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Travel review: Yorkshire, by Bill McCarthy

Weekend | Published: | Last Updated:

They say, well they do in Yorkshire, that it’s God’s Own Country.

The ‘secret garden’ doorway’ behind the motorhomes and caravans at the Chatsworth Park site, which leads to the Chatsworth House estate in Derbyshire

Many other parts of the UK would dispute that, but it’s clear the White Rose county has a rich tapestry of gently sloping wolds, delightful dales, quaint villages and the stunning moorlands so vividly displayed in TV’s Heartbeat.

Not to mention picturesque seaside town like Whitby, Filey, Bridlington and Scarborough – and plenty of pubs and wildlife.

A lot to take in in what is a huge county so a touring holiday gives the freedom to pick and choose various campsites that each offer something a little bit different.

We chose a motorhome. It has been a few years since that last adventure when we hired a vehicle from one of the many rental sites.

But now a big fish has entered the market. Swift has set up its own bespoke rental service, operating initially from a swish new base in Stockport, which has dozens of different motorhomes to choose from and which is convenient for the motorway network.

The firm, based in Yorkshire, plans another six depots countrywide by 2022.

The ‘secret garden’ doorway’ behind the motorhomes and caravans at the Chatsworth Park site, which leads to the Chatsworth House estate in Derbyshire

Our four-berth Escape is a compact brand new vehicle, ingeniously designed, as they have to be, to give the comforts of home living in a relatively tiny space.

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So we loaded up and set off on a tour which took in North Yorkshire and eventually north Derbyshire.

Our destinations were Caravan and Motorhome Club sites, or sites affiliated to the group.

The club has more than 200 club sites and 2,500 privately owned places to stay in the UK and more than 300 sites across Europe.

Our first port of call was Wharfedale, near Skipton in North Yorkshire. This is one of the top sites with a peaceful atmosphere and excellent facilities including a pristine shower block and a pub nearby to slake your thirst after a long walk in the stunning countryside.

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The next site couldn’t be more different. A couple of miles up the road from Whitby at Sneaton, it is on a working farm, offering limited facilities but a spectacular view over Whitby bay.

There are only a few hard standing pitches but water and waste disposal is available. It is peaceful and secluded and the sheep are never far away. For essentials a pub and farm shop are nearby.

Lack of facilities is not a problem as the Escape is fully equipped with toilet and shower facilities, hob, oven, microwave, fridge and toaster, plus all the pots and pans to go with it.

Hook up to the electrics and off you go. Otherwise a gas supply and leisure battery will provide power.

The motorhome has a sturdy and ingenious fold away table and chairs and if the weather is kind, like it was for us, you take your meals al fresco.

Steaming in on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway

So relax, fold out the integral awning and settle down with a Merlot or two and start counting the sheep.

If you like peace and quiet and a friendly welcome this fits the bill.

A trip in Whitby is a must to try the famous fish and chips or a special shout out to The Plough a traditional pub that sells a pint for £1.40 and cost us £4 for two lagers. Whitby is also hosts the famous North Yorkshire Moors Railway. This railway, which has recently featured on Channel 5 and runs to Pickering, with various stops along the way.

If you are a Heartbeat fan, then stop off at Goathland, home of the Aidensfield and, sorry to labour the pub angle, the Aidensfield Arms, which packs in the visitors. It is a beautiful journey through the moorlands and steam enthusiast or not, people love it.

Filey is just about 40 minutes down the road and weary travellers can stop off at another affiliated site. The Honeypot Inn offers a small number of pitches with electric and toilet facilities on a field with a view towards the seaside resort. The pub itself boasts a varied menu of home cooking and real ales. Filey itself is a pretty unspoilt seaside town in a picturesque bay, the kind of town you would be happy to visit on a day trip.

Our final destination took us back inland to the imposing and sprawling Chatsworth House estate in Derbyshire. Chatsworth Park is another Caravan and Motorhome Club site offering a full range of facilities and with a couple of magical extras. Although walled off from the estate, campers are provided with a key to a ‘secret garden’ type entrance door to the estate, which allows access to wander around, take in Chatsworth House, although charges apply for entry and provides a relaxing walk down a path to the village of where there is a shop, and yes, two pubs and a hotel. The site is also inhabited by families of tame ducks which just love to be fed, a real treat for children and the site shop provides reasonably priced bird food.

The motorhome itself is easy to drive and set up and provides plenty of freedom to move around.

Relaxing at Monks Farm, near the resort of Whitby

A big bonus on all models is the free, inbuilt wi-fi and excellent TV reception. While it may not offer the freedom of a caravan, it does mean you do not have to face the chore of towing. Considering their size and weight, they are also pretty economical to run. It is certainly worth trying.The UK has plenty of different sites for all tastes, especially if you love pubs and animals.

  • For a week’s hire of a family-sized motorhome, sleeping four, prices start around £700 in low season rising to around £1,050 in high season. Motorhomes can be hired for three or more nights. Visit www.swiftgo.co.uk
  • Join the Caravan and Motorhome Club to save 15 per cent off motorhome hire and get free collision damage waiver (worth £15 per night) when booking with Swift Go. Visit caravanclub.co.uk/membership
  • For attractions in Yorkshire visit www.yorkshire.com
  • For the railway visit www.nymr.co.uk

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