Northumberland is a treasure trove. Explore the massive hills that make up the Cheviots to the stunning coastline under vast, open skies, all linked by a host of dramatically situated castles. It’s a holidaymaker’s dream!
We’ve put together a guide to some of the best things you can enjoy on a short or weekend break in Northumberland – with fantastic food, amazing activities and gorgeous food galore.
Go down to the gloriously wide, empty beach below Bamburgh Castle – a towering sandstone edifice that dominates the landscape and overlooks the pretty village, with its cricket pitch and teashops – and look out to the wild and rocky Farne Islands! You’ll want to look around Bamburgh Castle itself too, a genuine treasure trove of all kinds of curios.
All that sea air will have built up your appetite, so get yourself over to nearby Seahouses, only a couple of miles away, and treat yourself to some sensational fish and chips at Lewis’s Fish Restaurant. The small family run business not only fry your seafood, they catch it too!
Now you’re set up for Alnwick Garden, only half an hour’s drive away. Alnwick Garden is like nothing you’ve ever seen before – a series of complex gardens adjacent to the famous castle, it is the brainchild of the Duchess of Northumberland and one of the world’s most ambitious new gardens.
Choose from the tranquillity of the Cherry Orchard, the excitement of the Grand Cascade or the mysteries of the Bamboo Labyrinth. Marvel at the Serpent Garden’s spell-binding water sculptures, the enchanting rose garden full of perfume in summer and the intrigue of the Poison Garden – the guided tour is worth queueing for.
You can enjoy excellent dining at The Treehouse restaurant, or alternatively continue exploring the area with a short tip to Amble – it will only take you 20 minutes or so – for a gorgeous dinner at the Old Boat House.
The ever-changing seasonal menu could include oysters from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, sweet pickled herring, or soft shell crabs, straight from the boats that dock in the harbour. Its location in an old RNLI building in the picturesque harbour is perfect place for the happy but tired traveller to end the day.
Jump in the car and motor over to Wooler, where there are two places perfect for the hungry holidaymaker: the Wooler Milk Bar and Café, and the Cheviot Bakery.
Now point the car south and go to Bellingham, a gorgeous little town on the fringes of the Northumberland National Park. Its location close to the River Tyne makes it incredibly popular with fishing enthusiasts, and it is considered to be England’s premier salmon river.
For a genuinely awe-inspiring sight take the Hareshaw Linn Walk, an adventurous two and a half mile walk through ancient woodland just outside Bellingham. As any local will tell you, it is a magical place. As you walk through the trees, go upstream past small weirs and the remains of an old ironworks – the area was once home to a number of iron and coal mines – you’ll come out at a magnificent 30-feet waterfall.
Jump in the car and head down to the lovely village of Wark on Tyne for lunch at the Battlesteads Bpub, where prime local ingredients ensure freshness and flavour, and there’s oak smoked duck, chicken and salmon from nearby Bywell Smokery.
Once refreshed, Chesters Roman Fort near the lovely village of Chollerford is only 10-minutes away and here you will see the most complete Roman cavalry fort in Britain. There are unusually well-preserved baths, a steam room, officers’ quarters, and an amazing collection of Roman objects and inscriptions found at the fort as well as along Hadrian’s Wall. It’s the perfect end to your short break in Northumberland.
Take a look at our Northumbrian holiday homes and plan your own adventure.