Celebrating what’s Great about Northumberland

Great Northumberland is now officially open! With 56 days of arts, culture, heritage events, exhibitions and live performances there's something for everyone. This eight-week extranganza features events across the county and closes on 1 Sept in Berwick.

To find out more or to sign up for exclusive deals and offers go to www.greatnorthumberland.co.uk 

Love Northumberland

From Capability Brown to stargazing, we've picked some facts about Great Northumberland which we hope will rouse your curiosity and inspire your next holiday or short-break.

Northumberland's unique breed of cattle are rarer than giant pandas

Chillingham Wild CattleFound at Chillingham Park near Alnwick, Chillingham Wild Cattle are true survivors. 

This unique herd of wild cattle are believed to be the sole descendants of herds that once roamed the forests of ancient Britain. It is thought they have been living at Chillingham for more than 700 years. 

The cattle are natural clones. Not only are they genetically identical to each other, each one has received identical genes from its sire and its dam which is a unique phenomenon among wild living animals. 

The fierce winter of 1947 almost wiped them out entirely, reducing the herd to just 13. Thanks to the conservation efforts of a specially formed association, the herd now boasts approximately 100 animals - the total world population. 

Chilllingham Wild Cattle are completely untamed. In their lifetime, these remarkable beasts are never touched by human hands, and they are not not even treated by a vet. Their lives are kept completely natural and wild.

As a result, they can be dangerous and visitors are only able to see the cattle when accompanied by the warden.

Earl Grey tea originated in Northumberland

Not only famed for grand architecture and landscapes, Northumberland is also the birth place of many notable figures of British history. 

The most prominent figure is the British Prime Minister, Charles 2nd Earl Grey. He came from a long established seat at Howick Hall, Gardens & Arboretum.

For some, Earl Grey is known for being Prime Minister during the passing of the Great Reform Bill of 1832. For most, he is better known for the eponymous tea, Earl Grey tea. This was blended at the request of his wife Lady Grey, using the addition of bergamot oil to offset the strong taste of lime in the local water.

Six miles east of Alnwick, you can visit the spectaular gardens of Howick Hall which feature exotic plants grown from seeds collected annually around the world. 

Northumberland officially has the largest protected area of night skies in Europe

Sycamore Gap credit Cain ScrimgeourIn 2013, a section of Northumberland was awarded Gold-tier International Dark Sky status. This means the sky above Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water & Forest Park was officially recognised as Europe’s largest area of protected night skies.

Thanks to minimal light pollution and great conservation efforts, Northumberland proudly offers some of the best stargazing experiences and clearest night skies in England. With the naked eye, you'll see roughly 2,000 stars shining bright like diamonds on inky black skies and easily trace the fuzzy arc of the Milky Way.

The sky over the protected landscape of the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is also a fantastic window into the aurora borealis, aptly nicknamed the Northern Lights. This breath-taking natural phenomenon is usually saved for a trip to Norway, Iceland or the Arctic Circle - not any more! 

Top tip: the autumn and winter months are the best time for stargazing, as the colder temperature creates clearer, darker skies. Discover our suggestions for a great autumn and winter stargazing break at NlandStars 

Northumberland was once the largest kingdom in the British Isles

Over a thousand years before Northumberland was affectionately known as ‘the last hidden kingdom’, it was known as the Kingdom of Northumbria. 

Following three centuries of Roman occupation until the early fifth century, small kingdoms such as Bernicia and Deira emerged. They combined to become Northumbria and, by approximately 700AD, Northumbria was the largest and most powerful kingdom in the land. 

It stretched from the Firth of Forth in Scotland to the River Humber (hence ‘north-Humber-land’).

Capability Brown was born in Northumberland

Capability Brown landscape at Alnwick CastleThe informal gardens of landscape gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown are famed throughout the UK, but what many do not know is he was born in the little hamlet of Kirkharle in the heart of Northumberland.

He lived there until his early 20s, and it is now widely believed to be where a young Capability found his inspiration as the sweeping rural Northumbrian countryside is very similar to his renowned naturalistic style.

In honour of this British icon, head to Alnwick to see Brown’s work at Alnwick Castle and then marvel at the modern design of nearby Alnwick Garden

Be sure to include trips to other great Northumbrian gardens such as those found at Wallington and Belsay Hall.

All of this information and more can be found on Visit Northumberland

Looking for inspiration...

  • We have found Great Northumberland Events for 2018
Christmas Belles
Family event
Summon the spirit of Christmas past with these charming Christmas Belles. Our joyous duo shimmer scarlet with waving gold ribbons and ring out yuletide chimes of good cheer with syncopated hand ch ...

Special spaces: Dawn Patrol

Highlights Craft Tour 2018
Arts and Crafts
a contemporary craft tour bringing together different artists. ...

Larraine Duquemin art exhibition
Arts and Crafts
An exhibition of paintings in the Breakwater Cafe ...

Forgotten Garden Adventure Golf
Family event
Once Upon a time in The Alnwick Garden there was a huge shudder and the ground began to move and shake. They called upon ‘the fairest of them all’ to find a solution to the moving ground, but ...

Morpeth Food and Drink Festival 2018
Food Event
Sixth Annual Morpeth Food and Drink Festival sponsored by Lexus Newcastle - Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th October 2018! The festival was launched five years ago and has since grown year on year. Now ...

Eshott Hall Wedding Open Weekend
Planning your special day? Come and see how you can make our spaces yours. Our doors will be open for all brides and grooms-to-be to explore our beautiful hotel and grounds, meet our team of experienc ...

Alan O'Cain art exhibition
Arts and Crafts
An exhibition of paintings by Alan O'Cain ...

Halloween At The Alnwick Garden
Family event
The Spooky Trail If you like a good spook come and take a look. Immerse yourself in our Halloween trail around The Garden. The Spook Zone There will be gruesome sights and corpses to behold. En ...

Jenny Allan
Arts and Crafts
An exhibition of paintings and mixed media in the Breakwater Cafe ...

Bulb Planting
Family event
You can make The Alnwick Garden blooming marvellous by planting bulbs. We need your help to plant 25,000 Jonquila ‘Pueblo’ bulbs in our Cherry Orchard. ...

Eileen A Saunders
Arts and Crafts
An exhibition of paintings in the Breakwater Cafe ...

Claire Cooper Art Exhibition
Arts and Crafts
Scar Tissue an exhibition of mixed media ...

Ghost Stories of Woodhorn Museum
Family event
Join professional storyteller Stephen Skelton and enjoy some spine-chilling tales about Woodhorn Museum These special ghost stories are all based on spooky encounters experienced by staff and visitors ...

Pumpkin Trail
Family event
Can you find all the pumpkins that are hiding in the shadowy corners of Woodhorn Museum? Pick up your trail sheet at the Welcome Desk then explore the museum and colliery buildings to try and find all ...

Secrets of the Wild - Wildlife Photography
Join professional wildlife photographer, , TV writer and presenter Neil Atkinson for a combination of indoor and outdoor practical tuition. ...

The Alnwick Garden Light Show
Family event
The Alnwick Garden has been transformed into a festive delight for the family. Whilst meandering through The Garden at night, enjoy the Christmas lights to truly get you in the Christmas spirit. ...

The Great Big pop up shop
Family event
There will be a pop up shop and craft fair in Berwick Town Hall.  Hot and cold refreshments will be available to purchase.  There will be a number of stalls as well as a tombola.  The e ...

The Alnwick Garden Spooky Walk
Outdoor Event
As the darkness of the night crawled over The Garden a change in the air starts to happen. A once beautiful and enchanted place changes into a hideous zombie infested realm. Are you brave enough ...

Morpeth VIP Gin Experience
Book Online
Food Event
Three course street food with a premium gin flight, featuring six exclusive gins, and tonics, served with food. Leading distillery masterclass, cocktail making session, live music and a bar featuring ...

Winter Wonderland Birds
Family event
These magical giant birds with their stunning fanned tails are illuminated for a winter wonderland spectacular as a living example of the song lyric from the Twelve Days of Christmas ‘Two Callin ...

Results: 21

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