Peace and quiet, no children rushing about and shrieking, no hideous plastic toys to fall over… If that sounds like your perfect holiday, read on. The sites described below are adult-only – though the definition of adult varies from site to site, so check before booking if you’re under 25.
Some of these sites have separate areas where children are allowed but most are quiet enough to provide great wildlife-watching opportunities and the opportunity to chill out.
Highlands and Islands
Myrus Caravan Site, at MacDuff on the Moray Firth in Aberdeenshire, has 23 pitches for motorhomes, which are only open to adults. Whether on grass or hard-standing, they all have electric hook-up; some of them also have water, waste and satellite TV available.
There are excellent beaches all along the Moray Firth, which is famous for its resident dolphin pod; the best place for dolphin-watching is the narrow section of water between Fort George and Channonry Point on the Black Isle, or on a boat trip along the Firth. If you want to see what’s under the water instead, a visit to the MacDuff Marine Aquarium is highly recommended. So is the lighthouse museum at Kinnaird Head – housed in a redundant lighthouse, of course.
The Great Glen, which runs from Inverness to Fort William, is quintessential Scotland: lochs, mountains, lot of greenery and the chance to spot red deer and golden eagles. Half-way along the Great Glen, overlooking Glen Garry, is Faichemard Farm. Its 35 pitches are spread over 10 acres, so you’ll never feel crowded.
There are hard-standing pitches with electric hook-up, grass pitches with or without electricity, and free wi-fi access all over the site. They do allow dogs but, like most sites, ask that you keep them on a lead. It’s a great place for wildlife spotting: you might see anything from lizards to otters and rare pine martens. It’s also hill-walking and Munro-bagging territory, and the Great Glen Way offers plenty of walks at a lower level.
The Ardnamurchan peninsula, south-west of Fort Wiliam in the western Highlands, is one of the most beautiful places in Scotland. This is blue-sea-and-white-sand country; you could be in the Caribbean until you dip your toe in the water! Sunart Camping, at Strontian, sits right in the middle of Ardnamurchan, near the eastern end of Loch Sunart, which is in a Marine Protected Area.
Sea-kayaking opportunities abound and there’s good diving, snorkelling and fishing as well as mountain biking (don’t forget, we can hire you bikes if you don’t want to bring your own). Ardnamurchan Point is a well-known whale-, dolphin- and basking shark-spotting area, and on a clear day you can see practically all the way to our next suggested site…
… Flodabay Farm on the Isle of Harris. “Adult” here means over 18. It’s a small site, with room for just three motorhomes or caravans, so advance booking is essential. The site has two fresh-water lochs, both of which can be fished. They’re full of brown trout – and you may be lucky enough to spot the otters that feed on the trout. Each pitch has uninterrupted sea views so you can watch the seals and the many and various wading birds in the bay from your motorhome.
There’s no toilet or shower block but there is a private 5-hole golf driving range, and they can hire you clubs and balls if you haven’t brought your own. The 9-hole Isle of Harris Golf Club, one of the most picturesque courses in the world, is close by, as is the Calanais (Callanish) stone circle. And, of course, there are plenty of opportunities to buy the world-famous Harris Tweed made up into clothes, bags, hip-flasks, hats, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
Errol, on the Carse of Gowrie in Perthshire, may not seem an obvious place for a holiday – and that’s part of its charm. Fernlea CL has pitches for up to 5 motorhomes or caravans in two areas, with views over the Sidlaw Hills and the River Tay respectively. Free-range hens and ducks wander the site (you can buy their eggs), so dogs must be kept on the lead.
All pitches have electricity and a water tap, and they encourage visitors to empty grey water onto the fruit trees and bushes around the pitches; they also have recycling points around the site. Buses serve both Dundee and Perth every hour from just outside the site, so there’s no need to move your van once you’ve parked up. An added attraction is nearby Perthshire Caravans, which can supply a full range of parts and accessories.
Overlooking the Firth of Forth, opposite Edinburgh, is Monturpie Farm which, as well as having a caravan site, is still a working farm. It has 28 well spaced-out pitches, all with sea views and electric hook-up and most on hard standing. They also have a field which can be used for rallies, with space for up to 40 vans. Their small on-site coffee shop and restaurant is a great attraction.
Nearby is the pretty East Neuk of Fife, full of picturesque fishing villages and golf courses, including St Andrews. Nearby Loch Leven has connections with Mary Queen of Scots and is an RSPB bird reserve; there’s a pathway all round it that’s popular with walkers and cyclists. You can take the train across the Forth Bridge to Edinburgh from Markinch or Kirkcaldy (far easier than driving and parking in the city).
Red Squirrel Campsite, at the wonderfully-named Glenmidge, near Dumfries, is a great site for fishers, cyclists and walkers, with woodland and hills all around. The site can supply large-scale maps of the area for walkers. It’s in the valley of the River Nith and, as the name suggests, you stand a good chance of seeing red squirrels as well as a range of birds and other wildlife.
Also near Dumfries is Auchenfranco Camping and Caravan Site, which can take up to 5 caravans or motorhomes, plus tents, on its one-and-a-half-acre site. It’s a quiet site with minimal facilities, set in rolling countryside and with access to Lochrutton. The landscape, a mixture of woodland, open fields, reed-beds and fresh-water loch, attracts a wide variety of wildlife. There’s also a fenced-off area where dogs can safely be let off the lead.
The site is close to the 7Stanes mountain bike centres at Ae, Mabie and Dalbeattie Forests, which offer runs for all skill levels from beginner to expert. Kirroughtree and Glentrool Forests, in Galloway, are also easily accessible from Auchenfranco, which offers bike-washing facilities when you get back to the campsite.
Dumfries and Galloway is a recognised “dark skies” area, with no light pollution, so bring your star atlas and turn your eyes heavenward at night if you come in Spring or Autumn – the summer nights are very short!
If you have a passion for fishing you’ll love Broom Fisheries Caravan and Campsite, at Newbie near Annan, which has seven coarse fishing ponds and a tackle shop on its 200-acre site. There’s also access to beaches on the Solway Firth and plenty of walking in the surrounding woods and quiet lanes. The campsite is in a Site of Special Scientific Interest, partly as the home of extremely rare natterjack toads, Dingy Skipper butterflies and bitterns; you might also spot badgers and deer.
Garlieston Campsite, on the Galloway coast between Wigtown (Scotland’s book town!) and Whithorn, has a catch-and-release trout fishery on site with rainbow, brown, tiger and wild brook trout. They also breed Large Black pigs, hens, ducks and geese, and welcome wild deer to the trout ponds. Wigtown Bay is an important area for pintail and curlew and over-wintering whooper swans and pink-footed geese, and is where the World War II Mulberry Harbours were developed.
Garlieston can take up to five motorhomes and three tents, so it’s never going to be noisy. The pitches are all on hard standing and have electric hook-up. There’s a river on one side, open fields and woodland on the other, and it’s the ideal place for relaxing, rambling, bird-watching, cycling and – of course – fishing, both on the ponds and at sea. There’s also a dog-friendly pub within 100 yards of the site. What more could you want?
With so many adult-only campsites in Scotland to choose from, you’re pretty much guaranteed a peaceful holiday, whether you want to be in the Highlands or the Lowlands. As so many of them have very limited space, booking ahead, especially for the high season, is essential. Of course, wild camping is also possible in Scotland (and will be child-free if you choose your spot carefully) giving you even more opportunities for a peaceful, relaxing holiday. Wherever you go, we hope you enjoy your stay in Scotland.