Staycation Vs Vacation

The ultimate question every family asks every single year… staycation or vacation?

With Christmas over and everyone in the midst of credit card debt, cutbacks and lifestyle changes are happening everywhere! Sometimes a staycation, especially in the countryside, can be more enjoyable than a vacation.. so we’re taking a look at the pro’s and con’s of staycations to help you decide.


1 – You save money Staycations are a massive money saver, there’s no worries about flights, hotel rooms and whether to go all-inclusive or half board. There’s no ridiculous prices beach sun beds, ‘bottomless’ cocktails or excursions to think about either.

2 – Less time travelling more time vacationing! The good thing about staycations is you don’t have to travel for hours (home to the airport, time spent on the plane, and then transfers) with staycations you can literally get up and go! 

3 – You’re giving back to the UK economy When choosing to staycation, you’re automatically putting money back into the UK economy and also helping local businesses! Win Win! 


1 – The weather One thing we can never control is the weather! England is notorious for freezing, damp months, so organising a staycation during unreliable Spring/Summer sometimes is a stab in the dark!

2  – Escaping from the daily grind. Being in the same country is less of a disconnect from the real world life.  But put an ocean or a few continents in between of you and your inbox it certainly helps with relaxing.

3 – No Culture Vulture!  Staying at home means the culture shift you get from visiting another time zone doesn’t really happen.

Top 10 things to do whilst staying in Allenheads

Whilst staying in Allenheads Lodge there’s plenty to do in the surrounding areas, here’s our top 10 must do’s when staying at Allenheads!

Number One – Visit Hadrian’s Wall

Hadrians Wall

Situated just 40 minutes away from Allenheads Lodge, Hadrian’s Wall is a must visit. Hadrian’s Wall was the North-West frontier of the Roman Empire for nearly 300 years, and at 73 miles long it marches across Northern Britain from Sea to Sea.  Made a World Heritage Site in 1987, Hadrian’s Wall makes an excellent visit where you can explore ruined forts, museums and even a Roman Town!

Number Two – Hexham Town and Market

Hexham Market

Voted England’s favourite market town and situated less than half an hour from Allenheads Lodge, Hexham’s popular weekly market is a must visit! Offering everything from locally baked goods to handmade gift, you’re sure to find something! The market runs every Tuesday from 9am-4pm in Hexham Town Centre.

There’s also the twice monthly Farmers Market offering locally produced ingredients, meat and vegetables. The Farmers Market takes place on the second and fourth Saturday of each month.

Number Three – Killhope Lead Mine


If you’re looking for somewhere different to go for a day out, take the family to Killhope Lead Mining Museum, an industrial museum near the village of Cowshill. Located just a 12 minute drive from Allenheads, Killhope Museum allows you to explore the dark underground world of a lead miner, and experience life as a washer boy! There’s also breath-taking scenery and lots of wildlife, plus there’s a café offering home baked goods!

Currently closed for winter, Killhope Lead Mine will reopen on 1st April 2019.

Number Four – Allendale Pub Crawl

Allendale Village is just a 15 minute bus ride away, and is a town packed full of cosy pubs, making it the perfect location for a pub crawl. Make sure you visit The Allendale Inn, The Kings Head and The Golden Lion, all cosy pubs that are perfect for a pint by the roaring fire!

Number Five – Weardale

If you’re wanting to take in the scenery on a long walk whilst staying at Allenheads Lodge, Weardale is a must visit! Just 20 minutes away from Allenheads, the dale or valley of Weardale is situated on the east side of the Pennines in County Durham.

Large parts of Weardale fall within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the second largest in England and Wales. Surrounded by high fells and heather grouse moors, Weardale is the perfect countryside escape.


Number Six – High Force

One of the most spectacular waterfalls in England, High Force is a fantastic day out for all the family. Situated on the River Tees, High Force is within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and European Geopark. Leading up to the waterfall is a peaceful and pretty woodland walk, ideal if you want to tire the dog, or the kids out!

High Force is open daily 10am-5pm (4pm in Winter), and has a car park and toilets. Admission to High Force is £1.50 (adults 16+) and 50p (children 5-15)

Number Seven – The Lake District

Just an hours drive away from Allenheads Lodge is England’s largest National Park, The Lake District. Home to areas such as Keswick and Windermere which make for fantastic visiting, The Lake District is also home to Scafell Pike – its highest mountain, and Wastwater – its deepest lake. The World of Beatrix Potter is in Windermere, and there’s also Lake Cruises on Windermere lake. Keswick is home to the Pencil museum, which is great for kids!

Number Eight – Eden Valley

What some would describe as a hidden little secret, The Eden Valley lays within the Pennines and the Lake District and is a landscape of meadows and lush green countryside, offering the perfect choice of destination for a peaceful walk. Featured on Channel 5 and ITV1, Eden Valley has been tipped one of the best walks with a view and is well worth a visit.

Number Nine – Kielder

A little further away coming in at a one hour and 30 minute drives lies the beautiful Kielder Water and Forest Park. Perfect for all the family, Kielder offers nature on a huge scale! Kielder is home to the biggest man-made lake in Northern Europe and the largest working forest in England. Start at one of the three visitor centres and spend a day discovering what Kielder has to offer.  Plus, you can book on to one of the special Kielder Observatory night events and gaze at the stars!

Number Ten – Alston Town  

The highest market town in England, Alston is nestled away in the Pennine landscape laying within the Eden district of Cumbria. Cobbled streets and distinctive stone buildings that date back to the 17th century make Alston a beautiful town to visit. A busy town with local, cosy pubs, Alston has a great reputation for making delicious local specialities such as Cumberland Mustard and Alston Cheese!


Christmas in the Countryside

If you’re dreaming of getting away from the hustle and bustle of Christmas, there’s nothing better than packing up and heading out into the Countryside. Allenheads is a tranquil village in Northumberland, situated in the Pennines to the North of Weardale.

Village traditions are in full swing, with mulled wine and mince pies in the pub, to the Christmas markets and even the carol singers.

Allenheads is the perfect destination for a Christmas getaway, especially if snow is forecast. Situated in a remote area surrounded by fields and hills, it’s the perfect place for sledging away the days and getting the whole family involved in building snowman’s.

Once Christmas day is over and you’ve ate your body weight and more in turkey, what better way to spend Boxing Day than with a long country walk. A walk in Allenheads countryside will perk you up again, ready for more mulled wine and eggnog.

With Allenheads Lodge catering for anywhere between 2 and 24 guests, you can bring your nearest and dearest or your full family and friends for a full festive party!

We are GO!

18th century stone built lodge.
18th century stone built lodge.

After some successful trials we have a sparkling new website to promote all of the good things that happen up at Allenheads lodge at the top of the Allen Valleys. Allenheads lodge is in the heart of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is  one of the most rugged and remote areas in the North.

The lodge has stood the test of time, originally a Methodist Church, it was converted into a bunkhouse 40 years ago by the YHA and was since acquired by the charity Springboard Sunderland Trust around 30 years ago and it remains a key part of the work that Springboard carries out across the North East.  A basic history of the lodge can be found here.

Coast to Coast Cycle Route

More recently the lodge has become home to a huge number of cyclists completing the coast to coast cycle route, starting in Whitehaven or Workington and finishing up in Sunderland or Tynemouth.  The centre has 24 beds and we can offer breakfast and packed lunch too.  Also in the village are two brilliant places to eat and drink, for food booking is essential.  The Hemmel is a cracking cafe full of character and charm with a large warm log burner too.  Amanda and Peter who own the cafe will create some culinary delights for you and your team but please book in advance as they are only open in the evening when pre-booked.  The Hemmel can be contacted here.  The Allenheads Inn close by completes the package with a range of real ales, spirits and wines. The random items hanging from the ceiling keeps things interesting and trying to figure out what they are is fun too.  Anne and Phil offer a very warm welcome and are very good fun.  To contact the Allenheads Inn head to their website here.

Adventure Residentials

The core work of Springboard to support the development of sustainable communities, where people have the skills needed for work and life.  Springboard operates across the North East and Allenheads Lodge offers a unique opportunity for young people to have a residential experience which includes a huge range of life skills, experiential learning and adventurous activities.  Our most popular activities are ghyll scrambling, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing and improvised rafting.  We are the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service delivery partner for their residentials as part of their Princes Trust Team Programme. The Team programme is a 12 week course that is tailored to each persons needs, it includes a range of elements and includes work experience, an adventure residential, a community project, team building and a fund raising activity.   Springboard also run the Team Programme from Springboard South Tyneside.

A small group getting to grips with the basics.
A small group getting to grips with the basics.

National Cyclo Cross Championships; A Review

Last weekend, Hetton Lyons Country Park fell host to the National Cyclo Cross Championships. Springboard were delighted, and very proud to be involved in supporting such a successful national event within the park, and the feedback we’ve had from spectators both in person and on social from the event has been fantastic.

The event has been named as being ‘World Class Event Standard’ and has encouraged a lot of national cyclists and spectators to come to the park, amongst these where elite champions who gave positive comments about the park, and the standard of the course.

The Park is used throughout the year by Hetton Hawks for training, and here at Springboard, we welcome use of the park with community access year round, and shall continue to support and encourage sporting events offering to incorporate Springboard Adventure training facilities in the future to all local sportsmen and women in the local area, Springboard will always support and encourage such events in any way we can.

Mike Charlton, chairman of Hetton Hawks said; “Most of all I am proud. Proud of the event we delivered as a team, proud of the entire Hetton Hawks club and proud of the way so many people involved in North East Cycling put their hands up and volunteered to make it happen.

It was the Hetton team that won the bid, but it wasn’t just a Hetton team that delivered. It was a much wider team made up of the skills, energy and enthusiasm of the whole of the North East.

Our aim was to deliver an event that did the jersey proud which you all enjoyed, the feedback from the commissaires last night was that together we delivered an event that was world-class.”

Our CEO, David Barker MBE MBA helped to hand out some of the medals on the Saturday.

You can find more images of the weekends event over on Hetton Hawks Facebook page.