Places to visit in Northumberland
On the border of Scotland, Northumberland is a wild, unspoiled and remote county which holds the accolade of being the most unpolluted county in England, making it a fantastic place to cleanse the senses and go stargazing.
The sparse population and absence of urban development mean that it’s also one of the most beautiful places to visit in the UK and retains a feel of timelessness. Unearthly, rugged landscapes are punctuated by the occasional ancient castle perched on a rocky outcrop, a true feast for the eyes, while the endless empty beaches are just a bonus. We firmly believe that Northumberland is one of the most rewarding destinations in the UK but understand that you may not be overly familiar with the area due to its remoteness. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best places to visit in Northumberland to help you become more familiar.
Berwick-upon-Tweed is a charming town of cobbles, castles, beaches, and boat trips. However, straddling the border of England and Scotland means that Berwick has had a bloody, conflict-filled history that still lingers in the Elizabethan town walls and ruinous castle remains.
Walking around the Elizabethan town walls is a wonderful way to learn about the tumultuous history of Berwick while you enjoy sweeping views over the town. Alternatively, amble along the river and put a foot either side of the border at Royal Border Bridge. More adventurous families might like to take advantage of Berwick’s location on the River Tweed to try a new water sport such as rowing or kayaking. There are a few beaches you can try out in Berwick if the weather permits: a sandy beach to the north of the river mouth called Spittal Beach, the scenic Fisherman’s Haven and the magnificent, windswept Cocklawburn Beach. With a Haven location right next door to the town, visiting this lesser-known gem has never been easier.
Don’t leave Northumberland without visiting the magnificent 1,400-year-old Bamburgh Castle, another iconic place to visit in Northumberland. Having stood guard above the spectacular Northumberland coastline for over a millennium, Bamburgh Castle remains inhabited to this day as the family seat of the Armstrong’s. Many films and small-screen productions, from Transformers to The Last Knight and the popular Last Kingdom series have used the castle due to its dramatic appearance. You’ll have to pay to get in but it’s well worth the entrance fee, you won’t regret it!
The neighbouring village of Bamburgh is home to the Grace Darling Museum, the beautiful St Aidan's Church, a golf course, and many charming local shops as well as lovely places to eat. Bamburgh Beach and Budle Bay make for excellent exploration, as does the harbour.
It doesn’t get more idyllic than exploring a tidal island. Cut off from the rest of the world, Holy Island, or Lindisfarne, is a tidal island off the coast of Northumberland. This mysterious island off Northumberland’s coast becomes inaccessible when the tide washes over its causeway twice a day so make sure to check safe crossing times for the Holy Island Causeway before booking your visit. According to the old tales, St Cuthbert revelled in the island’s inaccessibility as it gave him some peace and quiet, and you may well feel the same!
Having safely crossed the causeway, expect to find charming cafes a-plenty, an ancient priory, and a castle that perches on the coastline. Make sure to explore the historic Lindisfarne Priory and St. Mary’s Church, both important places associated with holy pilgrimages and to take a walk on the remote beaches of North Shore and Sandham Bay. Holy Island can easily be reached from Haggerston Castle, one of Haven’s most scenic holiday parks complete with an actual castle and serene lake views as well as plenty of entertainment for the kids.
A beautiful town nestling on the banks of the River Wansbeck and one of the most scenic places to visit in Northumberland, Morpeth is not to be missed off your Northumberland itinerary. Meander along the riverside taking in the beautiful parklands and the views across to the town with scenic bridge crossing. Kids will enjoy the wonderful steppingstones that take you across from one side to the other.
Botanists will enjoy the William Turner Gardens and Millennium Gardens, both pleasant places to stop and enjoy the flowers and birdlife. The Chantry Bagpipe Museum is also well worth a visit as it gives you an interesting insight into the history of an instrument famous for its Scottish connection.
Northumberland National Park
Northumberland National Park, with its clear air and pristine waters, is home to some of the UK’s hidden gems. Guided walks, mountain biking, and even wild Cheviot Goat-spotting can all be experienced across this magical landscape.
Make sure to visit Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which spans the park from east to west and visit some of the larger sites such as Chesters Roman fort or the remains of a 3rd-century Roman temple Bocolitia. The park also offers amazing stargazing opportunities with Europe’s largest area of protected night sky; it is without doubt, the best place in England to enjoy the wonders of the universe with the naked eye. Our recommended sites for stargazing are Stonehaugh, Cawfields, and Harbottle. While rambling in Northumberland National Park make sure you also keep an eye out for the wonderful fauna such as wild goats, roe deer, and the lesser-spotted red squirrel.