Camping delights in the South of Scotland

by Sara Barton, 4th May 2023
Camping by St Mary's Loch | Scottish Borders
Camping delights in the South of Scotland

Camping is a great budget friendly option for anyone hankering after a holiday and wanting to experience the great outdoors. The South of Scotland has a multitude of options from the humble tent and traditional caravan parks to more exotic tipis and yurts to that very modern of inventions, glamping pods. Sometimes even with hot tubs! The region consistently scores well with campers for affordability and superb locations. So whether you are an experienced tent camper or want some creature comforts – but no creatures – on your holiday there is somewhere for everyone to rest their heads after a day of exploring the fantastic forests, lakes, hills and coastal routes of the South of Scotland.

Perfect for traditional tent campers

If you’re a tent camper Solway View Camping near Borgue is a great choice as it is a well-established campsite, located on a 330-acre beef and sheep farm. The traditional tent pitches are available as are pitches for caravans or you can book into one of the Wigwams on site. The site offers gorgeous views and sea access for those who fancy a swim! There are farm and woodland walking trails, two lovely bathing beaches nearby and of course the stunning rolling hills of the Galloway hills for exploring. Nearby Borgue village has a pub with good food and a warm welcome, and Gatehouse-of-Fleet, Kirkcudbright & Castle Douglas are all nearby for exploring and days out.

Solway View Camping has plenty of space for traditional tents, great views and access to the shore for a swim.

Perfect for families

At Barnharrow Pods near Newton Stewart, the luxury insulated pods are perfect for a family of four plus the family dog and are situated on a 100-acre farm in the heart of Galloway.  There are forests and lochs to explore, miles of unspoilt coastline to walk,cycle or drive along and stunning views of the stars at night in the UK’s first Dark Sky Park. This is glamour camping – or glamping – at its best and this convient, cosy holiday pod has all the equipment you need for a perfect ‘camping’ experience.

Family glamping pod, Barnharrow Holiday Pods
Get the creature comforts of home but experience the great outdoors at Barnharrow Pods.

Classic camping with bespoke pitches – and alpacas

Beirhope Alpacas already offers a unique selling point – one of your activities can be trekking with their adorable furry herd. But their classic bring-your-own-tent camping is also unique as each pitch offers something a little different. For superb nightsky viewing how about Stargazer’s Dream – a 5m circular grass pitch with outdoor patio dining area, table and chairs, outdoor kitchen area and private eco loo? Or maybe you will prefer Sam’s Super Pitch with Kale’s Kitchen Diner which is next to the alpaca paddock and comes complete with fully equipped kitchen/diner, private eco loo and fire pit area. With starry skies above and the Cheviot Hills around you, you’ll feel miles away from it all, even though the bustling town of Kelso is just a short drive away.

Bespoke bring-your-own tent pitches are available at Beirhope Alpacas.

Great for garden lovers

Situated in the beautiful Glenwhan Gardens, its shepherd’s hut overlooks the loch to the Mull of Galloway with splendid sea views. An ideal hideaway for couples. The Hut comprises of a 5ft double bed with a well equipped kitchen area a small wood-burning fire, full size shower, WC & basin. A separate area outdoors adjoins the Hut with seating and BBQ. Once you have admired the formal gardens created from rough moorland nearly 40 years ago, be sure to explore the 17-acres of Moorland Walks with more than 120 species of wildflowers, ferns and grasses.

Looking over Glenwhan Garden in summertime towards Luce Bay, Glenwhan Gardens
Explore the gorgeous Glenwhan Gardens before retiring to the cosy Shepherd’s Hut overlooking the loch.

Glamping for a group

Finding options for larger groups isn’t always easy but how about the delightfully quirky Iron Age Celtic Roundhouse found in the heart of Mabie Forest at Marthrown of Mabie? Sleeping up to 16 people, all you need to bring are sleeping bags, pillows and torches. Don’t be put off by the Iron Age moniker as there is a state of the art composting toilet, hot shower and fully equipped cooking shelter to ensure some modern amenities while still offering a great campout feel. The site as a whole can be rented out for celebrations from weddings to family get togethers.

Celtic Roundhouse, pamhazlehurst
Marthrown of Mabie offers great options for larger groups wanting to share the camping experience.

Ideal for active campers

Glentrool Camping and Caravan Site is perfect for those intending on spending their days in the great outdoors. Those wanting to get in some serious hill-walking and exploring can tackle the Merrick – the highest peak in the south of Scotland. Or perhaps stay here as a pit stop while you cover part of the long distance walking route the Southern Upland Way. Cyclists will be equally happy with access to the 7Stanes Mountain Biking trails and Twitchers will want to head for the RSPB Wood of Cree Reserve. It is also in the Galloway Forest Park part of the Dark Sky Park so expect spectacular night views too.

Angus the stag
Tackle Southern Scotland’s highest peak, the Merrick, from your base at Glentrool Camping and Caravan Site.

Another super active option is Gorsebank Cabins. You can choose from Wigwams, pods or bothies for your sleeping accommodation and make good use of the on-site activity centre, open 7 days a week. From here you can enjoy lots of activities from a guided woodland Segway tour to hiring an electric leisure bike and exploring the nearby Solway coastal scenery. There are multiple fishing options with bait, tackle and tuition all availabe on site.

Guided off road Segway Tour
How about a guided Segway Tour while you stay at Gorsebank Cabins?

Over in the Borders you might want to try Glentress Forest Lodge. It is virtually on top of the world renowned mountain bike trails at the Glentress Forest – home to two of the UCI World Cycling Championship mountain bike events this summer. There are plenty of other activities to keep sporty types happy with GoApe nearby and walking aplenty through the many forest trails. These timber frame pods make for a comfortable night’s sleep with nightly rental possible for 3-5 people. There are camping and motorhome pitches available as well.

Glentress Forest Lodges and Scott Noble
There is plenty to do while you stay at Glentress Forest Lodge.

Perfect for couples

These pods or snugs at Stouslie Snugs near Hawick offer stunning views across the Teviotdale valley through the floor to ceiling full glass front. This is a wonderfully peaceful retreat from the modern world, yet within easy reach of Hawick, a lively town with a little bit of everything including the Borders Distillery. Treat yourself to a BBQ with a view on a fine evening and then while you relax under a pergola with festoon lighting in the wood fired hot tub you may be lucky enough to hear the hoot of the resident owl!

BBQ with a view, Stouslie Snugs Luxury Farm Glamping
Enjoy the view while you BBQ at Stouslie Snugs.

Take in the SWC300

Why not explore some of the amazing Southwest Coastal 300 route using Ryan Bay Caravan Park as a base? Ideally situated to explore the coastal routes along the Rhins Peninsula as well as extending up to the Ayrshire Coast, this peaceful family caravan park offers caravan rentals or pitches for touring caravans, if you have your own. Another option if you do have your own caravan or motorhome is Aird Donald Caravan Park in Stranraer with electric hook-up points covering both grass & hard standing areas for Caravans & Motorhomes.

Stunning coastal views await you at Ryan Bay Caravan Park.