Tour route 1

Northumberland – Forest, Castles & Beaches

Map of Northumberland tour
Picture credit: Matthew Smith / The Camping and Caravanning Club
Kielder Water
Kielder Water

1st leg

Darlington to Kielder Village Campsite

78 miles/2 hours

Follow the A68 north. A good drivers’ road through undulating countryside passing Corbridge and Bellingham in Hadrian’s Wall country. The route to the campsite takes you past Kielder Water, the largest man-made lake in the UK at almost 10k long and into Kielder Forest.

Kielder Village Campsite is remote and quiet with lots of space to relax. It is a walkers and cyclists paradise (bikes can be hired – with vast forest trails and a 27-mile circular route around Kielder Water. Kielder Castle (close-by) has a tea rooms and The Street Diner take away. There is a pub, The Anglers Rest at the end of the site.

Note: the peace and quiet this site offers means the nearest shops are a 30 minute drive away and there is no mobile phone signal. The perfect place to unwind.

A view across Embleton Bay
A view across Embleton Bay

2nd leg

Kielder Village to Dunstan Hill Camping & Caravan Club Site

58 miles/1hr 40mins

This delightful drive through the Northumberland National Park takes you via Otterburn, Rothbury and Alnwick (fabulous castle & gardens) before arriving at the well-equipped and well-run Dunstan Hill Camping & Caravan Club site. Of all the sites we’ve visited in our campervanning days this is the one we’ve returned to most often – in fact it was the scene of our first campervan trip. Once there you’ll see why, especially if you love beach walks. A pleasant walk through the woods and across a couple of fields brings you to Embleton Bay. This huge sweeping bay of golden sand is backed by sand dunes and overlooked at its southern end by the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. It is simply stunning.
Walks in either direction will find a great pub. South will take you to the Jolly Fisherman at Craster, where you’ll find great food and good beer. The smokehouse is opposite, home to the world-famous Craster kippers. Head north instead (over the dunes or on the beach) and you’ll arrive at The Ship at Low Newton by the Sea in a little enclave of National Trust cottages. You’re unlikely to want to leave in a hurry..

Home leg

Dunstan Hill to Up North Campervans, Darlington, DL3 7ST

78 miles/1hr 30mins

A straight-forward run down the A1 to end your mini-adventure.