15 Best Things To Do In Northumberland, England

15 Best Things To Do In Northumberland, England

By will

When it comes to exploring the beauty and history of England, Northumberland is a destination that should not be missed. From ancient castles to stunning national parks, this region has something for everyone. In this article, I will take you on a journey through the 15 best things to do in Northumberland, England, sharing my personal experiences and recommendations along the way.

One of the must-visit sites in Northumberland is Bamburgh Castle. As you step foot in this magnificent fortress, you’ll be transported back in time, marveling at its grandeur and rich history. From the breathtaking views of the Northumberland coastline to the fascinating exhibits inside, there is so much to explore and discover.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply in awe of impressive architecture, Bamburgh Castle is sure to captivate your senses. And that’s just the beginning!

From exploring ancient castles to embarking on scenic hikes, this article will guide you through the best that Northumberland has to offer. So, let’s dive in and start uncovering the hidden gems of this remarkable region together.

Exploring Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh Castle
Photo by Ian Capper

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in history and get a taste of medieval life, you can’t miss exploring Bamburgh Castle! As soon as you set foot on the grounds, the sheer grandeur of the castle takes your breath away.

Perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Northumberland coastline, it stands as a testament to the power and prestige of the past. The castle’s imposing walls, towering turrets, and majestic Keep transport you back in time to when knights roamed the halls and battles were fought for honor and glory.

Inside, you’ll find a treasure trove of artifacts and exhibits that bring the castle’s rich history to life. From the opulent State Rooms, adorned with intricate tapestries and antique furniture, to the fascinating Armstrong and Aviation Museum, there is so much to discover.

As you wander through the castle’s rooms and corridors, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and wonder at the centuries of history that have unfolded within these walls. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious about the past, exploring Bamburgh Castle is an experience that will leave you with a profound appreciation for the enduring legacy of this magnificent fortress.

Discovering Dunstanburgh Castle

Fall of wicket at Bamburgh Castle
Photo by JEZ NORGAN

Explore Dunstanburgh Castle and be amazed by its stunning architecture and breathtaking coastal views. This medieval fortress stands majestically on a remote headland, surrounded by rugged cliffs and overlooking the North Sea.

As you approach the castle, you can’t help but be captivated by its sheer size and grandeur. The ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle are a testament to its former glory, with its towering walls and crumbling towers providing a glimpse into its rich history.

Once inside, you can explore the castle’s vast grounds and imagine what life was like for the medieval inhabitants. From the top of the castle, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the dramatic coastline. On a clear day, you can see for miles, with the waves crashing against the rocks below. It’s a truly awe-inspiring sight.

As you wander through the castle’s ruins, you’ll come across the remains of the great hall, the gatehouse, and the keep. Each structure is a marvel of medieval architecture, showcasing the skill and craftsmanship of the time. You can also visit the castle’s museum, where you can learn more about its history and the people who lived here.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply looking for a picturesque spot to explore, Dunstanburgh Castle is a must-visit destination in Northumberland. Its beauty and historical significance make it a truly unforgettable experience. So, grab your camera and prepare to be amazed by this magnificent castle and its breathtaking coastal views.

Hiking in Northumberland National Park

Northumberland National Park
Photo by Peter McDermott

Embark on a hiking adventure through the stunning landscapes of Northumberland National Park and immerse yourself in its natural beauty.

As I set foot on the trail, I’m immediately captivated by the breathtaking scenery that surrounds me. The park boasts rolling hills, ancient woodlands, and picturesque valleys, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts like myself.

The trails in Northumberland National Park cater to all levels of hikers, from beginners to experienced trekkers. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike, there’s something for everyone here.

As I venture deeper into the park, I’m greeted by the soothing sounds of nature – the rustling of leaves, the chirping of birds, and the gentle flow of streams. The tranquility of the park is truly unparalleled, providing the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

As I hike through the park, I’m constantly amazed by the diverse flora and fauna that call this place home. From vibrant wildflowers to elusive wildlife, there’s always something new to discover around every corner. The park is also home to several historical sites, such as Hadrian’s Wall, which adds an extra layer of intrigue to my journey.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or simply seeking adventure, hiking in Northumberland National Park is an experience you won’t want to miss. So grab your hiking boots, pack a picnic, and get ready to explore the wonders of this stunning landscape.

Cycling Along Coastal Routes

Take a leisurely bike ride along the stunning coastal routes of Northumberland National Park and let the refreshing sea breeze and breathtaking ocean views invigorate your senses. Cycling along the coastal routes in Northumberland is a truly invigorating experience.

As you pedal along the winding paths, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the rugged coastline, with its dramatic cliffs and golden sandy beaches. The sound of crashing waves will accompany you as you explore this beautiful region, making for a truly immersive and memorable adventure.

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One of the best routes for cycling along the coast is the Northumberland Coastal Route, which stretches for 64 miles from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Tynemouth. Along the way, you’ll pass through charming coastal villages, such as Bamburgh and Seahouses, where you can stop for a well-deserved break and enjoy some delicious local seafood.

The route is relatively flat, making it suitable for cyclists of all abilities, and there are plenty of places to hire bikes if you don’t have your own. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just looking for a leisurely ride, cycling along the coastal routes in Northumberland is a fantastic way to explore this stunning part of England and take in its natural beauty.

Wildlife Spotting in Northumberland

Spotting wildlife in Northumberland is a thrilling experience that allows you to connect with the natural world and witness the diverse range of animals that call this region home. As you explore the vast landscapes and tranquil surroundings, you’ll have the opportunity to encounter some truly remarkable creatures.

From the iconic red squirrel to the majestic white-tailed eagle, Northumberland offers a haven for wildlife enthusiasts.

One of the best places to spot wildlife in Northumberland is the Farne Islands. Situated off the coast, these islands are home to thousands of seabirds, including puffins, guillemots, and razorbills. Taking a boat trip to the islands allows you to get up close and personal with these incredible birds, watching as they dive into the water and soar through the sky. The islands are also a breeding ground for grey seals, and you may even be lucky enough to see adorable seal pups during the breeding season. It’s a truly awe-inspiring experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Another fantastic spot for wildlife spotting is Kielder Water and Forest Park. This sprawling nature reserve is home to a wide variety of animals, including red deer, otters, and ospreys. With over 250 square miles of forest, there are ample opportunities for nature walks and wildlife encounters. The park is also home to the Kielder Observatory, where you can learn more about the night sky and try your hand at stargazing.

Whether you’re a nature lover or simply looking for a unique experience, wildlife spotting in Northumberland is an adventure that will leave you in awe of the natural beauty that surrounds us.

Visiting Alnwick Castle and Gardens

Explore the enchanting Alnwick Castle and Gardens, immersing yourself in the rich history and breathtaking beauty of this iconic attraction.

As you step through the castle’s towering gates, you’ll be transported back in time to a world of knights and royalty.

This medieval fortress boasts a fascinating history that spans over 1,000 years, and you’ll have the opportunity to explore its grand halls, impressive battlements, and beautifully landscaped gardens.

Inside the castle, you’ll discover stunning architecture and opulent interiors that have been featured in films like Harry Potter and Downton Abbey.

Marvel at the intricate stone carvings, ornate ceilings, and exquisite artwork that adorn the rooms.

Take a guided tour to learn about the castle’s past and hear captivating stories of its inhabitants throughout the centuries.

Outside, the Alnwick Gardens beckon with their enchanting beauty.

Stroll through the carefully manicured grounds, where you’ll find a variety of themed gardens, including the tranquil Rose Garden and the grand Cascade.

Visit the Poison Garden if you dare, where you can learn about the deadly plants that have been cultivated within its walls.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a day of exploration, a visit to Alnwick Castle and Gardens is a must.

Lose yourself in the magic of this iconic attraction and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Exploring Hadrian’s Wall

Moving on from the enchanting Alnwick Castle and Gardens, another must-see attraction in Northumberland is the iconic Hadrian’s Wall.

As I stood before this ancient Roman fortification, I couldn’t help but marvel at the sheer magnitude and historical significance of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Stretching across 73 miles, Hadrian’s Wall was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in AD 122 to mark the northernmost boundary of the Roman Empire.

Walking along the wall, I couldn’t help but imagine what life was like for the Roman soldiers stationed here centuries ago. The views from the wall are simply breathtaking, with rolling hills and rugged landscapes as far as the eye can see.

I couldn’t resist taking numerous photos to capture the beauty of this historic landmark.

Exploring Hadrian’s Wall offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and immerse oneself in history. Along the way, I came across various well-preserved forts, museums, and archaeological sites that shed light on the Roman occupation of Britain.

One highlight was visiting Vindolanda, an ancient Roman settlement where artifacts such as letters, shoes, and tools have been excavated. It was fascinating to see these everyday objects that provided insights into the daily lives of the Romans who once called this place home.

Hadrian’s Wall is not just a physical barrier, but a testament to the ingenuity and ambition of the Roman Empire. It is a captivating experience that allows visitors to connect with the past and appreciate the rich history of Northumberland.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply looking to explore the breathtaking landscapes of England’s northern region, a visit to Hadrian’s Wall is an absolute must.

Marveling at the Holy Island of Lindisfarne

As I approached the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, my breath was taken away by the ethereal beauty of this ancient island rising from the misty waters.

The sight of the Lindisfarne Castle perched on top of a rocky outcrop against the backdrop of endless blue skies was nothing short of awe-inspiring.

The island, also known as the Holy Island, is steeped in history and boasts a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere that is truly captivating.

Walking through the narrow streets of the island, I couldn’t help but notice the charming stone cottages and quaint shops selling local crafts and produce.

The island’s rich history comes to life at the Lindisfarne Priory, a ruined medieval monastery that stands as a testament to the island’s significance as a center of Christianity in the early medieval period.

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Exploring the ruins, I could almost feel the echoes of the monks who once inhabited this sacred place.

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is also famous for its wildlife and natural beauty.

From the stunning coastal landscapes to the abundance of seabirds, seals, and even dolphins, there is no shortage of natural wonders to admire.

As I strolled along the pristine beaches, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of tranquility and connection to nature.

Visiting the Holy Island of Lindisfarne was truly a magical experience.

Its ethereal beauty, rich history, and peaceful atmosphere make it a must-visit destination in Northumberland.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Lindisfarne offers a unique and enchanting experience that’ll leave you with lasting memories.

Enjoying Water Sports on the Northumberland Coast

Immerse yourself in the exhilarating world of water sports along the breathtaking Northumberland Coast, where the crashing waves and salty sea breeze create the perfect backdrop for thrilling adventures.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this coastal paradise. From surfing to paddleboarding, kayaking to coasteering, the options are endless.

Surfing is a popular activity along the Northumberland Coast, with its pristine beaches and consistent waves. Grab your board and ride the waves, feeling the rush of adrenaline as you carve through the water. If you’re new to surfing, there are plenty of surf schools that offer lessons for all ages and abilities.

Paddleboarding is another fantastic way to explore the coast. Stand on a paddleboard and glide across the water, taking in the stunning views of the coastline. It’s a great way to improve your balance and core strength while enjoying the tranquility of the sea.

For those looking for a more adventurous experience, try coasteering. Put on a wetsuit and climb, jump, and swim your way along the rocky cliffs, experiencing the thrill of the ocean up close.

The Northumberland Coast is a water sports lover’s paradise, offering endless opportunities for excitement and exploration. So grab your wetsuit, embrace the waves, and dive into an unforgettable adventure.

Discovering the Farne Islands

Explore the captivating beauty of the Farne Islands, where you’ll be surrounded by stunning wildlife and breathtaking landscapes.

As I set foot on these enchanting islands, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the sheer abundance of wildlife that calls this place home. The islands are a haven for seabirds, with thousands of puffins, terns, and guillemots nesting in the jagged cliffs. The air is filled with the chorus of their calls and the fluttering of wings, creating a symphony of nature’s harmony.

Walking along the rugged coastline, I was greeted by the sight of adorable grey seals basking in the sun. These playful creatures seemed entirely at ease in their natural habitat, and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe and respect for their resilience.

The crystal-clear waters surrounding the islands are teeming with marine life, and diving enthusiasts will be delighted by the opportunity to explore the underwater wonderland. From colorful anemones to graceful sea stars, the underwater world of the Farne Islands is a sight to behold.

As I left the Farne Islands, I couldn’t help but reflect on the incredible experience I had. The beauty and diversity of the wildlife, combined with the untouched landscapes, made it a truly unforgettable adventure.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply seeking a peaceful escape from the bustling city life, a visit to the Farne Islands should be at the top of your list. Prepare to be captivated by the wonders of nature and leave with a newfound appreciation for the delicate balance of life on these extraordinary islands.

Exploring Kielder Water and Forest Park

Located in Northumberland, Kielder Water and Forest Park offers a stunning blend of vast waters and dense woodlands for visitors to discover and enjoy. As I stepped into the park, I was immediately captivated by the breathtaking beauty that surrounded me.

The expansive Kielder Water, the largest man-made lake in Northern Europe, sparkled under the sunlight, inviting me to explore its depths. The park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a plethora of activities such as sailing, canoeing, and fishing. I couldn’t resist the temptation to hop on a boat and cruise along the tranquil waters, taking in the peaceful atmosphere and marveling at the untouched natural scenery.

Aside from the mesmerizing lake, the forested areas of Kielder Water and Forest Park are just as enchanting. The vast woodland stretches as far as the eye can see, with towering trees creating a sense of tranquility and solitude. I embarked on a leisurely hike through the forest, immersing myself in the sights and sounds of nature. The air was crisp and refreshing, and the scent of pine filled my nostrils.

The park is home to an abundance of wildlife, and I was fortunate enough to spot various bird species and even a few elusive red squirrels. As I wandered through the forest, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of wonder and appreciation for the natural beauty that surrounded me. Kielder Water and Forest Park truly is a hidden gem in Northumberland, offering a serene escape from the bustling city life and providing endless opportunities for exploration and adventure.

Visiting the Roman Fort of Vindolanda

After exploring the breathtaking beauty of Kielder Water and Forest Park, I couldn’t help but be drawn to another historical gem in Northumberland: the Roman Fort of Vindolanda. Stepping onto the grounds of this ancient fort felt like stepping back in time, as the remnants of Roman life came alive before my eyes.

The fort is nestled amidst the stunning Northumberland landscape, and its rich history and archaeological treasures make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts like myself.

As I walked through the ruins of Vindolanda, I was captivated by the stories that unfolded around me. The fort was originally built in the 1st century AD and served as a crucial outpost along Hadrian’s Wall. The well-preserved remains provided a glimpse into the daily lives of the Roman soldiers and their families who once called this place home. From the barracks and command buildings to the granaries and bathhouses, every corner of the fort whispered tales of perseverance, conquest, and everyday life.

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One of the highlights of my visit was viewing the Vindolanda tablets, which are the oldest surviving handwritten documents in Britain. These wooden tablets, preserved by the fort’s unique waterlogged conditions, contain a wealth of information about daily life, military matters, and personal correspondence from the Roman period. It was fascinating to read the words of people who lived over 1,800 years ago and to see their thoughts and concerns written down on these ancient artifacts.

The Roman Fort of Vindolanda is not just a historical site; it’s a place where the past comes alive. Being able to walk in the footsteps of Roman soldiers and witness the remnants of their lives was truly awe-inspiring. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious about the Roman era, a visit to Vindolanda is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Immersing in History at Hexham Abbey

Step into the captivating world of history at Hexham Abbey, where you’ll be immersed in the stories and relics of the past.

As you enter the abbey, you’ll immediately be struck by its majestic beauty and the sense of reverence that fills the air.

The soaring arches, intricate stained glass windows, and ancient stone walls all bear witness to the abbey’s rich history, which dates back over 1,300 years.

Inside, you’ll find a treasure trove of historical artifacts and architectural wonders.

The abbey is home to the oldest surviving Anglo-Saxon crypt in England, dating back to the 7th century.

As you wander through the crypt, you can’t help but imagine the generations of monks who sought solace and sanctuary in this sacred space.

The abbey also houses a stunning collection of medieval stained glass, which tells stories of religious devotion and political power.

Each vibrant window offers a glimpse into a bygone era, where kings and queens reigned and knights fought for honor and glory.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious about the past, a visit to Hexham Abbey is an unforgettable experience that will transport you back in time.

Enjoying Coastal Walks at Druridge Bay

Get ready to embrace the invigorating coastal breeze and explore the breathtaking beauty of Druridge Bay on its mesmerizing coastal walks.

The bay stretches for miles, offering stunning views of golden sandy beaches, rolling dunes, and crystal clear waters. As I set foot on the sandy path, I’m immediately captivated by the tranquility and serenity that surrounds me.

The coastal walks at Druridge Bay cater to all levels of fitness and interests. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll along the shoreline or a more challenging hike through the dunes, there’s something for everyone.

As I venture further along the path, I’m greeted by a variety of wildlife, from graceful swans gliding across the water to colorful butterflies fluttering among the wildflowers. The bay is also a birdwatcher’s paradise, with a diverse range of species to spot, including terns, curlews, and oystercatchers.

As I continue my walk, the sound of crashing waves becomes my constant companion, creating a soothing soundtrack to my exploration. I’m drawn to the ever-changing landscape, with each turn revealing a new vista of beauty.

The towering sand dunes provide the perfect vantage point to admire the panoramic views of the bay, while the secluded coves offer a peaceful retreat to relax and soak in the natural splendor. Whether you’re seeking adventure or simply a moment of tranquility, the coastal walks at Druridge Bay are a must-do when visiting Northumberland.

Experiencing Local Culture in Northumberland’s Villages

After enjoying the beautiful coastal walks at Druridge Bay, it’s time to delve into the charming villages of Northumberland and experience the local culture firsthand.

These quaint villages are like stepping back in time, with their picturesque streets, historic buildings, and friendly locals. From the moment you arrive, you’ll feel a sense of warmth and hospitality that is truly unique to this region.

As you explore the villages of Northumberland, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich heritage and traditions of the area. Each village has its own distinct character and charm, offering a glimpse into the past while also embracing the present.

You can visit local museums to learn about the history of the region, or simply wander through the streets and admire the traditional architecture. The village pubs and tearooms are the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat and chat with the locals, who are always happy to share stories and recommendations. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself caught up in a lively conversation about the village’s history or local folklore – the people here are passionate about their heritage and love to share it with visitors.

Exploring the villages of Northumberland is not just about admiring the architecture and learning about the history – it’s also about immersing yourself in the local way of life. You can partake in traditional activities, such as attending a local festival or market, where you can sample delicious local produce and handmade crafts.

The villages are also home to a thriving arts scene, with galleries and workshops showcasing the work of local artists and artisans. Whether you’re interested in pottery, painting, or textile art, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to get creative and learn from the talented individuals who call Northumberland home.

So, take your time, soak up the atmosphere, and let the villages of Northumberland enchant you with their timeless beauty and vibrant culture.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Northumberland, England offers a plethora of exciting activities and attractions that cater to all interests.

From exploring ancient castles like Bamburgh Castle and Dunstanburgh Castle to immersing oneself in the breathtaking beauty of Northumberland National Park, there is something for everyone in this stunning region.

Whether you prefer hiking, cycling, or simply enjoying scenic coastal walks, Northumberland has it all.

Wildlife enthusiasts will also be thrilled to spot various animals in their natural habitats.

And for history buffs, a visit to the Roman Fort of Vindolanda and Hexham Abbey will transport you back in time.

But it’s not just the natural and historical wonders that make Northumberland special.

The villages in this region offer a unique glimpse into local culture and traditions.

From charming architecture to friendly locals, you’ll feel welcomed and captivated by the warm and vibrant atmosphere.

So whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both, Northumberland has everything you need for an unforgettable experience.

Don’t miss out on exploring this hidden gem in England’s northeast, where history, nature, and culture blend together seamlessly.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.