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Alf Alderson picks the best surf-side spots to pitch your tent or park your van in England, Wales and Scotland
The ideal campsite for any surfer is one in which you can scramble out of your tent or campervan and be in the water in a few strides. Not all of these spots provide quite such convenience, but all are above or close to some of the UK’s best surf beaches – and at most you can check out the swell without even getting out of your sleeping bag.

Sennen Cove, Cornwall

Okay, this site is a short drive/walk from both Sennen and Gwenver, the two linked beaches that have probably the most consistent surf in England, but since the site is perched on top of the Land’s End peninsula you still have sea views. It’s pretty quiet here, but if you’ve been surfing all day you won’t want to be partying anyway, will you?

Ruda Park, Croyde Bay, Devon

So you do want to party as well as surf? In that case this is the place to head for. Within walking distance of Croyde Bay, which has the best surf in Devon, and Croyde village with its lively pub scene, the site has everything from caravans and lodges to tent and campervan sites, it’s own bar/entertainment centre and also has plenty of stuff to do if it’s flat, including a 230-foot water slide.

Perran Sands, Cornwall

The good news about Perran Sands is that it’s an all-singing, all-dancing caravan and camping site with everything from a bar and restaurant to pool and surf hire; the bad news is that it’s a bit of a schlep up and down the sand dunes to the beach. But what a beach! Miles of golden sand and great surf – it’s got to be worth the effort.

Llangennith, Gower Peninsula

Hillend Campsite has been at the centre of the Welsh surf scene for decades (the Welsh Surfing Federation Surf School is based here). There are always board bedecked campervans pulled up here (tents and static caravans are also an option) and a horde of local and visiting surfers passing to and fro on any decent swell. The enormous Llangennith Beach is a minute away through the dunes, and just up the road is the famous après-surf venue the King’s Arms, plus the legendary PJ’s Surf Shop.

Newgale, Pembrokeshire

If the swell is big enough there’s a chance you won’t need to get out of your tent to get amongst it, since Newgale Campsite is so close to the surf it’s sometimes literally in it. That’s in winter though – in summer the waves tend to stay on the two-mile long beach, which is big enough to ensure it never gets too crowded. Surf hire and lessons are available right next to the beach and in the evening you can sit outside and enjoy a cold beer at the Duke of Edinburgh as the sun goes down.

Porth Ceiriad, North Wales

It has to be said that Porth Ceiriad doesn’t often get great waves (although when it is firing it’s well worth a visit) but Nant-y-Big campsite is a great spot for anyone looking for a traditional-style campsite with peace and quiet and great sea views. It’s a bit of a hike to the beach, but nearby is the much more consistent Hell’s Mouth, a huge bay with plenty of room for everyone from beginner to expert on a good swell.

Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire

Hooks House Farm sits right above the lovely seaside village of Robin Hood’s Bay and has fantastic views across said bay so you can check the swell simply by sticking your head out of your tent door. There are waves varying from playful beach breaks to gnarly reefs right up and down this stretch of coast, and if it’s flat you can go mountain biking on the nearby North York Moors or wander around Whitby, which is ‘Goth Central’ these days.

Pease Bay, Berwickshire, Scotland

Pease Bay Leisure Park looks out on one of the best point breaks in this part of the country – so much so that it can get pretty busy on a good swell. But there are plenty of other decent breaks hereabouts, especially if you head south to the quiet beaches of Northumberland, and the park has plenty of facilities for flat days.

Dunnet Bay, Caithness, Scotland

This site looks out across the surf rolling in from the Pentland Firth, and the only downside here is that there’s only one tent pitch! But the site takes campervan and caravans and to be honest when you’re surfing this far north you’ll probably want the added warmth of four reasonably solid walls. Nearby is the right-hand reef break at Thurso, one of the finest waves in Europe.

Sandwood Bay, Sutherland, Scotland

No, there isn’t actually a campsite here – in fact there’s nothing at all other than a beautiful bay backed by wild moorland, a sea stack, and, of course, waves (plus a ghost in the abandoned croft above the beach). So to get here you have to walk with all your gear – a full four miles along a moorland track – hence it will only appeal to the most hardcore of surfers/campers. But you may consider the effort to be worthwhile to have a mile of golden sands and crystal clear Atlantic waves all to yourself. Plus the ghost…