All site guides will list facilities, location, number of pitches and so on where you can pitch your tent. Happily, many modern campsite guides emphasise character and seek out alternative settings to the classic open level field. Over time, you'll realise the type of site that suits and how to interpret the descriptions in guides, brochures and ads. Sometimes, the lure of a pizzeria on site can offset the proximity of pitches - at least for a night or two. Likewise, a stunning location may make up for pretty basic facilities. The scheming is part of most camping trips unless you prefer to pack up, keep your eyes peeled and trust to luck and vacancies.
Guides - for many years, the Camping & Caravanning Club's Your Big Sites Book (that's big as in book not size of sites) has been an excellent source - www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/ukcampsites.
More recently, the Cool Camping - www.coolcamping.co.uk - guides have become popular with family and friends as we generally prefer small sites with less regimented layouts and the chance to enjoy open fires. It's handy, too, that the site info has notes on local pubs. Curiously, libraries rarely have campsite guides lurking on their shelves but most bookshops will a have a few options such as www.tinycampsites.co.uk; www.alanrogers.com .
Internet - a straightforward search for campsites will throw up a variety of options; some are useful in cross-referencing the facts in a traditional sites' guide; www.ukcampsite.co.uk/sites and www.bigfreeguide.com are useful.
Tourist boards - should be a useful source but continually disappoint; they are appear to prefer promoting hotels and B&Bs. Time and again, tourist board sites only list big holiday parks completely distorting camping opportunities in their area.
Listening - some of our favourite campsites have been discovered by personal recommendation; many more might have been enjoyed if the name had been noted down when mentioned. Swapping site info is useful but if you're talking to people you'd rather avoid in future, don't part with favourites.
Backpackers' Club - The club is intended for people who enjoy lightweight self-contained camping. Since its foundation in 1972, benefits to members have grown steadily with many services still unique to the club including the UK Farm Pitch Directory and Long Distance Path Site and Pitch Directory - www.backpackersclub.co.uk.