Based largely within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Weardale is a cosy little village nestled amongst farmlands and valleys. Situated within County Durham in the North East of England, it is the location of the Heather View Leisure Park, part of Verdant Leisure, and our new home for a week of exploring and adventure.
We were invited to stay in this fabulous place and we all had an excellent time. Between history lessons and waterfalls, Missys socks were well walked off, and we want to share our experience with you.
This review is sponsored (gifted), but our opinions and excitement for this place is completely independent.
During these strange times with Covid and the ever changing regional restrictions, we were pleased that the park had a video on their website listing what safety features were in place, and what to expect on our arrival.
After a lengthy drive from our Scottish home base, we were pleased that it was a as simple as popping on a face mask and heading into reception. We were given another Covid brief before being handed our keys (in a zip-lock baggie, having been deep claned), a map to our lodge and having all the nearby amenities pointed out.
Missy was keen to be out of the car and be fed, so, after breaking the cleaning seal on the door, she was first in to explore whilst we unpacked – thankfully our parking spot was right beside the lodge, so she didn’t have long to wait for her dinner.
The big difference between a lodge and a caravan is size – at nearly double the width and a good bit extra on the end, space is not an issue in these modern and contemporary spaces.
There is an open plan living and dining area and the kitchen comes with all the mod cons. Ours was the three bedroom model which came with two washrooms, each with toilet, power shower and sink (one being en-suite to the master bedroom). Owing to poor weather, we were unable to use the large balcony-come-decking area, but were still able to enjoy the beautiful views from the large patio windows.
To complete the arrival, we received a welcoming pack (which is available as an add-on extra according to the website), and were delighted to have some milk and bread ready to go for a well deserved cuppa. Missy recognised the yellow pedigree packets of treats we also received, and was very pleased with those!
Food & Drink
Owing to Covid, all entertainments were cancelled on site. There is a pub/restaurant – the Riverview Bar and Grill, which did not allow dogs within the premises, but offered plenty of outside seating and a takeaway/delivery menu. We did check if this was a Covid thing, but the staff explained that it was a permanent decision to no longer allow dogs.
With the chilly autumn weather, and near constant drizzle, we opted to try the takeaway menu which covered all the usual British staples from burgers and pizzas to mac’n’cheese. The Bar itself is nice and offers a wide array of dinks and there was also a selection of claw-machine type arcade games. In a pre-covid world, it appears there was also a pool table available, but was not available for use when we stopped in to collect food.
The collection was quick, so we didn’t need to wait long, and both burger and scampi certainly hit the spot and were delicious. The outdoor seating area did look very nice, and in better weather I can imagine it being popular with dog owners.
The site itself has two very nice well beaten paths for short dog walks. One is a quick riverside walk (which can be extended with a lap round a field) and the other takes you behind the train station and to a playing field, perfect for dogs whose walks must absolutely feature a tennis ball.
The village of Weardale is only a mile away and can be walked easily with pavements available for most of the journey. Once at the village, there is a choice of small bespoke shops, cafes, a decent sized Co-Op, pubs and takeaways. For those who enjoy browsing arts and crafts stores, the Durham Dales Centre offers a mix of dog friendly stores and well covered shelter.
What to Do
Durham offers a wide array of dog friendly adventures for all tastes – when looking into what we wanted to do, we found so many things we are going to have to come again. Here’s our top picks (and all within a half hour of Heatherview):
A world-famous open-air museum, depicting life in North East England from the Georgian era to the 1950s. Whilst dogs aren’t permitted in the buildings, there’s so much to see and do that you won’t get bored when taking turns.
Both the castle itself, and the village named after it, are dog friendly. We paired our visit to Barnard Castle with the 30 minute walk to Egglesham Abbey.
There are a few options on how to see this spectacular 70ft drop: from the Northern side via the Raby estate where a fee is charged, or from the Southern side via the Bowlees visitors centre and walking the Pennine way.
To read a more in depth review of our Durham adventures, please read our other blog post: “Our Durham Adventures“
Heather View offers an ideal central location to get out and explore what Durham has to offer. The facilities and accommodation were modern, spacious and up to date with everything you could want on a self-catering holiday and then some. The staff were friendly at all times and the local area offered everything we needed at a pinch.
If you are looking for a comfortable base of operations where you can enjoy all the modern luxuries after a day out, then Missy and I would certainly recommend the Heather View Leisure Park.