Northumberland; rolling hills, smiling faces, and oh so many beautiful places. When people think of Northumberland they think of Newcastle, but Northumberland has so much more to offer than just the city itself. From historic castles, a world class art, and incredible outdoor adventures, Northumberland, like this guide, has something for everyone to enjoy. I originally published this back in 2018, but as I was back up North at the end of last month, I found it an apt time to update and improve it.
Recommended Time: 3-4 hours
Alnwick castle, most famous for its on-screen film and television appearances, is the perfect afternoon out. While wandering around the grounds you may notice people running around on brooms. Yes, you read that correctly I said brooms. You can sign up for free broom training lessons included in the price of your admission and channel your inner Hogwarts student. The castle is most famous for its role in the Harry Potter films. The green was used in scenes where Madam Hooch teaches the students quiditch in the first film and the exterior of the castle was used as bits of Hogwarts throughout the second film.
Cragside House National Trust
Recommended Time: 1/2 day
The home of hydroelectricity, Cragside house and its extensive 40 miles of walking paths, make for a great day out. Start out with the six-mile drive stoping along the way at the various viewpoints and activities. I would definitely recommend the labyrinth walk if you have young ones. After the drive grab a hearty lunch from the visitor centre. Saving the best for last, enter the house and explore just how hydroelectricity came about. I loved all the interactive exhibits and the were interesting and engaging for all ages.
Angel of the North
Recommended Time: 20/30 minutes
Perhaps the most iconic photo spot in Newcastle, the Angel of the North stands high over the city. Worth the short drive out of the centre, the Angel is a Newcastle must! If you have dogs it also makes a great stop for them to stretch their legs, although it is on the road so be sure to keep them on lead.
Recommended Time: 3/4 day
The Farne Islands Nature reserve is one of the best family friendly activities in Northumberland. Catch a boat in Seahouses, we used Billy Shiels, and head over to either Staple Island or Inner Farne (depending upon weather). The best time of year to come is late May to late July, during mating season. The scenery is beautiful and really shows off how geographically diverse Northumberland is. Before this I had never seen wild puffins and loved seeing them in their natural habitat. But be warned during mating season the Arctic terns may dive bomb you, not kidding, so bring a hat.
Recommended Time: 1-2 hours
Set in the historic town of Alnwick, near the aforementioned castle, is Barter Books. If you a reader or writer then this place is a must. The used book store is massive and holds every genre and caters to all tastes. The cake from the cafe isn’t bad either!
Recommended Time: 3-4 hours
While I hadn’t planned to included any of Newcastle’s attractions in the post, the Baltic deserves a spot. Sitting on the Quayside, the Baltic Centre is a contemporary arts centre that is not only expansive but free to enter. And if world class art isn’t your thing, its worth a visit just to see the incredible view of Quayside Newcastle!
Although I’ve narrowed it down to these few there is so much more than just these few. I compiled all of the locations featured in this guide plus some extra spots you might enjoy here:
Heading to Northumberland soon? Comment where you are going and I can give you some extra tips!
As always if you have any specific questions or comments, send them my way! I’d love to hear what you think.