Forestry Commission logo
England's Woods & Forests
We are soon to launch our new website for the public forests in England. Take an early look at the beta site

Kielder Water and Forest Park - Planning your visit


We endeavour to make our facilities as accessible to as many people as possible. To help plan your visit, check the Kielder Castle Accessibility Guide at Visit England or go to our access page.

How much does it cost?View over Kielder water from Bull Crag viewpoint

A car park fee of £5 is charged at the Castle Car Park, including blue badge holders. This ticket allows you to park in any car park in Kielder Water and Forest park (including Northumbrian Water Car parks). In addition, to enhance short stays for visitors, a rate of £1.50 per hour, up to one hour, is available. Vehicles using the scenic 12 mile Forest Drive are requested to pay a £3 toll at the Kielder Castle end of the drive (a £7 joint car park/forest drive ticket is available from pay machines).

Access to Kielder Castle and associated facilities is free.

When is it open?

Kielder Water and Forest Park never closes! Access to the forest can be made 24 hours a day. Kielder Castle Cafe and exhibition are daily March to November (selected days during December to February), while the Forest Drive is open from May to Christmas, weather permitting.

What facilities are there?

Kielder Water and Forest Park - VisitEngland Awards for Excellence gold winner, 2013Gold winner at the 2013 Visit England Tourism Awards, Kielder Castle Visitor Centre includes an exhibition, licensed restaurant, adventure playground and maze. Cycle hire is available near the visitor centre. The forest contains a large range of waymarked walking and cycling routes (suitable for all abilities), horse riding trails, picnic sites and many art pieces.

How to get there?

Kielder Water and Forest Park is England’s largest forest, centred at Kielder Castle (adjacent to Kielder village) in the breathtaking wild Border Country around the North Tyne Valley. Kielder is about as remote as it gets in England, with the nearest major population centres over fifty miles away.

By Public Transport: On Tuesdays and Fridays, service 694 connects Kielder with Hexham. The bus departs Kielder at 0900 (arrives Hexham 1040) and returns from Hexham at 1345 (arriving Kielder at 1525). 

By Car: The fastest route to Kielder Forest is via the A69 Carlisle-Newcastle road. From the east, leave at the junction for Corbridge and follow the Brown tourist signs on to the A68. From the west, exit the A69 at the turn for Bellingham (B6320) and follow the brown tourist signs for the Forest. If you are travelling from the Scottish borders, there are two routes that take you Kielder Castle. The first is via the A68 from Jedburgh, turning on to the Kielder Forest Drive toll road 2 miles (4 kilometres) north of Rochester. Alternatively, follow the B6357 from Bonchester Bridge or Newcastleton to Kielder for a spectacular ‘alternative’ Border crossing.

Where to Stay?

Accommodation in the Kielder area is in limited supply, so it is worth booking ahead, especially in the summer season. There are options to suit all visitors, from mountain bothies and campsites, to bed and breakfasts and spacious cabins.

For information on the location of bothies and backpacking sites in the Kielder area, contact Linda Scott on 01434 220242 or visit the Mountain Bothies Association website.

The ‘Visit Northumberland’ website has a list of accommodation in the area and runs an online booking service at or call their visitor helpline on 08701 601781. 

Nearest Tourist Information Centres:
Bellingham 01434 220616
Hexham 01434 652220
Otterburn 01830 520093

Where to eat?

Kielder Castle Cafe is the home of good food with a friendly welcome where you can enjoy afternoon tea or a hot meal in the glorious setting of the Castle’s historic grounds. Telephone 01434 250100. 

For details of other eating establishments in the Kielder area, click on 

Last updated: 23rd July 2018

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.