Northumberland Overview

Northumberland, or Northumbria as it is also known, is the most northern county in England and has magnificent and stunning landscapes just waiting to be explored. Filled with mystical castles, atmospheric ruins and historical sites and edged by spectacular coastal scenery, there is something wonderful to see at every turn. The Devils Causeway passes through Northumbria and reaches Berwick upon Tweed at the coast. Walkers and cyclists can also take the Coast and Castles Cycle Route or the North Sea Trail which journey through some of the most beautiful scenery along the way.

Bamburgh CastleThe countryside is made up of imposing crags, softly rolling hills, gentle valleys and rugged, heather covered moorland and offers some of the best walking, climbing and cycling in the country. The coastal towns accommodate vast numbers of seabirds and are home to some of the most scientifically important wildlife reserves in England, situated at Budle Bay, historic Coquet Island and the world famous Farne Islands. Boat trips leave from the nearby fishing port of Amble, taking visitors on an amazing journey to see the natural habitats of Puffins, Grey Seals and thousands of nesting sea birds at the RSPB nature reserve. Amble houses the Northumberland Sea Bird centre where visitors can observe the wildlife on interactive CCTV cameras from inland.

Unrivalled for its fresh air and exhilarating walks, The Northumberland National Park encompasses miles of breathtaking countryside, man made woodlands and clean, clear rivers teeming with salmon, brown trout and families of playful otters. Kielder Forest and the Cheviot Hills offer excellent walking and climbing and are criss-crossed by cycle trails and walking routes. The woodlands are a haven for the now rare red squirrel and many species of birds, small mammals and flora. Numerous picturesque villages are sited within the National Park and are perfect places to stop and explore, learn about the history of Northumberland, or maybe visit one of the many local markets, shows and craft fairs. Bellingham Heritage Centre is an award winning museum and a number of visitor centres offer information about the many festivals, fairs and events which take place throughout the year. Stannersburn Forge, Catcleugh Black House and Otterburn Ranges are sights of historical interest, as is the most visited site of Hadrians Wall.

The Scottish Borders is an area filled with folklore and myth, stories of bloody battles are told by the locals and remains of battle scarred buildings litter the countryside. On the coast the town of Berwick upon Tweed offers traditional seaside entertainment and numerous castles, historic abbeys and stately homes provide places for visitors to spend an interesting day. There are wildlife parks and nature reserves for outdoor lovers and plenty of shopping opportunities where locally produced goods and crafts are sold in the villages and colourful markets. To the south of the county lies Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a bustling city with a colourful industrial history, dominated by the famous Tyne Bridge. There are many examples of fine architecture within the town and close by are numerous places of historical interest, listed buildings, castles and museums.

No visit to Northumberland would be complete without a trip out to Lindisfarne, or Holy Island as it is otherwise known. This captivating and magical island can be reached on foot between high tides along a 3 mile causeway. The island is dominated by a fairytale castle, set high on a volcanic headland, which can now be booked as a stunning, romantic venue for weddings. With a rich history dating back to the 11th Century the castle was originally built as an Elizabethan Fort. The village has a visitor centre with shop and a museum and has a park and ride shuttle service to the island. Holy Island Harbour is still used by a small number of fishermen, the once well used herring boats which stand upturned on the beach are a reminder of the past and are now used as fisherman's work shops.

Castles and Abbeys play a large part in the history of Northumberland and in fact the area has the highest number in England. Harry Potter fans will recognise Alnwick Castle from the Hogwarts film. Warkworth Castle is one of the largest and one of the strongest castles and withstood many an attack during the uprisings. The remains of Chesters Roman Fort are a popular visitor attraction as are the ruins of Lindisfarne Priory.  Keilder Castle Forest Park Centre is a wonderful family attraction, with the castle, art gallery, shop and restaurant to visit. The visitor centre is filled with information about the local history and many interactive exhibitions. In the garden area there is a maze and a number of walking trails, a picnic area and children's playground as well as a viewing platform from which to observe the wildlife.