This feature is part of Little Vikings Great Yorkshire Family Escapes, a whole year of inspiration for anyone looking for a family break in Yorkshire. Over the next few months, we’ll introduce you to the best places to stay on the Yorkshire Coast, in the North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales and the towns and cities in between. You’ll discover why it’s a great place to stay with kids, and some ideas for things to do while you’re there.
With scenery that’s out-of-this world (Brimham Rocks, we’re looking at you), more wildlife than a David Attenborough documentary and some of the best attractions in the UK, the Yorkshire Dales is one of the best destinations for families. While we usually settle for a day trip as it’s an easy drive from York, we’ve often pondered staying over and making a little holiday of it. As luck would have it, the lovely team at Camp Katur invited us along to try their new lodge, Lyra, so we went along with our two girls (10 and 8) to check it out.
About Camp Katur – Camp Kátur is based on the 300-acre Camp Hill Estate, just outside Bedale in the Yorkshire Dales. One of the most popular glamping sites in Yorkshire, it offers a variety of accommodation options: geodomes, lodges and canvas tents. This is a place to go off-grid, recharge and reconnect with nature, but with the added bonus of a large woodland play area, swing park, outdoor gym and even a pub!
Getting there – It might be tucked away in the heart of the Dales, but that doesn’t mean Camp Katur is hard to find or tricky to get to. Even allowing for busy Easter holiday traffic, Camp Katur was an easy 45-minute drive from our home in York city centre. Our lodge, Lyra, has its own parking space right outside the door, which made unpacking the car a doddle and meant we could start relaxing as soon as possible.
The accommodation – We were lucky to be one of the first guests to stay in Lyra, Camp Katur’s new luxury lodge and the first of its kind in the UK. With a beautiful, sustainable Scandinavian design, underfloor heating, shower rooms, integrated kitchen, and two gorgeous bedrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, it’s one of the loveliest places we’ve stayed. Light but cosy, luxurious but welcoming, we immediately felt at home (while rather wishing it was our home). The outdoor experience was equally impressive, with a large private deck with a dining area, comfortable lounge area, fire pit and – oh yes – a wood-fired eco hot tub! That’s not to mention the stunning views across the countryside that changed as the day unfolded and eventually turned into night. Lyra is in its own generous plot, so we could enjoy the peace without hearing anyone else (apart from the birds, but we’ll let them off).
What’s in it for kids? A stay at Camp Katur is an enjoyable and totally unique way for children to experience the outdoors, learn about nature and make lasting memories but kids don’t always see things as adults do. We’d expected some kickback from our kids about the fact that there was no TV or Wifi (wisely we didn’t let them know in advance…), but they genuinely enjoyed disconnecting and spending some time together. Halfway through our hundredth game of Uno, our youngest declared ‘I’m really glad there’s no TV and we’re forced to talk to each other!’. They also loved seeing creatures of all kinds, from a beautiful heron to bounding bunnies and pheasants galore. We were all really impressed by the brilliantly creative outdoor gym – working out has never been so fun, or so natural. The kids adored the outdoor play area with its huge castle, plentiful playhouses and cracking zip wire, and there’s even a zone that’s entirely dedicated to swings! And we did mention that there’s a hot tub, didn’t we? There was plenty for us to do, and zero complaints about being bored. Bonus.
Food & drink – Each of Camp Katur’s hideaways comes with a BBQ, and there are communal pizza ovens on the site. As a luxury option, Lyra has a well equipped fitted kitchen with a proper oven, fridge-freezer and dishwasher (hoorah!) so it’s easy to whip up a meal after a day of adventuring. The on-site pub, The Hebridean, is open on certain days and serves delicious local ales, gins and more. If you don’t fancy leaving your woodland home, you can’t beat sitting around the campfire with a glass of wine and some marshmallows to toast…
What’s on the doorstep? What isn’t?! The Yorkshire Dales is chock-full of fun things to do with children. With rolling hills, dramatic waterfalls and a patchwork of Postman Pat-style fields and dry stone walls, the Yorkshire Dales is a natural paradise with endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. Splash in streams, head off on a family walk and see how much wildlife you can spot (our guess: a lot). The Yorkshire Dales is also home to an abundance of family-friendly attractions, including some of our top picks in North Yorkshire. Here are the ones we’d really recommend that are an easy drive from Camp Katur: Fountains Abbey, Newby Hall, Thorp Perrow Arboretum, World of James Herriot, Forbidden Corner and, for a cheeky cone, Byrmor Ice Cream Parlour. There’s more than enough to do to fill a week!
The verdict – While we only stayed two nights, we felt as relaxed as though we’d had a week away. We’re regular campers, well used to a more back-to-basics experience in the great outdoors, but we really enjoyed the luxury of Lyra. For a treat of a family break in the Yorkshire Dales, we’d wholeheartedly recommend it. For us, the only problem will be convincing our kids back under canvas…
Camp Katur, The Camp Hill Estate, Kirklington, Bedale DL8 2LS