Mountains and moors, a coast with miles of empty beaches, forests and lakes…what an amazing place Northumberland is.
So, pack your camping kit and start exploring the land of Hadrian’s Wall, perfectly dark skies and stunning castles.
Funnily enough, when we put out a call to our Facebook followers to tell us about their favourite places in Northumberland, a clear message came back….please don’t tell anyone!
Well, they’ve relented and it’s time to share the beauties of this largely-unsung area.
From Berwick on Tweed to Amble, the coast has earned the status of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Cycle the coastal path, eat gourmet ice-cream in Spurrelli’s in Amble, walk the dunes, have a swim, gaze at the vast stretches of Beadnell or Alnmouth. There are more than 30 miles of beaches, a galapagos of islands and hidden coves.
Go bird watching at the national nature reserve on Holy Island or head to hides at Druridge Bay and Craster, where waders, geese and ducks feed. Take a boat trip to the Farne Islands to see thousands of seabirds including the colourful puffin, as well as the UK’s largest grey seal colony. Keep an eye out for dolphins, whales and porpoises too.
Because Northumberland is mostly rural and mostly quiet, walking and cycling are lovely ways to explore.
There are some famous and sometimes challenging long-distance routes like a section of the Pennine Way, the Sea to Sea (C2C) cycle route and the Hadrian’s Wall Path, but there are also plenty of more leisurely options for circular walks and cycling that take in pretty villages or coastal paths.
Bamburgh is magnificent, Alnwick (with its gorgeous gardens and treehouse restaurant) is extra-special (also visit the huge Barter Books shop in Alnwick), then there’s Warkworth, Lindisfarne on Holy Island (reached by a causeway and cut off twice a day)… and more.
Our favourite, though, is Dunstanburgh. A walk along the coast to the castle is simply fabulous.
A long-held desire to visit Cragside is what took us to Northumberland this time around.
It’s a National Trust house that was the home of Victorian inventor, innovator and landscape genius. Cragside house was a wonder of its age, and is no less fascinating now. It was the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity and is crammed full of ingenious gadgets – most of them still working.
One of the largest rock gardens in Europe leads down to the Iron Bridge and a network of paths and tunnels let you explore a vast rhododendron forest with lakes and picnic spots. There are other NT places to visit too – at Wallington woodlands and Seaton Delaval Hall.
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