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Does evening entertainment on a camping holiday leave you knock-kneed at the very thought? Do rowdy clubhouses make you want to flee in the opposite direction? Have some Spen-did peace while staying close to the action by pitching up at this bucolic base in the North Yorkshire countryside instead.
Spen House Caravan and Camping Site is a peaceable park in rural surroundings, but is easy to get to from the A1(M) motorway is and eight miles from posh and popular spa town Harrogate. The big smokes of Leeds and York are within half an hour’s drive, and we bet bright kids will shine at Lightwater Theme Park just 15 minutes away…
This is a back to base-ics park for those who don’t fancy on-site clubhouses, swimming pools or restaurants on their North Yorkshire hol, just a quiet farm site with loads of space to roll up at with tent, tourer or motorhome and roll away from on convenient outings each day. Pitches are a mix of hardstanding and grass with optional electric hook-up, and non-electric grass pitches for tents around three acres of field; dogs are allowed for free if they’re well-behaved and kept on leads.
Amenities include a loo and shower block with hairdryer and shaver sockets, a ladies-only shower, a washing-up area and a fridge/freezer for guests’ use; battery charging is available free of charge. The Spen House team also has a stack of brochures, maps and local knowledge/suggestions for walks, bike rides, horse rides, wildlife watching and North Yorkshire climbing in the local area and in the nearby North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales national park. If you fancy fishing, Jim at the Spen House tackle shop in Boroughbridge two miles from base will sort you out with day licenses, bait and all you need to know about the area’s angling hotspots.
Secure supplies at the Morrisons supermarket a mile away and meals at the White Swan pub within walking distance at Spen House’s local village of Minskip (many more pubs are conveniently placed around the local footpaths and bridleways to start or finish a hike or hack). Boroughbridge is well supplied with independent shops, pubs, cafés and restaurants.
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Many sites set a maximum occupancy of 6/8 people per pitch, so try breaking your booking down into smaller groups to generate more results. For example, if you’re a group of 10, enter 5 people in your initial search and then book 2 pitches.
However, where the pitch or accommodation occupancy allows it, you can make a booking for up to 30 adults and 30 children in one booking.
To book multiple pitches or accommodation, use the 'Special requests' box on the booking page to ask to be sited together. Complete the booking form for the first booking (you can add a password and save your card so that we remember your details). Then click "Make another booking like this" at the top of the confirmation page to make the next booking.
Large groups: check the listing page for any group restrictions set out in the terms and section titled ‘Please note’.
Large tents/caravans: check the restrictions on unit dimensions to ensure your unit is suitable for the space you will be provided with.
Leisure on site
Bar or club house
Indoor swimming pool
Outdoor swimming pool
Amenities on site
Ice pack freezing
Parent & baby washroom
Pick-up from public transport
Gas cylinders available
Touring and motorhomes
Commercial vehicles allowed
Dogs allowed all year
Horse riding nearby
Indoor pool nearby
Leisure/theme park nearby
Mountain biking nearby
D. of E. welcome
Single-sex groups welcome
Student groups welcome
Public transport nearby
Medium (26-50 pitches)
- Coach stations
Knaresborough Bus Station — 5.3 miles
5.3 miles Ripon Bus Station — 6.2 miles
6.2 miles Harrogate Bus Station — 7.8 miles
- Train stations
Knaresborough Rail Station — 5.3 miles
5.3 miles Cattal Rail Station — 6.5 miles
6.5 miles Starbeck Rail Station — 6.5 miles
- Ferry ports
Transporter Bridge South Side — 35.8 miles
Leeds Bradford International Airport — 17.6 miles
From the A1 northbound, take Junction 48 signposted Boroughbridge and Ripon. Go left off the slip road onto the A6055, signposted Knaresborough and Minskip. At the roundabout follow the signs for Minskip village. Look out for the signpost for Spen House on your right. Enter the gates and continue forward, the site is the first paddock you get to.
From the A1 southbound, take Junction 48 for Boroughbridge and Ripon. Go left off the slip road and take the A6055 signed Knaresborough and Minskip. Go past two roundabouts into the village 250 yards off the motorway. Look out for the signpost for Spen House. Enter the gates and continue forward. The site is the first paddock you get to.
First up, it would be diabolical to spend time around Boroughbridge and not go to weave around the Devil’s Arrows, three Bronze Age menhirs just off the A1 (there were thought to have been four, but one was probably pilfered during the eighteenth century to build a bridge. Tsk.) They include the second highest menhir in the UK at over 22 feet tall; the highest, Rudston Monolith at over 25 feet, is at Rudston about an hour and a half to the east. The ‘Stonehenge of the North’, the three Thornborough henges, are about 20 minutes’ drive to Boroughbridge’s north-west.
Next up, basing yourself at Spen House puts you in a niftily handy spot to take in pretty much any of the highlights of North Yorkshire including stately homes and historical houses, city museums and coastal walks, statement gardens and hill walks among nature reserves and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty… Riding stables are nearby at Knaresborough and Harrogate to canter around the local countryside, with a heap more hacks available around both of North Yorkshire’s national parks and the Nidderdale AONB.
Two of North Yorkshire’s/the country’s best known gardens are less than 15 minutes’ drive away: the RHS Garden Harlow Carr at Harrogate and the really rather super Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden near Ripon, with a Georgian water garden, Cistercian abbey and medieval deer park to wander around – follow the follies trail around the gardens for some of their best views.
The award-winning gardens of Newby Hall with adventure garden for children are also about 15 minutes’ drive from Spen House, but if crumbling piles are more your thing, have a day out at the Norman fortress of Knaresborough Castle and its museum with items from its Tudor court on the upper storey. Some time can then be spent below decks at Knaresborough’s Mother Shipton's Cave and petrifying well and its family-friendly museum, two adventure playgrounds and quiz trail.
- Fountains Abbey (7.5 miles)
- Beningbrough Hall (8.9 miles)
- RHS Garden Harlow Carr (9.3 miles)
- Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden (7.5 miles)
- Beningbrough Hall and Gardens (8.9 miles)
Find local routes on the National Cycle Network - over 12,000 miles of cycling routes.