As a lot of the UK did this year, we opted for a staycation (which is just what regular holidays used to be when I was little). Knowing the British weather can be unpredictable during the school summer holidays we decided on glamping in Northumberland. After some research we found some cute wigwams at Herding Hill Farm, which is situated in Haltwhistle. It’s a family-run 5 star Wigwam, touring caravan and camping site and is only a 10-minute walk from Hadrian’s Wall and close to Northumberland National Park.
As with a lot of places in the summer of 2020, not all facilities are open and there are strict measures in place for social distancing. That didn’t stop this from being an amazing getaway for a few days under the beautiful dark skies of Northumberland.
We stayed in a ‘Wee Brave’ Wigwam Cabin, which can sleep up to 3 people and had a microwave, kettle, fridge, heating and electrical sockets. It felt like luxury compared to camping and being able to hire a fire pit to toast our marshmallows each evening was great fun.
This is the smallest Wigwam available. There are also 10 large ‘Running Water’ en-suite Wigwams, which sleep up to 5 people each. Seven of these have their own private outdoor hot tubs which you can book for an additional charge. Then there are 3 ‘Big Chief‘ Wigwams, which sleep up to 5 people.
The amenity block was open and had underfloor heating. Amazing!! There is a drying room, laundry facilities, a pot washing-up area, a disabled/family bathroom, shower facilities and toilets. The ladies’ have two private bathrooms that had baths inside. This was beginning to feel more and more like a 5 Star hotel stay!
Sue and Phil who own the site were friendly and helpful from the outset. Nothing was too much trouble and they sent all the instructions and directions out beforehand. I emailed them to confirm a few things and they replied really quickly. Great customer service and a lovely couple.
There is a wee shop on site too with some essentials for food, cleaning, bbq etc. and it was open until the early evening for any bits you have forgotten to pack or little extras. We bought more firelighters to keep our camp fire burning all evening, and of course, some Kendal Mint Cake for our hikes through the day.
You can either head out straight from the site and explore the countryside for a good 4 or 5 mile hike or drive to the nearby Sill – the National Landscape Discovery Centre. It’s only a short distance along the Military road. It usually runs exhibitions about the area, but these are temporarily not available at the moment due to the pandemic. But the shop, kiosk, toilets and Grassland Rooftop Walk are all open and you will find a lot of information about nearby walks and attractions. There is plenty of parking, no need to pre-book and best of all, it’s free!
How We Spent Our Days
After we arrived and parked up next to our home for the weekend, we unpacked all our picnic items out onto our private picnic table at the front of our wigwam. After eating it was time to check out the facilities and then we had a 20 minute stroll down Shield Hill into Haltwhistle, which is always pretty.
Full of little shops and cafes we meandered around for an hour or so and then took the walk back up the hill to the site. It’s a good 30 minute walk back up Shield Hill as it’s pretty steep, but we were hungry by then so out came our travel bbq and we settled in for a few hours in the evening sun.
Fire pit lit and marshmallows at the ready, we had a glorious view over the fields of Northumberland as the sun set. When it eventually got dark, it was really dark and a torch is necessary if you visit the amenity block. We stayed out till around 1am and watched the wonderful Milky Way light up above us. The site owners ask for quiet from around 10pm onwards which is good news as younger children are tucked up in bed and not racing around the site in the dark. This means the older generation can have their conversation and star gazing time.
The following day we did a 5 mile hike across the public footpaths in the adjacent fields to the site and took a picnic with us to enjoy the views and the sun. Unfortunately the nearby Milecastle Pub was closed due to the pandemic which is a shame as I’ve heard great things about it. Initially that was the plan for evening dinner. So we opted to heat up some camping food on our stove back at the wigwam, that we brought with us. The Pasta & Meatballs from Wayfarer was absolutely delicious.
I wasn’t expecting it to be so nice. It’s actually pre-cooked so if the camping stove is a fail you won’t go hungry, as long as you don’t mind it cold, but it was pretty great grub after the hike and followed by, you’ve guessed it, more toasted marshmallows around the fire pit. It was a fitting end to another great day. We even saw a few shooting stars that evening and although it was a little chilly, the wigwam kept us toasty warm all night and we still didn’t need to test out its heating.
The Yearly Getaway
Packing up the following day we decided there and then to make this a yearly trip as it had been so chilled and easy and a great way to spend family time together. I can totally recommend Herding Hill Farm for Glamping in Northumberland and although we didn’t camp there, the tent and caravan areas looked great too. Of course, they also have access to the same wonderfully clean and bright amenity block and are looked after by the lovely Sue and Phil.
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