Located in the Northumberland National Park and Northumberland International Dark Sky Park – considered to be the most tranquil place in the UK.
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.
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.
After pitching up, it was time to explore the site…
Is it new?
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!
We even had music piped in the gents!
Opposite the toilet and shower block is the main ‘refuge’ and recreation room.
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.
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!
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 of the dorm, the schoolmaster would give them a whack with the cane. When they were too noisy one lunchtime, 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.
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.
Unfortunately, it was cloudy every evening when we stayed at Bellingham Campsite. However, I left the blinds open on the caravan’s skylight above our bed, and at 3 am one night, we were treated to a sky dazzling with stars.
we were treated to a sky dazzling with stars
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.
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.
Internet access is available on site.
When we stayed (Apr 17) it was free and not using the Club’s site wifi.
Showers are free to use and included in the pitch fee.
The site has 16A electric hook-ups.
There is a pub within a mile’s walk of the campsite, in the village of Bellingham.
Bellingham campsite is open most of the year: from March through to the end of the year.
Here’s where you can find Bellingham Campsite.
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