Wooler in Winter

Nestled up in Northern Northumberland is the quaint town of Wooler. It’s literally on the edge of the Northumberland National Park and just a few miles from the Scottish/English Border. The history of this region is riven with conflict and war between competing factions down the centuries. Often called the ‘Last’ or ‘Secret’ Kingdom it was the buffer between Angles, and Celts, Vikings and Scots, Kings and feudal Lords. From the Vikings to Anglo Saxons, Scots, English and the lawlessness of the Reviers it’s always been a place of turmoil, yet one of extraordinary rugged beauty. Not for Northumberland the snow peaked mountain, here we see high moorlands punctuated by sharp craggy edifices, perfect for launching ambushes. Thankfully, nowadays, the beauty of the landscape and relative isolation has brought peace and tranquility to this once troubled land.

We stayed in the Riverside Caravan Park just on the edge of the town, running along Wooler Water – it’s a big campsite with a sizeable touring section. The touring pitches however are fairly small, with a narrow road between them, meaning big rigs, despite careful manoeuvring risk churning up the grass areas when parking, especially if the spot opposite is occupied giving little room to manage the approach. The site facilities are good, with a shop, club bar and amusement centre, and a heated swimming pool all on hand. These facilities are really aimed at families hoping to keep the kids entertained while they enjoy a pint or two, rather than any ‘Centre Parcs’-like healthy living experience. Having said that, for those travelling with children, they are a real benefit, particularly if the weather is on the cold or wet side. Do note though, although advertised as a dog-friendly campsite, the club bar does not allow your four-legged pal in 🙁 – which is a shame. To compensate, they do all meals as takeaway options and there are some tables outside for when the weather is more clement.

On the downside, the touring facilities block, while great for washing up and doing laundry, the showers and WCs themselves are very basic. They are cramped with nowhere really to block hang up clothes, dry feet and the floors do not drain, so you end up struggling to change without your clothes getting wet. Also, there is no disabled or family booths so some might struggle. Water pressure is good though!

Riverside Campsite does have one massive advantage over others in that it is open all year.

Woman and dog on riverr bank

Wooler itself, despite its relatively small size, is an interesting little town with plenty to see and do. The pubs and restaurants are good. We enjoyed a really tasty dinner on our first night in No1 Hotel and Wine Bar. It’s ‘muddy boots and dog-friendly’ so an ideal stop after a long walk. The food was excellent (Lady Muck’s pie is worthy of a post of its own! Good size portions and reasonable prices have put it on our ‘visit again’ list, which we did twice while we were here! The staff are excellent, accommodating and friendly. They’ll even let you stay overnight in their car park in your Motorhome if visiting the bar and restaurant. Bonus! Massive thanks to Mandy, Sarah and Emma for making us feel so welcome.

Walking around Wooler is lovely. There are several really very pleasant walks along the river (Wooler Water) and plenty of permissive paths, so don’t be too concerned if you can’t find the routes on OS maps; they are there and are well marked for ease. There are some hill walks for those needing a little more of a challenge and the rural roads, should you need to use them are quiet, with patient drivers.

There’s also an interesting museum/restaurant/distillery here that tips its hat to the Anglo Saxon presence here – Ad Gethin – be warned, the inside of the buildings are not dog-friendly but in good weather there is a sizeable terrace you can eat and enjoy a sample of the local spirit!

Ad Gethin - anglo saxon musuem nd distillery
View to Ad Gethin from Scott Park on the other side of Wooler Water.

So to summarise, the quiet town of Wooler is lovely place for a short break, and definitely worthy of a visit. We’ll be back for sure.

Alternative campsite is Highburn House Country Park.

Places to visit while here:

Cragside House. A beautiful former private house of Lord Armstrong (now managed by the National Trust) that is famous for being the first to be lit by hydro-electric power

Bamburgh Castle is the spectaular fortress that guards the NE coast

Holy Island of Lindisfarne. To me, no visit to Northumberland is complete without visiting Holy Island, the cradle of Christianity in England, where tales of St Cuthbert and his monks mingle abound!

Alnwick Castle will be high on the list of places to see if you are travelling with children. This is where Harry Potter’s Hogwarts’ scenes were filmed. You can even learn to fly a broomstick and play quiditch!


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