18 of the Best UK Market Towns to Explore
With picture-perfect surroundings and, of course, brilliant local markets, these UK towns are all great for a weekend or mid-week break away.
Staying in one of the UK’s market towns gives you the chance to hit the stalls, local high street, and surrounding countryside all in one. Here’s our round-up of the best towns to visit and where you can camp nearby. Alternatively, search for a campsite by postcode on SiteSeeker.
Timber framed Victorian properties line the commercial centre of Northwich town, giving it unbeatable charm.
The high street here is a fantastic mix of national retailers and specialist independent stores that you won’t find anywhere else. To go with the independent theme, you can enjoy an artisan market here on the second Saturday of every month where you’ll find a mixture of locally produced food, gifts and other essentials. The indoor market occurs on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday in Whitton Street, just across from Barons Quay Shopping Centre.
Cheshire has a thriving history, so there are plenty of museums and attractions nearby. In Marston, you can visit the Lion Salt Works, the last open pan salt works in the area, and Weaver Hall Museum and Workhouse. The Anderton Boat Lift is a popular attraction, and one fans of the UK waterways won’t want to miss.
For those wanting to explore away from the town centre, Delamere Forest is just a 20-minute drive away with miles of paths and trails to explore on foot or by bike. Our campsite of the same name boasts its green forest surrounding and environmentally friendly features. Those camping at Delamere Forest Club Site will find it impossible to be short of things to do with Chester Zoo, Chester Roman Amphitheatre and much more nearby.
Southwest of London (50-minutes by train), Chertsey is a pretty market town with plenty of history. With more Georgian properties than any other Surrey towns, there’s plenty to look at while you browse the town’s shops.
Chertsey Abbey is a focal point of the town’s history, having been founded in 666AD. There is not much left to see of the Abbey now, but Chertsey Museum is free to enter and has an exhibition with a 3D model and information.
Away from the town, attractions include Thorpe Park, Hampton Court Palace, RHS Garden Wisley and Legoland. Our campsite in Chertsey sites on the bank of the River Thames with direct access to endless walking routes, including the Thames Path Natural Trail.
See the Cotswolds at its finest in the pretty town of Winchcombe. Quaint tea rooms, inns and restaurants line the streets, which are full of charm and character. We recommend taking a stroll down Castle or Vineyard Street to see beautiful stone cottages alongside the wonderful Cotswold countryside. As with any town in the Cotswolds, Winchcombe has great walking footpaths with interesting things to see along the way. Visit in May to take part in the annual walking festival.
Away from the town, major attractions include Sudeley Castle, Broadway Tower and Hailes Abbey, which all showcase fascinating local history. The town of Cheltenham is around 15 minutes away and offers plenty of things to do for a day out. Cheltenham Racecourse, Pitville Pump Rooms and the art gallery and museum are all worth a visit. Wine lovers can visit Three Choirs Vineyard for a detailed guided tour and tasting.
Next to the village of Alderton, our Winchcombe Club Site is a peaceful base for exploring the Cotswolds. Just a short drive to the Winchcombe town centre, this campsite has access to the Winchcombe Way (a 42-mile walking route), on-site fishing and a dog walk.
Crowborough, East Sussex
The town of Crowborough sits within awe-inspiring countryside in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
On your doorstep, Ashdown Forest is renowned as the setting for the Winnie the Pooh books. The countryside alone makes Crowborough a perfect location for a trip away.
In the town, you can see the statue of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, just one of the many historical nuances you’ll discover here. The busy town has a great mix of the usual retailers and independent shops to look around and the farmers market is held on the last Saturday of every month.
Tunbridge Wells is around seven miles away and makes a good day out once you’ve explored all that Crowborough has to offer. Further afield, London, Brighton and Hastings are all within reach. Nearby Hever Castle and Herstmonceux Castle are both incredible structures to visit, with plenty to learn along the way. If you’re visiting with kids or wildlife lovers, head to Drusillas Park for the chance to see all kinds of wild and exotic animals.
Our Crowborough Club Site is just a short walk from the town of the same name and has all of the amenities you would need to enjoy a relaxing break away from home.
Dunbar, East Lothian
See the beautiful North Sea coast on a visit to Dunbar, just 30 miles away from Edinburgh.
Dunbar is overlooked by the ruined castle, which was once one of the most important fortresses in Scotland. Dunbar’s important role in the history books is sure to be a central part of your visit. The grand high street is flanked by wonderful old stone buildings and offers a mix of retail stores and award-winning food and drink establishments.
Just 3 miles from the town, our Dunbar Club Site is a great base for anyone exploring East Lothian and local attractions. With sea views and Whitesands Bay within walking distance, our campsite in Dunbar gives stunning views of the Scottish coast. The Scottish Seabird Centre, the John Muir Country Park, and Pease Dean Wildlife Reserve are other nearby attractions you could visit during your stay.
Scarborough, North Yorkshire
A coastal town with two sandy bays, untamed moors to explore and dramatic castle ruins, Scarborough makes for a lovely break away.
Just a short cliff-top walk or bus ride away from our campsite, you’ll find the town with the Rotunda Museum, Scarborough Market Hall and Vaults, and the retro Harbour Bar, which has been selling its own ice cream since 1945. There are plenty of other things to do in and around the town, including a trip to the ruins of Scarborough Castle, a visit to the Victorian outdoor promenade at Scarborough Spa and the climb up to St Mary’s Church and Anne Bronte’s Grave. Avid walkers can set off from the campsite and enjoy the Cleveland Way National Trail or take a walk through the North York Moors National Park.
Scarborough Club Site itself is great for families with large spacious pitches, well-placed facility blocks and even a large football pitch and field for dogs.
In the heart of the Peak District National Park, Bakewell lies on the banks of the River Wye and has plenty to explore.
Being the biggest town in the Peak District, you won’t be stuck for things to do while staying here. You can visit the Bakewell Pudding Shop to sample the traditional treat, explore one of the many weekly markets, and spend time in the local cafes and shops. The mellow stone buildings of Bakewell are, of course, surrounded by endless miles of walking and cycling paths that showcase the best scenery the Peak District has to offer.
Within driving distance, you can visit the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, Haddon Hall, Thornbridge Brewery and many more great attractions. Dovedale, Buxton and Matlock are other areas to visit during your trip. Our Bakewell Club Site is just 5 miles from the town with wonderful views over the Derbyshire countryside.
Leafy Brentwood is the ideal location for anyone wanting a combination of busy high street and beautiful countryside.
Thanks to being featured on the TV show The Only Way is Essex, Brentwood is a popular destination. If you’re not a fan of the show, don’t let that put you off because alongside the bustling high street, which is a serious shopper’s paradise, Brentwood has plenty of green spaces and historical attractions to visit. The Grade II listed Mountnessing Windmill, RHS Hyde Hall and beaches at Southend and Canvey Island are all within easy driving distance and make for great days out.
Our Kelvedon Hatch Club Site, near to the pretty village of the same name, is a 10-minute drive away from Brentwood and offers a relaxed base to explore the area. One of the villages main attractions is the Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker, which is the biggest Cold War bunker open to the public and fun for the whole family.
The family-friendly town of Mablethorpe offers access to beautiful beaches and plenty of outdoor fun.
The sandy beach at Mablethorpe is two miles long, and the promenade has plenty of places to eat, drink and refuel. There are many attractions in the town, including the Seal Sanctuary, Adventure Golf and the Sand Train. Away from the coast, the Lincolnshire Wolds are brilliant for walkers to amble a day away. Both Lincoln and Skegness are within driving distance from Mablethorpe, with plenty to do and see at each.
Our Mablethorpe Club Site has excellent facilities, including a designated on-site dog walk, a children’s play area and a parent and baby room, so the whole family is catered for during a stay here.
Explore the varying landscape of the Snowdonia National Park from the historic town of Bala.
Walkers and outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do while visiting Snowdonia with waterfalls, deep valleys, mountains, and beautiful forests to explore. This area of North Wales is alive with bubbling rivers, tumbling waterfalls, and endless attractions to visit.
Our Bala Club Site is just a short drive away from the town of the same name and just under an hour's drive away from Snowdon, Wales’ highest peak. Offering a children’s play area, designated dog walk and full facility blocks, this campsite is a great all-rounder for the whole family. Some nearby attractions include Bala Lake Railway, the town of Christchurch, which is just under an hour away by car and the National White Water Centre for water sports lovers.
Enjoy the best that Shropshire has to offer on a holiday to the Tudor town of Shrewsbury.
One of Shrewsbury’s most famous residents was Charles Darwin, but that’s just one of the historical facts you’ll discover during your visit. The whole of Shropshire in the West Midlands is shrouded in history, giving you lots of options of things to do and places to see. The sandstone Shrewsbury Castle, the ancient foundation of Shrewsbury Abbey and the River Severn are a few places you can explore in the town. Within driving distance of our Ebury Hill Club Site, you can discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ironbridge Gorge, wonder at Wroxeter Roman City, and see falconry displays at Battlefield Falconry Centre.
You won’t need to travel far to experience some of Shropshire’s history as the campsite itself sits on top of the remains of an Iron Age hill fort. Take off on foot from the campsite to explore miles of walking paths and marvel at wonderful local wildlife, fauna, and flora.
Surrounded by the Northumberland National Park and the North Pennines, Haltwhistle is ideal for anyone looking for an active holiday.
You’ll find a selection of shops in the town centre, ideal for an afternoon of browsing or stocking up on supplies. The town and surrounding areas are so popular among walkers they host the bi-annual Haltwhistle Walking Festival, which takes place in the spring and autumn. Cyclists, walkers and runners will all make good use of the local walks, including the Haltwhistle Rings, 22 routes taking in local attractions and the countryside.
Our secluded campsite of the same name sits within a clearing in Bellister Wood in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Places to visit from the campsite include the Roman Army Museum, Killhope North of England Mining Museum and Hadrian’s Wall, which is just 5 miles away.
Glorious Dorset beaches lined with pretty beach huts, the wonderous Jurassic Coast and fantastic attractions await anyone visiting the coastal town of Swanage.
Just a 31-minute drive away from our Moreton Club Site, Swanage boasts Blue Flag beaches, day cruises to see the beautiful Jurassic Coast by boat and plenty of stories to uncover in the Swanage Museum. The Victorian town is characterised by its pier, freshly caught seafood and plenty of places to grab an ice cream. Swanage is a great place to visit from our campsite to stock up in the independently run bakers, butchers, and fishmongers. Don’t miss the market which runs every Friday.
Our Moreton Club Site offers a family-friendly base to explore the Dorset coast and surrounding towns and villages. Bovington Tank Museum, Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre and Athelhampton House are all nearby attractions.
Rugeley, Cannock Chase
Visit the quaint town of Rugeley in Staffordshire and admire one of the Midlands’ most famous beauty spots, Cannock Chase, while you’re at it.
Just eight miles away from Lichfield, Rugeley is a small market town with plenty of Staffordshire's attractions nearby. The town centre has a mix of big high street brands, cafes, and pubs to keep shoppers happy. The indoor market opens on a Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, so there’s plenty of days to stop off and bag a bargain or two.
Our Cannock Chase Club Site is less than a ten-minute drive to Rugeley and offers the ideal base to explore all of Staffordshire major attractions. Direct access to the Chase is available, which gives you endless miles of walking and mountain biking trails and brilliant wildlife and scenery to observe. Tamworth, Lichfield and all of their attractions can be easily reached by car.
Scone, Perth and Kinross
The Medieval town of Scone has lots of history and wonderful sights to soak up during your visit.
Camp within the grounds of Scone Palace, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area and explore all that Perth and Kinross have to offer. A vibrant and friendly town, fascinating wildlife and golden sandy beaches are all within your reach.
Directly from the campsite, you can set off and explore the local area, including the River Tay and explore the vast estate. Other attractions worth visiting include Huntington Tower, Kinnoull Hill and the Blue Flag beach at Broughty Ferry.
With two Blue Flag beaches and a unique forest setting, Nairn is a beautiful town on Scotland's sunshine coast.
Nairn’s major asset is its wonderful sandy beaches with views out over the Moray Firth. Keep your eyes peeled for a chance to see the famous Moray Firth dolphins, a real treat for animal lovers. Nairn Museum, the promenade, and brilliant water sports are all options to consider when looking for things to do close to and in the town.
You can walk to the beach directly from our Nairn Club Site, which also has numerous walking routes that lead straight into the woodland. This campsite is a great place to pitch up and explore this interesting area of the Highlands. Within an hour's drive, you can visit attractions including Culloden Battlefield, Loch Ness, Cairngorm Mountain Railway, and Inverness.
Visit the glorious Ribble Valley to explore the town of Clitheroe and nearby attractions.
The ancient market town of Clitheroe is a shopping haven with unique gift and antique shops, local produce suppliers and the weekly outdoor market. Dating back to Saxon times, the town has plenty of historical attractions to visit. Clitheroe Castle is ideal for all ages, with 16 acres of landscaped garden to explore.
Our Clitheroe Club Site is just over a mile away from the town. There are some fantastic walking trails you can access from the campsite, including The Tolkien Trail and the walk along the river to Waddington. Officially recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Forest of Bowland is a must for those wanting to explore on foot or by bike.
Sevenoaks has a long history, including Roman ruins, gorgeous stately homes, and plenty of rolling countryside. You won’t be short of things to do during your visit to the small town.
Our Oldbury Hill Club Site sits within Styants Wood in the Kent Downs, with plenty of walking and cycling routes directly from the campsite. Two way-marked walking routes pass through Oldbury Camp Iron Age hillfort just across from the campsite, so one to look out for just on your doorstep.
Markets are held nearby on Wednesdays and Saturdays in Sevenoaks and on other days in neighbouring towns. Knole, Tunbridge Wells, and Edenbridge are accessible and all good for days away from the campsite. Further afield, London is accessible from the nearby train station in Kemsing. Other nearby attractions include Leeds Castle, the Kent Life Heritage Centre and Lullingstone Roman Villa.