We had researched campsites within striking distance, downloaded the BBC weather app, packed the car with our camping gear and despite the dreary weather we were determined to make the first May bank holiday weekend our inaugural camping trip of the season (I’m a bit behind on our camping posts!). On the Saturday morning we checked the weather for our list of destinations and decided to head East where it was driest.
As we drove towards Northumberland the skies brightened and the sun came out! Our first stop was Beadnell Bay where the kite surfers were out in force. We had a walk on the beach but the skies were looking a little threatening so we jumped back in the car and went in search of somewhere to pitch our tent.
Determined to find a nice campsite next to the beach we drove up the coast checking our map and following every campsite sign we came upon. One of those signs was for The Barn at Beal. I’d heard about The Barn at Beal before (I’m pretty sure one of my best friends used to deliver ice cream there) but I had never been so we decided to check it out. We had lunch in the cafe which has beautiful big windows so you can see out over the causeway to Lindisfarne. John opted for soup while I had a baguette and we shared some chips which were lovely. The food was nice but a little pricey for what it was and we were too hungry to wait and snap any photos! The camping area at The Barn at Beal had a great view but it was exposed to the elements so we decided to head back to the campsite near Bamburgh that we visited last September. The camping area at Meadowhead’s Waren Caravan and Camping Park is sheltered and there is a clubhouse to keep you dry if the weather takes a turn for the worse, which it was forecast to do the very next day!
Fortunately the weather held while we put our tent up and we were able to sit outside and enjoy a bottle of prosecco while enviously watching a group of teenagers play Swingball (we’ve added it to our to purchase list!).
The next day we weren’t so lucky. As expected the heavens opened so we headed to Alnwick in search of somewhere to keep dry and buy a warmer sleeping bag.. Soaked through and hungry we ordered a pot of tea at The Plough and browsed the lunch menu. I don’t think I have ever been to The Plough despite living in Alnwick for many years and I was really surprised by the modern decor and plush furniture. I ordered the tempura salmon which was presented as fish and chips in a little crate which I loved although it was a little tricky to eat out of! John had a roast which he says was one of the best Sunday lunches he’d ever had!
On our way back to the campsite the weather started to improve and by the time we arrived the sun was shining and the sandy beach was beckoning. From the campsite its a five minute walk to Budle Bay, a sheltered nature reserve just around the corner from Bamburgh and next to the hamlet of Waren Mill. Budle Bay is a bird sanctuary with huge mudflats that can be seen at low tide and beautiful wide white sandy beaches. We walked to the point where if you look South you can see the lighthouse at Bamburgh and to the North you have a stunning view of Lindisfarne. You could easily walk along the beach to Bamburgh if you had the time and we definitely intend to do that one day! On our way we explored the remnants of a WW2 bunker, climbed on a dilapidated pier and got a little bit wind swept!
After dinner we decided to do explore the campsite as despite it being our second visit we didn’t know how big Meadowhead’s Waren Caravan and Camping Park was or what else it had to offer. The clubhouse has a restaurant which we’ve eaten in a couple of times, it’s nothing special but the food is good and the bar is a comfy place to spend a couple of hours when it’s cold or wet outside. It also has a shop, games room and outside there’s a splash pool for the kids to enjoy in the summer and a playground with a zip wire! As we wondered around the park we got a better idea of it’s scale. The touring section is separate from the main park so we didn’t really have a concept of just how sprawling it is! There are hundreds of static caravans, lodges and even wigwams. We found a woodland trail and play area nestled among the caravans and set above them we discovered a picnic area with stunning views across the bay. Noticing the sun was starting to set we popped back to the tent to grab a bottle of wine then settled down on one of the picnic benches to watch the sun go down over Holy Island.
After a better nights sleep thanks to our new sleeping bag and a few extra layers it was time to pack up. The sun was shining so another trip to the beach was in order before we headed home.
We had a wonderful long weekend and it just goes to show that sometimes camping is worth the risk of bad weather!