Camping holidays are the perfect chance to spend quality time with the family enjoying the great outdoors and taking on new adventures. But new research from multi-sports retailer, Decathlon, has revealed that two in five kids in the UK have never been camping.


From stunning coastlines to beautiful forests, the UK has a whole host of backdrops perfect for a family camping trip. We’ve teamed up with Decathlon’s camping expert, Chris Penn, to get his top tips for getting your trip off to the perfect start.

1. Search for the best spot

From beaches to beautiful countryside, the wide variety of camp sites on offer in the UK mean that it can be hard to know where to start looking. When you have kids with you, the first things to think about are travel time and distance – if you have younger children it may be easier to keep the drive time down to around two hours.

Apps such as Campr Beautiful Camping and Siteseeker are a good place to start searching, as they include detailed reviews and lists of available amenities, so you’ll know exactly what you’ll be getting before you arrive. Would you prefer a spot with working bathroom facilities, or are you happy to create your own washing area with a portable shower? If it’s your first ever camping trip, you may want to opt for a family-friendly site. This will usually have a range of facilities such as toilets and outdoor play areas. Some even have a working laundry room!

2. Get a checklist together

From sleeping bags to air pumps, chairs or cutlery, there can be a lot of equipment to remember when it comes to packing for a camping holiday. Be sure to prepare your list in plenty of time and double check everything is ticked off before you go. This can be a nice thing to get the kids involved with too – ask them to create their own checklist of toys and books to take and let them pack their own bag to bring along too.

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Don’t forget to take a first-aid kit along with you. You’ll be outdoors and likely not as close to emergency supplies should you need them.

3. Plan some in-car entertainment for the journey

It’s always a good idea to pack some in-car entertainment to keep the kids occupied, especially if you do decide to venture further away from home. Think about creating a family-friendly playlist for a sing-a-long, packing plenty of snacks, downloading some of their favourite TV episodes onto a tablet, or even bringing some mess-free magic colouring pens and paper to keep them occupied.

4. Know the rules of the site

Most campsites are laid-back, but each has their own set of rules to help keep things in order. For example, some may only allow tents of a certain size, whereas others may have restrictions on cooking equipment. Check your campsite’s website or give them a quick call to make sure you know the rules before buying your camping gear and setting off on your break.

5. Enjoy the digital detox

Even the youngest kids are likely to miss watching their favourite TV shows or using their iPads, so be sure to pack plenty of games to keep them entertained. Pack a football, a junior archery set or games like boules or skittles. You could even get creative and plan a scavenger hunt by making a list of outdoor wildlife and objects and set the kids a fun mission to check off as many things as possible.

6. Make dinner time special

Why not wind down for the evening and toast some marshmallows or make s’mores together as a family? You don’t always need to make a campfire, a BBQ (positioned well away from your tent) can work just as well and can often be much easier to put together.

7. Prepare for bedtime

We all know that British weather can be unpredictable, and the temperature sometimes dips as low as 10 degrees at night-time, even in the summer months. Make sure your tent is well-insulated and take plenty of layers for you and the kids. A camping lamp is a great item to take along too, especially for children who are scared of the dark! A lamp will also come in handy if you choose to camp in a secluded spot, as it’s more likely that there will be little light once the sun goes down.

With thanks to Decathlon

Decathlon was established in 1976, with the first store located near Lille, France. Since then Decathlon has grown into a global business, present in over 40 countries, with more than 1,200 stores worldwide. Decathlon UK opened its first store in Surrey Quays, London in 1999 and has since developed into a full omnichannel shopping experience, including 42 purpose-built stores, website, mobile app, and Click & Collect services.


Decathlon’s mission is simple: to make sport accessible for the many. The company designs and creates products that offer the best technical performance at the lowest possible price, and team-mates are always on hand - either in-store or online - to help total beginners or seasoned pros choose the right kit to get active, whatever their sport or activity.