Glampotel Dundas Castle
Sitting beside a loch on the 400 acre estate of Dundas Castle, this is camping, but possibly not as you know it. The first glampotel location in Scotland, this is a truly luxury five star outdoor experience. Each tent is more a cottage made of canvas than any traditional image of outdoor-living you may have, featuring proper beds, wood burning stove, en-suite and cooking facilities. And if you need an added bonus, it is also only a short drive to Edinburgh and all the delights on offer there.
Glampotel Dundas Castle, South Queensferry, Edinburgh, EH30 9SP +44 800 998 9129
On the far north coast of Scotland, Sango Sands is surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches, empty hills and wild seas. The North Coast 500 runs past here, bringing new converts to the area’s wonder but people have been coming here to escape for many years, including John Lennon, who used to stay with relatives in the area. Sango Sands campsite offers plenty of space for tents and electric hook-up points for caravans and RVs. There is a shower block, toilets, cooking facilities, a restaurant and bar and even the chance to spot orca and dolphins offshore!
Sango Sands, Sango Bay, Durness, Sutherland, IV27 4PZ +44 7838 381065
Set among Caledonian forests in the Cairngorms, Rothiemurchus is a large and ancient estate at the forefront of efforts to create a sustainable and ecologically friendly leisure industry (and a favourite place of both Ray Mears and David Attenborough). Here, you can camp beneath giant Scots pine, with red squirrels leaping above you. The woods add a sense of calm and peace but there are still modern facilities to be enjoyed, including state-of-the-art midge capturing devices! The area surrounding the campsite features some of the best walks and mountain biking trails in Scotland.
The peninsula of Applecross draws in visitors for a number of reasons. The pass over the mountains is legendary, the scenery breathtaking and the area blessed with wonderful places to eat and drink. Applecross is a family run campsite with spaces for tents and hard standing pitches for caravans. They also have camping huts available in two different styles. Booking is essential, which can be done online, and facilities include showers, washing machine, dryer and WiFi near the main reception building.
Applecross Campsite, Strathcarron, Ross-Shire, IV54 8ND +44 1520 744268
Marthrown of Mabie
This is a campsite with a difference or two! Surrounded by forest but not too far from Dumfries, you can choose to stay in your own tent, or a yurt, a bunkhouse, a tipi, or even a reconstructed Iron Age roundhouse. Not only that, but there is also a hot tub and sauna on site, as well as an all-weather barbecue area and even a challenge course, which you have to try and complete without touching the ground!
Marthrown of Mabie, Mabie Forest, Dumfries, DG2 8HB +44 1387 247900
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As the name suggests, this is an ecologically balanced site, with care taken to minimise the impact on the land in this beautiful part of Scotland. The skies here are some of the darkest to be found in the UK, and on clear nights the stars are breathtaking. The site offers different accommodation options, several of which are rather romantic, making a great couples’ getaway, including camping pods, shepherd’s hut and bell tents for two. For families or larger groups there is also an old restored goods railway wagon, larger shepherd’s huts and pods and a large modern cabin with a stove that sleeps up to 10.
Ecocamp Glenshee, Blacklunans, Blairgowrie, PH10 7LA +44 1250 882284
Black Isle Yurts
Just north of Inverness lies the Black Isle, renowned for its coastline, woodlands and warmer micro-climate. This campsite offers the chance to stay in one of several yurts, cosy and warm no matter the weather, with a wood-burning stove, comfortable beds, cooking facilities and seating. There is a central hub with showers, toilets and WiFi, and each yurt is set apart from the others in its own peaceful woodland glade.
This wee campsite is located on the island of Hoy, one of the 20 inhabited islands of Orkney (there are around 70 in total). Hoy is the tallest island, with stunning red sandstone cliffs dropping away to the Atlantic Ocean. Rackwick is on the west side of Hoy, not too far from the famous seastack, the Old Man of Hoy, and the campsite truly feels as though it is on the edge of the world. There is a heather-thatched bothy, with a fireplace for cooking and stone benches to sleep on, a toilet nearby, running water, but little else. However, with tent pitches giving views like this, you will soon forget about mod-cons.
Even further north than the islands of Orkney is Shetland, and the furthest north inhabited island of Shetland is Unst. It is not possible to book into a campsite any further north in the UK than here. There is a hostel here, caravan hookups and camping pitches, as well as a kitchen, shower and laundry facilities. There is also WiFi in the hostel and easy access to the beach at the bottom of the landscaped gardens (which provide better shelter for tents in the wind). You have a good chance of seeing otters here and orca are increasingly common offshore.
Gardiesfauld, 2 Belmont, Uyeasound, Unst, Shetland ZE2 9DW +44 1957 755279