Apologies in advance for the title as we have barely scratched the surface of campsites within the bonnie country of Scotland. However, we felt the need to describe our top camping experiences as backpackers to help other travellers to Scotland planning to visit this summer. We’d also highly appreciate a comment with your favourite Scottish campsite so we can try out new places as well 🙂 Finally, we’ll link every other campsite we’ve been to as they were all positive experiences along with a map.
Note: All these campsites are accessible by public transport (as of 2016) but may have reduced / zero weekend service. Scheduling a trip correctly was imperative to reaching these campsites.
Criteria for selecting the top 5
- Access to public transport
- Distance to attractions / hiking / pubs
Top 5 Campsites (in no particular order)
- Sligachan campsite (Skye)
- Any Arisaig campsite (Road to the isles)
- Luss Camping & Caravaning club site (Loch Lomond)
- Ardgualich campsite (Loch Tummel, Perthshire)
- Walled garden campsite (Maybole, South Ayrshire)
Pros : Views / Distance to attractions / Access to public transport
Cons : Facilities / noise
UK Campsite reviews (7/10) : http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/sites/reviews.asp?revid=1729
Cost : £7.50 per person per night (pppn)
Notes : This is controversial as it is far from the perfect campsite. But it deserves to be in the top 5 of a backpackers list as the bus stop is literally outside the campsite (consider the Glenbrittle campsite if driving). The views of the river and the Cuillins are spectacular with many trailheads starting from across the campsite. Plus there is a brewery + pub + restaurant next door.
Tip : The campsite is close to the Sconser CalMac ferry terminal that lets you take a ferry to Raasay for a day trip.
Tip : If you are travelling to / coming from the Outer Hebrides, spend atleast 1 night at the Uig Bay campsite. It is a much higher quality campsite with access to ferries, local & long-distance buses. It was very difficult to keep this gem out of the top 5.
Pros : Views / Distance to attractions
Cons : Access to public transport
UK Campsite reviews (8+/10) : http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/sites/results3.asp?search=arisaig&by=town
Notes : This area is a slice of heaven with its pristine beaches. Arisaig is the only place where Dalek could not just walk in to a campsite as a backapacker because it was full (the Invercaimbe campsite). He camped at the croft campsite near the Back of Keppoch instead and it was every bit as beautiful (but without showers). You cannot go wrong with your choice of campsite with views like this one.
Tip : Arisaig campgrounds are most accessible by Shiel Buses that run between Mallaig & Fort William in this area.
Pros : Facilities / Views / Distance to attractions
Cons : Midges!
UK Campsite reviews (8/10) : http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/sites/details.asp?revid=4573
Cost : £9.50 per person per night (pppn)
Notes : This is a near-perfect campsite because the facilities are top-notch (unlimited hot showers, top-class washer & dryer machines, wee shop). Its a short walk from the bus stop but the Loch Lomond side pitches make up for it. And Luss is a picturesque village with great pubs, cafes and access to Balmaha / Rowardennan via ferry leading to hikes.
Pros : Views / Cost
Cons : Access to public transport / Facilities / Distance to attractions
UK Campsite reviews (7/10) : http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/sites/reviews.asp?revid=11464
Cost : £5 per person per night (pppn)
Notes : Our personal pick for the best campsite view in our experience for only £5 a night. There is no view as beautiful as a still glass-like lake on waking up. Make sure your stay does not end on a Sunday (no bus service). The Queen’s view is a short 25 minute walk from the campsite.
Tip : Wake up at 6 AM during summer for some unforgettable views.
Pros : Facilities
Cons :Distance to attractions
UK Campsite reviews (9/10) : http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/sites/reviews.asp?revid=1745
Cost : £8 per person per night (pppn)
Notes : This is the highest rated campsite for a reason, the facilities are top notch (super-clean bathrooms with a soothing radio channel & gas burners for midges). The owner also brought some supplies for us like milk & bread and gave us a wee discount. Plus the remote location meant some starry, dark sky nights. We visited Galloway Forest Park as a daytrip from here by bus (highly recommended).
Tip : Take a long, leisurely walk around the campsite. The area is beautiful and there are even a couple of Redwood trees in the area.
Other highly recommended campsites
All links go to the UK Campsite website and all the campsites are within a 20 minute walk of public transport. We’ve personal experience of all of these so drop us a question in the comments for any specifics.
- Port Mor campsite, Port Charlotte, Islay (9/10)
- Uig Bay campsite, Uig, Skye (8/10)
- Aberlour Gardens campsite, Speyside (9/10)
- Spey Bridge campsite, Newtonmore (10/10)
- Glen Loin campsite, Arrochar, Argyll (7/10)
- Cumberland campsite, Fort Augustus (8/10)
*top 5 from our backpacking experience.
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