A shore-fired guide! Watersports and outdoor holidays in the UK and beyond
Like to make a splash? Us too, even if we do occasionally get laughed at almost tipping over a kayak. Ahem. Whether you like dipping in wild pools, walking miraculously on water, or taking to the waves for the best surf, here’s the shore-fired Pitchup.com guide to watersports in the UK and beyond. We’ve also included fishing in case, Suarez-like, you fancy a bite:
Watersports on site
Wimbleball Lake Campsite , Somerset : sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, rowing and fishing next to the Exmoor Hills. Non-electric grass pitches from £14; camping pods available Sunday – Wednesday from £35.
Adventure Camping , Devon : kayaking and surfing on offer at Bideford’s Adventure Centre, a measly eight miles from surf beach Croyde Bay. Cabins and lodges sleep from four to 12 people; prices from £40 – £220.
Stithians Lake Campsite , Cornwall : with a watersports centre and instructors on site to help guests have a go at windsurfing, sailing, rowing, kayaking and those giant walk on water balls. Pitches from £14.
Tamar Lakes Campsite , Cornwall: another watersports centre on site, as well as canoes, dinghies, pedalos, windsurfers and surf skis for hire. Camping pods sleeping up to four available from £50 a night; pitches from £13.
Camping les Catalpas , Lot-et-Garonne : riverside pitches with canoe hire on site and river swimming allowed (in swimming trunks and not shorts, most probably). Two-bedroom lodges for up to four people from £163.40 and holiday homes for up to six from £204.26, both for seven nights (20% off 12 – 26 July).
Haggerston Castle Holiday Park , Northumberland : award-winning Berwick-upon-Tweed park with seven lakes for boating and fishing (and a spa). Hardstanding pitches for tourers and motorhomes available from Mondays (minimum four nights, from £126) and Fridays/Saturdays for seven nights, from £221.
Roadford Lake Campsite , Devon: 730-acre site with a lake teeming with brown trout and all sorts of watery capers including windsurfing, sailing, canoeing and once again walking on water in giant balls. Non-electric grass pitches are all by the lake and start from £14.
With over 11,000 miles of coastline ( true fact ) as well as fathoms’ worth of splashworthy lakes and rivers for boating, sailing and fishing like in the Lake District / Cumbria and the Norfolk Broads, we naturally have shoals of suitable plaices for watery sports in the UK - and that’s before even thinking of the waves, rivers and lakes in France , Spain and beyond.
In the UK and elsewhere, many of our campsites are on the coast, a riverbank or an island with pitchside water views and all sorts of sports steps away, such as secluded Port Bàn Holiday Park in Argyll , or with a watersports centre within a piffling few minutes’ walk, like at:
Whitlingham Broad Campsite , Norfolk
Golden Lion Inn Lakeside Camping , Cornwall
Looking for something specific?
Now. We know that as with our best beaches blog, stating the ‘ best UK surf spots’ will have some readers foaming at the mouth. We reckon these are a fairly safe surfing bet for this land (but if you can do better, or have a favourite surf beach in Europe, let us know in the comments):
Croyde and Woolacombe, Devon
Surf stay: Europa Park : Paaarty! ‘Surf Lodge’ for up to nine people – with fridge (beer), telly (World Cup), shower and loo included. From £124.50 a night – that’s less than £14 each, surf dudes.
Newquay and Watergate Bay, Devon
Surf stay: Smugglers Haven , Newquay: adults-only site a mile from Watergate Bay with surf school on site and two and three-bedroom caravans from £165 – £355 per four days.
Caswell Bay, Gower Peninsula
Pease Bay, Scottish Borders
Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire
Cayton Bay, North Yorkshire
Surf stay: Crows Nest Caravan Park : a mile from Cayton Bay and close to the other North Yorkshire surf beaches of Scarborough North and Scarborough South. A deluxe caravan sleeping up to six starts from £325 for seven nights; pitches also available from £15.
Surf school nearby
We also have over 275 sites with a surf school nearby , most handy if you’re like our main pic every time you tentatively stand up on a board:
Not at all surprisingly, you can seek sailing spots around those of surfing - while remembering that, as with general watersports sites, sailing sites often include river and lake sailing such as on watery expanses in the Lake District. (We include an honourable mention for yacht gawping at Cowes Week too.)
We have over 500 sites with sailing nearby and are floating a few to start you off:
Domaine de Kervallon , Bretagne : Brittany campsite with water leisure park within ten minutes and with a fishing pond on site. A yurt sleeping up to four starts from £57.19 a night; electric grass pitches are also available from £12.26.
Canoeing and kayaking
Race towards the rapids at our campsites with canoeing and kayaking nearby, such as sailing along in the New Forest or picking up books in Wales. Click on the county links for more campsites nearby:
Sandy Balls Holiday Village , Hampshire : award-winning Sandy Balls (stop it) is in the New Forest and has canoeing along the Beaulieu within a peaceable distance. Serviced tourer and motorhome pitches from £15.
Hollybush Camping , Herefordshire : hire a canoe and paddle straight from the site three miles down the Wye to Hay. (Bring an extra canoe/kayak for the books.) Non-electric grass pitches start from £15.
Linnhe Lochside Holidays , Highlands and Islands : water and outdoor options at Fort William, on a site with private boat launch and free fishing. Holiday homes and chalets start from £385 for a week and pitches from £13.95 a night.
Swimming can of course be plunged into anywhere you find a body of water bigger than a puddle and where you’re unlikely to be chased off by a tweed-clad landowner. Filter (ha) Pitchup.com sites to find hundreds within 15 miles of beaches with excellent water quality , or check each listing’s local attractions to see water quality reports in that area since 2010.
We’re not mentioning skinny dipping at all, but some of you may be interested in our first French naturist site , which has a sauna and swimming pool among many other bouncingly good activities. Also on the wild side, have an alfresco dip with our top ten outdoor swims , or stay tame with campsites with an indoor or outdoor pool .
Watersports for the contemplative. Our fishing blog covers the Scottish salmon fishing season and where in the UK and Ireland to bag salmon, trout and other tasty specimens. We’ve greatly extended our reach across the pond since then, so…