A guide to caravan holidays in Scotland

Written by Chris Thornton | 6th of December 2023
Caravan holidays in Scotland

I love a caravan holiday. When I was growing up in Scotland, my family would often stay at the caravan park in Aviemore on the banks of the River Spey. These were very happy times; the novelty of staying in the caravan, ice creams from the shop, and fish and chips on a warm summer's evening are just a few of the fond memories I have.

When I met my wife in 2002, we continued our caravan holidays around Scotland with many trips to Grannies Hielan Hame near Dornoch and a few other awesome locations around our great wee country.

Let's dig into the topic of caravan holidays in Scotland, find the best locations and the advantages of each one.

Static caravan.  UK Holiday Parks.
My daughter Ellie and I outside a static caravan in 2010.

What are caravans like in Scotland?

There are different types of caravans in Scotland:

Stationary caravan

Static caravans are the most common type of caravan within caravan parks and the type I have stayed in the most. These caravans have a permanent pitch within the holiday parks and cannot be moved easily. Stationary caravans are delivered on the back of lorries and lifted into their final place.

All the mod cons of home can be found in stationary caravans and can include:

  • Showers.

  • Multiple bathrooms.

  • As many as three bedrooms.

  • A lot of storage space for clothing.

  • A kitchen with sink and gas or electric hob/oven.

  • Fridge/freezer.

  • A lounge with TV/entertainment.

  • A patio with an outdoor seating area.

The beds can be a little small, but that's par for the course when staying in a caravan.

We have been lucky enough to stay at a static caravan with a sea view for the last few years, it costs a little extra, but it's so worth it for the views, sounds of the ocean, and having the beach in close proximity for the kids. If staying at a coastal caravan park in Scotland, you should definitely consider a sea view caravan.

Grannies Heilan Hame sea view.  Scotland Holiday Parks.
Our lovely view from our caravan at Grannies Heilan Hame.

Touring caravan

This is a caravan that is towed behind a car and is normally only suitable for two to 6 people (single axle), but there are larger versions to accommodate more (twin axle). Although they are portable, they need to be parked in an official hardstanding within a dedicated caravan park.

Fifth-wheelers

The largest type of caravan seen in Scotland, but they are not very common. Special consideration must be taken as, due to their size, many caravan parks may not be able to accommodate fifth-wheelers.

Pop-up caravan

Although less popular nowadays, pop-up caravans offer more headroom as the ceiling can extend upwards while in situ.

Motorhomes

Not really a caravan, more of a motor caravan and is commonly seen at caravan sites in Scotland. They are basically a caravan but are driveable in their own right without the need for a car to tow them. Motorhomes are very popular on the NC500 route in north Scotland.

Motorhome
A typical motorhome as seen in Scotland.

American Airstream

Although rare, these metallic-looking caravans are becoming more common in Scotland. Many seem to be converted for use as food vans in tourist hot spots.

Classic camper vans

Again not a caravan but worth a mention. Classic camper vans like VW split screen campers are very popular on Scotland's busiest tourist routes like the North Coast 500. There are a few hire companies available if you fancy touring Scotland in style:

Scottish Holiday Parks

Here are a few of the most popular holiday parks in Scotland.

Loch Lomond Holiday Park, Argyll

Loch Lomond Holiday Park (operated by Argyll Holidays) is situated on the upper west side of Loch Lomond, one of Scotland's most beloved bodies of water, within the Trossachs National Park. Some of the finest scenery in Scotland can be found here.

This holiday park is ideal for paddle boarding, kayaking, jet skis and other watersports from the lochside beach nearby. Park facilities include a shop, outdoor play area and site-wide wifi.

In addition to caravans, there are also: Hot tub forest pods, glamping pods, lodges, cottages, log cabins and apartments.

The only downside is it can feel relatively isolated, and without a car, you might feel limited to the park itself, but it's an excellent base to explore the Loch Lomand area if you have transport.

Places of interest nearby:

  • Inveruglas Pyramid / An Ceann Mòr.

  • Hiking trails up Ben Vorlich, Beinn Ime, Beinn Narnain and The Cobbler.

  • Pulpit Rock.

  • Boat trips on Loch Lomond with Cruise Loch Lomond Ltd.

Loch Lomond Holiday Park website

Loch Lomond
Dawn at Loch Lomond, near the holiday park.

Loch Awe Holiday Park, Argyll

Another holiday park owned by Argyll Holidays, Loch Awe Holiday Park, is located on the River Awe and a short distance from Loch Awe itself. It's a very picturesque setting amongst rolling hills and countryside.

Hot tub cabins are available in addition to the standard caravans. Convenience store, games room and children's play area are available on site. There is a petrol station at the site entrance too.

Attractions near Loch Awe Holiday Park:

  • Fishing options on the River Awe, Loch Awe and Loch Etive to the north.

  • Hiking Argyll's highest Munro - Ben Cruachan.

  • Great skiing options in the winter months at Glencoe Mountain Resort.

  • St Conan's Kirk.

  • Dunstaffnage Castle and Chapel.

Craig Tara Holiday Park, Ayr

One of Scotland's largest caravan and holiday parks, Craig Tara is operated by the Haven group and offers plenty of onsite attractions. Built right next to the beach, you can take a long walk to get away from the busy park and take in the views of the Firth of Clyde. Greenan Castle is a short distance to the east on the coast, a great subject for photographers.

Craig Tara Park attractions include:

  • Splashaway Bay is a large indoor swimming pool with water slides and water play areas.

  • Papa Johns Pizza and Burger King.

  • A nine-hole golf course.

  • Heads of Ayr Farm Park.

  • Lighthouse Harbour Adventure Village.

There is no shortage of local attractions near Craig Tara:

  • Greenan Castle.

  • Ayr Beach and esplanade.

  • Belleisle Golf Course.

  • Dunure Castle.

Eyemouth Caravan Site and coastline.
Dunure Castle, near Craig Tara Holiday Park.

My family and I are due to stay at an apartment at Craig Tara Holiday Park in 2023; I will report my findings in a separate article!

Seton Sands Holiday Park, East Lothian

Just to the east of Edinburgh lies Seton Sands, another holiday park operated by the Haven Group. While not on the scale of Craig Tara, it is a very picturesque park looking out onto the Firth of Forth with excellent beach walks available a stone's throw from the caravans.

A trademark of Haven Holiday Parks seems to be their huge indoor pools; the one here is no different and looks excellent.

A variety of onsite activities are on offer, including:

  • Archery.

  • Segways.

  • Footgolf.

  • Bungee trampoline.

  • Bike and cart hire.

  • Den building and firefighting with the park ranger.

Eyemouth Caravan Site and coastline.
Most caravan parks offer camping pitches too!

Parkdean Resorts

Parkdean has some of the best caravan sites in Scotland, known for stunning locations and onsite facilities. Most also offer spaces for touring caravans and camping pitches.

Eyemouth, Berwickshire

Located on the southeast coast of Scotland, the Eyemouth area is a beautiful place for a caravan holiday. There is a small but picturesque beach at Killiedraught Bay. Guests have free access to the local indoor pool near the caravan park.

Eyemouth has a lovely little beach and excellent facilities, including a good-sized Co-op convenience store. A walk around the harbour is a must.

St Abbs lies a short distance to the northwest, the filming location for "New Asgard", home of Thor in Avengers: Endgame, a great day out for film fans.

Eyemouth website

Eyemouth Caravan Site and coastline.
The rugged coastline near Eyemouth Caravan Park.

Grannies Heilan Hame, Dornoch

As mentioned before, Grannies Heilan Hame is my family's favourite park and in my opinion, the best Parkdean park available. It just has everything, sandy beaches, great facilities, arcades, a lovely chip shop, a convenience store and an indoor swimming pool... Grannies really has it all!

On top of that, there is so much to see and do in the local area. A few of our favourite places are:

Grannies Heilan Hame website

Embo Beach.
Families enjoying the spectacular Embo Beach.

Nairn Lochloy, Inverness

My wife has taken the kids here on several occasions - they loved it. The beach at Nairn is beautiful and located directly next to the park.

Facilities include an indoor swimming pool and sauna, crazy golf, outdoor play area and Spelding's Lounge Bar. Golfing is available at Nairn Golf Club, a short distance along the beach to the west.

My wife loves the Indian takeaway in Nairn and raves about their Chicken Makhani.

Locally there is a great deal to see around Nairn:

Nairn Lochloy website

Summer holiday at a caravan in Scotland.  Nairn Lochloy.
Nairn Lochloy Caravan Park.

Sandylands, Ayrshire

Perfect for golfers and beach lovers alike, Sandylands in Ayrshire has a great deal to offer holidaymakers in Scotland. Sandwiched in between Auchenharvie Driving Range and the expansive Stevenson Beach, Sandylands Holiday Park is the perfect holiday.

An indoor swimming pool and a convenience store, and an outdoor play area are available on site.

A major benefit of staying at Sandylands is the nearby ferry port at Ardrossan, which gives access to the Isle of Arran.

Other attractions include:

  • The Scottish Maritime Museum

  • Vikingar!

  • Eglington Castle

  • Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

  • Many golfing opportunities at Irvine Golf Club, Dundonald Links, and Kilmarnock Golf Course.

Sandylands website

Southerness, Dumfries

Located in southern Scotland as the name suggests, Southerness is a reasonably large caravan park built along Gillfoot Bay, and Southerness Beach looks out to the Solway Firth and across to England!

The pool at this park is absolutely fantastic and even has a water flume to slide into the water. Other facilities include arcades, pool tables and an outdoor play area.

Local attractions include:

  • Caerlaverock Castle

  • Castle Douglas

  • Sweetheart Abbey

  • Drumburn Viewpoint

  • Robert Burns House

  • Mabie Farm Park

  • Dino Park

Southerness website

Static caravan, Scotland holidays.

Sundrum Castle, Ayrshire

One of the more inland Parkdean resorts, Sundrum Castle Holiday Park, is located about 6 miles from Ayr. The park has an indoor pool, arcade, a wildlife nature trail, and forest walks.

Local attractions include:

  • Heads of Ayr Farm Park

  • Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

  • Ayr Beach

  • Galloway Forest Park

Sundrum Castle website

Tummel Valley, Pitlochry

We stayed at Tummel Valley in May 2021. It was a nice caravan park with a good restaurant and an outdoor playpark for the kids. Marketed as more of a forested caravan holiday, we were disappointed to see our caravan was right next to a huge area of deforestation. There is a brilliant heated indoor swimming pool, but it was closed upon our visit sadly.

The Tummel Valley area is beautiful, but the roads aren't ideal if you have car passengers suffering from travel sickness.

For the Outlander TV series fans out there, the filming location for Craigh na Dun standing stones is nearby and a nice spot for a selfie.

Nearby attractions:

  • Queen's View

  • Craigh na Dun Outlander filming location

  • Sailing on Loch Tummel

  • Dunalastair House

  • MacGregor's Cave

Tummel Valley website

Sand art at Tummel Valley.
Ellie and Olivia enjoying some sand art in Tummel Valley.

Wemyss Bay, Renfrewshire

Located west of Glasgow, Wemyss Bay Holiday Park looks onto the Firth of Clyde and is ideally situated for trips to the Isle of Bute via the Rothesay Ferry.

As with most Parkdean resorts, there is an indoor swimming pool and convenience store.

Attractions near Wemyss Bay:

  • Dumbarton Museum

  • Glasgow Science Centre

  • Isle of Bute

Wemyss Bay website

Smaller caravan sites in Scotland

Here are a few smaller and independently owned caravan sites around Scotland that are worth your consideration.

Cullen Bay Holiday Park, Moray

A very picturesque seaside town on the east Moray coast, Cullen has a lot to offer when staying there in a caravan. Cullen Bay has one of the most beautiful beaches in Scotland, and many walks are available such as the Crannoch Walk or the coastal route to Findlater Castle.

Cullen Bay Holiday Park website

Cullen
Cullen is a beautiful town on the Moray Coast.

Findochty Caravan Park, Moray

Another picture-perfect holiday location is also on the Moray Coast. Findochty is a gem of a fishing village, the harbour and coloured cottages really add to the vibe of the place. While small, it is a well-kept park looking out to the Moray Firth, with ample opportunities to spot seals and dolphins.

Findochty Caravan Park website

Lossiemouth, Moray

Two fantastic options for a caravan holiday at Lossiemouth are Silversands Holiday Park and Lossiemouth Bay Caravan Park.

  • Silversands on the west side of Lossiemouth offers excellent beach walks and views of Covesea Lighthouse. Moray Golf Club is also directly next to this caravan park. A trip to Duffus Castle nearby is well worth your time.
    Silversands website

  • Lossiemouth Bay Caravan Park is on the southeast side of Lossiemouth and also offers excellent beach walks along the east beach, accessible via the brand-new footbridge. The advantage of this park is its proximity to the main esplanade in Lossiemouth, which offers many great restaurants (check out the Harbour Lights). The best ice cream is available from Miele's, don't fall for the pop-up establishments nearby.
    Lossie Bay website

Lossiemouth Bay Caravan Park
Lossiemouth Bay Caravan Park with paddleboarders in the foreground.

Aviemore Holiday Park, Highlands

This is the park I stayed at when I was younger. It's a lovely location right next to the River Spey and ideally suited to take advantage of everything Aviemore has to offer. Chalets and cabins are also available, and fishing is offered free of charge while staying at the park. Located within the Cairngorms National Park, there is a great deal to see and do near Aviemore.

Aviemore Holiday Park website

How many caravan sites are there in Scotland?

There are 194 caravan sites available.

What is the best caravan site in the UK?

A very tough question as it depends on what you like from a caravan holiday. For me, it has to be Grannies Heilan Hame, mainly due to our frequency of visits and the great memories we have made there. Along with Aviemore, Grannies Heilan Hame is one of our two special places in Scotland.

What are the best holiday parks in Scotland?

Probably Craig Tara and Seton Sands holiday parks, just for the sheer amount of onsite entertainment on offer, such as their large heated indoor pools, eating options, outdoor activities etc. If you're looking for everything on one site, one of these Haven parks is probably the best choice for you.

Caravans!

Tips for staying at a static caravan in Scotland

Here are a few of my top tips for staying at a static caravan in Scotland.

Bring toilet roll - Not all caravan sites will supply you will toilet roll. This can be a nightmare if the kids are bursting for the toilet after a long car journey. The onsite shops are often very overpriced too.

Bring towels - Towels are not normally provided as part of your holiday, don't get caught short and have to pay for expensive towels onsite.

Cooking pans - If you are self-catering, it can be worth taking some better pans. Pans provided with the caravan are usually the cheapest, most basic pan available, no nonstick etc., it can make your life easier to bring a couple with you. Knives can be blunt, too; I take a chef's knife from home.

Order ahead - As mentioned before, relying on the caravan park onsite shop for essentials is an expensive mistake. Superstores like Asda, Tesco and Morrisons offer a home delivery service; you can order ahead and have the delivery coincide with your arrival at the caravan. You can plan your meals, get supermarket prices and save space in your car. You can also order ice cream as they are delivered from the freezer section of the van.

Delivery can be as little as £1.50 if you order weeks in advance. Access to caravan parks might vary; check with your site before ordering in case it gets stopped at the entrance.

Lossiemouth Bay Caravan Park

Bring a washing-up bowl - this sounds odd, but the kitchens don't come with bowls in the basins, and there is no secondary basin. Washing dishes is much easier with a washing-up bowl. I ordered one with my shopping delivery last month direct to the caravan.

Sleeping arrangements - make sure to ask for beds to be made in the configuration you want. For example, the caravan park will assume that two adults will sleep in a double bed, leaving a bed unmade. For a family of five, if only one adult is sleeping in the double bed, the remaining four single beds will need to be made.

Bring midge repellent - Many areas of Scotland (particularly the west coast) can be plagued with small biting insects called midges; they are not as big as mosquitos but can be irritating and leave itchy, swollen bite marks. Please see my Midge survival guide for the best ways to mitigate midges when visiting Scotland.

Bring some multi-plug extension leads - Perhaps intentionally, there can sometimes be very few power points in static caravans. So we always bring two four plug extension leads, ideal for simultaneously charging up phones and tablets.

Barbequing - portable barbeques are banned anywhere near caravans due to them melting decking or damaging grass. If you want to use a portable bbq, you must bring a stand for it.

Speyside Gardens Caravan Park.
Speyside Gardens Caravan Park.

Conclusion

I hope this comprehensive guide to caravan holidays in Scotland has been helpful to you. It's only just scratched the surface, really, as there are so many great caravan parks the length and breadth of Scotland.

With the cost of living crises and problems getting to Europe due to Brexit, why not have a staycation at a caravan in Scotland? We love it!

All information was correct at the time of writing, please check things like entry costs and opening times before you arrive.

Claim Your Free 6 Day Travel Itinerary:

Simply enter your email and we'll send it your way!

Free Scotland travel itinerary

Hi, please leave a comment below, or why not start a discussion on the forum?