Often overlooked for its famous neighbour, the Lake District, the North Pennines is simply a must for your motorhome bucket list. It’s the second largest of the 49 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK. With heather moors, deep dales, hay meadows, upland rivers and stone-built villages, there are countless landscapes to explore in the 770 square miles that make up the North Pennines.
If you’re going to visit the North Pennines, you’ve got to do it right, and nothing beats camping in the North Pennines. Pitch your motorhome on one of these seven North Pennine campsites, and then spend your days exploring this luscious area. But be warned, you’ll find it difficult to leave, and you’ll never run out of places to see. This is one for your bucket list, but not one that you’ll easily tick off as completed!
1. The best campsite for animal lovers
You’ll receive a furry welcome at Bonners Lodge by the chief of staff, Raffi the cat. In-between cleaning himself and napping, Raffi has a busy job overseeing the team. This includes the humans running the campsite, as well as dogs, horses, alpacas, pygmy goats, a donkey and a Shetland pony. But for legal reasons, we’ll claim that Ken and Michelle own and run the place.
Given the animals present, there isn’t any harm in a few more, so feel free to bring your own furry friends for a dog-friendly motorhome holiday. There are miles of walking trails surrounding the campsite, including the nearby Waskerley Way. Aside from pets, you can also bring your kids to Bonners Lodge. They’ll love the site’s play area and spacious pitches.
All pitches have views over the neighbouring farmland and woods, and have been spread out to give you a sense of privacy and tranquillity. There are electric pitches available and a modern shower block to clean up after a day spent exploring.
At a mere five-minute drive from the A68, Bonners Lodge is the ideal stop on your road trip.
Price: from £29 per night
Location: Bonners Lodge, Bee Cottage Farm, Waskerley, Consett DH8 9HW, United Kingdom
2. The best campsite for a fish out of water
If you’re looking to go camping in the North Pennines, you’re likely planning to visit some of the incredible waterways. In that case, look no further than Bolbec Manor Campsite for your overnight stay. It’s only five minutes driving from The Derwent Reservoir, one of England’s most extensive inland waterways. There you’ll find opportunities to go sailing, windsurfing, fishing and lakeside cycling. You can return to Bolbec Manor with pruned skin and shower off in their extensive bathroom facilities.
You might be able to spare a day from water activities, in which you can enjoy the hiking paths surrounding the campsite. Alternatively, you could take a trip to Durham or Newcastle for a day in the city, both of which are only 30 minutes away.
Barbecues and campfires are permitted onsite, and supplies can be easily bought at Shotley Bridge or Consett, both of which are within ten minutes of the campsite. However, keep in mind that this campsite works to keep its peaceful atmosphere, so no loud music is permitted. Instead, you can enjoy nature’s soundtrack of crickets, birds, hens and the soft breeze - heavenly!
This site is catered to families and couples only, so large group bookings are not permitted. Out of all the North Pennines campsites, this one is genuinely for the tranquil escape.
Price: from £24 per night
Location: Carterway Heads, Shotley Bridge, Consett DH8 9LX, United Kingdom
3. The best campsite for golf fanatics
If you’re checking out North Pennines campsites with the sole intention of golfing the days away, then your search can end right here with Brackenber Moor Caravan Site. They describe themselves as “a small site with one very big USP: it’s bang in the middle of Appleby Golf Club”. And with a location like that, do you really need anything more?
Located just off the A66, this moorland course was designed by Open Champion Willie Fernie in 1903 and offers challenges to every level of golf player. Just be careful of any golf balls flying through the air! Pets are allowed at the campsite, but given the proximity to the course, they’ll need to be kept on leads at all times. Also, keep in mind that the campsite is not part of the golf club, so you’ll need to book separately to play a round.
Perhaps your partner will want something else to do whilst you play golf, or maybe you’ll manage to tear yourself away from the greens for a day. Either way, you can take the chance to explore the North Pennine’s Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty, either by foot or bicycle. You can also take a trip to nearby Appleby’s, which is delightful for an afternoon stroll. With Georgian-era architecture, plenty of pubs and restaurants, and even shops for additional supplies, the hours will fly by in this gorgeous town.
This is quite a rural location, so they don’t offer electric pitches. However, don’t be surprised to find a sheep joining you for your morning coffee, and make the most of the lake view and silence.
Price: from £10 per night
Location: Brackenber Moor, Brackenber, Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, England, CA16 6LP
4. The best campsite for foodies
One of the only things missing from motorhome travel is room service, the opportunity to have breakfast in bed. But at the Inn At Brough, breakfast is closer than you realise. This campsite is situated on the grounds of a Brough 18th-century inn. This gives you easy access to food and drink in the inn. This is ideal for active holidaymakers who plan to return to their campsite tired and weary, so they can order a pint and a warm meal to top off the day before heading back to their motorhome to sleep. They’re also known for their delicious breakfast - full English, anyone? Guests also have access to shower facilities and toilets in the pub, as well as a drying room.
This campsite is situated on the banks of Swindale Beck in the small Cumbria market town of Brough. It’s a mere five minutes drive from Kirkby Stephen. This is a great starting point for exploring the north or even to embark on day trips. You can head to Hadrian’s wall, Eden Valley Railway, Barnard Castle, Bowes Museum and more!
Pets and children are welcome at this site. It’s quite a simple site with gravel pitches, so be sure to bring your levelling blocks.
Price: from £20 per night
Location: Main St, Kirkby Stephen CA17 4BP, United Kingdom
5. The best campsite for a wild camping experience
We all dream of wild camping in the UK, exploring the dramatic landscapes with no one else to ruin your photos and view. Unfortunately, that can be pretty difficult in practice, making North Pennines campsites like Wild Camping Northumberland even more appealing.
This secluded campsite is set on a working farm in rural Northumberland. It’s two miles from Stocksfield and a half-hour drive from the North Pennines, which is perfect for day trips around this gorgeous area.
The site is simple, with grassy pitches and a never-ending view ahead. The surrounding woodland is perfect for walking your furry friends, who are also welcome on-site. You can also walk your dog to the nearby pub, which is only five minutes away and award-winning!
In the true wild camping in the North Pennines spirit, there is no shower on-site, only a water tap and toilets. Guests are permitted to bring a barbecue or firepit. Don’t expect electric pitches here, but if that’s what you’re after, then it wouldn’t really be wild camping, now would it?
Price: from £20 per night
Location: Hedley on the Hill, West Riding NE43 7SL, United Kingdom
6. The best campsite to meet fellow motorhomers
One of the best things about motorhome travel is meeting fellow travellers. There’s a true sense of kinship in the community, and they’re always happy to lend you a corkscrew or lighter. It can be hard to find fellow motorhome travellers at smaller sites as many are there by tent or caravan, which just isn’t the same experience. But at Crossfell Caravan Park, you can be assured that everyone else will be by motorhome or at least caravan, as tents are not permitted.
This is one of the most family-friendly campsites in the North Pennines, with plenty of space for kids to run around. There’s breakfast catering available for large groups, and barbecues are welcome onsite too. Just across the road, you’ll find a local pub that’s open for dinner and drinks.
Nearby you’ll find opportunities for rambling wanders, challenging cycles and horseback treks. After exhausting yourself with these activities and snapping away photos, you can enjoy a hot shower and a quiet evening with mountainside views. What more could you ask for?
Price: from £20 per night
Location: Ousby, Penrith CA10 1QA, United Kingdom
7. The best campsite for keeping busy
You could spend months at Pennine View Caravan Park and never run out of things to do. Surrounded by hundreds of miles’ worth of spectacular paths, you’ll truly get the chance to wear in your hiking boots. If you prefer hopping on a bike for a ride, then you’ll appreciate the challenging mountain bike trails surrounding the site. Alternatively, you can try your hand at trout fishing, horse riding, paragliding and more.
Aside from active pursuits, there is also plenty to be seen around here. A mere mile from the market town of Kirkby Stephen, which is filled with independent shops and cafes, and the walk will take you along the river. Right across the road is the volunteer-run heritage Stainmore Railway Company, where train enthusiasts can see several locomotives and rolling stock. You might also appreciate that this caravan park is part of a historic railway goods yard! If that isn’t enough, spend an evening at its Engine Shed bar for drinks and takeaway food, where you’ll often find the campsite staff relaxing as well.
Pitches are simple and not very spread out, which gives you an excellent opportunity to meet fellow visitors. On-site, you’ll find a playground, washing-up area, laundrette, amenity blocks, disabled facilities and a delightfully hot shower. Ready to start exploring this incredible area?
Price: from £21 per night
Location: Station Rd, Kirkby Stephen CA17 4SZ, United Kingdom
Like what you see? Stanley the campervan is available for hire on Goboony!
There you have it, seven very different campsites in the North Pennines. Each has something to offer every motorhome traveller, and it truly just depends on what you’re looking for. But don’t take our word for it; try one of these campsites on your next motorhome camping trip to the North Pennines. Or better yet, visit several on a road trip around this gorgeous Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty. All you need is your motorhome, some snacks and a sense of adventure!