Exploring what the Dales have to offer

The luxury tent and, inset, the Angel Inn
The luxury tent and, inset, the Angel Inn

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Earlier this year our future Queen caused a bit of a stir when she visited some kids on a camping trip.

Normally I’m not particularly bothered about what the Duchess of Cambridge gets up to. But on this occasion I saw it as an opportunity.

The Angel Inn

The Angel Inn

If camping’s good enough for Kate, or Catherine or whatever we’re calling her, then maybe, just maybe, I could persuade my hotel-loving wife to give it a go.

Not full-on camping in a field surrounded by cows, but maybe a bit of posh camping. I’m trying not to use that ‘g’ word but you know what I mean.

If you believe the likes of OK! magazine – and hey, why wouldn’t you – Catherine wore a pair of £300 wellies, which would go a long way towards paying for a stay at Jollydays Luxury Camping in North Yorkshire.

We went up for a midweek stay and even my wife loved the place.

They don’t have airbeds, they have four-poster beds.

And as well as outdoor fires you’ve got a wood burner in your tent and a roll top bath.

Set in 200 acres of beautiful woodland, Jollydays has a magical feel that made me want to be a kid again so I could go off, explore, get muddy and build dens.

It’s got all the good bits of camping and the romance of getting back to nature but with the luxury of a nice hotel.

They have 22 tents in all, which include smaller bell tents, deluxe tents and luxury lodges.

We stayed in one of the lodges, which was huge and had two separate bedrooms, a kitchen complete with a gas hob and a fridge and a sitting room, furnished with sofas and a dinning table.

There are plenty of good walks to enjoy and if you’re lucky you can spot the local wildlife of foxes, hares, badgers, deer and buzzards.

A short drive away is the city of York where we headed for a day out.

The Jorvik Viking Centre is a must for the children and the York Art Gallery is well worth a visit, as well as the impressive York Minster.

One thing I loved about York was the number of great old pubs and the Lamb and Lion in High Petergate, not far from the Minster, is a nice old-fashioned boozer where I would have happily spent the day.

After a few nights under canvas, no matter how far removed from camping it was, my wife was still angling for a bit of pampering so we headed to the Angel Inn at Hetton.

We arrived at the same time as cheese delivery, so someone must have let them know I was coming.

The lovely building dates back to the 15th century so there’s bags of character.

Recently the owners have developed five suites and four studios in outbuildings which make the perfect place to retreat to after enjoying a meal in the excellent restaurant.

Back in 1985 the owners caused a stir when they did away with chips and served mangetout and fresh new potatoes with every dish and today they continue to offer top quality local food and great wines.

Yorkshire might be renowned for being a bit wet, but we enjoyed a week of sunshine and the area around Hetton is great to explore on foot.

Realising this, the owners have mapped out a selection of walks, with notes on what sort of footwear you’ll need and how long each one will take.

It’s just one example of the extra bit of care and attention that goes into making the Angel Inn a lovely place to stay. And one you’ll want to return to.

ESSENTIALS

A weekend stay at Jollydays Luxury Camping in one of the bell tents, which sleeps four people, costs £330 in September or £570 for a week. A stay in one of the luxury lodge tents, which sleeps six, costs £500 for a weekend and £850 for a week.

Call 01759 371776 or go to {http://www. jollydaysluxurycamping.co.uk|jollydaysluxurycamping.co.uk}

A two-night midweek stay at The Angel at Hetton, near Skipton, costs £195 per night for dinner, bed and breakfast.

A two-night weekend break is £230 per night for dinner bed and breakfast.

In January, to mark its 30th anniversary, dinner, bed and breakfast is £175 from Sundays to Thursdays.

Call 01756 730263 or go to angelhetton.co.uk

To find out more about the Turkish Baths in Harrogate, call 01423 556746 or go to harrogate.gov.uk/pages/harrogate-1100.aspx