Barns in North West England with wildlife watching

From cultured cities to idyllic lakelands—there’s plenty to tempt you to England’s North West.

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Popular camping styles for North West England

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Barns in North West England with wildlife watching guide


Music and football fans congregate in Liverpool and Manchester, but don’t let city life distract you for too long—the North West also has nature right on its doorstep. There are miles of hikingcycling, and horseback riding trails in the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales national parks, plus the Pennines and Peak District are also within easy reach. Summer is peak season for hikers and the best time to enjoy beachside camping, and it’s worth sticking around to see the famous Blackpool Illuminations in September too. Many campsites close in the off-season, but winter glamping and caravanning are still possible.

Where to go

Tent camping in North West England


The Lake District National Park is the undisputed star of Cumbria, with its rugged mountains and glacial lakes. England’s largest national park has inspired writers and artists for centuries from William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge to Beatrix Potter and Arthur Ransome (of Swallows and Amazons fame). The idyllic scenery portrayed in all these works is recognisable just about everywhere in the park’s 912 square miles, home to England’s highest mountain and its largest lake. Follow one of Wordsworth’s walks, take a boat cruise across Lake Windermere, then enjoy dinner with a view at a lakeside pub. Family-friendly caravan parks are dotted around villages like Ambleside and Buttermere, or if you’re feeling adventurous, choose a back-to-basics campsite in a remote mountain valley.

The Lake District’s towns and villages are also crammed full of tea rooms, pubs, and outdoor shops great for rainy days. Visit Wordsworth’s former home, Dove Cottage, in Grasmere; take a cruise on Windermere; visit the World of Beatrix Potter; or discover the Derwent Pencil Museum. But of course, the main attraction is the landscape itself.


South of the Lake District, Lancashire is often overlooked by travellers, making it a great place to escape the crowds and the big cities of Manchester, Liverpool, and Leeds. Discover the legends of the Pendle Witches as you hike Pendle Hill or enjoy walking or cycling in the Forest of Bowland—both Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Coastal camping is great fun in Blackpool, known for its amusement park and annual Illuminations festival, while the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty includes 28 square miles of protected landscape including the famous Morecambe Bay. All over Lancashire you’ll find meadows and farm camping sites.

Merseyside and Manchester

Music and football are the lifeblood of Manchester and Liverpool, the cultural hubs of the northwest. But for campers, it’s the outer edges of Greater Manchester and Cheshire that might hold more appeal. Greater Manchester’s urban sprawl quickly gives way to the Peak District’s fells and valleys, so whether you are looking for a quick getaway or want to camp somewhere close enough to make a trip into town, the Peak District could be a good option. Otherwise, pitch your tent along the seafront at Southport or Crosby Beach, or take in the views from the sand dunes at Formby Point. The flat lowlands of the Cheshire plains also neighbour the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a lovely area for walking, exploring, and, of course, camping.

Solway Coast AONB

As far north and west as you can go before hitting Scotland is the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Remote and tranquil, this stretch of the northwest coast and its hinterland includes sand dunes, peatlands, and salt marshes, all great for wildlife and birdwatching. If camping near here, you might like to visit Campfield Marsh RSPB and the Solway Wetlands Visitor Centre.

Family Camping in North West England

Camping is a brilliant way to go on a family-friendly holiday, as kids are kept easily amused with the novelty of it all. Chores like pitching a tent, cooking dinner, and washing up can seem like fun in the sociable surrounds of a campsite—and that’s not to mention the real joys of being a kid on a campsite. Even bedtimes can be fun as kids get to read by torchlight and snuggle down into sleeping bags. Kids will also love glamping, as it often seems made-to-measure for little people with pint-sized proportions in gypsy caravans, shepherd’s huts, and the like for the tiny-home lifestyle.

The North West of England has plenty of family-friendly camping and glamping sites, lots with added attractions that are super suitable for families. Farm stays allow kids to meet the animals, while campsites with streams are great for pond-dipping. Choose a spot where campfires are allowed so you can toast marshmallows in time-honoured fashion.

Top 5 Things to Do in North West England

  1. Go walking! There are so many rural spots best discovered on foot, and many long-distance footpaths criss-cross the region.
  2. Visit the Lake District. Even if you are not camping in the Lakes, it’s worth a detour for at least a day.
  3. Pack a picnic of local produce for days out and about—and don’t forget the Kendal mint cake!
  4. Paddle in the Irish Sea. Whether it’s Blackpool or Morecambe, Solway Coast or Silverdale, you can choose from resorts and remote beaches.
  5. Pop into a local pub for a Lancashire hotpot.

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