Why not opt for a staycation this year and go camping in Wicklow like you did when you were a kid?
I bet every Irish grown-up has a fond memory of holidaying in Ireland as a kid in some random campsite in the middle of nowhere. There was many a summer spent in a tent or a caravan in Brittas Bay and Wicklow National Park. We reckon this is a tradition well worth keeping alive with your kids! We’ve rounded up some of the best camping spots in Wicklow under the headings of wild camping, glamping spots, campsites and caravan parks. Happy camping! Remember if you’re wild camping – or in fact doing enjoying any kind of outdoor activity – remember to Leave No Trace.
The Wild Camping Code
– Campsites must be at least 400m from a road capable of carrying a vehicle.
– Campsites must be at least 400m from a building.
– Tents must be moved after every second night to allow vegetation to recover.
– Campers must remove all food waste and litter, whether or not it is biodegradable. Buried waste is often exposed by foraging animals or by erosion.
– Soap and toothpaste must be kept at least 30m away from watercourses.
– Dish and utensil washing must be conducted at least 30 metres from water bodies. All waste water should be strained and scattered. In no circumstances should waste water used in washing be poured into lakes, streams or rivers.
– Campers are required to conduct themselves in a quiet manner in an effort to avoid disturbing the local community, wildlife or other visitors.
– Campsites must be kept visually unobtrusive.
– Campsites must be left as found, or better
Powerscourt Waterfall is a stunning spot and well worth a visit. If you are planning on hiking there, don’t stay on the grounds of the Powerscourt Estate itself but keep going until you find Lough Tay. On the banks between the mountains of Luggala and Djouce, you’ll discover plenty of peace and quiet to call home for the night. The glassy water and mountainous twins offer fantastic views while being miles away from anyone.
2. The Wicklow Way
We know the Wicklow Way is chockers in the summer months, but if you wait until spring or autumn, you’ll find it as secluded as ever, especially the further away from Dublin you get. There are plenty of spots to wild camp along the route, but if it’s a particular blustery day, keep an eye out for the three Adirondack shelters along the way at Mucklagh (Aughavannagh), Mullacor (Glenmalure) and Brusher’s Gap (Paddock hill).
3. Brittas Bay
For a night bedding down in the sand, nestle up in the sand dunes of Brittas Bay. With 5km of sandy beach, it’s a great place for a night’s camping when the weather plays ball. Nothing quite beats a dip in the sea to kick off your day!
When wild camping, please abide by the Leave No Trace principles.
1. The Old Forge
This cosy glamping venue is situated in the Wicklow Hills and overlooks Lugnaquilla’s heights. The site has four yurts and one log cabin. Each yurt or cabin has its own BBQ area and personal campfire. In the surrounding area, you’ll find Huntington Castle. If you’re looking to do a mountain walk, check out Mangans Loop or if you prefer an easier stroll, head to Altamont Gardens by the Slaney River.
More info: The Old Forge Glamping
2. Hidden Valley Glamping Mini Lodges
The Hidden Valley is tucked away in Rathdrum and is the perfect base from which to explore both Glendalough and Redcross. They have five quaint Glamping Mini Lodges which can accommodate up to six people. Each of them contains two double beds, one single bed, a picnic table, a small fridge, a kettle, lights and heater. It’s camping without the hassle! The lodges have no bathroom but the amenity block is just a few steps away.
More info: Hidden Valley
3. River Valley Park Glamping Treehouses
Always fantasised about living in a treehouse? This is your chance! River Valley Treehouses can accommodate up to six people, with two double beds and two single beds. If that’s not your cup of tea, they have a whole range of other glamping options including their Kukoo Hut, the Microlodge and Maxilodge.
More info: River Valley
4. Knockrobin Glamping
This gem of a place in Tinakilly is all about outdoor luxury accommodation and fantastic service. Enjoy the views, peace and starry skies. It is located on the grounds of the Tinakilly hotel which boasts amazing facilities, all of which are accessible to the glamping guests. So dine in the Brunel Restaurant and have a few tumblers in the whiskey bar before strolling back to your chic tent.
More info: Knockrobin Glamping
Caravan and Camping Grounds
1. Hidden Valley Holiday Park
If you are not quite ready for wild camping or are not too sure about glamping, then you can always opt for a good old reliable campsite or caravan park. Hidden Valley is set in a beautiful valley with sites overlooking the tranquil waters of the Avonmore River and a glassy, private lake. They are a quiet, respectable and family-run park.
More info: Ireland Holiday Park
2. River Valley
There are loads of facilities on hand to entertain the whole family in River Valley. With many on-park activities like tennis, crazy golf, remote-controlled boats and kids clubs, you won’t hear the word bored! Offsite there are lots of adventures in store too, such as Clara Lara, Wicklow Gaol and, for the more adventurous, trekking over the Wicklow Mountains. There is a family section for camping and a separate adults-only camping area called The Secret Garden.
3. Roundwood Caravan and Camping Park
To explore the area of Roundwood, park up in the multi-award-winning Roundwood Caravan Park. There’s a camper’s kitchen, dining room and TV room, with a daily bus service to Dublin, Bray and Glendalough. It’s within a five-minute walk of shops, pubs and restaurants. By day, go exploring Glendalough, Mount Usher Gardens, Powerscourt Gardens, Lough Tay and Lough Dan, and Ballinastoe’s mountain biking trails. For walkers, there is the Wicklow Way, Glendalough and Vartry Lake beside the Park.
More info: Camping Ireland
4. Wolohan’s Caravan & Camping Park
Just outside of Wicklow town and overlooking the famous Silver Strand beach is the Wolohan family’s camping and caravan park. They have been welcoming tents, caravans and campervans to their park for more than 70 years. Their mobile homes are set out on a 22-acre site and nearly all of them have stunning sea views.
More info: Silver Strand
If you have any camping mishaps while in Wicklow or forget some of your gear, Adventure.ie is Wicklow’s camping store based in Laragh. Pop in to say hi, they would be more than happy to help!
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