South Coast road trip planner 

Discover white sandy beaches, hidden coves, and sights straight out of a fantasy film, as you journey across the South Coast in a cosy little campervan! Make memories along the way and get stuck in to some activities - from scuba diving to pottery painting, there's something for every member of the family. 
 
The coast is steeped in tradition and history, all of it fascinating to learn about. Innovators in every field hail from this part of the country, most famously Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Born in Bristol, Brunel was a 19th century engineer from Bristol who was the face of the Industrial Revolution. 
 
Our handy route planner guides you through each leg of the journey, partnered with recommended stopovers and a list of things to see and do. Best of all, every recommended campsite is dog-friendly, so you're welcome to bring your furry friend along for the adventure! 
 
 
 
 

1st Stop - Margate 

Quex Holiday Park 255 miles, 4hr 30 min 

The idyllic seaside town of Margate is your first stop. It's been a popular holiday destination ever since the eighteenth century. It used to be known as a has-been town, on the decline after British holidays went out of fashion in the seventies, but in recent years Margate has returned, better than ever! 
 
You'll want to walk along the seafront first to get your bearings, but after that head down to the Old Town for a wander round the shops there. There's also the Old Kent Market for the antique enthusiasts amongst you.  
 
Fun family days out include trips to Dreamland, a theme park, and Shell Grotto, a beautifully unique cave decorated head to toe in seashells. (We won't judge if you end up having more fun than the kids!)  
 
The Margate to Ramsgate trail, full of picturesque scenery along the coast, is perfect for a long dog walk or a morning hike. Remember water and sunscreen if it's hot!  

Recommended camp site 

Site name and details 
Quex Holiday Park & Campsite 
Park Road 
Birchington 
Kent 
CT7 0BL 
N/A 
01843 841273 
Description 
This lovely, quiet campsite is only a ten minute drive from the beach. The facilities are very high quality - the shower block has won awards! - so you know you're in safe hands during your stay here. Dogs are welcome, and the surrounding coastline and countryside gives ample room for them to play. 
 
If you'd like to learn more about the history of Margate, take a day trip to the Powell-Cotton Museum. You'll get loads of fun facts and information on how the seaside town came to be the place it is today.  
Amenities 
Dog-friendly 
Electric hookup 
Toilet and shower block 

2nd Stop - Folkstone 

The Drum Inn 31.7 miles, 47 min 

Folkestone is located between two cliffs, with the tides crashing just below. The town used to be a crucial port in the 19th and 20th centuries, and it's one of the lesser-known places on this route, but still a beautiful town to visit.  
 
En route to Folkestone are three towns which we highly recommend you stop at. There's Dungeness, with an old lighthouse and a beach perfect for dog walks. Then Rye, with a Mermaid Street and castle. Finally you have Winchelsea, full of breathtaking walks.  
 
And in Folkestone itself there's still plenty to do! You could visit the well-kept gardens at Kingsnorth, or spend a day at the beach. Folkestone also has two country parks to explore.  

Recommended camp site 

Site name and details 
The Drum Inn 
Stone Street 
Stanford North 
Ashford 
Kent 
TN25 6DN 
info@thedruminn.com 
01303 812125 
Description 
For your second stop, we recommend you stay at the rustic Drum Inn, built in 1708. Open all year and dog friendly, the campsite has high reviews and lots of facilities.  
 
Ashford has a long history dating all the way back to the Iron Age! If you want to get out and about Ashford has a few walks for you to explore. Of course, you can always go shopping in the town centre - those souvenirs don't buy themselves, after all! 
 
The inn has a pub, so if you aren't up to cooking after a long day of adventure you can head down for some hot, home cooked food. You might even be lucky enough to catch some live music during your visit!  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Amenities 
Dog-friendly 
Electric hookup 
Toilet & shower block 
Disabled access 

3rd stop - Hastings 

Horam Manor Country Park 53.7 miles, 1hr 29 min 

Hastings is, of course, where the famous 1066 battle was fought. You can walk up former battlefield Senlac Hill and contemplate what it would have been like to be there, almost a thousand years ago.  
 
Hastings Museum and Art Gallery can give you a clearer picture of what really happened and the impact the event had on history. The castle is not only stunning, but another great historical source. 
 
Nowadays though, Hastings is best known for being a large fishing port. Head down to the pier and watch the fishermen going about their day-to-day lives, against the gorgeous backdrop of the ocean.  
 
 
 
 

Recommended camp site 

Site name and details 
Horam Manor Country Park 
Heathfield 
East Sussex 
England 
TN21 0YD 
N/A 
01435 813662 
Description 
Horam Manor Country Park is the perfect place for nature lovers to stay. It resides in an area of outstanding natural beauty, with swathes of trees and some prime fishing lakes surrounding it.  
 
Nearby is the famous cuckoo trail, 14 miles of greenery and wildlife to discover. If you want a cracking day out that's close to the campsite, Horam Manor Estate has both a fishery and a stables.  
 
The campsite itself is well equipped, with a children's play area, 24-hour CCTV, and even a dog washing station - so don't worry if your dog gets muddy on any of your adventures! 
 
Amenities 
Dog-friendly 
Electric hook up and free wifi 
Toilet & shower block 
Disabled facilities  
Dish wash and laundry facilities 

4th stop - Brighton 

Southdown Way Caravan & Campsite 26 miles, 40 min 

Brighton is perhaps the fastest growing seaside city in England. There's a large population of young artists, musicians, and creative minds, and there's always something new happening on the pier! You could walk along the beach, have some fish and chips, and sit down by Hove Plinth for some local entertainment.  
 
The best photo oppotunity in the city is getting a picture of the Brighton Tower. It's a feat of architecture and it's iconic silhouette is unrivalled.  
For a closer look into the unique history of Brighton, visit the Royal Pavilion. It was built as a seaside palace for King George IV, mixing Regency style with visual flair from the East.  
 
If city life isn't your thing, there's some nature walks that you're sure to enjoy. The nearby Beachy Head and Birling Gap are also good destinations for a quiet afternoon. 

Recommended camp site 

Site name and details 

Southdown Way Caravan & Campsite 
Southdown Farm 
Lodge Lane 
Keymer 
Hassocks 
West Sussex 
BN6 8LX 
site@southdown-caravancamping.org.uk 
01273 841877 

Description 

Just north of Brighton lies your campsite, Southdown Way, amongst open countryside and lovely coastal weather. The campsite itself is well-kept, with modern facilities but a cosy, family feel. 
 
The famous Jack and Jill windmills are within walking distance, and there's an array of activities less than ten miles from the campsite.  
 
Southdown Way has tons of things to do nearby, including several historical towns to visit, horse racing to spectate, and nature trails to walk the dog along. Visit the attractions part of the website for a more in depth description. 

Amenities 

Dog-friendly 
Electric hook up 
Toilet & shower block 
Disabled facilities 
Dish wash and laundry areas 

5th stop - Portsmouth 

Concierge Campsite 45.8 miles, 1 hr 15 min 

Next stop, Portsmouth! This is the perfect time to head down to the beach on a quiet evening and look out on the ocean, as the waves go back and forth and back again. Simple moments like this are really what makes a trip memorable - even when it inevitably starts raining and everyone has to retreat back to the van to dry off! 
 
The city has several historical buildings to visit, interspersed with beautiful countryside. The Grade II listed Kings Theatre has been putting on shows since 1907, and does a lot for the community, so get yourself a ticket if there's anything on! 
 
Arundel is close by, only four miles from the South Downs Way, and well worth a visit to see the spectacular Arundel Cathedral. Make sure you don't get too distracted staring at the architecture - there's often events going on inside.  
 
Afterwards, you can head down to the distillery for a tour and a drink (but not if you're driving, obviously!) 
 
 

Recommended camp site 

Site name and details 

Concierge Camping 
Ratham Estate 
West Ashling 
Chichester 
West Sussex 
PO18 8DL 
contact@conciergecamping.co.uk 
+44 (0) 1243 573118 

Description 

Right next to a babbling stream lies Concierge Camping, a quiet campsite with an impressive attention to detail located just outside Chichester. It's part of the larger Ratham Estate, which was a working farm until the 1990s and has a history dating back to the 15th century.  
 
You'll be glad to stay here if you're travelling during the winter months, as the campsite has heated washrooms and fire pits that'll keep you warm during the harshest cold snap. Also, all three campervans come with an electric heater and a diesel heater, keeping the van toasty in all conditions! 
 
And if you've time to spare, there's plenty for you to get up to in the cathedral city of Chichester!  
 
 

Amenities 

Dog-friendly 
Toilet & shower block 
Disabled facilities 
Fully serviced pitches 

6th stop - Weymouth 

Portesham Dairy Farm Campsite 90.9 miles, 1 hr 58 min 

Weymouth lies halfway along the Jurassic Coast, and is well known for its geology. The 95 mile-long Jurassic Coast is England's only natural world heritage site, and makes for a fabulous day out. You can just stroll along the coast, go fossil collecting, or go kayaking! 
 
In Weymouth itself, you can walk along the River Wey as far as you like, or the Rodwell Trail for a more structured wander through the town. Stop by the harbour for a bite to eat, and watch the boats go by while you enjoy your meal. Keep an eye out for any good deals in the shops that line the seafront! 
 
Maybe the most iconic silhouette of Weymouth is the Portland Bill Lighthouse, situated on the southerly point on the Isle of Portland. Catch the ferry across for a day trip, get stuck in and explore! The lighthouse visitor's centre has tons of info for curious minds to find out more about its 500 year long history.  
 

Recommended camp site 

Site name and details 

Portesham Dairy Farm 
7 Bramdon Lane 
Weymouth 
Dorset 
DT3 4HG 
info@porteshamdairyfarm.co.uk 
01305 871297 

Description 

Just down the road from a lovely little farm shop lies your sixth campsite. It's located in an Area of Natural Beauty, with green countryside and glades of trees surrounding it. 
 
Close by is Abbotsbury, a seaside village with lots to offer. For such a small village there's so much to do, from the swannery beside the beach to the RHS Garden! We also recommend a wander along the beach - as it's quite lengthy, its perfect for a long dog walk or an evening stroll. Head right down for a super fun day out! 
 
At the campsite itself, you can visit the local pub, buy local produce at the farm shop, or go a bit further afield and see Hardy's Monument (it has a great view!) There's also a dog grooming salon nearby if you feel like pampering your pooch during your trip! 

Amenities 

Dog-friendly 
Toilet & shower block 
Dish wash and laundrette 
Free wifi 

7th stop - Exmouth 

Bovey's Down Farm 34.7 miles, 59 min 

You'll know Exmouth as the location of Orcombe Point, which is the most westerly point of the Jurassic Coast - its so long it's in the description for two whole stops of your route! Even if you're a bit bored of it, go see the Geoneedle as it's a great photo oppotunity and there's some wonderful views from there.  
 
Speaking of photo oppotunities, a quirky little 16th century house named A la Ronde has 16 sides, unique interior, and lovely countryside surrounding it. It makes for a very interesting photoshoot - if it's open, why not give it a go? 
 
If you prefer walking to sightseeing, don't worry. Wander along a part of the South West Coast Path from Orcombe to Budleigh Salterton. It's a long trek but once you're back in the van you can put your feet up with a hot drink and relax - bliss!  
 
 

Recommended camp site 

Site name and details 

Boveys Down Farm & Camp Site 
Farway 
Honiton 
Devon 
EX24 6JD 
N/A 
01404 871436 

Description 

The beaches of Branscombe and Sidmouth are only ten minutes away from Boveys Down Farm. Off the beaten track, the campsite offers a tranquil stay in a gorgeous woodland environment. It's facilities are well kept, and the family atmosphere will have you feeling right at home! 
 
The campsite is also part of a restaurant, with famously delicious pies served hot and fresh all day long. As of writing you can only eat al fresco due to Covid restrictions, so be aware of weather when booking your table! 
 
For a rural area there sure is plenty to do! You can spend an evening at the local pub, go golfing, horse riding, fishing, or wildlife spotting at the Seaton Wetlands.  

Amenities 

Dog-friendly 
Toilet & shower block 
Electric hookup  
Disabled facilities 
Free wifi 

8th Stop - Plymouth 

The Oaks Holiday Park 79.4 miles, 1 hr 31 min 

Another seaside city with a well-known lighthouse, Plymouth was founded all the way back in the Bronze Age with a small settlement at Mount Batten. Learn more about the history of Plymouth at The Box, an art gallery and museum in the heart of the city.  
 
You'll need tickets to get in, but it's well worth it to visit the National Marine Aquarium. As the largest of its kind, the aquarium is dedicated to marine conservation. (If you're more interested in land animals, Dartmoor Zoo has you covered!) 
 
Discover the local area with the Dartmoor Views Walk, and learn all about the history in the great outdoors along the Devonport Heritage Trail.  
 
 
 
 
 
 

Recommended camp site 

Site name and details 

Bucklawren Road 
No Mans Land 
Looe 
Cornwall 
PL13 1QR 
info@theoaksholidaypark.co.uk 
01503 240352 

Description 

Just past the outskirts of coastal fishing town Looe, in No Mans Land, lies The Oaks Holiday Park among gorgeous scenery and wildlife. Birdwatchers will be thrilled to know that with a bit of luck you can spot sparrow hawks, kestrels, buzzards and barn owls - right from the comfort of the campsite. There's a mile-long walk around the field for the dog to enjoy, but please remember that they'll need to be kept on leads! 
 
The South West Coast Path is 630 miles of historic natural beauty. The numerous coves that you'll discover along the beach are all part of the town's smuggling days. Stroll along and explore Polperro Harbour, or if you're particularly adventurous, go swimming in Chapel Rock Tidal Pool
 
The Polperro Model Village and Land of Legend makes for some very unique photo oppotunities! Well behaved dogs are welcome, so you can bring them along and have tons of fun pretending there's a giant dog attacking the village! 

Amenities 

Dog-friendly 
Toilet & shower block 
Free wifi 
Washing up area 

9th Stop - The Lizard 

Henry's Campsite 69.5 miles, 1 hr 43 min 

Even if you're a complete newbie to the South West you'll be familiar with The Lizard, home to the British mainland's most southernly point. It looks out on to the Atlantic Ocean, so there's a lot of beachy activities to do here - like scuba diving
 
The peninsula is famous for its unique topography and climate, allowing exotic plants and flowers to grow here. It's also well known for its breathtaking coves and beaches. Kynance Cove is a sight to behold - the white sand and turquoise ocean will have you wondering if you're on holiday abroad! (Keep in mind safety guidances when you visit, swimming in the water can be dangerous.) 
 
And the main event, Lizard Point. After you've taken photos and gazed out at the incredible view, head down to the nearby beach to walk the dog. If you like, take a detour down to Lands End Landmark via a lovely nature trail.  
 
En route, stop by a little town called Newquay. Its harbour is always bustling with people, and surfers walk to and fro with boards under their arms. 

Recommended camp site 

Site name and details 

Henry's Campsite 
The Lizard 
Helston 
Cornwall 
TR12 7NX 
info@henryscampsite.co.uk 
01326 290596 

Description 

There's only one word that can describe Henry's Campsite, and that word is unconventional. Each individual pitch has its own design, style and personality.  
 
The unique weather in this part of England allows exotic flora to grow rampant through the site, a coastal tropical paradise hidden at the end of Cornwall. Everything is brightly coloured - the doors, the flowers, even the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean below! 
 
Friendly chickens freely roam around, looking to make your aquaintance (or maybe they're just on the hunt for snacks!) Make sure you say hello, and keep your food hidden away from any pesky beaks! 
 
Though the campsite is non-traditional, its facilities certainly are. Here you have everything you need for a comfortable, memorable stay at the most southerly campsite in England. 

Amenities 

Dog-friendly 
Toilet & shower block 
Dish wash and laundrette 
Free wifi 

10th stop - Barnstaple 

Broad Park Camping and Glamping 106 miles, 2 hr 38 min 

Situated in North Devon, Barnstaple is a river-port town with a history stretching back over 1000 years and an eclectic mix of architectural styles.  
 
Arlington Court is a Regency era, complete estate owned by the National Trust. It was owned by the same family for 500 years, and the collection has been passed down through the generations. Outdoors, there's over 20 miles of nature trails for you to explore, a Victorian garden, and rare wildlife to spot.  
 
Breathtaking sights, rare wildlife amongst the foliage, and views that stretch for miles - all of this and more in Heddon Valley. The valley is nestled within Exmoor National Park, a stunning landscape in and of itself.  
 
We highly recommend you visit the valley, if nothing else! 
 
 

Recommended campsite 

Site name and description 

Fairy Cross 
Bideford 
Devon 
England 
EX39 5BY 
N/A 
01237 452363 

Description 

You're back in the top end of Cornwall, and what a beautiful part of Cornwall it is! Broad Park Camping & Glamping is right next to an area of outstanding natural beauty, but the campsite is no slouch itself! With countryside views that stretch out into the horizon and lush grass beneath your feet, we know you'll love it here. 
 
The adults may want a bit of a rest after such an action-packed trip, but if the kids are pestering for more things to do take them down to Exmoor Zoo. Known for its exotic and unusual animals, it's only a short drive away from your campsite. 
 
Failing that, just let them tire themselves out in the campsite's children play area, then have your dinner by the campfire. If you brought a guitar, now is the time to bust out some tunes! 

Amenities 

Dog-friendly 
Toilet & shower block 
Washing up area 

11th stop - Bristol 

Myrtle Farm Holidays 90.4 miles, 1 hr 48 min 

This is your final stop before your long drive back to Cheshire, so make the most of it. We recommend you take it easy and don't overbook yourself as packing up is always more trouble than you think it'll be - you'll need plenty of energy for it. That said, there's still plenty of activities, places to visit, and things to look at here in Bristol!  
 
Take the family down to the SS Great Britain, once an important ship, now a museum. Learn about this corner of Bristol's history, Brunel, and just boats in general. It also has a cafe, serving tasty snacks all day long! 
 
And while we're on the subject of Brunel, why not continue learning about his legacy and the impact he made on Bristol by visiting Clifton Suspension Bridge, a feat of engineering he described as "My first child, my darling." It's fascinating to look deeper into how the bridge was built and the effects Brunel's work had on the way engineers think.  
 
The same family has lived in Berkeley Castle -- since the 12th century. This ancient place has almost a millenia of history, and you can really feel it in the atmosphere. Both the castle and its gardens are open to the public, and events are held year round! 

Recommended camp site 

Site name and description 

Myrtle Farm 
Summer Lane 
Banwell 
North Somerset 
BS29 6LP 
N/A 
0771 757 7217 

Description 

On the outskirts of Banwell village, amongst the lush green countryside, is Myrtle Farm. It's a walker's paradise, surrounded by woodland that you're free to wander around and glades of trees. The campsite is lovely and quiet, a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the always busy Bristol city. 
 
You'll have all your creature comforts here. The toilet and shower block has underfloor heating, and ten private wet rooms allows those with younger children to have an easier bathtime, even in peak season. The kitchen area is fully stocked with appliances from a kettle to a tumble dryer - you definitely won't be returning home with a load of washing like most camping trips! 
 
For one last souvenir, purchase a jar of apple chutney from the campsite, homemade from their own farm apples. It'll be a worthy addition to your lunch!  

Amenities 

Dog-friendly 
Toilet & shower block 
Dish wash and laundrette 
Free wifi 
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