Camping in County Durham

With the North Pennines to the west and the North Sea to the east, County Durham has a wonderfully diverse range of landscapes to explore. The North Pennines has been 500 million years in the making, with glacial valleys like High Cup Nick offering dramatic views and some challenging walking. The soaring rock faces give way to peatlands where birds such as grouse, skylarks and short-eared owls thrive, while at the coast, chiselled headlands and shingle beaches meet the mighty ocean. If you’re looking for adventure, camping in County Durham certainly won’t disappoint.

Set alongside the River Wear is the city of Durham, a flourishing university city with golden stone buildings, arched bridges and a bustling marketplace. It’s best known for its UNESCO-listed Norman Cathedral, which towers over its surroundings and is sure to impress you with its elaborate interior and stained glass windows.

Durham Grange

Set in a curve of the River Wear with good transport links to Durham, this site is great for active families and outdoor adventures.

Ideal for:
• Cycling
• Family stays
• Dog owners

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Reasons to visit County Durham

When it comes to camping in the North East, County Durham has plenty to offer, from outdoor activities to cultural experiences.

Sensational cycling

The North East is famous for being the birthplace of the steam railway, and the disused tracks are now an ideal place to cycle. National Route 14 runs along them, between Darlington and South Shields, and is largely traffic-free, making it ideal for families and beginners. There’s up to 80 miles of cycling to enjoy here, so whatever your age or ability, you can enjoy the trail.

Intermediate riders will enjoy the 19-mile Satley Loop, which passes along country lanes and takes in some local attractions. You can make a stop at Hill Hall Farm for a donkey ride or to feed the animals, or pause at the remains of Longovicium Roman Fort for a picnic.

If you’re after a challenge, Hamsterly Forest is a mountain biker’s dream. A skills loop gives you the chance to improve your technique, while the Blue and Red trails wind through the forest with superb views over Eggleston Moor. The Red trail will really put your skills to the test, with some tricky climbs and descents that experienced riders will love.

Outdoor adventures

Staying at our Durham camping site gives you access to a wealth of outdoor activities that are sure to deliver thrills. Younger children can run off some energy at Adventure Valley, which has a range of indoor and outdoor play areas for family fun in all seasons. Located a few miles north-east of Durham, it gives kids the chance to zoom along zip lines, race round the pedal go-kart track and bounce around on jumping pillows, as well as meet micropigs, pygmy goats and chipmunks. Should the weather be less kind, there’s a large indoor play park with slides, nets and tunnels to enjoy, with special area for children under five. And if they need to refuel, the Café Italia has lots of family-friendly menu options.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, try Beamish Wild, a high ropes course set in ancient woodland. The course takes around two hours and leads you through the treetops via rope bridges, swinging tyres and zip lines. You can also discover your inner Robin Hood with some archery tuition. After a short introduction and safety brief you can take aim at the targets and hone your skills under the watchful eye of an instructor. With plenty of campsites near Beamish too, you’ll find it an easily accessible venue.

Older children and teenagers can try rock climbing at the Durham Climbing Centre. The facility caters to all abilities, so whether you’re a total beginner or something of an expert, you can enjoy the challenges there.

Historic monuments

If culture and history is more your style, camping in the North East of England is perfect for discovering more about Britain’s past. Romans and Normans settled in County Durham and left legacies which can be explored today.

The most famous is Durham Cathedral, built by the Normans and an excellent example of Romanesque architecture. Alongside the magnificent stained glass windows and huge, carved pillars are a beautiful clock and several relics that belonged to St Cuthbert. The library also contains copies of the Magna Carta and some of England’s earliest printed books. As one of the locations for the Harry Potter films, the cathedral will enchant children too. They can sit in Harry’s classroom and walk in the cloisters where the young wizard releases his owl for her first flight.

You can also discover the remains of Dere Street, a Roman highway into Scotland. A number or forts are set along the route, including Binchester Fort, which features a well-preserved bath house and an under-floor heating system. Visit in the summer and you might see the excavations in progress.

Why choose Experience Freedom?

Our Experience Freedom camping sites in North East England are perfect for active family holidays. You’ll be in a quiet, spacious location with good transport links to Durham and some excellent trails for walking and cycling nearby. Whether you want to discover the region’s heritage, admire its countryside or tackle its challenges, you’ll find our sites ideally placed for your needs. Select a campsite to discover more or to book a stay.