Tollymore Forest Park, County Down

This week, we took some inspiration from Bear Grylls, and decided to go camping in Newcastle.

For the student of garden follies, Tollymore is a rare treat.

If you’re a big fan of the outdoors, Tollymore is definitely not one to be missed! We began our journey by getting rid of our old tent, and buying this new bad boy…



The last time we camped out, we parked up at Maghera beach in Donegal, and slept in a Korean teepee. It was one of the worst nights sleep I’ve ever had. The teepee tent was by a company called Moncross of Swiss.

Here’s the old tent…



Sleeping in this tent was like sleeping inside a wet toilet roll. We were freezing, soaked, and covered in shit.

This tent is not for camping! When we woke up the thing was completely soaked with condensation. Some of our equipment was nearly ruined. This teepee is the type of thing you would put up in the garden, during the day, for kids to play in (not when it’s raining, though).

The Vango Alpha is a great tent, it took around 10 minutes to set-up and only cost £85.00. If you’re planning on camping regularly, it’s good to invest in a decent tent.

After we bought the tent, we grabbed a few cheap bits for camping from Sports Direct, and headed off into the distance. The journey from Donegal to Newcastle took roughly 3 hours by car.

It was worth the drive!


 We set up the tent in a beautiful area that they have reserved specifically for camping.



I cooked some burgers, we had a few drinks and then we set off into the park. I don’t want to give too much away but there is a place in the forest called the Hermitage and it’s like “The Shire” from Lord of the Rings.

Tollymore Forest was also one of the many Northern Irish locations used in Game of Thrones.


Tollymore Forest Park is home to magnificent red woods, centuries-old stone structures and the forbidding White Walkers. Known as the Haunted Forest in Westeros, this expanse of wild woodland is where we first came face-to-face with the cold-blooded creatures. It’s also where the Starks encountered their newborn direwolves for the first time. Seek out treasures of your own in the mossy glow of these ancient trees – but be on the lookout for any blue eyes watching you from the gloom..



We arrived there at around 6pm, so night fell upon us quickly. We didn’t get to do much walking after set-up, so we headed back to the tent, and called it a night.

It is a family campsite, so we were subject to a few children crying in the middle of the night. Stephen was not amused…

I (on the other hand), was OK with it. I had a great nights sleep after catching up on the latest episode of Game of Thrones!


We got ready at around 10am and headed for the hills. We were armed with a map, some water, and these really cool jackets

… that we wore in 50 million degrees of heat!

There are some really amazing walking trails in the forest park:

We aren’t seasoned hikers, so we decided that we would take the River Trail. Realistically, this should have taken us around an hour or so, however … STEPHEN GOT US LOST ON THE MOURNE WAY AND WE ARRIVED BACK AT THE CAR PARK THREE AND A HALF HOURS LATER!

It was still great fun, though!

We absolutely loved the experience, the only thing I would mention is that you can’t light an open fire when camping at this site. It is a family campsite, so it can be a little dangerous if you have children running around.

You are allowed a barbecue (but it must be off the ground). We used our second bag of charcoal and lit a fire in the barbecue bucket at the end off the night to keep us warm.

If you’d like more information on the campsite, please visit the following website:

See you next time, folks!


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