Northumberland Tourism is urging people to take extra care and respect local communities following changes to the guidance made by the Prime Minister on Sunday 10 May.
We would still like to reiterate our initial message and strongly advise that, wherever possible, you continue to stay local and exercise close to home.
However, we must address the new guidelines and work to ensure that the public are respectful to our local communities should they choose to visit, and that the county delivers the new guidelines safely and responsibly.
We would encourage visitors to consider the guidelines in the spirit they were intended, those being to visit the outdoors for the purposes of exercise.
While we look forward to welcoming visitors to Northumberland's destinations, attractions and experiences in due course, it is still not yet the time for the usual tourist day trip. Following the guidelines, certain areas of the county have entered into a phased re-opening and Northumberland County Council has announced a phased re-opening for coastal and visitor car parks as public safety remains a top priority.
We ask that visitors adhere to the following guidance:
• Stay away from village and residential centres and strictly observe Government guidelines on social distancing at all times.
• Please do not visit areas where car parks and public toilets remain closed.
• Park only in an official, marked car parking space and if this isn’t possible then please turn around and move on.
• Please be reminded that the government guidance does not currently permit leaving your home to stay overnight at another home. Please see here a link to the official government FAQs page.
Car Parks and Public Toilets
41 car parks will re-open by Friday, May 22. Northumberland County Council has considered factors such as the ability to socially distance, the impact on and the views of the local community and where vehicles might otherwise park and cause problems if the car park remained shut. Further work is being undertaken to ensure public toilets in some of the car parks meet safety and social distancing standards - so some may not be open on Friday. For those car parks which remain closed for the time being the public toilets will also remain closed and people are advised not to visit these locations. The council is not encouraging people to make unnecessary journeys and must ask people to be considerate when parking.
Kielder Water & Forest Park
A phased re-opening of facilities at Kielder Water & Forest Park will take a step forward this week, and some car parks and public toilets re-opened on Wednesday 20th May. Kielder Water & Forest Park asks that people continue to stay local for their exercise and remain close to home, but they acknowledge that some people will choose to visit and they are urging those individuals to be respectful when they do so.
The Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership
The Northumberland Coast AONB are advising that people do not visit at this time. Car parks are still closed, public conveniences are closed and businesses with conveniences are also closed. Shops are providing for local needs and are a lifeline for local people – we ask that you please respect the needs of small communities.
Northumberland National Park
Northumberland National Park aim to deliver the Government’s message and manage the situation as safely and responsibly as possible and have been working hard to prepare for a phased return. From the morning of Friday 15 May in line with Government advice, other English National Parks began to open their car parks. Social distancing measures have been put in place, their ticket machines will be card only, signs will be in place providing advice and members of staff will be on patrol. Please follow their instructions carefully and pay extra attention to on site signage.
National Trust are working towards a phased return while holding the safety of their staff, volunteers and local communities as their top priority. Some of their car parks in England have begun to re-open, but their pay-for entry places remain closed at this time.
The North Pennines AONB Partnership
The North Pennines AONB Partnership is urging people to take extra care and respect local communities when spending time outdoors. They are asking people to think carefully before they visit, avoid visiting towns and villages, and consider the needs of local communities in and around the North Pennines AONB.