The first people to settle in York were the Romans, who, in 71CE, pitched up on the banks of the River Ouse when they came across the strategically advantageous site. Fast-forward a few thousand years, and the historic UK city has been built, rebuilt and – in places – destroyed. But one thing remains: it still attracts travellers who want to pitch their tents and sleep under the stars. Culture Trip’s local insiders, who know the area well, share their favourite camping spots in York, England.
If waking up to the sound of a gurgling river is your campfire cup of tea, then the York Naburn Lock Caravan Park is where you’ll want to pitch your tent. It nails the “get away from it all” atmosphere, with the River Ouse hemming one side and strategically planted hedgerows on the other, giving each pitch an air of privacy. However, it’s also easy to get back to civilisation; the park-and-ride stop, with buses heading into the city every hour or so, is just seconds away. Recommended by local insider Charlie Bush
The prize piece of York’s architectural landscape is York Minster with its jagged spires and crumbling facade. It’s arguably the centre point of the city, and York Caravan Park is just 3km (2mi) away. Morning spire views? Pretty much guaranteed. It’s also the only campsite within the York city ring road (the modern incarnation of the famous medieval walls) and has a respectable 3ha (7 acres) of lush countryside in which you can pitch a tent or park a caravan. Recommended by local insider Charlie Bush
The Celts called York Eborakon, which roughly means “the place of yew trees”. Although York’s forest has largely been replaced by its medieval architecture, staying at Nurseries Caravan Park means you get to sleep inside one of the city’s last leafy outposts. The former plant nursery is populated by indigenous English trees, creating the illusion of being deep in the woods when you’re only 5km (3mi) outside the city. Plus, those who prefer to wake up under wooden beams rather than canvas can opt for one of the swish glamping pods. Recommended by local insider Charlie Bush
Tucked away down a tree-lined country lane and surrounded by 81ha (200 acres) of forest, this family-run woodland site falls on the rustic end of the glamping scale – but glamping it certainly is. Here, the woodland lodges marry the pastoral with the pricey (think roll-top baths and faux deer heads), while the woodcutter tents ooze cosiness with log-burning stoves and four-poster beds. For an added touch of magic, you’ll also be within flitting distance of the Northwood Trail, England’s Fairy Sanctuary – the perfect activity for younger glampers. Recommended by local insider David Taylor
You’ll have to arrive early to stay at this small camping field – there’s only space for six tents and caravans. It’s the newest business of Home Farm, which has been run by the Kay family since 1948. Steer clear of the local supermarkets when packing your campfire supplies; instead, buy everything from homegrown vegetables to tender grass-reared beef at Home Farm’s on-site shop. Should you need them, owners Andrew and Angela are almost always on hand to give recommendations (as well as a proper Yorkshire brew). Recommended by local insider David Taylor
A short drive downstream from York itself, 30 caravan pitches sit mere metres from the banks of the River Ouse. This family-owned site prides itself on its secluded setting and peaceful atmosphere, with birdwatching, fishing and horse riding all on the cards – although the Blacksmith Arms, the village pub, is just around the corner for those who fancy a different way to relax. For an added touch of luxury, opt to stay in one of the four hand-built wooden lodges – worth it purely for the hot tubs. Recommended by local insider David Taylor
For more options, discover our guide on the most luxurious places to go glamping in England and book now on Culture Trip. Or for great hotel options, check out our pick of the best hotels in York, England, bookable on Culture Trip.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
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