
Some even provide doggy welcome packs containing details of dog-friendly beaches and pubs, while other sites offer treats and even special showers for their canine campers.
Best of all are the sites which offer woodland walks direct from your motorhome. Great muddy fun for you and your precious pet!
Some holidaymakers want sun, sea and sand. Others want culture and history. Still others want lakes and mountains.
Whichever type of holiday you prefer you’ll need a campsite as close as possible.
If it’s a metropolitan buzz you’re after, you might have to settle for a campsite on the edge of the city.
But otherwise, you should be able to find a campsite no more than a stone’s throw away from a stunning mountain or beach.
Then it’s just a question of pitching up, hooking up to the amenities, and heading straight into the surf or onto a woodland walk. So much better than a motel on a main road!
Nothing gets you more in the back-to-nature mood than the smell of a campfire.
Whether you like toasting marshmallows, telling stories, or just staring into the flames, you may well feel that campfires are what makes an outdoors holiday so very special.
Many of the more organised sites do not allow campfires for safety reasons, or because they can scorch the grass and look unsightly for the next group of campers.
If you have small kids or excitable dogs, you may well find a campsite dotted with open fires a somewhat alarming prospect, too.
But other sites are more open to the idea, with many hiring out special fire pits and selling you kindling and wood. Who’s for jacket potatoes?
Finally, who needs a campsite anyway? For many people, the real advantage of motorhomes is that they allow you to head off into the unknown, but still benefit from a few home comforts.
So charge up your leisure battery, load up with petrol, put water in your tank, and set your compass in the direction you want to travel. And drive!
It’s a good idea to check you’ve got some basic motorhome maintenance tools with you, so you can change a tyre or fix a leak.
And don’t forget to take out motorhome insurance before you strike off into the distance – you never know when accidents might occur. Good luck!
Get a quote from Motorhome Protect
Your motorhome offers you a base for an incredibly varied range of holidays.
Whichever type you choose, Motorhome Protect is here to ensure you’re covered in case of accident or mishap.
We arrange motorhome insurance that includes unlimited cover across all countries that are part of the EU, cover for camping personal effects up to £3,000, and cover for vehicles with a value of up to £150,000.
We offer unlimited mileage cover, too, so you can head off on your trip of a lifetime. Contact us today to get started on your new adventure!