Riverside caravan parks in Hampshire

Pick your backdrop in this southwest county—city, coast, and countryside are all within easy reach.

93% (459 reviews)
93% (459 reviews)

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Riverside caravan parks in Hampshire guide

Overview

Mediaeval cities, woodlands, and beaches await in Hampshire, all within a 2-hour train ride of London. Stroll the historic streets of Winchester, visit the maritime cities of Portsmouth and Southampton, or head to the seaside to swim or kitesurf. Hampshire’s two national parks—New Forest and South Downs—plus the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding National Beauty afford plenty of hiking, biking, and horseback riding—and camping is just as varied. Pitch your tent along the beachfront in summer, enjoy back-to-nature camping in the heart of the forest, or park your campervan or caravan at area family-friendly camping grounds open year-round. With scenery ranging from south coast beaches to the magical New Forest, the best campsites in Hampshire are just as stunning.

Where to go

South West Hampshire

The cathedral city of Winchester is Hampshire’s show-stopper, with its striking architecture and lively street markets. Once you’ve had your fill of city life, escape to the 220-square-mile New Forest National Park to explore ancient forest trails, walk through wildflower meadows, and admire the free-roaming New Forest ponies—all set near the majority of the county’s campsites. Along the south Solent coast, shingle beaches, colourful beach huts, and oceanview campsites line the seashores at Barton on Sea and Milford on Sea.

South East Hampshire

Ferries set sail for the Isle of Wight from Portsmouth, but another favourite for family beach breaks is Hayling Island, just offshore and connected to the mainland by a road bridge. Inland, the lush valleys and hanging woods of the South Downs National Park stretch into neighbouring Sussex. Hike or cycle part of the 101-mile South Downs Way, stop for lunch at a traditional country pub, then check into a quiet rural camping ground.

North Hampshire

Just a short train ride from London, North Hampshire serves up a mix of history, heritage, and nature. Discover Britain’s military history in Aldershot, take a boat cruise along the Basingstoke Canal, or follow in the footsteps of Jane Austen in Steventon and Chawton. To the north, the green hills of the North Wessex Downs AONB are a tranquil spot for hiking, camping, or horseback riding.

Isle of Wight

Towering sea cliffs, rocky coves, and golden sands fringe the Isle of Wight, one of southern England’s most popular summer holiday destinations. Hop on a ferry from Southampton or Portsmouth, enjoy swimming and water sports at one of the many Blue Flag beaches, or explore more than 500 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. Island camping is equally fun, with family-friendly holiday parks, eco-lodges, and quirky glampsites.

Family Camping in Hampshire

If planning a family camping holiday, you can’t do much better than Hampshire. The county is chock-full of family-friendly activities that make days out easy to find—and then there’s the joy of camping itself. The sociable nature of campsite life means playmates for your little ones are never far away. Choose a site with a car-free camping meadow so they can enjoy a relative freedom they may not get at home, or pick a family glamping holiday to eliminate the need to pitch a tent with toddlers (or teenagers) in tow. Parents can also look out for sites with play equipment or a petting zoo. If your kids love swimming, head to the south coast campsites for a seaside holiday—or if they’re more into tree-climbing, they might be more at home in the New Forest.

Romantic Camping in Hampshire

It’s not only kids who fall in love with this part of the world. The unfenced land of the New Forest, shared with free-roaming ponies and herds of deer, is perfect for romantic walks and hikes, while days on the water can mean discovering historic sites, cycling round the countryside, and visiting age-old inns. Bank holiday weekends and school holidays can be busy, particularly in the New Forest, so if you’re after a quiet, adults-only break, try booking a camping holiday outside of these peak times at an adults-only campsite or perhaps just a secluded pitch or solo glamping unit with plenty of privacy. Wherever you choose to explore in Hampshire, what could be more romantic than returning to a yurt or shepherd’s hut warmed by a log burner? Or sitting by the campfire outside your tent under a starry night sky?

Top Attractions in Hampshire

You don’t need to look far to find things to do during a Hampshire camping holiday. Wherever you decide to stay in the county, you’re in reach of great attractions—check out these top spots.

  1. The Test Valley: This sometimes-overlooked area in the county’s west is worth a visit thanks to the River Test’s prime trout and fly fishing. Visit a market town like Andover or Romsey to taste the valley’s speciality: locally smoked trout.
  2. The Mary Rose: See the Tudor battleship, the Mary Rose, and Nelson’s Victory among the maritime treasures at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
  3. The Solent: This stretch of sea between the mainland and the Isle of Wight is famous for sailing and watersports. Expert or beginner, swimmer, sailor or SUP-er, this is a great place to dip your toes in.
  4. The New Forest: You know you’ve arrived in this protected park when you drive over a cattle grid and start seeing ponies among heathland and glimpses of deer in the woodland.
  5. LyndhurstNew Forest campers can head to the village of Lyndhurst to fuel up or stock up. It’s also home to the New Forest Visitor Centre, a helpful stop if visiting the forest.
  6. BeaulieuThere’s a bit of everything at Beaulieu: a historic house, beautiful gardens, an old abbey, and a motor museum. With indoor and outdoor fun, this is a great rainy-day spot during a camping holiday.
  7. Peppa Pig World: Parents of young kids should prepare for a lot of snorting at Peppa Pig World, part of the larger Paultons Park where more than 70 rides and attractions are suitable for all ages.
  8. WinchesterYou might not fancy heading into the city on a camping holiday, but Winchester is picturesque, compact, and a pleasure to walk around. The cathedral has been attracting pilgrims for a thousand years.
  9. The South Downs Way: Even if you don’t fancy stomping the full 100 miles along this national trail, it provides the best way to get up on the Downs. The signposted trail leads to the top of the chalk ridge that makes up the South Downs.
  10. Hayling IslandHead for Hayling Island for traditional seaside fun while camping in Hampshire—amusements, ice cream, fish and chips, and a fun fair crowd the south coast.

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