How to create a family-friendly itinerary for camping near Hadrian's Wall?

11 June 2024

Creating the ultimate family-friendly itinerary for camping near Hadrian's Wall can feel like an uphill battle. But worry not! This guide will give you a step-by-step approach to planning your adventure. We'll cover everything from exploring the city and the coast to hiking the trails and finding the ideal camping accommodation for your stay. As you immerse yourself in the breathtaking landscapes of the North, navigating the 73 miles of Hadrian's Wall will be an unforgettable adventure.

Choosing the Perfect Camping Accommodation

The first step to any successful camping trip is choosing the right accommodation. The area around Hadrian's Wall in the North offers a plethora of options, from well-equipped camping sites to quaint farm stays and fully furnished holiday cottages. Your choice of accommodation will largely depend on your family's comfort levels and the kind of camping experience you wish to have.

If you're hoping to stay true to the camping spirit, then camping sites near the Hadrian's Wall trail might be your best bet. These sites often come with facilities like toilet blocks, shower rooms, and sometimes even a small shop for basic necessities. For a more comfortable stay, consider a farm stay or a cottage. These options often come with fully equipped kitchens and bathrooms, providing a comfortable base for your daily explorations.

When choosing your accommodation, also consider its proximity to the Hadrian's Wall trail and other outdoor attractions. Being close to the route will save you travel time and allow for more day-to-day activities.

Mapping Out Your Walking Itinerary

Now that you've pinned down your accommodation, it's time to map out your itinerary. Hadrian's Wall stretches over 73 miles, so you will not be able to explore the full length during a short family camping trip. As such, it's crucial to strategize your walking route to ensure you see the most important sites.

Firstly, consider the ages and physical abilities of your family members. The wall's rugged and steep terrain may be challenging for young children or older family members. Instead of following the wall's full route, select key spots to visit and explore. These might include significant Roman landmarks like Housesteads Roman Fort or the Roman Army Museum.

Your itinerary should also include days for rest and relaxation. Consider allotting a day or two for exploring the nearby cities, like the vibrant city of Newcastle or the quaint town of Hexham. Or perhaps, plan a day at the coast, exploring the beautiful Northumberland coastline and its charming seaside villages.

Exploring the Lake District

If you have time, take a day to explore the picturesque Lake District, located just a short drive away. Known for its stunning lakes, mountains, and charming villages, the Lake District is a must-see on any North England itinerary.

Start your day with a leisurely walk around one of the lakes, such as Windermere or Derwentwater. Then, spend the afternoon exploring one of the District's charming villages, such as Ambleside or Keswick. Here, you can enjoy a traditional English lunch in a cosy pub, explore local shops, or visit one of the many museums or art galleries.

For those with older children or a taste for adventure, the Lake District offers a variety of outdoor activities. From challenging hikes up Helvellyn or Scafell Pike to exciting water sports on the lakes, there's plenty to keep the whole family entertained.

Make the Most of the Night Sky

One of the perks of camping is getting to experience the beauty of the night sky without the light pollution common in cities. The area around Hadrian’s Wall is home to Northumberland International Dark Sky Park, the largest Dark Sky Park in Europe.

On a clear night, you can see thousands of stars, the Milky Way, and even the Northern Lights if you're lucky. It's a magical experience that kids and adults alike will love. Some camping sites even offer telescopes for hire. So why not plan a night of stargazing? It's a unique way to wrap up your days of walking, exploring, and adventuring.

Remember, creating a family-friendly itinerary for camping near Hadrian's Wall involves careful planning and a consideration of your family's interests and capabilities. With this guide, you're well on your way to planning an unforgettable adventure in one of England's most historic and picturesque regions.

Visit Historic Sites Along the Wall Path

Once you've got your camping accommodation sorted and planned your walking itinerary, you can delve deeper into planning the specific sites to visit along the Hadrian's Wall path. There are numerous historic sites, each with its unique charm and significance, that will take you on a journey through time.

First on the list is Carlisle Cathedral, an awe-inspiring cathedral that dates back to the 12th century. Its incredible stained glass window, intricate woodwork, and medieval frescos are a visual treat. Just a stone's throw away is the Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, where you can delve into the region's Roman past and view fascinating archaeological exhibits.

Next, head to the Roman sites at Housesteads, considered the best-preserved Roman fort in the area. Here, you can explore the barracks where the soldiers lived, the granaries, and the communal toilets – all remarkably intact.

A visit to Vindolanda, another Roman fort and settlement, is also a must. Famous for the Vindolanda Tablets (ancient handwritten documents), the site also hosts live archaeological excavations that you can witness.

Finally, don't miss the Roman Army Museum. This immersive museum offers a 3D film, interactive exhibits, and the opportunity to learn about the life of a Roman soldier, making it a hit with kids.

Enjoy a Stay in Bed and Breakfast Accommodations

If you want to mix up your accommodation options or are looking for a break from camping, consider a bed and breakfast stay. These establishments offer a cosy and homely atmosphere that's sure to make you and your family feel welcomed.

The area around Hadrian's Wall hosts numerous charming guest houses and bed and breakfast establishments, most of which are family-run. They offer a range of rooms and suites to accommodate families of different sizes. These accommodations usually include a hearty English breakfast, helping you start your day on the right foot.

Staying at a bed and breakfast also offers an excellent opportunity to interact with locals, who can often provide insider tips on the best spots to visit or hidden gems off the beaten path. Whether it's a traditional farmhouse or a modern guest house, a bed and breakfast stay adds a touch of comfort and local charm to your family-friendly adventure.

Conclusion: An Unforgettable Family Adventure

Creating a family-friendly itinerary for camping near Hadrian's Wall is all about balancing historic exploration with outdoor adventure, comfort, and relaxation. Whether you're walking the rugged wall path, stargazing in the vast night sky of the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park, or enjoying the comfort of a cosy bed and breakfast, each day offers a new adventure.

Remember to factor in the interests and physical capabilities of all family members, and allow ample time for rest and relaxation. After all, your trip should be as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.

Whether you have a week's itinerary or just a few days, your journey around Hadrian's Wall, the Lake District, and the vibrant cities of North England will be filled with unforgettable experiences and memories. And who knows, your family might just catch the camping bug and be eager to plan the next outdoor adventure!

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