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Happy campers

Tom Weir statue at Balmaha

Camping and caravanning in Scotland growing more popular

A post-pandemic trend for staycations and the cost-of-living crisis are driving demand for camping and caravanning in Scotland.

Recent research by VisitScotland and VisitBritain has shown that staying in a caravan or camping is the top choice for families planning a holiday in Scotland this summer. And the second most preferred accommodation option overall. *

Occupancy levels of caravan and tent pitches also rose in 2022 compared to 2019 – caravans, 46%, tents 26% ** And campsites along popular routes like the West Highland Way say they are enjoying booking boosts.

Milarrochy Bay Camping and Caravanning Club Site, near Balmaha at Loch Lomond, has seen a significant rise in arrivals and bookings this year compared to pre-pandemic and noted that people are spending longer on site, with average length of stay up by a third on previous years.

The cost-of-living crisis is seeing UK residents choosing cheaper accommodation as one of the top impacts on domestic holidays and short breaks. And overnight domestic trip intentions in June 2023 were above the levels anticipated in June 2022. 74% are planning a trip in the next 12 months compared to 70% a year ago. *

Simon McGrath, The Camping and Caravanning Club Head of Communications and External Relations, which runs Milarrochy Bay, explained that there has been a 15% increase in the number of arrivals at the site this year compared to 2019-20, while bookings are up 41% over the same period. And across all of the 17 club sites in Scotland, they are welcoming 35% more arrivals than in 2019-20.

He said: “People have many more choices for where to go on holiday again, but they are also undoubtedly feeling the significant pressure of inflation.

“Pitching up on a campsite is a good value holiday option and early indications suggest we are seeing an increase in bookings from people who are clearly feeling the pinch this year due to financial pressures.

“We are seeing people who are price sensitive make their bookings following our promotional activity and in greater numbers than we would normally expect to see.”

While campsites are eager to welcome visitors this summer, they are urging people to plan ahead to avoid disappointment and to leave surrounding areas unspoiled.

Gavin McGreish, Operations Director at Cashel Campsite near Rowardennan at Loch Lomond, said: “With campsites and the great outdoors becoming more popular, it is very important to book in advance. We also advise to check all your equipment before setting off, read over the T&Cs, and let the campsites know of any special requests in advance.

“Irresponsible camping ruins it for others, damages nature, our beautiful country and our tourism industry.”

As summer school holidays begin, VisitScotland is encouraging holidaymakers to consider the impact on the environment and local communities on their next camping trip and stay at official sites.

Lyn Donnelly, VisitScotland Senior Responsible Tourism Manager, said: “Camping and caravanning are fantastic, often cost-effective, ways to experience Scotland’s world-famous scenery and connect with nature, especially during the summer months. Whether you are on holiday as a family, a couple or on a solo trip, campsites and holiday parks in Scotland boast a memorable stay, with various locations and scenic surroundings to choose from.

“However, we all have a shared responsibly to respect and protect our outdoors spaces for everyone to enjoy. As we have seen in recent weeks, wildfires as a result of irresponsible open fires pose a real risk to our countryside.

“We are calling on everyone to follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and urge visitors to plan ahead and use designated camping parks to protect our natural environment and local communities. There are plenty of tips and options to explore on our website.”

Kenny Auld, Head of Visitor Services at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park said: “Planning ahead can make all the difference to having a great visit to the National Park. Before you set off, know where you can camp or stay overnight in your motorhome, book ahead, plan for how and where you will go to the toilet, and bring some extra bags to take away litter.

“Our website ( has lots of useful advice and links to book into a campsite, a camping permit area, or areas where motorhomes can stay overnight and safely get rid of their waste. These simple steps will help you enjoy your visit and keep the National Park as a special place for everyone to enjoy.”

For more information and advice visit: and Moffat Centre Scottish Accommodation Occupancy Survey 2022 Touring Caravan & Camping Extract


Happy campers

A post-pandemic trend for staycations and the cost-of-living crisis are driving demand for camping and caravanning in Scotland.

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