Where to see the rarest animals in the UK?

New research has mapped out the best places to visit if you want to see the rarest animals native to Britain

Where to see the UK’s rarest animals in your camper

  • Otters and turtle doves have the lowest population among endangered wild animals
  • The study reveals the best campsites to see the wildlife
  • Scotland features heavily on the list, housing two of the five animals examined by the research UK’s rarest animals

New research from leading motorhome rental company, Camptoo just out. They mapped out UK places where visitors can see the rarest animals and endangered species native to the country. Needless to say protecting the animals habitat is imperative

The animals selected were measured against the latest UK population figures. Then we added the locations with peak 2021 search volume.

The study shows the best campsites near to each hotspot based on average ratings on 4 criteria. These were the most popular on travel review sites, the number of Instagram posts and the amount of hiking trails close by, plus the percentage of woodland area where applicable.

Here are the best locations to visit if you want to see the rarest animals in the UK

Wildcats – North Scotland

With a population of approximately only 9000, wildcats can only be found in the upper echelons of Scotland. Search volume peaked at 99% for the feline species this year showing the demand to see them is still high. If you are planning a wildcat spotting trip, then set up camp than Greytown on Spey. In the Northern point of Cairngorms National Park are 143 hiking trails providing plenty of sighting options.

Red Squirrels – Isle of Wight

Famously, red squirrels are extremely rare with their population a fraction of their grey counterparts at 140,000 compared to 2.7 million. Although they can be found in multiple locations across the country we’d recommend visiting the sunny Isle of Wight. Around 3,500 reside there. Heathfield Farm offers a great camping location to set up base while you’re visiting, with a 4.5 out of 5-star rating, the best amount of sun hours and an average temperature of any place on our list. Plus a good number (69) of nearby hiking trails in the area.

Turtle Doves – East England

The extremely rare bird has a population of a mere 45,000 pairs according to the latest data available, which dropped dramatically since 1976 when it was around 125,000 pairs. They can only be spotted in Southern and Eastern England. Based on that, Fakenham Fairways is an ideal spot to camp which is located a short distance from the Norfolk coastline, boasting a 5-star rating and 124 hiking trails nearby. Trips will have to be timed between April and September, as the species migrates to Africa during the colder winter European months.

Deers – Southwest England

The deer population in the UK is around two million which is by far the highest of any animal on our list. However, there are not many places where they can be sighted with just southwest England and parts of Scotland being natural habitats. Search volume for Deer was at maximum capacity during 2021, showing they are extremely popular with the general public. The beautiful New Forest in Hampshire provides a good hotspot for sightings as it houses around 1,200 of them. We’d recommend Higher Moor Farm, which is located near Weymouth. The site’s 5-star reviews, over 900 Instagram tags and 143 hiking trails speaks for itself.

Otters – Scotland

There are just over 10,000 otters in the UK and the vast majority are located north of the border. Although recently, Otters have been cited along the rivers of major cities like Edinburgh, London and Birmingham the concentration is sparse. The more rural areas are where you are still much more likely to spot them. That’s exactly why we have picked out By The Way Campsite and Hostel as the place to go for the UK Otter hotspot. Loch Lomond is surrounded by rivers and estuaries providing a natural habitat for Otters.


Camptoo’s Head of Wanderlust Ed Bassett commented “This was a fascinating study to be involved with. To understand where the rarest animals in the UK are gave us a real insight into how some of these population figures have dwindled over the last few decades.

“When mapping the wildlife hotspots you see how rare these animals are with very few locations providing natural habitats for endangered species.

“Red squirrel populations have been well documented but it’s shocking there are three areas in the UK they are native to.

“We hope this research will enable you to see these rare creatures, along with providing the very best camping locations. Visitors can therefore make the most of their wildlife spotting trips. As always leave only footprints and treat environments with the respect they deserve when visiting”



Notes to Editors: Camptoo’s Head of Wanderlust Ed Bassett is available for comment or interview on request.

Want to read more about wildlife in the UK? Click Here



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