Camping at Christmas
It’s the most wonderful time of the year and believe us, you’re not the only one dreaming of a wild Christmas this year, with many adventure-seekers like you craving alternative ways to celebrate the Yuletide and see in the new year. Camping at Christmas really is the gift that keeps on giving.
- Chestnuts roasting on an open fire beside your tent, motorhome, or within your cosy wooden lodge or glamping pod
- Mulled wine brewing and pigs-in-blankets browning on the barbecue or camp stove
- Long, frosty walks amongst snow-topped trees, robins and holly bushes
- Building a snowman in the woods (or a ‘sandman’ on the beach)
- Listening to Cliff’s greatest hits on your portable speaker beneath the starlight
(okay, we’ll let you scrap Cliff for the serene sounds of nature, but still, need we go on?)
In this guide, we’ll help you turn Christmas tradition into a great expedition, bringing all the festivities and joy from your usual surroundings to an intimate, home-from-home, open-air retreat.
Where can I go camping this Christmas?
Before deciding where you’d like to go (and what you’d like to do), a great way to start your decision process is to consider the climate that’d best fulfil your festive fantasy, be it on home soil locally, cross-country or overseas.
Budget and time permitting, the world is your oyster, from sunny coastal retreats abroad to crisp, wintery European city breaks, good old Blighty with it’s unpredictably exciting ‘will it? won’t it?’ snow situation. It’s your Christmas, so do it your way!
You might want to plan your camping stay around nearby Christmas markets, lights trails or events. You can find some spectacular displays in Europe. Have a peak at some of our favourites. Or maybe you’d like to escape the crowds entirely and make use of your own private, secluded grotto.
Secondly, have a think about where on the ‘wilderness scale’ you’ll feel most comfortable (and invigorated) to set up camp – of course this will also depend on your camping confidence and how well equipped you are with gear and know-how. Open-air accommodation ranges vastly from immersive, stripped-back camping, to luxury homestays and one-of-a-kind glamping resorts. Your chosen retreat will be one of the main things protecting you from the elements, so give it some real thought.
Filter your specific dates and check availability for your dream destination.
Above all, do your research of the area, come well-prepared and book early to avoid missing out. Open-air campsites are in high demand, especially around Christmas time and mostly booked up months in advance, so let us help you make your first decision – A hot or cold Christmas?
Christmas camping in Winter
Fact: Mid-winter camping is so much fun.
Granted, it’s a far cry from those warm Summer nights in your tent or motorhome, but it’s arresting beauty brings a whole new perspective on Mother N’s great outdoors, and a keener appreciation for those little things, like a roaring fire, bed socks and spooning a cosy sleeping bag (or your partner if they’re lucky!).
Falling asleep under a starlit, wintery night sky is like nothing else… and we challenge you to tell us otherwise!
Waking up to crisp mornings and birdsong, seeing frost, or even snow, setting around you before a morning hike will make you feel alive and entirely connected. Dare you even try a Christmas Day cold-water dip?
Snow holidays give you the guarantee of a White Christmas and often benefit from their idyllic location neighbouring snow-capped hills, mountains or pristine ski slopes.
But, in true Scout style, be prepared! Especially if you’re planning a Christmas pitch-up in a tent or motorhome. The chilly temperature will be your most obvious risk and hypothermia is the gift you can’t return! So, prioritise thermal camping equipment, access to hot water and a source of heating. Your main focus (aside from having the time of your life) should be staying warm and dry.
Check out our ultimate guide to winter camping , where our Campsited veterans have gathered their greatest tips and tricks, from choosing the perfect accommodation and camping essentials, to keeping safe and cooking up a feast in your winter wonderland.
You can also download our winter camping checklist here.
Winter glamping at Christmas
If traditional tent camping isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of ways to get those outdoorsy winter feels in more luxury accommodation, complete with log burner, a nearby hot shower and multi-functional kitchen! Think shepherd’s huts, tree-top houses, log cabins, homesteads, ski-chalets and heated bell-tents, where some doors are open year-round for visitors.
Join the ‘Caravaneige’ movement, a French term coined for caravanning in the snow. Find out more about snow holidays in the open-air.
What more, you can pack much lighter than conventional camping, saving space in your backpack for a few Christmas decorations to add some festive sparkle to your new abode.
Christmas camping in the sun
For sun worshippers looking to bring the spirit of Christmas to a hotter climate, there’s a whole world of camping and glamping locations to explore.
From Europe to Africa, you could indulge in some alternative cultural traditions and stay in a truly unique home-from-home on your warm winter escapade.
A little birdy tells us that more of you prefer spending precious money on an experience for Christmas, something that creates longer lasting, more meaningful memories than material presents. Why not give yourself (or a special someone) the gift of adventure with a dose of vitamin C?
Don’t forget to pack the essentials like sun protection and bug-repellent – oh and there’s no harm in taking a Christmas t-shirt and Santa hat to bring those all-important homeland festivities to your place in the sun.
Check out our great destinations in South Africa for a Christmas holiday in the sun – or a Christmas gift of burst of warmth in January or February.
Christmas Camping Checklist
Wherever your Christmas break in the open-air takes you, here’s a list of optional extras guaranteed to bring that festive cheer.
- Christmas decorations: Deck the tent (or whichever your chosen accommodation) with boughs of holly, tinsel or at least a string of battery or solar-powered fairy lights to brighten up your surroundings and bring the colours of Christmas to your unique retreat.
- A Christmas present for your fellow camper(s): If you’re not travelling alone and hoping to exchange a small gift or two, we’ve got some great ideas for him, her or them. From novelty camping present ideas, to must-have tools to tackle the great outdoors, here’s some inspiration for the perfect Christmas camping gift.
- Christmas music for camping: Blast out the classics on your mobile phone, Bluetooth speaker or go acapella. You’ll find some great Christmas playlists on well-known streaming platforms or, for something more traditional, why not print off the lyrics to well-known carols and serenade your camping tribe around the ole’ campfire?
And when the Christmas tunes start to grate on you, check out our Winter camping playlist on Spotify:
- Christmas camping games: Let your imagination run wild as you play eye-spy in your new, fruitful surroundings or, if your backpack allows, load up with a few travel-sized board games, suitable for adults or children. Oh what fun you’ll have.
- Christmas camping feast: Forget the usual stress caused by dozens of pots and pans flying around the kitchen, ingredients lists as long as your arm, oh and that dreaded clean-up aftermath (while remembering to smile and keep a heard of excitable family members happy and under control!).
We’ve fashioned a list of faff-free Christmas camping recipes from one-pot wonders to rustic, firepit creations and pre-prepared delights that’ll provide the ultimate feast for your alternative Christmas Day vacay.
Do it differently, do it in style. Book your Christmas camping trip with us today.