This August I’ve spent 10 days touring England, including three nights camping in the UK. When the weather’s good and the evenings are long, there’s really no need to travel overseas. Obviously sunshine is the one factor you just can’t guarantee though. It rained heavily on two of the nights in the tent….
This hasn’t put me off – it just means you need to be more organised and have better camping equipment! All of these spots in the Peak District, North York Moors and Cotswolds are great for camping in the UK:
3 THINGS YOU REALLY CANNOT MISS:
ERIC BYNE MEMORIAL GROUND | our first stop camping in the UK was just inside the Peak District near Baslow. Following little success after Googling ‘free camping’, I came across a camping forum. It recommended this isolated farmland, a short drive from Bakewell. At £6 for two adults and with just one (human) neighbour, this gorgeous spot was great value.
Also check out: we were too hungover from a wedding to contemplate more alcohol, however The Robin Hood Inn is just 10 minutes walk from the campsite.
GOATHLAND | is a quaint tiny village on the remote North York Moors. It’s better known as the filming location for 18-series-strong UK TV drama Heartbeat! In summer there was quite a crowd of tourists, but these day-trippers are still out numbered by sheep by at least 10 to 1.
CHATSWORTH | I have a small obsession with noseying around stately homes. This gorgeous 16th century mega mansion owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire is a full day out, even for sceptics. If you’re on a budget you can just park (£4) and wander around the beautiful stream and fields. Otherwise access to the impressive gardens costs £12.90; add another £7 to see inside the house.
3 THINGS WORTH A SNOOP:
THISTLEDOWN FARM | the last stop on our whirlwind camping trip around England was Nailsworth, Gloucestshire for another wedding celebration. The hosts recommended this popular camp spot and organic family managed farm. It was also highlighted in a great camping in the UK guide I picked up for free at Halfords. You can download the guide online too from the Halfords website.
ABBOTS HOUSE FARM | this is a good, basic campsite option for those who want to be in the thick of Heartbeat land. Ten minutes walk behind the Goathland Hotel, there are plenty of fields with toilet and shower facilities for £8.50 per night per person. Located on the North York Moors you are surrounded by stunning scenery. Whitby (Whitby Abbey below), Scarborough and Robin Hoods Bay are a short drive away.
BAKEWELL | a charming little town made famous by its Bakewell Tarts. I didn’t think I liked them but they’re actually delicious. Bakewell is full of camping shops and hiking gear if you need to pick up supplies for camping in the UK.
3 THINGS TO STEER CLEAR:
TINY TENTS | our $15 tent purchased at Kmart in Australia made it all the way back to the UK. In hindsight, that was a ridiculous idea as it’s far too small for two adults and it leaks! 2017 will be the year of the tent upgrade. Check out tent options on sites like Halfords.
CATTLE AUCTION | we stopped in at a live auction in Bakewell assuming the set up might be like a country fair. Whilst interesting to see, the small cattle pen was actually just very hectic, unnecessarily noisy and the cows seemed pretty unsettled.
THE GOATHLAND HOTEL | aka The AIdensfield Arms, is the pub featured in ITV’s Heartbeat. It’s great for a quick drink and a photo, but the atmosphere is surprisingly drab. With a limited food menu and mellow music, it doesn’t do a good job of holding the crowds that pass through.
Also check out: try dinner at the family friendly Mallyan Spout.
1 THING I WISH I’D DONE:
CAMPFIRE COOKING | yet again we were reminded that we rank really poorly as professional campers! We took only the world’s worst tent and some basic utensils borrowed from my sister’s kitchen. Next time I want to get organised for more BBQing or stove cooking. The Halford’s guide was actually really inspiring. It contains some easy recipes like one-pan breakfasts and chilli con carne.
AND KNOW THIS: the North Yorkshire Moors Railway opened in 1836. As well as Heartbeat, Goathland railway station is also famous for appearing as Hogsmeade station in the Harry Potter films. It was Mannerton in the TV series All Creatures Great and Small and in the end of the video ‘Holding Back the Years’ by Simply Red.
Disclosure: I was asked to share my experiences of camping in the UK and opinion of the Halfords camping guide. All comments and recommendations are 100% my own.