As England’s largest county, Yorkshire has a huge amount to offer the touring campervan owner. We love North Yorkshire in particular. Here’s our quick guide to the area.
Whether exploring quintessential English moorland villages, historic cities, atmospheric ruins or breath-taking coastal hikes, there’s lots to see and experience here. To help you navigate the choices on offer we’ve come up with three incredible North Yorkshire road trips perfect for you and your campervan.
So, what are you waiting for?
Dig out your maps, stock up on provisions, make sure your VW campervan insurance is up to date – and away you go!
THE NORTH YORKSHIRE COASTAL RUN
As an island nation you’re never far from the sea in the UK. So, surely one of the best ways to get to know Yorkshire's magnificent scenery is a tour of its beautiful and dramatic coastline.
Indeed, the North Yorkshire coast is the beginning of a monumental cliff-edged shore that stretches almost unbroken from here to the Scottish border. With white cliffs, awe-inspiring headlands, picturesque former fishing villages, delicious fish and chips and much more besides, it’s no wonder this is one of the most stunning road trips in the North.
We recommend starting your coastal drive at the traditional fishing town of Filey. With its Edwardian architecture, splendid panoramic gardens and miles of pristine sand, it’s a great spot to eat, drink and stock up for the journey ahead.
The dramatic jutting rocks of Filey Brigg peninsula overlooking the North Sea are a great place to explore. But be careful to check the tide tables first as the unwary can get cut off.
Heading further north up the coast, you'll come to one of the original British seaside resorts, Scarborough. Popular with visitors for the best part of 400 years, all the traditional ingredients of a seaside holiday are still here in force.
From superb, clean sands, kitsch amusement arcades and Kiss-Me-Quick hats to the more refined pleasures of its tight knit old town streets, it’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon.
Check out more amazing beaches to visit this year now!
Next stop is Ravenscar, one of the most intriguing places on the Yorkshire coast. Situated on the eastern edge of the North York Moors National Park. With dramatic cliff top views and rocky beach coves it’s the perfect destination for hikers and keen fossil lovers to explore.
As one of the quieter spots on this stretch of coast, it’s a gem well worth visiting. If for nothing else than an opportunity to avoid the hordes that can descend on this area during the holiday period.
A short drive further north brings you to one of the best known and heavily visited spots on the route, the historic village of Robin Hood's Bay. It’s easy to see why this village has a reputation for a great atmosphere with a warren of steep and winding old streets and pink-tiled cottages toppling down the cliff-edge site.
Crammed with attractive old houses dating from the 17th and 18th Centuries it evokes the romance of yesteryear when this was both a hard-bitten fishing community and a renowned smugglers’ den.
And so on to the beautiful old fishing port of Whitby, a truly essential stop on any North Yorkshire road trip. There are so many reasons to visit this charming seaside town.
The birthplace of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, Whitby also played a central role in the life of famous English explorer Captain James Cook. All four of his famous ships of discovery – the Endeavour, Resolution, Adventure and Discovery – were built here.
Whitby lays claim to some of the very best fish and chips shops in the country with highlights including The Magpie Cafe, Trenchers and Mister Chips. And If you’ve sampled all they have to offer and need to work off those extra calories then how about a bit of exercise?
Climbing the famous 199 steps that lead from the harbour up to the evocative cliff-top ruins of Whitby Abbey is also a must.
Before you reach the end of our coastal journey, be sure to pull in at the pretty Runswick Bay. It’s a tiny little one-pub village with charming 18th and 19th Century houses huddled around a harbour with sweeping sea views, sheltered bay and award-winning sandy beach.
And finally, on to Staithes and its improbably beautiful grouping of stone houses gathered around a small harbour, backed by the sheer cliff face of Cowbar Nab. Situated not far from the border with Teesside, this is another picture-postcard coastal town with cobbled streets and fishermen’s cottages – a fitting end to our trip.
The North Yorkshire coastline is home to abundant sea life and bird life and a popular place for nature lovers to visit. But if you’re taking expensive binoculars, telescopes and cameras to help with spotting dolphins, whales, puffins, gannets and guillemots then make sure your VW campervan insurance covers them, too.
Where to stay
Just one mile from the charms of Runswick Bay and Staithes and seven miles from Whitby itself, Serenity Camping is a great spot close to the action. The site has a convenient village location and boasts five acres of spacious pitches, all with stunning views of the North York Moors.
THE PERFECT YORKSHIRE DALES ROAD TRIP
For many people, the ‘Dales’ – from the Viking word dalr (meaning valley) – conjures up idyllic images of a rural England. This varied upland area of limestone hills and lush, pastoral valleys is characterised by dry stone walls, quaint villages, cosy tea rooms and even cosier pubs.
There’s undoubtedly a timeless feel to the area, perfect for pootling around in a classic VW camper. The Yorkshire Dales can offer some real pleasures for those who love to drive on the open road, with hairpin bends and long sinuous stretches of road stretching uphill and down dale.
If you’re driving a classic VW, then there’s no doubt you’ll be taking these roads at a gentle pace. But you’ll still need to make sure your VW campervan insurance will give you the protection you need should you come across anything unexpected around the next corner.
Skipton is probably the best place to start your Yorkshire Dales adventure. Long regarded as the gateway to the Dales, Skipton is well worth a few hours of your time. Home to one of Britain’s best preserved Norman castles, it's a busy, friendly market town from which to plan your route.
Our next port of call is a pair of wonderfully atmospheric ruins from Britain’s religious past. The first lies just five miles east on the A59 at the stunning riverside village of Bolton Abbey.
After you’ve enjoyed a walk and refreshed yourselves at the seriously sumptuous Devonshire Arms pub, be sure to make time for the Priory church and the ruins of a once-great Augustinian Priory.
Why not challenge yourself to cross the 60 stepping stones over the river? It’s a lot of fun on a summer’s day, but not so much in the dead of winter!
From Bolton Abbey we head east out of the national park along the A59 for a stop off at the smart Georgian spa town of Harrogate. A perfect example of refined Yorkshire respectability.
By all means explore the town’s spa heritage, but always end any visit with a trip to the famous Betty's Tea Rooms. The cakes and tarts are seriously good, but full meals are also served.
Now head north to the 400 acres of moors and rocks at the National Trust’s Brimham Rocks. Brimham Rocks is the ideal day out for the whole family, as you explore these rare rock formations, have a go at pond dipping and take a walk with your four legged buddy.
And if you love sitting back and soaking up an epic sunrise, then here’s the place to do it. What a great use of your classic camper!
After you’ve enjoyed your morning cuppa and bacon sarnie, heading east just a short distance and you’ll come to yet another artistic ruin.
The National Trust-run Fountains Abbey is beautifully set in a narrow, wooded valley. And gives us a fascinating glimpse of how different our landscape would have looked had Henry VIII not dissolved the monasteries way back in the 16th Century.
Next up, head to Masham for a stroll along the River Ure and a bit of nature spotting at the Marfield Wetlands Nature Reserve. Before continuing on to one of the Dales' most beautiful and iconic valleys, Wensleydale.
Perhaps best known for its cheese, the area is also famous for its superb opportunities for hiking, and the TV and book series All Creatures Great and Small. Hawes is the main town in the area and the best option for a base.
Head to Buttertubs Pass for some of the best views of the surrounding valleys.
Once described by Jeremy Clarkson as England’s only truly spectacular road, it crosses the high moorland between Hawes in Wensleydale over to the hamlet of Thwaite in Swaledale. If you’re a keen cyclist looking for a real challenge then this is it!
From here we’re going to head south west along the pretty B6255 through the village of Chapel-le-Dale and into the so-called western Dales. Be sure to stop off and view the awesome feat of Victorian engineering on display at the famous 24-arched Ribblehead Viaduct.
Carrying the Settle to Carlisle railway across the Ribble Valley, the viaduct is Grade II listed and presents a truly spectacular addition to the landscape. And a fitting testament to the herculean efforts of those who worked to build this 72-mile train line.
And so on to Ingleton. Sitting on a ridge at the confluence of two streams, Ingleton is blessed with some of the North's most spectacular waterfall and woodland scenery.
The four and a half mile circular Ingleton Waterfalls Walk is undoubtedly the area's main local attraction. Following parts of the Rivers Twiss and Doe and with a gradient rise of 554 feet there are some jaw-dropping waterfalls along the way.
It’s also worth mentioning that just before you get to Ingleton on the B6255 you’ll find the entrance to the White Scar Caves. The longest show caves in England you’ll marvel at the dank underground chambers, contorted cave formations and glistening stalactites.
Driving in a south-easterly direction from Ingleton you’ll arrive at the remote upland town of Settle, the starting point of what has been described a England’ most scenic railway, the Settle to Carlisle line.
On your way back to Skipton, you might want to detour to the oh-so-charming town of Malham. This tiny spot can get incredibly busy with hikers and day-trippers but it’s still worth a stop for a fabulous walking circuit.
This 7.8-mile walk from Malham takes in the famous limestone amphitheatre Malham Cove, the lake at Malham Tarn and the awesome hidden gorge of Gordale Scar.
Take care, driving in the Yorkshire Dales can be tricky in a campervan. So, if you’re arranging VW campervan insurance then ask if you can also be covered for breakdowns. After all, you don’t want to be stuck in a far-flung location, no matter how luxurious your camper.
Where to stay
Located on the National Park’s north-easternmost border, the historic town of Richmond has lots of attractions. But one of the best has to be the world-famous Tan Hill Inn.
With awe-inspiring views and a great atmosphere, it also happens to be the highest pub in the UK at a whopping 1,732 feet above sea level.
FROM YORK TO THE NORTH YORK MOORS
Our third and final road trip takes in one of the North’s most compelling cities and perhaps the country’s finest National Park – so a real treat for any campervan owner.
Let’s begin our adventure in the peerless cathedral city of York. With around sixty churches, museums and historic buildings crammed within York’s walls, there’s a lot to get through here. So, you’ll need to choose your sight-seeing wisely.
Apart from the much restored and superb city walls, the stunning York Minster is the obvious place to start. Followed by the interesting buildings that surround it.
Then you could cut south to the fascinating old street The Shambles. Almost impossibly narrow in places and lined with perilously leaning timber-framed houses it makes a great place for a photo.
Other must-visit highlights include the National Railway Museum, York's Chocolate Story and, for anyone intrigued by our Viking past, the Jorvik Viking Centre. Be warned, Jorvik is a hugely popular exhibition and queues can form early in the day.
Once you’ve had your fill of the historic wonders of York, take the A64 north east to the smart market town of Malton. Dubbed Yorkshire's Food Capital, Malton's pretty streets are a magnet for all lovers of first-rate butchers, food artisans, delicatessens, chocolatiers, brewers and many more.
With a range of exciting foodie events on offer throughout the year, make for the Talbot Yard Food Court and experience your next taste sensation.
If you’re looking for an interesting day trip nearby then Castle Howard could be it. The home of one of England’s leading aristocratic families, it's one of the country’s very grandest stately homes. History lovers should check out our list of other great castles to visit this summer.
A picturesque drive along the twisting B1257 brings you to Helmsley, the best starting point for any exploration of the western and central parts of the national park. With a large, cobbled market square, brooding castle ruins, and selection of atmospheric old inns it could be considered a quintessential market town.
Before leaving this area, and if you’re up for a pleasant hike, why not walk across country to the stunningly atmospheric ruins of Rievaulx Abbey? Yet another religious community torn down during Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. The signposted walk takes around an hour and a half.
From Helmsley you’ll pass through miles of dramatic upland scenery to bring you to the beautiful village of Danby, the final stop in our tour. Perched high on the Moors, Danby is a great base for walkers and for stargazers alike as it’s both home to the Moors National Park Centre and an official Dark Sky Discovery Site.
Where to stay
If you’re looking to spend time in the beautiful city of York, then you won’t get much closer and more convenient than York Caravan Park. This adults-only site is just two miles from York Minster and offers great access into the city centre.
Another highly recommended location, particularly if you’re travelling as a family, is the Golden Square Caravan & Camping Park. Tucked away in Oswaldkirk near Hemsley, the campsite has glorious views across a farm, forest and the moors beyond.
Kids can take their pick from crazy golf, football, multiple play areas and more.
FIND VW CAMPERVAN INSURANCE COVER FOR YOUR NORTH YORKSHIRE ROAD TRIP
We hope that you enjoy putting your campervan through its paces on any or all of these fantastic Yorkshire road trips. When you’re out exploring such stunning natural wonders in your campervan it’s easy to feel far away from the troubles and cares of modern life.
However, no matter how far away from it all you are, accidents and mishaps still happen. It really is impossible to rule out everything that could go wrong. That’s why, wherever you find yourself you’ll want the best cover for both your vehicle and its contents at a price you can afford.
* Using our panel of insurers, the team at Motorhome Protect will search out suitable VW campervan insurance for your vehicle, needs and budget. Benefits of our VW campervan insurance can include:
- Cover for vehicles valued up to £120,000
- Up to £3,500 of cover for camping personal effects.
- Discounts for members of a campervan club.
* Terms and conditions may apply
Call Motorhome Protect and get a quote for VW campervan insurance today.