Camping in the Yorkshire Dales: Tips, best campsites, wild camping, and more!

With quaint chocolate-box villages, relaxing walking trails, and some of England‘s best scenery, it’s little surprise that camping in the Yorkshire Dales is so popular. With over 20 individual Dales within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, this region is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. But it’s also home to iconic English food, dramatic waterfalls, and numerous potential family-orientated day trips.

Luckily, there are many different camping options for holidaymakers. We give you some of our favorites – each in a different stunning setting – further down in this article.

Wild camping in the Yorkshire Dales is technically illegal, however people still do it. If you can’t be swayed to stay at a campsite, we have more information on wild camping in the Dales – and tips to be a considerate camper – later on too.

So it’s time to grab your tent, walking boots, and some good company – let’s begin your Yorkshire Dales camping adventure!

Camping in the Yorkshire Dales

Camping in the Yorkshire Dales

The lush green Dales have been a popular camping destination for decades, thanks to the timeless towns and remarkable scenery here.

Many campsites are also located close to some of the main walking, hiking and cycling routes, and so can be a good place to stay if you are planning a multi-day walking or cycling holiday such as the Pennine Way, Three Peaks, or Coast to Coast walk.

There are a selection of walks in the Yorkshire Dales – and a map for each – ranging from 2 miles to 25 that can be viewed online by clicking here. Another good resource is this one, which shows a variety of walks – with maps – in Yorkshire’s South Pennines. Once you’ve found a walk you wish to do, simply find the nearest settlement. There is likely to be a campsite situated at that settlement, or very close. An Ordnance Survey map, like this one, would be invaluable too.

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

Some of the best campsites in the Yorkshire Dales

Usha Gap Camping

This campsite is set in picture postcard Yorkshire Dales, with the quintessential village of Muker nestled among rolling hills. This region of the Dales is best known for its wildflowers and centuries-old stone walls – so don’t forget your camera!

Along with clean facilities and generous sized pitches, expect starry nights, and the sounds of nature. Usha Gap is also surrounded by numerous walking trails, from short walks to multi-day ones. In fact, both the Pennine Way and Coast to Coast pass nearby.

Knight Stainforth

Set in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, this lovely family-run campsite is perfectly situated for exploring the region. Which is why we rate it so highly.

The historic market town of Settle is just two miles away, whilst tourist attractions like the White Scar and Inglebourgh Show Caves, and Gordale Scar are also close by.

For walkers, The Three Peaks, Ingleton Waterfall Walk, and The Pennine Way are all accessible from this campsite.

Kettlewell Camping

This campsite is on our list because it’s set in one of the Dales’ most picturesque settings, with a view down towards Upper Wharfedale valley.

There are many walks in the surrounding region, whilst the village of Kettlewell that the campsite sits beside may be tiny, but packs a real punch! It has three pubs, an award-winning tearoom, and even an ice cream parlour.

Philpin Farm Campsite

This campsite is located perfectly for the Yorkshire Three Peak challenge, but is also a great spot even if you aren’t a serious walker.

The facilities are spotless, showers are free, and the view of the Three Peaks is truly stunning. The site is a working family-run farm, so is a firm favorite with children who can make friends with some furry farmyard animals!

If you do stay here, pre-order the cooked English breakfast. It’s not only great fuel for a hard day of walking, it’s also one of the best in the Dales.

Camping in the Yorkshire Dales

Wild camping in the Yorkshire Dales

Like other areas of England, wild camping in the Yorkshire Dales 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 Dales are a popular walking and hiking area, many outdoor enthusiasts often wild camp here. If you are planning to wild camp in the Yorkshire Dales – 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 wild camp in the Yorkshire Dales.
  • If you are walking a main trail you should camp away from the path as a matter of courtesy.
  • When wild camping in the Yorkshire Dales 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 Yorkshire Dales.

Wild camping in the Yorkshire Dales

Tips for camping in the Yorkshire Dales

  • Heavy rain can happen in the Yorkshire Dales – 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 Yorkshire Dales 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 Yorkshire Dales

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

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