During the day you will be spoilt for choice of things to do and are sure to have unforgettable days out during your visit to Northumberland. The Northumberland countryside and coast are home to awe-inspiring landscapes and whether you fancy a gentle stroll, wildlife watching or adrenaline fuelled mountain biking there really is something for everyone.
Kielder Water & Forest Park has it all. The views are bigger, the night sky brighter, the sports wilder and the smiles wider. Home to the biggest man-made lake in Northern Europe and, at over 250 square miles, the largest working forest in England, the award-winning Kielder Water & Forest Park is one of Northumberland’s best attractions.
A haven for wildlife, visitors can expect to encounter otters, roe deer, badgers and bats. Kielder is home to almost 50% of England’s red native squirrel population, visit the hide at Leaplish and see if you can spot one. The wildlife garden at Leaplish is open all year round and comprises a raised pond and butterfly shaped bed, a bog and drought garden and a nest box demonstration area. Adders, butterflies, stoats and amphibiants inhabit the garden.
There is also contemporary art and architecture including the futuristic shelter design of the Belvedere, the Minotaur maze and Silvas Capitalis, also known as the ‘giant forest head’.
Famed for having the darkest skies in England thanks to minimal light pollution, the Park is a stargazer’s heaven. Complete your trip with a visit to Kielder Observatory located in the heart of Northumberland International Dark Sky Park – the largest Dark Sky Park in Europe.
Often described as “ the land of the far horizon”, there is a wild beauty in Northumberland National Park that so uplifting and bestowing a sense of wellness from being immersed in open and tranquil countryside, surrounded by the sounds and sights of nature and the stars above. You just have to experience it, to feel it. Northumbrians are passionate about their way of life and take pride in sharing it with you. You’ll discover wonderful food, enjoy local festivals and be able to explore ancient sites of international significance. Picturesque towns and villages provide everything you need to make your stay special. Northumberland National Park together with part of Kielder Water & Forest Park, is England’s only International Dark Sky Park (Gold Tier). On a clear night you can see the Milky Way, and even the Andromeda Galaxy (2.5 million light years away) with the naked eye!
2017 will see the opening of the Sill - National landscape Discovery Centre on Hadrian’s Wall. In partnership with the YHA, this brand new discovery centre will transform how people of all ages will understand and explore the landscapes, history and heritage of Northumberland and the wider North East. It will be a year-round and all-weather venue with accommodation, retail and cafe facilities, but it will also be gateway to Northumberland’s landscapes and people. A significant activity programme will be developed to inspire the next generation to continue valuing and conserving this beautiful part of the world.
Woodhorn Museum with its historic colliery site and located in a country park, is open all year round with a full programme of exciting events and exhibitions whatever the time of year as well as some stunning photography opportunities.
The former colliery buildings offer a fascinating insight into heyday of coal, the operation of the coal mine and the trials of the miner, whilst other displays provide an informative and touching exploration of the way of life for mining communities. Discover life in the home, the annual Miners’ Picnic, football, social clubs and even art. Proud miners’ banners mark the route to the Ashington Group Collection of art – 80 remarkable paintings produced by the Pitmen Painters. The artists were recently brought into the spotlight by the play of the same name by Billy Elliot writer, Lee Hall.
800 years of Northumberland history is also available at the museum through Northumberland Archives. Close to 3 million items covering everything from family and organisation history to maps and public records are available to view through the study centre.
Woodhorn’s exhibition programme is wide and varied catering for all tastes. There’s also an engaging events programme to entertain and inform and featuring everything from formal talks to opportunities to skate in the shadow of the colliery’s huge pit wheels. Relax afterwards with refreshments in the glass walled café overlooking the pit yard. And look out for the Woodhorn Narrow Gauge Railway too which is operated by volunteers. (Small charge payable. Check their Facebook page for operating information). A great free day out all year round.
A trip to Northumberland wouldn't be complete without visiting Hadrian's Wall, where Romans are still a part of everyday life. Stretching 73 miles from the Solway Coast in Cumbria to Wallsend in Newcastle upon Tyne, Hadrian’s Wall took three legions (approximately 15,000 men) 6 six years to build. Traversing rolling countryside, crossing rivers and hugging the formidable crags of the Whin Sill near Bardon Mill Hadrian’s Wall is an immense feat of engineering. Joining the Great Barrier Reef and Yellowstone National Park as a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hadrian’s Wall is one of the UK’s greatest landmarks. 2017 marks it's 30th year of being a World Heritage Ite, an anniverary shared with Venice, The Great Wall of China and the Palace of Westminster.
The AD122 Hadrian's Wall bus service is a relaxing way to see the wall with a daily service from April to September (Please check the timetable before planning your journey). The on board commentary will ensure you don't miss your stop.
English Heritage on Hadrian’s Wall has four Roman attractions and over 20 free historic attractions. These include:
Housesteads Roman Fort
Open daily throughout Autumn/Winter
Here visitors can stand on the edge of the Roman Empire and take in spectacular views. Investigate ancient ruins and examine real Roman objects in the museum.
Chesters Roman Fort & Chesters Tearoom
Open daily until 31 Oct, then weekend opening until Easter.
A new visitor experience has revitalised Britian’s most complete Roman cavalry fort. Wander the country’s best preserved military bath-house, weave through the ruins, explore the newly re-launched Clayton Museum, relax in the Tearoom and take part in Chesters Fort Takeover, the new family trail.
Plus, this October don’t miss half-term event, ‘How to be a Roman Soldier’ when youngsters can learn tips from our Centurion Titus, from 22 – 30 Oct.
Corbridge Roman Town
Open daily until 31 Oct, then weekend opening until Easter.
Today, you can still walk through the town's streets and experience a time-capsule of Roman life. You can also discover Roman armour and trinkets uncovered with theCorbridge Hoard at the museum. The Hoard was one of the most significant finds in Roman history, providing us with a fascinating insight into the life of a soldier on the Wall. The museum is also home to the Corbridge Collection, the largest of the Hadrian's Walls collections.
Birdoswald Roman Fort
Marvel at the longest stretch of Hadrian’s Wall from here, explore the ruins and find out what life was like for the Romans inside the exhibition.