With its rolling countryside and a staggering 64-mile-long coastline, Northumberland is one of England’s finest holiday destinations. England’s most northerly county, it promises mouthwatering fish and chips, invigorating beach walks and days out exploring incredible nature reserves. You’ll have never seen so many castles before you visit this county, and fortresses like Alnwick Castle (where Harry Potter was filmed) are set to blow you away. That’s before we even get to the family-friendly attractions, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and stargazing opportunities…
You’re going to love this wild and wondrous region.
Best time to visit Northumberland
Northumberland is a year-round destination and like the rest of the UK, it enjoys four seasons. The coldest weather typically falls between December and February (daytime lows of 6 degrees) and the hottest weather falls in July and August when you can enjoy long daylight hours and daytime temperatures in the high teens.
The weather here isn’t always predictable and can experience chilly coastal winds off the North Sea. So always pack your waterproofs and extra layers, whatever the time of year.
How to get there
It’s easy to reach Northumberland by car. From London, the journey time is around 6 hours, via the A1, north through Gateshead. And you can reach Berwick-upon-Tweed from Edinburgh in just an hour. Newcastle, Morpeth, Alnmouth and Berwick all have excellent rail links and National Express links the region to many parts of the UK.
Both domestic and international airlines fly into Newcastle International Airport, which is a 45-minute drive from Alnwick.
One of the biggest talking points of Northumberland is its wave-lashed coastline, which encompasses an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is a haven for wildlife. The beaches here rarely suffer from tourism overload, meaning you’ll never be pushed for space to enjoy long walks or set up camp for the day.
Known for its wild and unspoilt moorland and rugged coastal terrain, outdoorsy types are in their element. The scenic coastal pathways here excite the avid ramblers and Northumberland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a nature-lover’s playground.
Food and drink scene
Fresh-from-the sea kippers, hearty plates of pan haggerty (a type of dauphinoise potatoes) and steaming bags of fish and chips (eaten on the seafront) will all tempt your taste buds in Northumberland. Relax in a charming tea room or enjoy a local ale in one of the excellent pubs you’ll find here.
History and culture
Northumberland is a treasure trove of history, with many historical sites dating as far back as 2,000 years, to the time of the Roman Empire. Alongside some 70 forts and castles, its most famed historical landmark is the incredible Hadrian’s Wall.
Secret spots in Northumberland
… or what we consider, ‘hidden gems’.
Take a boat trip to the Farne Islands
The 28 islands that make up the Farne Islands archipelago are considered one of the true hidden gems of the North. During the summer months, take a boat trip from Seahouses and you’ll witness the spectacular puffin colonies that thrive there.
Tee off over scenic Alnmouth Bay
Alnmouth plays home to one of Northumberland’s finest beaches, so why not enjoy the view while you tee off at the glorious Alnmouth Golf Club? It’s the 4th oldest golf club in England.
St Aidan’s Winery
If you make it to the famed Holy Island of Lindisfarne, stop at St Aidan’s Winery and pick up a bottle of the local Lindisfarne Mead. Nicknamed the ‘nectar of the gods’, this fortified wine originated from monks who once lived here and is sure to warm you up on a chilly day.
Places to visit in Northumberland
Alnwick Castle and the River Aln
Explore Northumberland National Park
Cleverly carved into the rural landscape, it features exhibitions and workshops that are great for families, highlighting the importance of the area’s natural and cultural heritage. Don’t leave without experiencing The Great Whin Sill, a grass-covered roof that features wild flowers and a knock-out view.
Hike the coastal paths
Hiking The Northumberland Coast Path is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in Northumberland. Especially if you appreciate wild coastal scenery and breathtaking views. It stretches an impressive 62 miles from Cresswell to Berwick-upon-Tweed and rewards ramblers with tranquil beaches, quaint fishing villages and ancient castles.
Explore the castles
Bamburgh Castle, Chillingham Castle and Dunstanburg Castle are all treasured fortifications in the county of Northumberland, but don’t miss out a visit to Alnwick Castle, perhaps one of the most iconic, due to its appearance in Downtown Abbey and two Harry Potter movies. Find out more on our blog.