Northumberland is the northernmost in North East England. It touches Cumbria over in the west, County Durham to the south and Tyne and Wears to the southeast as well as the Scottish Borders gathering region to the north. Its North Sea coastline is an assigned Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with a 64-mile (103 km) long, beautiful walking path.
This ancient region was once an important part of the sprawling Roman Empire and was the scene of numerous important and bloody battles between England and Scotland. A testament to this is that there are more castles in Northumberland than anywhere else in England. Newcastle, the largest city in Northumberland is about 5 hours from London.
Towns in Northumberland
Northumberland is the most populous county in the North and has plenty of cities and towns to visit.
Newcastle was named after the castle first built there by the son of William the Conqueror. The city developed rapidly over the years as a paramount center for the international wool exchange and it later turned into a significant coal mining center.
The port of Newcastle was developed in the sixteenth century and, alongside the shipyards further along the River Wear, was amongst the world’s biggest shipbuilding and boat repairing operations. Modern-day Newcastle has great shopping centers like The Metro, as well as lots of attractions such as the Centre for Life and Newcastle’s Castle.
Discover beautiful Hexham in the heart of the wonderful Tyne Valley just a couple of miles south of Hadrian’s Wall. Be enraptured by its lovely scenery, a medieval convent set in gorgeous parkland, by the River Tyne. Hexham is an attractive market town as portrayed by its heavily stone-influenced building design, cobbled avenues and old buildings. Hexham has coffee boutiques galore, along with pretty shops, top high street branded outlets as well as individual visitor attractions like Hadrian’s Wall, Hexham Racecourse, and Aydon Castle.
Berwick Upon Tweed
Berwick Upon Tweed is the most northerly town in England, merely a few miles from the Scottish border. It was originally an Anglo Saxon settlement and has some important architectural features.
A market town, it has a busy center and has been home to many important people including James Cockburn, Alan Martin, and Patrick Tonyn. Modern-day Berwick has many fine attractions including Paxton House, The Elizabethan Walls, and the famous Lowry Trail.
Parks and Gardens
Northumberland has won awards for its areas of outstanding natural beauty and has plenty of parks and gardens on display all year round.
The Alnwick Garden
The Duchess of Northumberland’s creative and pioneering vision for an overlooked old plot of land has become a genuinely 21st-century encounter full of creative energy, spark, and fun. Outlined by Jacques and Peter Wirtz, The Garden is a brilliant fusion of open space, mad eccentricity, and creative play.
From the peaceful serenity of the delightful Cherry Orchard, the rush of the Grand Cascade and the captivating puzzles to be solved in the Bamboo Labyrinth, to the fascinating Serpent Garden’s mesmerizing water features, the fascinating Poison Garden as well as one of the world’s biggest tree houses to visit – there is more than enough for everyone to see and try out in this enthralling wonderland.
Howick Gardens Arboretum
Howick Hall Gardens were deliberately designed for gardeners and are a plant lover’s joy with far-reaching grounds offering a dazzling mixture of surprising plants all through the seasons. BBC Gardeners’ World magazine cited the gardens as one of the best of the top five coastal gardens in the nation, and The Independent daily paper voted it one of the top ten gardens to visit in spring.
Families can try a special ‘Family Challenge’ while winding through the forest trails, nature spotting on the way – pay special heed to red squirrels as well as ducks, swans, and herons on the lake. With the gardens taking on a new look every season, there are treats in store for plant-lovers and tourists alike.
Belsay Castle and Gardens
Stroll around a fully intact medieval castle, later developed and refurbished to incorporate a beautiful Jacobean chateau and don’t miss the wonderful views from the highest point of the tower. Then take a walk to Belsay Hall, a structural and architectural triumph inspired first and foremost by the sanctuaries of aged Greece, with its remarkable Pillar Hall.
To wrap things up, there are the enormous grounds, absolutely stuffed to bursting with a wonderful and dazzling array of shrubs and blossoms.
Attractions and Places to See
Northumberland is bursting with history, and as such has a veritable treasure chest of places to visit and buildings to explore.
The pride of Northern England, visit the most distant stretches of the Roman Empire when you investigate Housesteads Roman Fort, Chester’s Roman Fort and Birdoswald Roman Forts or Corbridge Roman Town for an interesting taste of life in Roman Britain. At Housesteads Roman Fort visit the amazing new gallery which offers a CGI film which takes viewers on a fantastic journey through time to recreate the fortress.
At Corbridge Roman Town, uncover a fascinating Roman Time Capsule of true Roman Armor and officer’s common belongings and see the 1964 removal footage of this astonishing Roman-era discovery as it happens. Hadrian’s wall is brimming with fascinating history, just waiting to be unlocked by the inquisitive visitor.
Alnwick Castle offers history on an amazing scale; it is one of the biggest lived-in castles in Europe and has been home to the Duke of Northumberland’s family, the Percys, for 700 years of fascinating history, including romantic stories, dramatic deaths, rip-roaring adventures, internecine family feuds and beautiful sentiment.
At the mansion there is more than enough to interest grown-ups as well as youngsters, making a family day out lots of fun and very memorable. Included in the cost of entry one can expect visits from fire-eaters and entertainers, Harry Potter type wizards, medieval strolling minstrels and gifted artisans.
Go to Kielder Forest and experience nature from a new perspective where the staggering views are gigantic, the night skies dazzle and outdoor activities are more daring. Officially Britain’s favorite tourism experience, Kielder Water & Forest Park is full of adventure and spirit.
Thrillingly remote, yet still easily accessible from a few cities and towns, Northumberland’s jewel covers a massive 250 square miles. It also proudly boasts the largest man-made reservoir in Northern Europe and if that wasn’t enough it also has the largest planted forest in England with over 150 million trees.
Things to Do
Northumberland is a Pandora’s Box of delights to entertain the young and old alike.
Kielder Water Bird of Prey Centre
The Kielder Water Bird of Prey Centre has a rich and fascinating display of hunting birds to educate, stimulate and entertain visitors. There are demonstrations of the hunting ability of hawks and falcons as well as the opportunity to handle one of these fascinating and most noble animals.
See a falcon hit terminal velocity at over 100mph as she swoops down for her helpless prey and watches a fascinating presentation on the birds’ natural place in our ecology.
The Lindisfarne Centre
The Holy Island has plenty to offer for those interested in island life, wildlife and heritage. The Lindisfarne Centre celebrates this with exhibits outlining how life on this tiny and integral community works.
Generation after generation of the same families has inhabited this island since its days of fishing, mining, and cloth-making importance, to now, when the economic focus is much more geared towards tourism. Discover Celtic crafts, Lindisfarne Mead as well as a whole host of beautiful old island buildings.
Wentworth Leisure Centre
Wentworth has a massive 25-meter six-lane swimming pool, a smaller 15-meter studio pool and splash pools to help you learn how to swim. You can splash, play, go crazy and take a ride on inflatables! Their Glow Bowl feature is a lot of fun; a bowling alley that transforms into a glow-in-the-dark surprise.
For younger kids, there is Jungle Jacks, a large soft play area with plenty to climb on and through. There are ball pools, rope swings, bridges, slides and much more to allow little monkeys to burn off all that excess energy while adults cool off at Bistro at Leisure, offering a large variety of meals, beverages, and snacks.
Afternoon Tea Ideas in Northumberland
In Northumberland, the locals enjoy a cup of tea and a biscuit and will think nothing of spending two or three hours chatting over a warm brew
Doxford Hall, Alnwick
Doxford Hall is a beautiful old country house set in the heart of the captivating Northumbrian wilds. Built in the year 1818, it is situated in a rambling 10-acre estate, perfectly placed to investigate the amazing landscape of Northumberland and the Scottish Borders, with spots like beautiful Alnwick, romantic Bamburgh and the Holy Island of Lindisfarne close by.
Afternoon Tea is served in the Georgian Room looking out over stunning gardens and offers a lovely selection of exquisite sandwiches, homemade scones with jam and delicious clotted cream, freshly baked cakes and tea or if you fancy it, a nice espresso.
Sunderland Marriot Hotel, Sunderland
Look proudly out over the lovely Whitburn Sands and only two miles from the center of Sunderland, with a pleasant seafront area for a stroll before tea, Sunderland Marriott Hotel is Sunderland’s first and only 4-star hotel. The Promenade Restaurant offers wonderful old traditional atmosphere and rich, ambient décor.
The lounge area has beautifully and expertly furnished tables and a lovely, warm color scheme, where a delicious, traditional Afternoon Tea menu is served. The stylish and elegant Promenade Restaurant offers a tasty Afternoon Tea which includes a good choice of sandwiches, a selection of scintillating scones and sweet treats, as well as a fantastic range of tea from the specialists themselves – Twinings.
Sunderland Marriot Hotel, Sunderland
The perfectly intact and fascinating Alnwick Castle is one of England’s biggest occupied castles. This military architectural masterpiece has actually been home to the world-famous Harry Potter films.
In this venue, you’ll meet characters from the castle’s past in fascinating presentations and exhibits who will relate their stories to you and bring this wonderful old building’s history to life. Tea is served in the Courtyard Cafe, which offers a selection of sandwiches, cakes, warm scones, and tea or tasty coffee, including espresso.
Wedding Venues in Northumberland
One of the most friendly and welcoming people in England, the Northumbrians make it their business to be hospitable and welcoming, lending their positive and upbeat cheer effortlessly to any wedding occasion.
Macdonald Linden Hall Hotel
Hold your special day at Macdonald Linden Hall Hotel, where you’ll discover a beautiful and welcoming country house setting for your special day. The Eighteenth Century building, bordered by a very well tended 450-acre private estate is wonderfully romantic.
Say your vows in the beautiful conservatory, pose for elegant photographs in the expansive and luxurious gardens, dine exclusively on award-winning dishes and stay the night in a sumptuous and classical four-poster suite. A wonderfully restored and cared-for building, the Macdonald Linden Hall Hotel is highly recommended by all who hold their wedding day there.
Eshott Hall, Morpeth
Eshott Hall is one of Northumberland’s most beautiful and well-preserved seventeenth-century country houses, set in idyllic surroundings with rolling gardens and wonderful, antique forests, and can be hired exclusively for your wedding alone. The Hall is officially authorized to hold civil ceremonies and partnerships which can be held in either the grand old banquet hall or in the wonderful and intimate reading room, both of which are only a short stroll from the Hall.
Smaller, more private ceremonies can be held in front of the romantic roaring fire in the Drawing Room or in the cozy and welcoming Library, while larger social affairs frequently occur on the grand staircase, underneath the impressive stained glass window. The Hall has been proudly awarded an AA rosette for its cuisine which uses only seasonal and where possible, local produce.
Campsites / Caravans:
There is some of the nation’s finest countryside on display in Northumberland, most impressive of which is its coastal wilds, making it a favorite among campers and caravan enthusiasts.
Caravan Club Sites
• Berwick Seaview Caravan Club Site, Billendean Rd, Spittal, Berwick-Upon-Tweed, Northumberland
• Kielder Water Caravan Club Site, Leaplish Waterside Park, Kielder, Northumberland
• Longbank Farm Certificated Site, Longhoughton Road, Longhoughton, Alnwick, Northumberland
• Coalhouses Farm Certificated Site, North Broomhill, Morpeth, Northumberland
• Hadrian’s Wall Caravan And Camping Site, The Tilery, Melkridge, Haltwhistle, Northumberland
• Chain Bridge Touring Caravan Site, Bankhead Villa, Chainbridge, Horncliffe, Berwick Upon Tweed, Northumberland