There’s more to Manchester than industrial warehouses – in fact, the capital of the north is well placed to explore some of England’s best landscapes, from villages on forgotten hillsides to the well-trodden passes of the Peak District. With ample camping opportunities, our local insiders recommend the best places to pitch your tent.
Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Edale is the ideal base for exploring all angles of the Peak District, from the lofty rises of Mam Tor to the glittering Blue John Cavern deep below the earth. As for camping, there are six fields’ worth of picturesque space to choose from at Fieldhead, with the added bonus of hot water and an indoor washing room. The no-fire policy does mean you won’t be able to have a campfire cookout, but nearby Rambler’s Inn does a brilliant bangers and mash that’s almost as good as campfire sausages. Recommended by local insider Natalie Hetherington
Sitting at the foot of the Peak District’s tallest spire, Kinder Scout, is Hayfield – a chocolate box village packed with grey stone houses. Its campsite, however, is a vision in canvas. You don’t even have to bring your own tent: they offer multiple pre-pitched options, and glamping is also available for those who can’t live without an electric kettle. Plus, it’s only a couple of minutes outside the village, so you can go straight from Kinder Scout to Millie’s Tea Room for a cuppa and a cake before stumbling back to your tent. Recommended by local insider Natalie Hetherington
Fans of Bakewell tarts, this one’s for you. Sitting just a few miles from the birthplace of the jam and frangipane pastry, this scenic campsite offers an air of seclusion, thanks to the tangled hedges surrounding each pitch. However, your creature comforts will still be catered for, with a fridge, freezer and microwave available for guests to use. It’s a 90-minute scenic ramble to Bakewell itself, or, for those looking for a more adrenaline-filled adventure, the rollercoasters at Alton Towers are only a 30-minute drive down the road. Recommended by local insider Natalie Hetherington
Burrs Country Park Caravan and Motorhome Club Site
Load up your caravan and drive half an hour north of Manchester to reach Burrs Country Park. Facilities are well maintained, and there’s a pub directly outside the gates if you can’t be bothered to cook. Hints of Manchester’s once-booming cotton industry are threaded into the scenery here, too, with an old mill chimney still standing on site. For even more history, jump on the red-and-black East Lancashire Steam Railway that chuffs past every couple of hours for a steam-powered tour of the surrounding countryside. Recommended by local insider Alexandra Jones
This eco-conscious campsite is surrounded by Britain’s largest woodland (972ha/2,400 acres, to be precise). Head down one of these dappled hiking trails and you may end up bumping into the sculpture form of the Gruffalo from Julia Donaldson’s classic story. Service is excellent: at dawn, you’ll be serenaded by choirs of birds and frogs from the nearby lake, and on Friday nights, a fish-and-chip van rolls up to provide door-to-tent service from a local chippy. Recommended by local insider Alexandra Jones
The crannies and crinkles of the Peak District are only part of the allure of Lime Tree Park. The crumbling curls of Dukes Drive Viaduct slinks over the far end of the campsite, offering ample photo opportunities. Buxton itself, just over a mile’s walk away, is also an attractive prospect. The pretty spa town – the highest market town in England – is filled with photo-ready architecture and old-world charm. Back at base camp, tents and caravans are welcome here, or you can opt to stay in one of the smart wooden lodges for a touch of luxury. Recommended by local insider Alexandra Jones