With fresh air, superb walking and biking trails, and some of the UK’s prettiest scenery, it’s no surprise that camping in the North York Moors is a popular holiday activity for many who travel to this quaint part of England. An enchanting area with stunning scenery, the North York Moors are famous for their purple heather-covered moors.

There are several good campsites in and around the North York Moors – we recommend some of our favorites in this article.

Wild camping in the North York Moors is also possible, although wild camping is technically illegal in most of England. It is, however, sometimes tolerated if certain guidelines are adhered to. If you are determined to wild camp here, we have some tips and guidelines to be a considerate camper later on in this article.

So grab your tent, some hiking boots, and a healthy dose of enthusiasm. It’s time to begin your North York Moors camping adventure!

Camping in the North York Moors

There are a few campsites located close to some of the main walking, hiking and cycling routes in the North York Moors, and so they can be a good place to stay if you are planning a multi-day walking or biking holiday.

A good quality walking in the North York Moors book – like this one which has dozens of trails – can help you plan what campsites may be of interest to you.

If you’re planning to walk and wild camp here (more on that later), then an Ordnance Survey map could be an invaluable resource for finding the perfect spot, away from settlements and rural enough so you will not be bothered.

However if you’re looking for some great campsite recommendations, below we share some of our favorite campsites in the North York Moors.

Some of the best campsites in the North York Moors

Kildale Camping Barn, Byre and Campsite

If you know us, you know we love campsites on working farms, as they tend to very rural and provide great entertainment for kids. Kildale campsite is just that!

Set in gorgeous lush green surroundings, you can pitch your tent directly in nature here. If you have kids, the farm animals will easily keep them entertained for hours.

The facilities are basic, and when we say it’s rural – we mean rural. But this is a cheap and friendly campsite, which is as close to wild camping as you can get. Plus, some visitors have reported getting a beer on arrival – that’s our sort of place.

Serenity Camping

We love Serenity Camping due to it’s fantastic location. Situated near the coast, it’s a haven for wildlife enthusiasts with access to the beautiful North York Moors, as well as a lovely sandy beach at Runswick Bay which is just a mile or so walk away.

In fact there’s several walking trails in and around the campsite – both inland, and along the coast – which make it a great base for keen outdoor enthusiasts, or anyone holidaying with a dog. Many can be found in this North York Moors walking book.

This family run site also has great facilities, and there’s a couple of pubs within walking distance – always a positive at any British campsite.

Westgate Carr Farm Camping & Caravan Park

This award-winning campsite prides itself for its quiet atmosphere – however because of this, kids are not allowed.

We like this campsite because it’s so tranquil – there’s probably no better place in England to unwind, relax and read a book in nature than right here. There’s also several walks around the site to enjoy, including a fantastic little riverside one which we highly recommend.

On top of that, the campsite owners are incredibly helpful and friendly, and there’s a few charismatic animals that live on site too!

The Hideaway at Baxby Manor

If you’re looking for a campsite with a friendly vibe, one where you can make friends and appreciate nature, then look no further than The Hideaway.

This place has a wonderful atmosphere at night, as campers use the fire-pits to share stories, drink a beer, and roast marshmallows. This is probably one of the best campsites in England to sky-watch as well, with virtually no light pollution due to it’s rural location away from settlements.

On top of that, the facilities are immaculate, service is friendly, and it’s situated in a great area for walking and visiting the surrounding moors.

Wild camping in the North York Moors

Like other areas of England, wild camping in the North York Moors isn’t officially allowed, however people still do it. Although campers are allowed to pitch their tent if they have the permission of a landowner.

However as the Moors are a popular walking and hiking area, many outdoor enthusiasts often wild camp here – even if it is frowned upon. If you are planning to wild camp in the North York Moors – and can’t be swayed to stay in a campsite instead – we’ve compiled the following guidelines to help keep you out of trouble and camp in a considerate manner:

  • You should camp in the same place for one night only, and pitch your tent discretely and in a remote place which will not be easily seen. Therefore don’t camp in or near settlements, someone’s farm or on cultivated land. If you think you’re on private land, always seek out the landowner and ask permission. They may request a small fee.
  • Campers should set up their tent at dusk, and take it down at dawn. A tent that is discreet, blends in with the landscape, and pitches quickly is best. Therefore a lightweight walking tent like this one would be a great investment for someone planning to go wild camping in the North York Moors.
  • If you are walking a main trail you should camp away from the path as a matter of courtesy.
  • When wild camping in the North York Moors you must never make a campfire. For cooking, use a storm cooker. Our recommendation would be the Swedish brand Trangia, as their storm cookers are safe and virtually indestructible. Portable solar ovens, like this one by GoSun, are also a good fuel-less option.
  • Take any rubbish with you, and leave your camping spot exactly the way you found it.

Below are our top tips for camping in the North York Moors!

Tips for camping in the North York Moors

  • Heavy rain can happen in the North York Moors – even during the summer months. Therefore make sure you have a rainproof tent that can survive rain. A lightweight one-man walking tent like this
    or similar would be perfect. For a good value tent that fits more than one person, this mosquito-proof one would work well too.
  • Keep an eye out for animal poo – if there’s a lot near your perfect camping spot, you may end up being woken up by some enthusiastic animals at 3am!
  • There are many water sources in the North York Moors but remember to always have plenty of water on you when you’re walking and camping. A space-saving collapsible water bottle would be a good purchase.
  • If you’re wild camping, then go to the toilet at least 30-50 meters away from water sources, such as rivers. Make sure to use a trowel (like this folding one) to bury any human waste – don’t just leave it out in the open.
  • Like many rugged and wild rural areas around the world, there are flora and fauna to be aware of. So read up and make sure you know what to expect in the region or area you are planning to wild camp in.

Recommended for your trip to the North York Moors

Tempted to go camping elsewhere? Check out our guides to camping in the Lake District, New Forest, Norway, Patagonia, Pyrenees, Scotland and many others!