Traditional Northumbrian towns like Alnwick, Alnmouth, Morpeth and Warkworth are nearby and only a short drive away. Full of history, things to do and places to explore, you will be spoilt for choice at the range of places to visit. Close by are stunning walks near the River Coquet or visit the nationally awarded Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Alnwick Castle (home to the present Duke & Duchess of Northumberland and descendants of the Percy family) is a great family day out. The castle situated within the town of Alnwick has extensive grounds and state rooms to explore. Take one of the magical tours around the imposing castle or view the stunning china exhibition. Alnwick Castle is also famous for the Harry Potter films as the Castle was used as a backdrop of Hogwarts School. Visit the Sanctuary at the Castle restaurant and enjoy a delicious meal set within medieval surroundings. For children, there is Knight’s Quest, an interactive display and lots of traditional games. No visit would be complete without meeting the birds of prey or the Harry Potter characters which patrol the grounds and do magic tricks to a spellbound audience.
Alnwick Garden is another full day out, suitable for adults and children alike. Designed by the Her Grace, the Duchess of Northumberland, these beautiful grounds show some of the most innovative and modern water features combined with traditional plants and roses. The mesmerising water cascade is the main pinnacle of the Gardens and has regular fountain displays providing a truly breathtaking view. The ornamental and rose garden has thousands of tea roses, the infamous David Austin roses and beautiful and striking plants from around the world. Take a tour of the Poison Garden and learn about the deadly plants and their medicinal uses. For a unique meal, try the infamous Treehouse restaurant. Situated within the trees, this quirky restaurant provides fine dining and early bird meals using locally sourced produce. Alnwick Garden and Alnwick Castle now offer a combined two day ticket at a discounted rate.
Morpeth is an historic market town which has stood on the same site for nearly 1,000 years. A thriving town with popular regular markets held each week. Visit the monthly farmers’ market to buy locally sourced Northumberland produce. Other attractions include the 13th Century chapel known as “the Chantry,” which now hosts a craft centre, the tourist information office and Morpeth’s famous Bagpipe Museum.
One of Northumberland’s most famous attractions is Holy Island, also known asLindisfarne. Sitting just off the coast, this small island contains a monastery that dates back to the 7th Century and a castle that can be seen from the coast. There is a narrow tidal causeway leading out to the island which can only safely be crossed at certain times (please click here for safe crossing times). This atmospheric and historic site is well worth visiting.
A popular sight for visitors is the magnificent country house at Cragside, which was once home to noted industrialist Lord Armstrong and which has been administered by the National Trust since 1977. Cragside was the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectric power and boasts one of Europe’s largest and finest rock gardens.
Rothbury is one of the most scenic small towns in the ancient county of Northumberland, popular with hikers, walkers and photographers. It is a perfect place to discover some of the most dramatic landscapes and beautiful countryside around. There are a number of well established restaurants and pubs serving meals using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Hadrian’s Wall, which is the ruin of the Roman wall built all the way across the top of England, is well worth visiting. There are many forts and other points of interest along the Wall, as well.
Along the Northumberland Coast, there are many historic ruins and buildings.
Dunstanburgh Castle (an interesting ruin overlooking the sea) or Warkworth Castlesituated high on a hill in the town of Warkworthare two other places of interest.
Northumberland also has a number of beautiful sandy beaches on the doorstep. Bamburghbeach (within a 30 minute drive) overlooks dramatic coastline and the imposing Bamburgh Castle situated within the historic town. Visit the town or play on the beach before heading to theFarne Islands and take a boat ride to see some puffins and seal cubs.
Visit Alnmouth (only 15 minutes away) to climb the sand dunes and play on the endless miles of clean sand or take a bike ride on one of the many coastal tracks. There are a variety of restaurants, pubs, coffee shops and gift shops for the discerning visitor to enjoy. Sailing enthusiasts have available yacht and small boat moorings within the sheltered estuary. There are also two golf courses are available in Alnmouth. The original golf course, which had 18 holes, was formed in 1869 making it the second oldest course in England. At a later date it was then split into two courses offering dramatic views to the sea.