The best holidays in Northumberland are those where you pack a sense of adventure and hit the road and explore. After all, this county has a seriously impressive portfolio of heritage sites and is continuing to pick up accolades for its historical landmarks – just take Hadrian’s Wall for example. There are, quite literally, hundreds of interesting places to visit in Northumberland but we know holidays (sadly) don’t last forever. So, we’ve done you a favour and listed the eight best days out in Northumberland which you simply can’t miss.
Newton-by-the-Sea, Embleton & Craster
One of the best days out in Northumberland for quaint coastal living.
While away an afternoon in Newton-by-the-Sea, arguably one of the prettiest villages in Northumberland and home to some fantastic pubs. It comprises two hamlets – High Newton – where The Joiners Arms pub serves up delicious local produce (and of course, seafood) – and Low Newton, where you can find an excellent microbrewery located at The Ship Inn. Tie in your visit with a trip to Embleton Bay, one of the area’s most glorious beaches, boasting views of the magnificent Dunstanburgh Castle. The hike to the castle ruins from the fishing village of Craster is considered one of Britain’s ‘top 100 walks’.
One of the best days out in Northumberland for history lovers and avid walkers.
An epic ancient monument and legacy of the Roman Army, Hadrian’s Wall is a must-see attraction in Northumberland. Winding its way through some 73 miles of the English countryside, a large part of this dramatic boundary runs through the Northumberland National Park and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for over 30 years. Follow the history buffs to Housesteads Roman Fort (also known as Vercovicium), one of the best-preserved sections that’s home to an interesting museum. You’ll find some lovely walking trails here too – just download the routes from the National Trust site.
One of the best days out in Northumberland for classic British seaside vibes.
For a true taste of the British seaside… play crazy golf, visit the curio shops and build your best sandcastle at Seahouses. Dubbed ‘the gateway to the Northumberland Coast’, this coastal market town is a great place to discover historic fishing memorabilia, tuck into vinegar-soaked fish and chips (Neptune Fish restaurant is great) and relax in cosy pubs while you try the local brew (the Farne Island ale if you’re interested). Speaking of the Farne Islands, you can take boats to this famed seabird sanctuary – known for its vast puffin colony – from the harbour here.
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne
One of the best days out in Northumberland for keen wildlife spotters.
Everyone’s heard of Holy Island, a famous National Trust Site located off the Northumberland coast. And it’s here you’ll discover the great Lindisfarne Castle and priory, and the ever-so-enchanting Gertrude Jekyll Garden which bursts with colour in the summer. Don’t put off visiting during the cooler months, all sorts of wildlife – including seals and seabirds – can be spotted here year-round. Remember, Holy Island is cut off by tides twice a day, so check out local websites for the best times to cross the causeway.
One of the best days out in Northumberland for surfing, history and cutesy town wandering.
The pretty town of Bamburgh has been dubbed one of Britain’s best seaside towns. And when you discover its glorious coastal walks, great surfing scene and dramatic castle – atop a volcanic rock – you’ll understand why. Within the Anglo-Saxon castle, and its walled garden, discover some 3,000 artifacts and collections of armour plus an RNLI museum dedicated to ‘heroine of the Farne Islands’ Grace Darling. Don’t leave Bamburgh without a walk along its vast, windswept beach – the views are out of this world.
Northumberland International Dark Sky Park
One of the best days out in Northumberland for budding astronomers.
They say that Northumberland has some of the darkest, clearest skies in England, and the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park – which attracts avid astronomers – is testament to that. Go stargazing in this 572 square mile-expanse of parkland – which occupies parts of the Northumberland National Park – and not only will you get stellar (pardon the pun) views of The Milky Way, you’ll be standing underneath Europe’s largest area of protected night sky.
Kielder Water & Forest Park
One of the best days out in Northumberland for those looking to get active.
Occupying part of Northumberland International Dark Sky Park, Kielder hosts all sorts of astronomy events at the Kielder Observatory. But it’s also where you’ll discover England’s largest forest. Hire mountain bikes from Kielder Castle Visitor Centre, excite the kids with a Gruffalo hunt and combine a lakeside picnic with an afternoon discovering the spectacular open-air art gallery. Keep your eyes peeled for otters, deer, osprey and the endangered red squirrel.
One of the best days out in Northumberland to fuel the imaginations of youngsters.
‘Poison Garden’ trails, outdoor theatre events and a magnificent treehouse all capture imaginations at the famed gardens. And did you know, Alnwick Castle featured in the acclaimed TV series, Downton Abbey, plus two Harry Potter movies? So check out their daily broomstick training sessions at their very own Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (yes really), plus plenty of medieval-inspired entertainment from jousting tournaments to jester shows.
For more information on Northumberland, including when to visit and how to get there, check out our destination guide.