Home to a striking coastline, numerous grand castles and the famous Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland is an enchanting corner of the country. Located in the North East of England, it’s a designated Area of Outstanding Beauty, filled with golden beaches, market towns and spectacular green landscapes. Thinking of planning a trip there? We’ve teamed up with Cottages in Northumberland to bring you a guide to the vibrant county…
Go to the beach
With 39 miles of unspoilt coastline, The Northumberland Coast is a beautiful place to explore. Bamburgh Beach, nestled between Bamburgh Castle and the Fame Islands, is a particularly majestic stretch of land with clear seas and golden sands. Head there for a day of relaxation, or if you fancy something a bit more active there are plenty of opportunities for water sports across the region, including surfing, kayaking and powerboating.
Escape to the country
With its rugged landscapes and rolling hills, Northumberland has ample opportunities for those who enjoy a good walk. Home to the historical Hadrian’s Wall and the picturesque Cheviot Hills, Northumberland National Park is renowned for its beauty. You could spend hours exploring there, particularly with so many other activities on offer such as horse-riding and rock-climbing.
Visit a castle
There are over 70 castles in Northumberland, ranging from ruins to well-preserved fortresses. One of Britain’s most iconic castles, Alnwick is the second largest inhabited castle in England. Harry Potter fans will recognise it as the location for Hogwarts in the first two films, and it also served as the magnificent Brancaster Castle in Downtown Abbey. Chillingham Wild Cattle and Castle is also an interesting one to explore. It’s home to the only herd of wild cattle in the world who have lived in the castle’s grounds, unhindered by man, for over 700 years. Others worth a visit include Warkworth, Lindisfarne and Dunstarburgh.
Meet the local wildlife
Lying two to three miles off the Northumberland coast, The Farne Islands are the most famous Bird Sanctuary in the British Isles. They’re also home to a large colony of Atlantic Grey Seals, with around 150,000 seabirds competing for space there during breeding season. Hop on a boat from Seahouses Harbour to see the local wildlife in its natural habitat. Alternatively, head to Kielder Water and Forest Park, which boasts the biggest man-made lake in Northern Europe. Here you might see red squirrels, otters, bats, woodland birds, and from late March to early September keep your eyes peeled for Ospreys.
Get an adrenaline rush
Thrill-seekers will be spoilt for choice in Northumberland. Adventure Northumberland offers guided adventures in coasteering, sea kayaking, mountain biking and more, while Northside Surf School teaches surfing and bodyboarding lessons across several of the region’s beaches. Children will love Castle Mania, a castle-themed indoor adventure play centre, with more than 40 features including a three-storey adventure play frame and an outdoor go-karting track.
See Hadrian’s Wall
Hadrian’s Wall is the best-preserved frontier of the Roman Empire, with great stretches still in tact today. Along the wall there are all sorts of museums, archaeological sites and ruined forts to explore, alongside plenty of vibrant cities, pubs and landscapes.
Over the past few years, Northumberland has become a hub for golfers, with many courses across the region. One of the most scenic is Bamburgh Castle Golf Club, boasting views of the Farne Islands and the Cheviot Hills. Other good spots include Alnmouth Golf Club, widely regarded as one of the best golf courses in the North East, and Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Course, designed by the great golf course architect James Braid.