Northumberland has a large number of stately homes for visitors to enjoy. Cragside, a National Trust property is a stunning setting where you can walk or drive round to explore lakes, gardens, conifers, rhododendron and azaleas and one of the largest rock gardens in Europe. Wallington House and Gardens date from the 17th century, with the subsequent estate taking shape in the 18th century – visit the house and see the ornate plasterwork before touring the walled garden, lawns and lakes outside. Seaton Delaval Hall is a magnificent house built on the site of a Norman settlement, acknowledged as the finest house in the north east of England– marble floors, cellars, large obelisk, and gardens make this a great place to visit. Belsay Hall is a Grecian inspired house built from the stone of Belsay’s own quarry – explore the gardens, 14th century medieval castle and don’t forget to pay a visit to the tearoom!
Northumberland’s historic strategic position has given rise to over 70 castles spread across the county ranging from the ruined to the spectacular. Alnwick Castle, seat of the Duke of Northumberland, is a stunning Norman castle and screen star, having featured in numerous TV dramas and films including Harry Potter as the Hogwarts Castle, War of the Roses and Downton Abbey. Explore the grounds, museums, state rooms and exhibitions and may be get in some broomstick training! Bamburgh Castle is a simply breath taking sight holding a commanding position on the coast where you can tour the rooms, museums and fortifications. The castle overlooks the green on one side – site of the Bamburgh Village Show and the other the sandy dunes leading down to a magnificent stretch of golden sand and clear water – if only if was a few degrees warmer! Dunstanburgh Castle, Warkworth Castle, Prudhoe Castle, Mitford Castle and Lindisfarne Castle are amongst a series of castles to visit.
No visit to the county is complete without seeing Hadrian’s Wall and exploring some of the forts along the way like Housesteads.
Northumberland is a great outdoors landscape for great for walking, hiking, horse riding and cycling. The Cheviot Hills at the northern end of the Northumberland National Park is home to Northumberland’s highest point, Linhope Spout, an impressive waterfall, hidden ponds and Yeavering Bell, home to one of the oldest iron ring forts in the region. The Kielder Forest is the largest working forest in England and Kielder Reservoir is the largest man-made lake in Northern Europe. You can take a 12 mile drive through Kielder forest taking in spectacular scenery and wildlife – look out for deer and red kites and buzzards in the skies above.
Arriving at Kielder Water gives you a chance to spy on the nesting ospreys across the water and visit the bird of prey centre. If you are feeling energetic you can take a walk alongside the reservoir or attempt the 26 mile cycle around the perimeter of Kielder Water taking in the amazing scenery. The sky is a feature of Northumberland, expansive horizons create a feeling of space during the day whilst dark sky sites give visitors an opportunity to clearly see numerous stars and on occasion the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis.
Northumberland is packed with a number of days out. Northumberland Country Zoo is wild day out for all the family. Hexham Abbey contains many historical artefacts to explore along with stained glass windows, the opportunity to sit on a 7th century Bishop’s stone and a number of exhibits. The Farne Islands are home to internationally important seabird colonies and Atlantic Seals – don’t forget to take your camera – the scenery is spectacular. Lindisfarne or Holy Island, is accessible by causeway – if you time the tide right! Explore the 12th century Lindisfarne Priory, the pretty village and Lindisfarne Castle.
Northumberland’s famous names include musician Pete Doherty, landscape and garden designer Lancelot “Capability” Brown, former England cricketer Tom Graveney and actor Robson Green.
Northumberland has a large range of annual events and given the nature of the county many have a rural or agricultural theme. Time your visit and choose from Northumberland Live Music Festival, Northumberland County Show at Bywell, Bellingham Show and Country Festival, Blanchland Show, Lindisfarne Festival and the Glendale Show.
The county is famous for a range of hearty food and drink including Lindisfarne Oysters, Craster Kippers native to the villages of Craster and Seahouses and both worth a visit, Pan Haggerty – a dauphinoise potato style dish, Lindisfarne Mead – fortified honey wine and a variety of cheeses from the Northumberland Cheese Company.