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Northumberland

Northumberland: England’s most northerly county, steeped in history and abundant rare wildlife, it is a stunning unspoilt wilderness of tranquility

Northumberland: the most northerly and sparsely populated county of England and, for many, a best kept secret. It has all you could wish for and more – spectacular scenery and wildlife, a stunning coastline, empty roads, friendly people, superb food and peace and quiet. Northumberland’s past is far from peaceful and its turbulent history is evident throughout the county: the Romans, the Vikings and the Border Reivers have all left their mark and the countryside is dotted with strategically placed castles, more than any other county in England. The area is also known as the Cradle of Christianity with many significant religious sites. It’s not only the past we can discover in Northumberland. Future space exploration will be helped by the exciting program of stargazing events on offer throughout the year. Rural Northumberland has recently been designated International Dark Sky Park gold status and is the largest protected dark sky area in Europe.

Northumberland Top Tips

Take a boat trip to the Farne Islands, a group of 30 islands just offshore and home to thousands of rare seabirds, seals and other marine mammals

Hadrian’s Wall is a “must see” with 73 miles to explore, from major Roman ruins to spectacular views

Conquer a castle or two: Bamburgh and Alnwick are the most famous and rightly so, but there are 70 in total - from ruins to coastal forts

Chillingham Wild Cattle – meet the only wild herd of horned white cattle, rarer than the Giant Panda!

Enjoy complete solitude on one of Northumberland's numerous golden beaches and build up an appetite for some of the UK's best fish 'n' chips

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Things To See & Do

Hadrian’s Wall : the northern frontier of the Holy Roman Empire with countless opportunities for stunning walks and unforgettable views. The main visitor attractions on the Wall are the Roman Army Museum, Vindolanda where live excavations take place and Housesteads Fort. We’ll also recommend some of the best places for views along the wall and across the surrounding countryside.

Kielder Water & Forest: a land of superlatives: the biggest man-made lake in Northern Europe, the largest working forest in England lying in one of the largest Dark Sky Parks in the world. Do not miss the award winning Observatory where world famous astro-physicists will teach you about our solar system.

The Cheviot Hills are possibly the most remote in England and are steeped in history from the Bronze, Stone and Dark Ages to Flodden Battlefield, where 500 years ago the bloodiest battle in Britain’s history took place. Scenic drives across the moors lead to 4200 standing stones in the fascinating Ford and Etal Estates, a collection of remarkable settlements with hidden delights, including a narrow-gauge steam railway for children of all ages.

For an unusual wildlife experience, head to Chillingham Castle and Wild Cattle. Walk with the warden & learn about these amazing beasts, a herd of about 100 non-domesticated cattle who have lived and bred on the estate for 800 years.

Holy Island of Lindisfarne – check the tide times in advance!
This tidal islet is not only a site of special Christian significance, but also a stunningly beautiful place to explore with abundant birdlife, pristine dunes and charming village community. The drive across the causeway is exhilarating if the tide has only just turned as the sea may still cover the road!

Bamburgh Castle
No trip to Northumberland is complete without a visit to Bamburgh Castle, one of the most magnificent sites in the whole of England. It is frequently the star of major TV and film dramas, most recently welcoming Michael Fassbender as Macbeth. Just below the castle walls a path leads through the dunes to one of Northumberland’s finest beaches.

Farne Island Boat Trip from Seahouses
The Farnes consist of 30 islands and are home to many species including Puffin, Eider, Razorbill, Guillemot, Shag, Kittiwake and Fulmar plus a large colony of grey seals. You may also be lucky enough to spot minke whale, dolphins and porpoise which frequent the area.

Craster
Craster is famous for its Kippers: after sampling the local delicacy head north along the shore towards the dramatic ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle


Travelling To & Around

Northumberland is easily accessible by road and rail from all directions. The M6 or the A1/M1 motorways lead to either end of the A69, the cross country route which runs parallel to Hadrian’s Wall.

By rail, the East Coast mainline (London to Edinburgh) travels through Northumberland while the cross country route along the Tyne Valley links Newcastle to Carlisle via Hadrian’s Wall country.

By bus: there are comprehensive bus routes and timetables around the county. Of particular note is the AD122 which links all of the Hadrian’s Wall area.

The best way to explore the county is certainly by car, with quiet roads and back country routes offering stunning views around every corner.

From Hadrian’s Wall in the south to Berwick upon Tweed on the Scottish border, magnificent beaches, dramatic castles and rare wildlife abound.

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