Where to Camp and Glamp this Summer
The bespoke five-star luxury restored railway carriage at Beamish is available to rent all year round. There’s a well-equipped kitchen, a double bed (bedding provided) and an ensuite shower room at this hidden gem. Outside there’s decked seating and a dining area with a private hot tub. Tucked away amongst woodland, this is a perfectly private space, yet it’s just minutes from the village with its popular Italian restaurant, and at the opposite end of the village is the nationally famous and multi-award winning Beamish Museum. It’s also very close to the 137 mile C2C cycle route, so it’s a great place to stop off en route for a much-required rest.
This small, friendly caravan park with space for 60 caravans and motorhomes is just one mile from the sea at Craster. In a sheltered spot surrounded by hedging, facilities here include showers, toilets, wifi, laundry room and electrical hook-ups. Arrival is between 1pm and 7pm, and you’ll find grocery staples and fresh local produce available at the park’s reception, where there is always a friendly face on hand to help and to suggest the best walks or a good pub. Dogs are welcome too, and there are lots of great walks close to the park. Not keen on caravanning? There are also two self-catering cottages available to rent, the largest one sleeping up to six guests.
Craster, Northumberland NE66 3TF
Huts In The Hills
New to one of our favourite off-grid destinations is the Swiss-style Hutte. This two-storey hut has floor-to-ceiling windows for an unforgettable view over the surrounding countryside. Watch the sunrise from the comfort of your bed, or from the antique French outdoor bath tub. Taking glamping to the next level, this brand new shepherd’s hut certainly has some stunning design ideas, including copper gutters, a mirrored TV and a traditional stone roof alongside Huts In The Hills usual on-site luxuries, including Egyptian cotton sheets, a hot shower and woodburning stove (and loo). The Hutte has its own private veranda and fire pit for cooking al fresco.
Herding Hill Farm
This is an award-winning five-star glamping, camping and touring site, with a luxury lodge with a hot tub too. Just one mile from Hadrian’s Wall, it’s a family- and dog-friendly place – peaceful and perfect for stargazing. There’s a large play area and useful shop here, and whether you are staying in one of the 17 permanent wigwams, taking your own tent, or pitching up your tourer, you’ll find plenty to do. There’s even a barbecue hut for hire. The shower block has underfloor heating, power showers and even baths, and new for 2021 is a camper’s kitchen where you can prepare food indoors if the weather is unkind.
Shield Hill, Haltwhistle NE49 9NW
Border Forest Holiday Park
This holiday park is on the very edge of Kielder Forest and in the centre of the International Dark Sky Park. There’s a choice of accommodation in the park, which covers 70 acres, and that includes four pet-friendly self-catering lodges, some with hot tubs and all with easy access to great walking routes from the front door. There’s a camping pod for Pennine Way walkers and hardstanding hook-ups for seasoned caravaners, making this an ideal retreat for many. Family- and dog-friendly, this is a quiet site and not suitable for group bookings of more than three tourers.
Cottonshopeburnfoot, near Otterburn NE19 1TF
Badger and Bear Outdoor Camp
A bit different to the rest, and great for kids, this is an outdoor adventure camp where you can stay overnight in A-frame shelters and learn outdoor and survival skills. Different packages are available, from a half-day introduction to a stay in your own exclusive camp overnight. If you’ve never camped before, there’s no need to worry as the staff here will take care of everything, so you can get the most from the experience. They will supply all the kit and equipment (including snug sleeping bags, comfortable roll mats, bivvi bags, fresh water bottles, torches and a great activity book for everyone to get started on quests to find rewards), and food, all you need to do is bring your toothbrush. From fire building to making fishing nets and cooking over an open fire, it’s a great way to get to know the outdoors.
Thisleyhaugh Farm, Longhorsley NE65 8RG
Supporting local suppliers, growers and designer/makers is at the heart of everything at Baby Moon. It’s a special place to relax, play, heal and create and they run several retreats here, but it’s really all about pressing pause, stepping off the wheel and just enjoying the space at Baby Moon. There are several yurts, and for summer, new bell tents (complete with real beds and chandeliers) to choose from, all candlelit, all wood fired and all with crisp cotton linen, cloud-like duvets and soft pillows. On-site facilities include a communal shower and toilet block and plenty of running water, and each yurt has its own fire pit.
Guisbrough TS14 6RH
On a working farm near Allendale, surrounded by stunning countryside, these luxury pods all have their own log-fired hot tub. Watch the sun rise, and fall, accompanied by the unmistakeable cry of curlews, watch the farm animals in the surrounding fields, dine al fresco and soak away the day in your hot tub under the stars. Each pod has ensuite facilities, a fully-equipped kitchen and a double bed and sofa bed. Log-burning stoves and electric heating mean the pods are cosy year-round. Family-friendly, small guests are encouraged to get acquainted with the farm’s animals, feed the pigs and stroke the horses and donkeys. We can’t think of a more idyllic getaway.
Dryside Farm, Allendale
Fenham Le Moor Campsite
On a working farm opposite Lindisfarne and the Lindisfarne Nature Reserve, and with far-reaching sea views south to Bamburgh, this campsite is hugely popular. Just 20 minutes from Bamburgh and Berwick, you are surrounded by wildlife at this low-key site. There is running water and access to basic portaloos and waste disposal points. But what it may lack in facilities, it makes up for in peace and tranquility (it’s a quiet site so no music is allowed). A more perfect seaside camping spot you’ll be hard pressed to find.
Belford, Northumberland NE70 7PN
On the edge of the North Pennines AONB, with expansive moorland views, this 10-pitch campsite is just five minutes from Derwent Reservoir and its water sports. Pitches across the two and a half acre site are on grass for tents, but there are hardstanding pitches for tourers too. Facilities include loos, a washing up area and drying room, but there are no showers. There’s a great pub (The Manor House Inn) next door for a pint and pub grub, Shotley Bridge is a short drive away and whilst much of the appeal here is walking the vast, open moorland, golf and fishing are available nearby too.
Carterway Heads, Shotley Bridge DH8 9LX
The Barn at Easington
Within a 30-acre farm on the Durham coast and on the edge of Hawthorn Dene, this arts and educational centre has a wild camping area for tents, two camping pods each with private ’sitooteries’ with a fire pit for cooking, and two static caravans. An eco-friendly site, there is a toilet block, showers and washing up area and a communal verandah to sit and eat on if the weather is unkind, or if you just want to be sociable. The site can be hired in its entirety but the ethos behind the Barn is about sharing, celebrating nature, lots of live music and human kindness. Leave your laptops at home and phones at the gate – they won’t work here anyway.
Thorpe Lea East, Easington Colliery SR8 3UT
Facilities at this laidback, friendly site are fairly minimal, but the basics are more than covered and it’s all about the fresh air and having fun at Sharpley. This spacious site is tucked between Durham City and the seaside at Seaham (there are even some sea views). Campfires will keep you warm in the evening and there’s lots of space for kids to play, and go-karts to pedal about in if they are so inclined. With three standard pods and one extra large sleeping four adults, they all come with wood-fired hot tubs, a fire pit and comfy double beds. If you prefer to be under canvas, there are 10 well-spaced pitches here too.
Seaton, Co Durham SR7 0NN