[pullquote2 style=”right” quote=”dark”]the gateway to the Northumberland National Park[/wpsm_quote]The #5CChallenge took us with Casper the Caravan up to the North East of England to explore part of Northumberland. Our ‘treasure’ this time was the Northumberland National Park.

The Camping and Caravanning Club campsite is just outside the village of Bellingham, which is, as they say, ‘the gateway to the Northumberland National Park‘.

Now before we go any further, I’d like to say just how much we loved Bellingham campsite. Though our first impression was an “Oh“…

First Impressions of the Campsite

It was a long journey to get to Bellingham. The last leg felt a long time as we towed the caravan down the long winding road to the campsite. The campsite is signposted just on the left before you enter the village of Bellingham (if you are travelling from the South – please note the Club’s recommended directions to the site).

Our “Oh” was that the site looked quite small, and just off the main road into the village. There was nothing wrong with that; it was just that we were imagining something a little bigger and remote.

Bellingham Campsite Reception

The Reception building when you arrive at the campsite

The site consists of one main field, plus a few additional pitches closer to Reception.

There’s also a cluster of wooden sleeping pods.

The main field has a one-way system around it, with pitches on both sides of the road. There’s also a play park.

Bellingham Campsite play park

The park at the campsite

After pitching up, it was time to explore the site…

Sign at campsite

Bellingham Campsite is a great place to explore Northumberland National Park

Is it new?

We even had music piped in the gents!

We visited the toilets and shower block. This was not the usual Club branded facilities. A lot of work had been done on these; they were very smart. We even had music piped in the gents!

Opposite the toilet and shower block is the main ‘refuge’ and recreation room.

Wow!

A modern kitchen, a flat screen TV and even a log burner in the refuge.  This was all very nice.

We popped back to reception and asked, “Is it new?

No, not at all“, was the reply.

An Interesting History

Bellingham Campsite used to be a boarding school, Brownrigg School. As the site managers explained, it was a bit of a tough place.

they had to break the ice on the surface first

Where the camping pods are today used to be an outdoor pool. The school kids were made to swim in the pool, even if they had to break the ice on the surface first!

One former pupil recently returned to the campsite and said that if they were last out the dorm, the schoolmaster would give them a whack with the cane. When they were too noisy one lunch time, he made them all run to the top of the hill at the back of Bellingham. Anyone not back within 5 minutes wouldn’t be allowed to finish their meal.

The refuge and rec room were the dorms; the shower block, their ablutions block. Click here to see some old photos of the school.

The school closed in 1985.

So the facilities aren’t new, but they have been refitted and maintained by the site staff to a very high standard.

Sleeping in the caravan

Kids sleeping at Bellingham today have it much better!

Dark Skies

The area is part of the Dark Skies initiative, where light pollution is controlled, enabling you to see fantastic night skies.

Not too far away at Kielder Forest is an observatory that runs events for stargazing. We didn’t go and see it as they were fully booked since it is very popular – so don’t make the same mistake as we did – book in advance.

we were treated to a sky dazzling with stars

Unfortunately, it was cloudy every evening when we stayed at Bellingham Campsite. However, I left the blind open on the caravan’s skylight above our bed, and at 3 am one night, we were treated to a sky dazzling with stars.

Eco Site

Bellingham is an Eco Site.

If you have a chemical toilet you will need to use the ‘Green’ liquid instead of the normal Blue and Pink.

Click here to see some on Amazon.

You can also buy some at the campsite’s reception.

Walks Near By

The Site Managers have collected a great many walks that you can do in the area, and many go from the campsite. They have a number printed that you can borrow.

We did two walks – well, 2.5 if you count the Easter Trail the Site Managers had created for the kids, complete with a prize of a full sized Easter egg – which our kids were very pleased with.

Kielder Forest and Water Park

While staying that the Bellingham Campsite went exploring Kiedler Water and Forest Park, which is part of the Northumberland National Park.

We hired some bikes and took a cycle tour along part of the north shore. This is a great family route that’s not too hilly. Click here to see the route we took.


Bellingham Campsite

Pitches with EHU at Bellingham Campsite


Planning on visiting Bellingham Campsite? Details below.

Located in the Northumberland National Park and Northumberland International Dark Sky Park – considered to be the most tranquil place in the UK.

Shower Facilities

Showers are free to use and included in the pitch fee.

Electric Hook Ups

The site has 16A electric hook-ups.

Internet Access

Internet access is available on site.
When we stayed (Apr 17) it was free and not using the Club’s site wifi.

Getting in Touch with Bellingham Campsite

Here’s how you can get in contact with Bellingham Campsite.

Bellingham Campsite Website

01434 220175

Where to find Bellingham Campsite

Sat Nav Postcode: NE48 2JY

Latitude: 55.1397552, Longitude: -2.2610304

Click here for directions

Bellingham Camping and Caravanning Club Site, Brown Rigg, Bellingham, Hexham, Northumberland, NE48 2JY.

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You can phone 01434 220175 to book or enquire.

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Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.

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