I (Tom) bought my campervan on a whim in 2009, having never been camping before. In fact, I’d always been a bit anti-camping – the thought of sleeping on the ground in a cold wet tent was a little too close to nature. However I was tempted by  the prospect of the relative luxury offered by a campervan: protection from the elements, a half-decent bed, electricity, and proper cooking facilities. I was finally won over by the freedom of the campervanning lifestyle – being able to get home from work on a Friday evening, throw a bag in the back and drive off for a spontaneous weekend adventure! Since I returned “home” to Yorkshire in 2011, Anna and I have been exploring campsites from the Lake District in the West to the coastal sites of Scarborough and Whitby in the East and everywhere inbetween. From 2015 we have been joined on our camping trips by our baby son Sebastian which puts a whole new perspective on our campsite requirements! Happy Campervanning is where we document our camping experiences, passing on our tips for our favourite campsites (and the odd one that we’d recommend you avoid). Our friends Sarah and Paul have their own camper (coincidentally, we both got our ‘vans within a few days of each other!) and have been exploring the campsites in their own part of the world down South along with their daughter and two dogs. We have teamed up for a few joint camping trips, and they have also contributed some of their own reviews.

What do the ratings mean?

We want you to trust the ratings we give to campsites and be confident that the ratings are consistent between different review no matter which of our writers has written it. We do this by rating every campsite according to four criteria that we think are really important: setting; amenities; facilities; friendliness; The overall campsite rating is then the mathematical average of each of these four individual ratings so you can see how the overall rating was calculated rather than it just being a number thought up by the reviewer without any basis. Over time we might change how the weighting of each individual category affects the overall score based on feedback we get from you our readers, about what’s important to you but you can be sure that the score for all our reviews will always be calculated in the same way. These are the things we consider when settling on a value for each rating:

Setting

Is the site in a scenic location? Do visitors to the site set up camp nestled in amongst the trees and fall asleep to the distant sound of the ocean or is your nights sleep disturbed by noise from the rowdy pub next door and breakfast spoiled by fumes from the busy road.

Locality

What is there to do in the local area? Good pubs, a choice of local shops, and attractions to inject a little culture into your trip are all plus points. For us, camping is about spending time with nature, so a range of outdoor activities will score well, but we’re also looking for things to keep us entertained when the weather takes a turn for the worse and we’re down to our last pair of dry jeans.

Facilities

This category is all about the facilities provided on-site. The quality, number and cleanliness of the showers and toilets. The size and layout of pitches. Availability of electric hookups and running water. Yes we’re on holiday and are trying to escape from the tether of our computers, but we’re the Internet generation so free Wi-Fi is a bonus. Is there an on-site store for those times when you’ve made your bacon sandwiches only to realise that you didn’t bring the brown sauce?

Friendliness

How welcoming was the reception when you arrived? Do the owners and staff give the impression that nothing is too much trouble, or do they make you feel that you’re trespassing on their land and they can’t wait for you to leave? Smaller personable sites tend to score better than large faceless corporate sites.