With over 200 campsites across Yorkshire, finding the perfect place to camp isn’t always easy. It can be a question of the nature of your trip, the activities you want to get involved in, the sites you want to see, or what kind of party you’re travelling with. With our selection of favourites, we’ve taken each of these aspects into consideration, and know that you’ll find the setup that works for you.
While it is not possible to wild camp in the Yorkshire Dales (Scotland is the only part of the UK that allows wild camping), we’ve even got options such as Gordale Scar Campsite and Ushua Gap that will take you as close as possible to the real thing.
Gordale Scar Campsite, Malham, West Riding
First things first, this campsite has an unbeatable setting. Not only are campers within walking distance of the Mesolithic Malham Tarn, Malham Cove and are connected to the Pennine Way, their sleeping spot is at the foot of the Gordale Scar Gorge. From William Wordsworth to J.M.W Turner, this natural landmark that has been revered by artists and poets alike, and was even used in the film of Jim Henson’s Dark Crystals.
Facilities-wise, the site has the essential but unsurprisingly basic, given its situated in a gorge. Finally, if you are planning to camp at Gordale Scar, it’s worth bringing strong guide ropes and tough tent pegs. It can get windy!
Studford Caravan and Camping Park, Nidderdale
For a family friendly, well maintained camping experience with fantastic facilities, it’s certainly worth making a trip over to Studford farm. Located at the top of the Nidderdale border and within touching distance of Leeds, York and Bradford, the Studford Caravan and Camping Park is ideal for those looking to experience their first taste of camping in a large group, or introducing your little ones to the world of a campsite, without going too far from town and city life.
The site offers a range of outdoor activities, including their very own touring park, a Studland Adventure trail the younger campers, and the Lost Earth Adventure for those looking to experience something a little wilder. As well as the Nidderdale Way cafe, the Studford Caravan and Camping Park comes equipped with showers, toilets and washing facilities, meaning you’ll have everything you need to relax.
Silloth House, Austwick
A site perfect for both those looking to set up base to take on some of the Yorkshire Dales’ most challenging treks and also walkers just passing through. Routes connected to Silloth House include Yorkshire’s Three Peaks walk, as well as the mighty 431km Pennine Way.
Amenities at this campsite include showering and washing facilities, plus it’s only a 15 minute the quaint village of Austwick, which comes teamed with a pub, sporting activities and local shop, and Settle is also just a short drive away, meaning Silloth house campers can enjoy the best of both sides of country living. Amazingly, with the boundaries of the Forest of the Bowland not far from the campsite, visitors of Silloth House have not one but two natural reserves to explore.
Usha Gap, Swadale
A campsite that is the essence of the Yorkshire Dales. Features include the River Swale running alongside the campsite and with views from Upper Swaledale, this is seen by many as one of the most beautiful campsites in the country. It is ideal for a wide range of visitors, including family, walking groups and those who just want to spend some time with nature.Walking routes connected to Usha Gap include the both the epic Pennine Way and Coast to Coast Walk, as well as smaller routes along Buttertubs Pass and up Kidson Hill.
The site is based near the picturesque villages of Muker and Thwaite and in the heart of the Dales, this is a family farm that has been running for over 70 years, and has been farming in the Swadale area for generations. While phone signal at this site is lacking and facilities are basic, the surroundings will certainly make up for it.
Craken House Farm, Leyburn
This small but sophisticated campsite is exactly ideal for those who both want to make trips to the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors, and connects with an easy paved one mile walk to the town of Leyburn, where there are a range of restaurants and pubs.
It is also within driving distance to the famous Yorkshire towns and cities of Harrogate, Hawes, Ripon and York. There are both men and women showering facilities, and the campsite also includes washing up areas. The campsite itself has only 25 pitches, so it may be worth calling up to make a booking.
Rukins Park Lodge Campsite, Keld, Swadale
Situated by Keld Village in Swadale, an area that walking writer Alfred Wainwright described as the Yorkshire Dales ‘most beautiful area’. The scenic Rukins Park Lodge has a selection of waterfalls sweeping across the site including the Ingleton Waterfalls and Currack Force, while also offering panoramic views of Kidson Hill and Muker Village.
The best time of year to visit Rukins is during lambing season (Easter), which sees the campsite full of lambs running free. The campsite has its own tea room, plus showering and toilet facilities, although no laundry service. Exactly where you want to stay if you’re in the mood for a relaxing getaway.
Street Head Caravan Park, Bishopdale
Run and owned by the Cooper family for over 50 years and surrounded by a working farm that links Wensleydale with Upper Wharfedale, Street Head Caravan Park has just what you need for a pleasing stay in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.
Not only is the campsite near a pub of the very same name, but has a wide range of picturesque villages nearby, including Newbiggen, Thoralby, West Burton and Aysgarth, which is famous for its Hollywood waterfalls. The Cooper family offers showering, washing up and laundry facilities, meaning you can approach each adventure feeling fresh as a daisy.
Masons Campsite, Appletreewick, Skipton
Sitting on the banks of the River Wharfe, if you’re looking for a campsite that’s both dog-friendly and amenities heavy, this might just be the one for you. Based in Appletreewick near North Yorkshire’s Bolton Abbey, this accommodates campers, glampers and caravanners. In terms of camping and caravan area, Mason Campsite is split into two parts; the Main area and the River area.
The main area is a flat surface and each pitch has an electrical hook up point, and is home to the glamping tents. The smaller River area is more casual, and solely for campers and smaller caravans. With the site next to the River Wharfe, visitors have the opportunity to go wild swimming and fishing (but probably not too close to each other!). There are also so many walking routes to be taken advantage of, including visiting Simon’s Seat, which can be seen from the campsite. There are a wide range of facilities available, including a washing room, showers, recycling bins and even a coffee and bread shed. It’s important to note that this campsite is for either families or walking parties.
Those looking for stag or hen-style events, may be best looking elsewhere.
Wood Nook, Skirethorns, Skiptons
From access to a wide selection of villages, to a range of walks packed with wildlife and natural beauty, this is a campsite that has access to everything you’ll want from a trip to the countryside. Wood Nook has over six acres of vibrant Wharfedale plantlife and Woodland, and is within walking distance of many Yorkshire Dales landmarks, including Malham Tarn, Gordale Scar, Janet Foss, Buckden Pike and Kilnsey Crag.
After a long day of walking, you have the option of visiting villages such as Grassington, Linton and Skipton. It’s also a campsite with a good list of facilities too. From toilets and showers through to a children’s play area, visitors rarely feel like they are having to brave the elements during their stay.
The Black Swan Holiday Park, Masham
Perfect for those who love a camping setup with its own nearby pub, this quiet little site is ideal for solo trekkers or small hiking groups. Walking highlights include a 8km walk to the Druids Temple, which was built in the 1820s and described as a ‘mini stonehenge’, a circular walk that takes visitors past Jervaulx Abbey, and the beautiful Masham Wetlands, an area brimming with birdlife.
Not only does the Black Swan have it’s own pub and restaurant but also prime pitching spots and decent showering and washing up facilities.