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Haven Berwick Holiday Park
Caravan holidays at Berwick are full of your Haven favourites: your own cosy caravan, fantastic activities and shows, plus indoor and outdoor heated pools. The stunning English countryside is what makes this park special. Rugged coastal walks and breathtaking clifftop views of Northumberland’s castles, golf courses and beaches are a part of life here.
Dogfriendly Magazine Review
Read our comprehensive review of this listing printed in our bi-monthly magazine.
Name: Haven Berwick
Reviewer: Helen Steel
Deciding upon our UK summer holiday often depends on two factors. One – not driving too far, and two – beautiful beaches. For some reason, we’d never considered Northumberland, but with 40 miles of coastline in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we weren’t sure why.
The Haven holiday park in Berwick ticked all the boxes for our family of four plus Grandma and two dogs; our Meg the cairn cross, and Grandma’s Bella. As Berwick is the most northerly point of Northumberland, we opted to break up the journey from Leeds, and begin our tour on the southernmost tip, Whitley Bay.
We knew Berwick and the more northern beaches would be a rugged, peaceful coastline, so we decided to first experience the more touristy resort of Whitley Bay for a couple of days. While it’s got the all-singing, all-dancing arcades, summer funfairs and street sellers, it was also surprisingly historic and, more importantly, welcoming to four paws. There were crowds, but there were dozens of dogs too and, if you head straight down from the main promenade, you are faced with a choice of turning right, where dogs are banned or turning left, onto a mile of beach which ends at the beautiful St Mary’s Lighthouse.
Not exactly hard to access, it’s an unrestricted sandy playground, which has a prestigious blue flag to boot. The beach is fairly packed in the summer months, but after a few minutes’ walk it becomes eerily quiet. It’s about half an hour’s walk to the causeway leading to the lighthouse.
The lighthouse itself is a part-time island, a miniature version of the more famous Lindisfarne, or Holy Island, which we would later explore. It was completed in 1898 on a hazardous coast for shipping, and during our exploration the children learned it remained operational until 1984. It’s surrounded by a nature reserve with rock pools, and it’s the go-to place for seals who are hauling-out after hunting. We were lucky enough to see four of them. It’s now a visitor attraction run by the council, which commendably has recognised that many walkers will have their dogs with them. For that reason, it’s one of the few nature reserves we’ve been to where dogs are allowed. Volunteers are on hand to stop both human and hound getting too close, and we did witness one family being asked to put their dog back on a lead, so it is, understandably, a strict lead-only policy. You can also climb the 137 steps to the top of the lighthouse for the most spectacular views of the North East coast.
After nearly being caught out by the tide – much to the six-year-old’s excitement – we made it back to dry land. An easy walk back along the prom and another historic treat was in store: Whitley’s most famous landmark is the Spanish City – a Victorian pleasure dome which was restored to its former glory a decade ago. Within is a grand place called Valerie’s Tearoom. And yes, dogs are allowed!
When it was time for the next pit stop (we never leave it too long), a great place for a meal is the Crab and Waltzer. As great for dogs as it was for children (happily there was an actual waltzer to eat in – but it made it harder to explain to the eldest why there wasn’t a White Horse in the next pub). A warm welcome, dog treats and a quick visit from the resident puppy too.
We spent a night in a nearby apartment in Seaton Delaval – the Mirror Apartment – booked through Finest Retreats (finestretreats.co.uk). Surprisingly chic considering it accepts families and pets. There’s a plethora of pet-friendly accommodation on booking.com. Next, we headed north for the more tranquil seas of Berwick-Upon-Tweed for the main event. But we couldn’t resist stopping off at Alnwick, home of the Harry Potter castle and boasting plenty of dog friendly pubs and cafes.
We were disappointed to learn neither Alnwick castle nor the grounds accepted dogs, but it was made up for by the discovery of a lovely riverside walk which offered spectacular views of the castle. Once rejected at the gigantic gates, we walked down across the bridge – castle on our right – until we came to a public footpath on the right. It takes you across fields and a right turn at the road leads back up to Alnwick. Back in the town, we spent a pleasant hour having tea and cake at Bailey’s in the centre. There’s a parking disc system in operation – make sure you have £1 in cash to buy them from local shops which will give you 2–3 hours.
A 40-minute drive and we arrived at the trusty Haven venue. We’ve been to a couple, so we knew, as a family with kids and dogs, we would fit right in. But we’d never been to one this far north and it just felt more remote and less touristy than the others we’d been to.
Our caravan was a silver (best value in our minds) and it had all the usual benefits – loads of dog poo bins, a lengthy coastline just yards away, and a relaxed dog policy which allows well-behaved dogs to stay in caravans so you can enjoy the entertainment. We really valued the decking – where the dogs chilled out every day. The children lived for the swimming, and we even sampled the outdoor pool, which was surprisingly warm. Not a dog friendly activity, but that was the beauty of being allowed to leave the dogs for short periods.
What made the Berwick Holiday Park stand out was its proximity to such a historic town, and access to such a long expanse of unrestricted beach for dogs. There were no bans at all for miles. There are quite steep steps down to the sand, and the nearest cove is exciting for youngsters, with hidden caves.
But the most beautiful beach – known as Fisherman’s Haven – is to be found a couple of minutes north (turn right when you exit onto the clifftop walk). It’s an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and great for wildlife-spotting too. Look out for ringed Plovers, Eider Ducks and Oystercatchers around the beach. Sightings of dolphins, porpoises and even basking sharks have been reported.
Another favourite walk was around the Elizabethan town walls; accessed just outside the entrance to the Haven park. It’s a mile and a quarter of spectacular views and exploring battlements. It’s fairly high so people with unpredictable dogs (I’m thinking full-speed labradors) might want to be careful they don’t run off.
A highlight was not only the picture worthy view from one of rampart’s corners, but the fact it was called Meg’s Mount. You can spend time imagining the centuries of conflict between England and Scotland here. Or, as we did – spotting pubs and cafes to eat at.
We did find a plethora of places to eat with Meg and Bella. That night we chose Foxton’s Wine Bar, which, despite the chic vibe, accepted us willingly. Great choice of vegetarian food too, and dog bowls and treats out. The next day, lunch was served at Fantoosh, a lovely vintage venue which even had a basket for the dogs.
On land, there’s the cafes and beaches, but in fact the seas around Berwick are dog friendly too. We booked a one-hour estuary tour and spotted gannets and seals, but the star animal attractions were the dogs. The kids on the boat just wanted to stroke them. Meg and Bella didn’t mind a bit.
We did venture further than Berwick later on in our four-night stay here. The beaches directly down from Haven, though beautiful, were compact and you can’t walk a great distance before hitting a cove. We decided upon a clifftop walk from the park to Spittal partly because it’s sandwiched between famous neighbours (Berwick and Tweedmouth) and, well, we like to give the underdog a go. After a couple of miles walking along the Northumberland Coastal Path, crossing Berwick Bridge, we arrived at a huge expanse of beach, and none of us were disappointed.
Mum, with her knees steadily heading towards a replacement, loved the accessibility and views. The children found a little water park and amusement arcade. I found an incredibly cheap place for tea and cake, while the dogs would have run wild all year if they could (and they could; there are no restrictions at any time). Plus, it was deserted. We couldn’t work out why, but it made for easy photo opportunities, without having to wait for people to stroll out of shot.
Speaking of which, somewhere we did have to wait a considerable time for a photo opportunity was Lindisfarne, or Holy Island as it is known. But it was worth it. It’s just a 20-minute drive from the Haven park, and so breathtaking when you get near the famous view of Lindisfarne Castle. It was very busy, but if you can get there before 10am in summer it’s not too overcrowded. What surprised us, though, is dogs don’t have to be on leads, even around the castle. They can’t go in the ruins, but the kind National Trust staff did offer to watch them.
Back at the park, after our Lindisfarne trip it was time to pack up. As well taking home a ridiculous amount of luggage, toys, dog towels and buggies, we also took with us some fabulous family memories.
Haven Berwick, review by Helen Steel and appears in DogFriendly magazine issue 76 . For more information on the DogFriendly magazine visit https://www.dogfriendly.co.uk/magazine
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Listing Updated: 21/03/2023
Changes to businesses do occur. Please do double check this business is still dog friendly before you make a booking
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