If you are planning to tour with your motorhome or caravan or tent in Scotland this year, it is a good idea to plan ahead so that you can stay in the areas you want to. Many parks are fully booked in August and early September, so it can be difficult to find a place if you just turn up. Before you decide that you want to spend only one night on each park, study a map. Perhaps you could stay in one place for two or three nights and explore from there. Scotland is such a small country that there are lots of castles, distilleries, gardens and historic houses wherever you are. Some parks are ideally situated for walkers and cyclists, with special trails or quiet country roads.
Thistle Parks is a consortium of 60 high-quality caravan parks which have gained 4 or 5 stars from the national tourist board and they welcome caravanners. These parks have good facilities such as showers, toilets, laundry room and chemical waste disposal and some have a shop or perhaps a restaurant.
Here are some suggestions for Thistle Parks, based on areas:
The Highlands: Dornoch, a small village north of Inverness, where the Sands Caravan Park is right on the beach, or Gairloch on the west coast south of Ullapool – the caravan park is spread out over several acres and beyond the dunes is a beautiful beach. Or, if you are heading for the Outer Hebrides, Laxdale near Stornoway. Further south there is the Argyll Park at Inveraray, Invercoe in Glencoe and Tralee Bay north of Oban.
Angus and Perthshire: Blair Castle Park at Blair Atholl (bikes to hire in the village), or to the east, Blairgowrie (ideal if you are heading for Royal Deeside). If you want to stop off near the border, there are a few parks here – Scoutscroft at Coldingham, Thurston Manor and Belhaven near Dunbar and Tantallon in North Berwick (with a good train service to Edinburgh. If you prefer not to plan your route before you leave, then ask for a free caravan map at one of Scotland’s visitor information centres and phone ahead each night to make sure you have somewhere to stay the next night.
Camping: If you plan to take your tent, it is even more important that you book ahead because not all parks accept tents. You may have heard that you can camp anywhere in Scotland; it is legal to do so, but you must get the permission of the land-owner and it is important that you are very careful when you light a fire and that you take all your rubbish away with you.
-Thistle Holiday Parks
Fotocredits: Dr. Birgit Bornemeier