Welcome to Cornwall. A land defined by a spectacular coastline which tapers out into the Atlantic Ocean, dramatic granite cliffs, picture-postcard fishing harbours, and wide sandy beaches. A revered surfing haven with a rich cultural heritage, which remains visible in the landscapes, ancient stones and mining structures. The spirit of the place is decidedly different, and once you get your campervan to Cornwall, you’ll find yourself wondering if you’re still in England. They don’t call it Kernow-fornia for nothing!
There’s a dizzying array of campsites to choose from, a testament to Cornwall’s popularity as a holiday destination. From holiday parks to simplistic, back-to-nature pitch-ups, there’s almost too much choice. So, we have collected nine of the best campsites in Cornwall to make planning a trip to the UK’s southwestern tip that much easier. We’ve arranged them by tariff from high to low, though all are reasonably priced, with ample facilities, breathing space and stunning views. They’re also all independently and family-run, which we think makes a difference to both you and the hosts you share an experience with. By the end of this blog, you'll understand why Cornwall is one of our top 5 weekend destinations in the UK.
1. Ayr Holiday Park, St Ives
Ayr Holiday Park, St Ives boasts an incredible vista that, even amongst camping sites in Cornwall, is hard to beat. Overlooking the sandy stretches of Porthmeor, its gorgeous sunsets and consistent surf waves, this campsite is also just a 5-minute walk from artsy St Ives. Explore the Tate art gallery, join up with the coastal path (direct access from the campsite), stock up on local food provisions at the Cornish Deli, try Blas Burgerworks after a long surf session. There’s also a 14th Century Inn right on the harbour. Just remember the steep walk back up to your pitch.
As for the campsite itself, there are 80 pitches, half of which with electric hook-ups, 30 hardstanding. There’s a main shower and toilet block with warm, spacious showers, disabled and family rooms, shaving points, and hairdryers. There’s also a laundry, a games room, and WiFi. No campfires or disposable BBQs are allowed. An on-site café caters to all immediate needs. The slightly higher tariffs reflect the spectacular view and location and is definitely worth it!
£13.50 for campervan or motorhome, £7.25 per adult, £6.25 for service pitch supplement (includes electric hook-up).
Ayr Holiday Park, Alexandra Road, St Ives, Cornwall, TR26 1EJ
2. Elm Farm, Redruth
Elm Farm capitalises on its location beside the Mineral Tramways cycle network, and serves as a family-run campsite -cycle-centre with a cute café. Be sure to get your bikes on board before bringing your motorhome to Cornwall, because this site is bang in the middle of the Coast to Coast trail. Tracks weave away across Cornwall’s 19th-century mining history, past moonscape quarries and ancient copper mines, cliff tops and countryside, and lie in wait for adventurous campers who come here. If you don’t bring your own bikes, you can hire from the farm café for a discounted camper rate. A great viewpoint nearby is Laity Moor. It stretches out in the distance to Carn Brea hill, one of the highest points in the local area, from which you can see both the north and south Cornwall coast. Elm Farm is also less than two miles by bike from the nearest beaches. Choose between Portreath and Porthtowan, or explore secret swimming holes like Fisherman’s Cove. The surf school at Porthtowan can take care of all your board hire and lesson needs if you’re more water-baby than trail rider.
The site’s two camping meadows are simple, off-grid, and have been left purposefully alone in order to maintain their natural appeal – to people and wildlife alike. Amongst the 25 pitches, buzzards, barn owls and stoats can be spotted or heard. Great elm trees border the fields and give the farm its name. There’s a pair of family shower rooms with sinks, and 4 compost toilets (the café has flushing loos, too). There are also drinking-water taps, solar lights dotted around, 2 dish-washing/laundry sinks, and a chemical disposal point beside the café. You can use braziers (upcycled washing machine drums) and campfires, which are provided with logs for £6.
£10 per adult per night.
Elm Farm Cycles, Camp & Café, Tram Road, Nancekuke, Redruth, Cornwall TR16 5UF.
3. Bush Farm Wild Camping, Saltash
Along the theme of camping sites in Cornwall that are run a bit differently (and are all the better for it), Bush Farm Wild Camping is a unique, family-run site on rewilded land. Formerly a cattle farm, the family have planted 100 acres of wildflower meadows and 20 acres of crops for wildlife. This conservation and biodiversity project compliments a low-key, off-grid camping experience for adults and kids with wild imaginations and a love of nature. It’s easily accessible from Plymouth and opens up the rest of Cornwall. The nearest beach is the lovely, quiet Whitsand Bay, and nearby that is the harbour town of Looe. Drive up to the stunning Kit Hill and have traditional Cornish fair (cream teas, pasties, full English brekkies or hearty home-made meals) whilst overlooking the rolling country at Louis Tea Rooms https://www.louistearooms.co.uk/. Otherwise, fill your boots with burgers, burritos and craft beer from Foreign Muck (so named as an affectionate jab at the chef’s old man, who’s hesitance to try new cuisine inspired them bring more adventurous menus to their hometown).
When you rock up to Bush Farm, you’ll be given a map, encouraged to explore and to settle wherever you like. The 40 ‘pitches’ are more than generous, but aren’t neatly groomed hard standings. Also, facilities aren’t the campsites selling point. However, there are two toilets, two hot-water showers, and a sink for washing up in which cover the necessary bases. It’s the 200 acres of land worth exploring that make this place special, with a lake and a river that you can take to in the Canadian canoe. Campfires are allowed, firepits provided free of charge and recycled wood available for £5 a bag.
£7.50 per night per adult
Bush Farm Campsite, Bush Farm Wild Camping, Pillaton, Saltash, Cornwall PL12 6QY
4. Trelispen Caravan and Camping Park, St Austell
Trelispen Caravan and Camping Park is a perfectly quiet spot for laid-back, classic touring campervan experience of Cornwall. It’s half a mile from the beaches of the Roseland Peninsula, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. These beaches, such as Vault and Hemmick, are beautiful, safe, and lesser-known, where shoals of mackerel attract dolphins and friendly seals. Nearby walks around Dodman point take you to an Iron Age hill fort, and the Lost Gardens of Heligan are only 10 minutes away. A friendly face around the campsite is Ray, who operates the local kayak hire in Gorran Haven.
There are 10 of the 40 pitches with electric hook-ups, but other than that, it’s pitch-where-you-like. The facilities block has 7 toilets and 4 showers, a washing-up sink, a free-to-use washing machine and tumble dryer, and communal fridge-freezer. Campfires aren’t allowed, but BBQs are so long as they’re off the ground.
Contact the campsite directly to inquire about tariffs for 2021 on 01726 843501
Trelispen Caravan and Camping Park, Gorran Haven, St Austell, Cornwall, PL26 6NR.
5. Hendra Holiday Park, Newquay
Hendra Holiday Park, Newquay has been named by the AA Caravan and Camping Awards as one of the UK’s best, let alone one of the best campsites in Cornwall. It’s also one of the refreshingly independently owned and managed campsites near Newquay, the county’s busiest holiday destination. So, if you’re looking for a lively holiday option, this is the one for you. It also offers a skate park, fish and chip shop, coffee shop, and indoor and outdoor pools, just to keep you busy.
The touring pitches occupy 12 fields and, some have fully serviced facilities. There are 548 pitches, so you can pick your aspect; open countryside or under the shade of the site’s mature trees and shrubs. While the five toilet and showers blocks are spotlessly maintained, they’re also open to the public. This site generates most of its own electricity from a 1.5-megawatt solar farm. The Hendra Pod Village area has 10 smart wooden pods for hire. This is where all your holiday needs can be met in one go, at a campsite conveniently near Newquay.
Nightly touring tariff £7.25 standard for adults, with standard electric hookup £7.55.
Hendra Holiday Park, Newquay, Cornwall, TR8 4NY
6. The View Campsite, Newquay
Another one of Cornwall’s great campsites near Newquay is The View Campsite. Here, you get all the advantages of being just half a mile away from the best beach in Cornwall, Watergate Bay, with its cliffy backdrop, 2 miles of golden sand and exciting array of year-round events. The view is a smaller, tranquil campsite, but the Watergate Touring Park is just 300 yards away. Along a quiet road, all of its amenities – which include an indoor heated swimming pool, skate park, tennis courts, pool tables, arcades and more – are available for guests at the View to access. There’s also a charming little onsite café at the View, laundry facilities, a heated toilet and shower block including disabled and family bathrooms, indoor washing up area, drinking water points, waste facilities, ice-pack hire, hair-dryers and electronic device charging. For a small site, it really has it all.
It’s £7.45 per night for a standard grass pitch with 16amp electric hookup, or £10.30 for a large grass pitch with the same. Per adult per night prices range from £.6.65 to £11.10 depending on the time of season you go.
The View at Watergate Bay, Bostaran, Tregurrian, Newquay, Cornwall TR8 4AE.
7. East Crinnis Farm, Par
For an idyllic countryside retreat, head to the heart of Cornwall and stay at East Crinnis Farm. Even here, you’re still only a 15-minute walk from dramatic coastlines! From the campsite you can easily join up with the South West Coastal Footpath. Towering above Crinnis beach’s cliffs, you can follow it to Charleston harbour. Easily reached by car for exciting daytrips are the Eden Project and King Arthur’s Castle in Tintagel, as well as the traditional fishing ports of Fowey and Mevagissey. Nearby eateries include the Smugglers Den Inn in Cubert, a friendly thatched pub with traditional food and local ales, and Sam’s, a 60s style joint renowned for its fish and burgers.
For all its its rustic feel, this campsite really has it all: a shower block with hot water, changing rooms, family bathrooms, hair dryers, a disabled bathroom with modern facilities, a kitchen with a freezer, kettle, microwave, and washing-up facilities. All pitches are within close reach of water points, the showers and the toilet blocks. There’s also laundry room with ironing facilities, coin-operated washing machines and tumble driers, and there’s Wi-Fi. The reception has a small shop, ‘the Shack,’ for takeaway food and groceries. During the school holidays, they have weekly story-telling around a campfire and a free pasty supper, which, of course, all ages can join. Whilst campfires are allowed at pitches, they must be off the ground in BBQs or fire pits (these aren’t provided). They’ve also taken the time and effort to provide waste recycling, a modern chemical disposal and grey water drop point. On the more scenic side of things, there’s a small nature reserve with a pond.
Prices range from £12 for a grass pitch without electric in low season, to £20 for a hardstanding pitch with electric in high season.
Par Moor Road, Par, PL24 2SQ
8. Granary Barn Camping, Helston
Granary Barn Camping is also one of the more traditional camping sites in Cornwall, and is perfect for exploring the rugged Lizard Peninsula. You can join up with the coastal path for some stunning walks, such as from Loe Bar to Porthmeor. Again, Porthmeor is the surfer’s beach of choice nearby, but Porthmister is also among the UK’s finest and close at hand. It’s worth driving a few minutes to Porthleven to check out the 3 mile beach, traditional net lofts and fisherman’s cottages. For the more adventurous, Lizard Adventure specilate in outdoor activities such as cliff climbing, coasteering and sea kayaking. Don’t forget to cross the tidal causeway to St Michael’s Mount; a must-do, this fairy-tale island is immersed in myth and legend. The campsite itself is astride Helston, Cornwall’s second oldest town, and is full of ancient pubs and old miner’s cottages.
The campsite is easily accessible, sitting on the B3302 Holiday Route. The simple facilities suitable for any traditional campsite; washing up area with hot water and draining board, free fridge and freezer access, a toilet block, showers for £2, and a free washing machine. The owner, Tom, is an asset himself. Affably welcoming and ever accommodating, he prides himself on making the camping experience at Granary Barn a breeze.
Tariffs for 2021 aren’t available yet, but it’s possible to call Tom on 077040514188 for a quote.
Nantrisack Farm, B3302, Sithney, Helston, TR13 0AE
9. Cerenety Eco Campsite, Bude
Last but not least, Cerenety Eco Campsite is so priced thanks to the volunteers that help to run it. Spacious, peaceful and green, in an Area of Outstanding National Beauty, this campsite boasts ‘happy eco-camping,’ and has won awards for sustainability as well as its excellent reviews. It’s suitable for smaller campervans, so unfortunately if you’re bringing a big, roomy motorhome to Cornwall, this pitch isn’t for you. It’s a bit more back-to-nature; the site is also an animal rescue centre and committed to protecting the natural habitats within its fields. Spot herons, butterflies and moths in the wildlife pond, feed orphan lambs in lambing season, and get to know the other animals on site: horses, alpacas, ducks, dogs, and chickens.
5-minutes’ walk brings you to the campsites’ ‘secret beach,’ or another 20-minutes to Bude’s stunning, surfable Summerleaze, Crooklets and Widemouth beaches. Bude can offer any holiday-maker an array of surf schools, such as Raven or Big Blue, waterfront café’s, pubs and eateries and amusement arcades. You can dip in the tidal pool, or row a boat along the canal (boat hire at Lower Wharf: 07968 688782). For cyclists, there’s a gentle route along the canal towpath, or a more demanding ride all the way from Bude to Land’s End along the Cornish Way.
The campsite’s 3 sprawling fields have no set pitches, so be sure to check with the owners which meadow is best for your stay. A field shelter houses 2 showers, 3 compost loos and 2 washing-up sinks (hot water is powered by solar panels). The owner, Jake will happily freeze ice blocks for you, if you ask. A small shed-shop sells basics such as toothpaste and loo roll. Everyone’s welcome to pick fresh veggies from the patch and explore the forest garden. Campfires and BBQs are very much encouraged, and portable solar shower bags are also available to rent for £6.
£8 per campervan in low season, £10 in high season.
Cerenety Campsite, Lynstone Lane, Bude, Cornwall, EX23 0LR.
Before you hit up one of the best campsites in Cornwall, remember that our recommendations here are not exhaustive – there are too many amazing experiences to list here! From coast to coast and everything in between, there’s a whole world to be uncovered in this small, stunning county (which many consider to be a country in its own right). You can even hire a VW campervan for the trip. A campervan cruise really is the best way to wrap as much as you can into one break, so grab your surfboards and check out our campers ready to take you on your next road trip in Cornwall!