Home / Destinations / How to Enjoy the Perfect Northumberland Weekend with Teenagers

How to Enjoy the Perfect Northumberland Weekend with Teenagers

starry skies in the forest
Source: Pixabay

Ever been on holiday or for a weekend away with your kids (or step-kids in my case) where frankly you ended up wishing you hadn’t bothered? Every suggestion met with grumbling dismissals, endless ‘I’m bored’ comments, or interminable tantrums and sibling arguments enough to frazzle your nerves.

Holidays are a chance to relax and leave your worries behind but sometimes holidays with kids in tow make you wish long for a return to work. Thankfully it hasn’t happened much but it has happened. Our last overseas family trip to Turkey was not a resounding success shall we say!

Some may call me a wicked step-mum for daring to suggest that life with the little ones can be stressful, but if all you parents out there are honest with yourselves, you will recognise an element of truth in this.

Perfect Northumberland weekend for teenagers

I’m a sucker for punishment however so last month we agreed to head to Kielder forest park in Northumberland with three teens in tow. Given that any suggestion of a long walk or mountain bike outing is usually met with blunt teenager hostility, is it possible to enjoy a weekend getaway with teenagers and not end up wanting to throttle them?

Northumberland Weekend-36
The lake at Kielder

Well, let’s find out. To help me answer this questions, I have input from my teenage step-daughter, Abbey (aged 19 and 3/4). She is going to share with you her experience of our recent weekend visit to Kielder.

Abbey’s weekend escape in the British Isles

Spending time in log cabins and holiday cottages has been a regular occurrence during my childhood and late teens, so I was pleased to find out I would be participating in another treasured trip, a chance to spend time with my family and not really focus on much else.

As I sat in the hot tub, surrounded by outstanding views, I listened to nature around me, watching the odd red squirrel scampering the nearby trees and felt completely content, not having to worry about life’s everyday stresses coming with becoming older.

Being literally in the middle of nowhere is a freeing feeling, although at first not having a phone signal was rather daunting (Anne: ha ha I don’t know how she coped!) but spending quality time with loved ones seems that little bit more special with no distractions.


Although relaxing in the hot tub is great, I was pleased to find out about the large variety of activities on offer at Kielder. When my dad asked me and my siblings if we wanted to try shooting crossbow, obviously we were rather excited. I have to admit I don’t have the best aim in the world, quite embarrassing when your (little) sister’s getting a bullseye every time!

Northumberland Weekend-30

Possibly the highlight of the weekend was playing boules with my family; this was hilarious because we were all so terrible and the grass was so boggy the balls were just sinking into it. Safe to say I was covered in mud at the end of the game!

Bar and restaurant

As someone who does appreciate a good glass of wine, I was pleasantly surprised at how lovely the on-site bar was. Decorated modern with a warm positive ambiance I felt content drinking my large glass of chardonnay. The food served couldn’t be faulted and I was happy to indulge in large inviting portions you would expect from any good restaurant.

Nearby villages

Being literally in the middle of nowhere, to get to civilization you most definitely need to travel by car. Surrounding villages are about 15 minutes away so there is a lot of driving involved. Quaint tea rooms and cosy pubs occupy these areas so there’s no trouble in finding a good pint.

Abbey’s Verdict

Soon to be turning 20, everyday life is a stressful confused blur. Usually life’s issues are cured by cheap whiskey and head numbing nights out with friends, so trips like this are a refreshing pleasure. I would recommend any young adult to drop life for the weekend and spend quality time with loved ones in this blissful haven situated in one of the most calming places in England (It’s even better when someone else is paying!).

Final musings from Anne

So it seems our weekend getaway was rather appreciated by Abbey even without a trace of whiskey in sight. For me personally, our weekend getaway to Kielder was the best trip away we have had together in years.

Even without glorious blue skies, scorching temperatures and lots of bars nearby, everyone enjoyed themselves. I think the last time we scored a winner like that was when Abbey was about fourteen and the other two children had yet to enter the hormone infested teenage years!

So hands down, you can do a weekend visit to Kielder with teenagers and have everyone survive the experience.

Northumberland weekend views of Kielder

Top tips for parents

  1. Check out the activities on offer at Leaplish beforehand. There’s tons to do including outdoor activities, a visit to the Birds of Prey centre and star gazing in the dark sky park.
  2. Do pre-book activities in high season to avoid disappointment and those irritating ‘I’m bored’ moments.
  3. Book a cabin with a hot tub – there’s no better way to keep the teens entertained!
  4. If you have younger children, come in winter to experience a true winter wonderland with Santa and his elves.
  5. Read our review of the cabins for more tips

And finally, I will finish with those all important money-saving travel tips for a weekend in Kielder.

Top Travel Hack tips for a Kielder weekend

  1. Visit the AVIOS store and find Hoseasons then click-through and book as normal. This way you will earn BA miles (known as AVIOS) for your trip
  2. Stock up in Tesco before you visit as it is a twenty-minute drive to Bellingham and you will earn Tesco Clubcard points which you can convert into airmiles or other treats
  3. Sign up for alerts from Hoseasons and Leaplish to be notified of those last-minute deals

Pin this for a forest gazing weekend in Northumberland:

Forest scenes in Northumberland
Source: PIxabay

Disclaimer: We stayed courtesy of Leaplish but all views are our own and totally unedited. We say it as it is!

Links within this post may be affiliate links for which I receive a small commission, which contributes towards the running costs of the website. If you want to support me so I can continue writing content please do click on these if you decide to make purchases. There is however no obligation to do so!

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of Frommilestosmiles. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money-saving travel tips

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  1. I love Northumberland, a nice beautiful part of the country. Love the villages but never really went into the wild there. Great post.

  2. Sounds like you guys managed to find the right balance just fine! I love the different point of view. I can totally relate to her feeling of life can get so confusing at that age as I was there not that long ago. Getting in the nature can indeed give you such a relaxing feeling and a way to escape your daily life. Actually, that is what travelling does as well.

  3. I have never heard of this place, but the photos look lovely. Sounds like a great trip.

  4. Loved the pictures, especially the last one :). Looks absolutely dreamy! I had never heard of this place, now I do and I thank you for it :).

  5. It’s not easy choosing a destination for a family holiday and it’s even harder to pick a spot for an extended or even a multigenerational holiday. I think you did quite well – all things considered – Anne. And it sounds like Abbey is a mature young lady.

  6. I am glad you had a great family weekend. I love places like this that are very peaceful in nature with many outdoor activities

  7. I have generally found that my teenagers balked at any travel plans we made without their input. With careful research and time spent discussing amenities and options, if we came to a mutual consensus, things always went better. Northumberland looks to be a great location –where the vacation needs of both parents and teens can be met easily. Thank you for an informative post from two different perspectives!

  8. Love that Abbey has contributed herself, sounds like she has such a healthy attitude to the advantages of dropping out of the rat race for a while, and recovering from the usual stresses. I was lucky to grow up in a family who loved travelling, so I was never reluctant to go on holiday, and it was in an era before mobile phones, but I was lucky that we always did active trips, often tours, so I was never bored for a moment. I love that photo of the starry night sky!

    • It is definitely good for us all to switch off sometimes and it certainly helps when there is no signal. Yes the night skies up there are totally stunning. I really want to head back at a time when it is possible to see the Northern Lights. Thanks for stopping by.

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