Bell tents in Durham

Coast, moors, and dales are just some of the landscapes to discover around this quintessentially Northern county town.

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Popular camping styles for Durham

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Bell tents in Durham guide

Overview

Discover UNESCO-listed landmarks surrounded by a vast green belt in this northern city, right on the River Wear. From dales to coastline, there’s much to discover across the county, though those on limited time will find plenty in the reserves and woodlands on Durham’s outskirts. The Northern Saints Trails, Durham Heritage Coast Walk, and Pennine Way are great for ramblers, riders, and mountain bikers, while after-dark adventurers can take advantage of nearby Dark Sky sites—keeping an eye out for the northern lights. With camping options ranging from family-friendly holiday parks to remote campgrounds, there’s something for every Hipcamper around this ancient city.

Where to go

Around Durham

Working farms, holiday parks, and glampsites offer diverse options for Hipcampers, all within easy reach of the city and its rural reserves. Ramblers and riders shouldn’t miss Durham’s famous railway paths, once working train lines which now cut a convenient footpath deep into the county’s countryside.

Durham Heritage Coast

Half an hour’s drive east of the city brings you to the beaches, cliffs, and grasslands of the Durham Heritage Coast. A destination for hikers and wildlife lovers, the 11-mile stretch from Sunderland to Hartlepool boasts nature reserves, a fascinating history, and all manner of holiday campgrounds.

North Pennines & the Yorkshire Dales

Neighbours on the Pennine Way, Britain’s oldest long distance trail, these two iconic moorlands encompass miles of rolling farmland, fells, woodlands, and waterways just west of Durham. From family-friendly field sites to exclusive glamping pods, visiting Hipcampers have many options for sleeping beneath the region’s famously dark skies.

North York Moors

Coastline, forests, and inland cliffs create an adventurer’s paradise in this national park, around an hour’s drive from Durham. Particularly popular for biking breaks, cyclists can soak up the views from Sutton Bank or explore the Moor to Sea Cycle Network, before camping down on one of the park’s farm sites, family-friendly holiday parks, or glamp grounds.

Northumberland National Park

England’s most northerly park, this remote and secluded landscape along the English-Scottish border is ideal for Hipcampers after a quiet break. An hour’s drive north of Durham, the park boasts moors, forests, and uplands, plus a reputation as one of the best stargazing spots in Europe. Overnight options include back-to-basics field sites, adult-only retreats, and family-friendly farm grounds.

When to go

Several outdoor events take place around Durham throughout the year, including the annual North Pennines Stargazing Festival. If you plan for a winter getaway, be prepared for cold, crisp weather and organise accommodation in advance, as offseason closures are common.

Know before you go

  • Walk-ins are not accepted everywhere, so it’s worth calling or booking ahead.
  • Rohan and Mountain Warehouse sell camping and outdoor gear in Durham’s city centre.
  • Durham is just under two hours from Edinburgh and three hours from London via train.
  • If you plan to camp in the region’s more secluded areas, you’ll want your own vehicle.

Top regions in and near Durham

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