Visit wild and wonderful Northumberland
Last updated: March 14, 2022
Northumberland is at its best when explored from its breathtaking coast, dotted with wild islands, sandy beaches and grand Norman castles. From here, the countryside with its charming country houses, forests and undulating moorlands brushing against the Scottish border, is just a hike – or a short car ride – away.
What to see In Northumberland
Northumberland’s untamed coastline stretches up from Newcastle to the border of Scotland and is, without doubt, the county’s most beautiful asset. Here a softly undulating terrain of verdant fields and farmlands blends into sandy beaches watched over by an enchanting collection of centuries-old castles. There aren’t many seaside towns like the ones you might find a little further south, but rather, quaint English villages linked by coastal paths and the occasional country house form Northumbria's major hubs.
The fortress-like Bamburgh Castle (just east of the village of Bamburgh) on the coastal walk is a highlight, sitting as an ancient icon atop a rough outcrop overlooking the sea. Walkers, history lovers and aesthetes alike should mark this as a must-see, as the castle is fascinating and beautiful, and from here it’s possible to find countless stretches of beach to call your own for the day. But nature lovers should jump on a boat to Farne Islands, particularly in the summer when the islands are full of puffins on their annual migration. Another island worth a visit is the tidal Holy Island, where the tremendously pretty Lindisfarne Castle rises from the terrain like some weather-sculpted rock. Its 15 acres of land (and car park) with its sweeping seaside vistas are open and idyllic. The mysterious ruins of Lindisfarne Priory are open too.
Families should take a day to explore the huge Alnwick Castle and its elegant, landscaped gardens, and hike to the ruins of the Housesteads Roman Fort to see the ruins along with a portion of Hadrian’s Wall. For beautiful countryside views, a promenade into the *Cheviot Hills and The Cheviot — their highest point and last major peak of the Pennine Way — is a must, while beach lovers should try the sandy shores of Cocklawburn Beach.
The Alnwick Garden with its fabulous cascading water features sits in the grounds of Alnwick Castle (or Hogwarts if you are a Harry Potter fan!).Unusually, the Treehouse’s ropebridges and walkways, which overlook the gardens, are fully accessible by wheelchair. If you are worried about being able to walk around the garden, the good news is that there is free wheelchair and mobility scooter hire if booked in advance.
Did you know that the New York Times listed Northumberland as one of the most sustainable travel destinations in the world? It was listed at number four in the its New York Times '52 places for a changed world’...'where visitors can be part of the solution to problems like overtourism and climate change'.
The newspaper highlighted the North East section of England's 2,800 mile coastal path, the county's wild beaches, the International Dark Sky Park and the Hadrian's Wall 1900 Festival. The Vindolanda Roman Fort, which will play a big part in the festival, has been awarded a silver Green Tourism Award.
Escape the crowds in Northumberland
There are so many under-loved and off-the-beaten-path spots along the Northumberland Coast, that the best way to discover them is to simply walk or drive along until you find one. But a good option, if you’re looking for an alternative to Bamburgh, is the large sandy beach at Cheswick just a little further north.
But for something even more secluded try the breathtaking cove at Rumbling Kern, where a rocky beach awaits, sheltered behind some small mossy cliffs, making it perfect for a picnic. Inland ramblers in the vicinity of Kielder should walk the woodland path to the attractive *waterfall at Hindhope Linn, while the hike between Old Bewick and Bewick Moor in Blawearie offers a good mix of seclusion, open moorland and sweeping views over some of Northumberland’s wildest countryside.
Tourism organisation Visit Northumberland recommends that visitors follow them on Twitter to keep up with the latest information on what’s open, Covid-19 updates, places to go and things to do. They also ask that visitors support local businesses by buying local produce such as Craster kippers and Lindisfarne oysters. Look out for the red and yellow ‘Produced in Northumberland’ logo in shops and restaurants.
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RightRooms believes all information to be correct at time of going to press. As guidance, research and facts around Covid-19 are changing constantly, the information provided here is for general information only and does not constitute professional advice. Please check with venues, locations and attractions before travelling.