This dramatic county has inspired us to protect our natural heritage. It’s a magical county of dramatic coastal castles, golden arcs of beaches and wild moor-covered hills.
The Northumberland coast is spectacular. Long ago the huge castles of Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh defended these shores, towering above sandy beaches and rugged cliffs. Hunting Hall is only 5 miles from the causeway of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. Here you can discover the land of St. Aidan and St. Cuthbert, walk through the ruins of the ancient priory, explore the castle and small fishing village, or follow a trail through the island countryside. In the stillness of an evening the voices of seals resting on sand banks drift across the water to the island, the cradle of English Christianity. Noisy guillemots, terns and clown-coloured puffins crowd the cliffs of the Farne Islands during the breeding season. Seals bask lazily on the rocks or bob by the boats which offer exciting trips to this unique island nature reserve.
Northumberland is a county of sky and wide open spaces. Hunting Hall is nestled in lowland countryside of fields and woods with winding small lanes and footpaths. A little further afield are moor covered hillsides of springy turf and rocky outcrops. Just a mile from the farm is Kyloe Woods, once part of a 19th century tree nursery for a local landowner. At its heart the trees are majestic, sunlight is dappled onto the pine needle floor and the wood is full of birdsong. In the 7th Century St Cuthbert is said to have left Lindisfarne to seek solitude in the shallow rocky outcrop of Cuthbert’s Cave. Trees shelter this lovely site, daffodils line the track and the sun warms great boulders that lie before the cave entrance. Several walking routes pass the cave and a circular hike towards the sea can be a stunning day out. A lowland peat bog at Ford Moss nature reserve is a natural haven for wildlife. Once a busy mining community, the area is now a silent and still. On the hillside above there are ancient cup and ring markings.
The Cheviot Hills offer exhilarating days out across wild moorland with stunning views. Rivers run through the Cheviot valleys where dippers flit amongst the dappled rocks. From the Harthope Valley paths climb steeply up Cheviot or lead through Happy Valley. This is an area rich in archaeology and there are remains of prehistoric hill forts, burial mounds and evidence of ancient farming techniques high up in these exposed hills. The Northumberland National Park has produced an excellent Hillfort trail leaflet for the Breamish Valley.
Town, Village and Stately Home
Overlooking the river estuary stands our local town of Berwick upon Tweed. A walk around the Elizabethan Walls is the best way to see this historic town, with its wonderful architecture, pier and sea views. The small shops and cafes along Bridge Street are a great place to browse. To the south, the Alnwick Gardens are beautiful with huge water features and glorious planting areas, a treehouse restaurant and pavilion. The castle, which featured in the Harry Potter films, is always enjoyed by children… especially those wishing to learn to fly!
Enjoy afternoon tea at the Lavender Tearooms of Ford and Etal Estates after exploring the narrow gauge railway, working corn mill and heavy horse centre. Amble through the picturesque village of Ford or spend a while indulging in the beautiful Victorian murals of the old schoolroom.
Stately homes abound in Northumberland; Cragside was the first house in England to be lit by electric light, 18th Century Paxton House has beautiful walks by the Tweed, Manderston is a stunning Edwardian country house – there are so many it’s hard to choose a favourite…
It’s difficult to describe our magnificent county in just one page, there’s just so much to see and do for all ages. We have created folders and leaflets in our accommodation to help you discover the best of Northumberland and we love to share advice about our favourite places.