It's in our living history

Every inch of Northumberland hides a piece of history and heritage. The buffer between England and Scotland, Northumberland’s very geographic location has shaped a history of violence and conflict.

From the Roman invasion 2,000 years ago, Northumberland has witnessed plundering Viking attacks, seen Anglo Saxon kings fight to the death protecting their kingdom and set the scene for murderous raids by the notorious Border Reivers. There have been territorial battles between England and Scotland which saw the border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed change sides 13 times.


The legacy of Northumberland’s embattled past can still be seen today. There are more castles than any other county in England within its boundaries. The Roman megastructure of Hadrian’s Wall snakes for 73-miles across high volcanic ridges while the forts and pele towers peppered throughout Northumberland’s now peaceful countryside are a reminder of centuries-old carnage.

The past is everywhere you look in Northumberland. And the best way to discover it is to explore its ancient sites, battlefields, castles, museums and stately homes.

Also of interest


Looking for inspiration...

  • Take a look at Castles, History & Heritage
Historic buildings at Woodhorn
Museums and galleries
Ashington
From coal mining communities to contemporary art: discover a proud past, The Pitmen Painters and the best in art and heritage at Northumberland's biggest museum. ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 719 reviews

Church Driveway
Church
Carham
Stunning setting on banks of Tweed and lovely building. ...

St Mary the Virgin at Longframlington
Church
Longframlington
St Mary’s dating from 1190, has a fine Norman chancel arch, as well as good Victorian stained glass, and a carved altar and font cover from the early 20th century.  It is at the centre of a ...

Castle and Keep
Historic sites
Warkworth
Set in a quaint Northumberland town, this hill-top fortress and hermitage offers a fantastic family day out. ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 1041 reviews

St Cuthbert's Church, Corsenside
Church
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Now a grade II listed building, Corsenside Church was built to shelter St Cuthbert's coffin over 1000 years ago. ...

St Mary's at Stamfordham
Churchyard/Burial Ground
Stamfordham
A stunning Grade 1 listed church with Saxon origins. Lots of fascinating ancient monuments and a beautiful churchyard. ...

Outside St Cuthberts Church in Norham
Church
Norham
Described by Simon Jenkins in his "England's Thousand Best Churches" as a "mini-Durham Cathedral". ...

Cuthbert's Cross
Historic sites
Alnmouth
Said to be the location where St Cuthbert agreed to become Bishop of Lindisfarne when petitioned by the king. ...

St Cuthberts's Cave
Historic sites
Belford
St. Cuthbert’s Cave is an overhanging outcrop of Sandstone rock, supported by an isolated pillar of stone. It is reputed that the monks of Lindisfarne brought St. Cuthbert’s body to this p ...

Holy Trinity, Old Bewick
Church
Alnwick
A beautiful ancient church set in a large rural churchyard, an ideal place for quiet meditation. ...

St Mary's at Mitford
Church
Mitford
This church, positioned opposite the remains of Mitford castle, dates from 1135 and houses an historic bell and leper squint. ...

The Old Gaol
Museums and galleries
Hexham
Tour the Old Gaol, 1330AD, by glass lift. Meet the gaoler, see a Reiver raid and try on costumes. ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 49 reviews

Picnic bench
Great Outdoors
Kielder
Kielder Castle is the visitor centre for Kielder Forest. Features include information centre, tearoom and exhibitions about forestry and conservation. Bike hire available.   ...

Snowy Castle
Historic sites
Holy Island
The Castle is scheduled to reopen April 2018. Iconic Tudor Fort converted into an intimate holiday home in 1903 for Edward Hudson by architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. With charming Gertrude Jekyll wa ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 1022 reviews

Wallington
Historic sites
Cambo
Discover Wallington, much-loved home to generations of the unconventional Treveylan family and a magnificent estate where politics and play came together in the heart of Northumberland. ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 1073 reviews

Outside Dunstanburgh Castle
Historic sites
Craster
The ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle tower over the Northumberland coastal line. It is an ideal family day out with a picnic area, fantastic views, and it is not far from the Scottish Borders. ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 1190 reviews

Church and Coastline
Church
Berwick-upon-Tweed
Listed in Jenkins' 'Thousand Best churches'. Founded in 1650 and set within the historic Elizabethan walls of Berwick, in England’s most northerly parish. The only church to have been built in s ...

Holy Trinity at Matfen
Churchyard/Burial Ground
Matfen
A beautiful 19th-century church with a fine spire, a lovely atmosphere and a beautiful churchyard. ...

Outside Lindisfarne Priory
Historic sites
Holy Island
Experience the serenity of Lindisfarne Priory, cut off from the world on the beautiful Holy Island. Take in panoramic views of the Northumbrian coast, unpack a picnic in the priory grounds, and take a ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 2321 reviews

Beautiful Day at St Michael's
Church
Ford
A church in a magnificent setting with a fine view of the Cheviot and Flodden hill from the porch. The building dates from the 13th century and has always been closely associated with Ford Castle and ...

Elizabethan Fortifications
Historic sites
Berwick-upon-Tweed
Berwick's town walls are its most famous piece of architecture and still stand strong today, hundreds of years after they were built by Queen Elizabeth to keep out the invading Scots. ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 693 reviews

Alnwick Castle
Historic sites
Alnwick
Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in the UK; home to the Percy family for over 700 years and film location for Downton Abbey and Harry Potter's Hogwarts.  ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 4610 reviews

Holy Cross
Church
Haltwhistle
Beautiful ancient church with fabulous stained glass. ...

Holy Trinity at Horsley
Church
Horsley
Built in 1844 by 2nd Lord Redesdale - architects J & B Green. Important estate church with strong links to the Mitford family. ...

Listed 18th Century Tombstone
Church
Lowick
Visitors, sometime from as far away as Australia and the USA have described the church in the visitors book as ‘impressive’ and ‘lovely; they admire the particular peaceful quality o ...

St Marys Across the Green
Church
Ponteland
Norman church in centre of village. Lovely old stone, with some interesting memorials. A place of peace and quiet - the churchyard is beautiful when the spring bulbs are out. ...

Church Exterior
Church
Byrness
A Chapel of Ease built in 1786. Has a wonderful window commemorating the work people who died while the Catcleugh dam was built from 1894-1905. ...

Chesters Bath-House
Historic sites
Chollerford
Relax in the bath-house, explore the officers' quarters & learn about the saviour of Hadrian's Wall in the Clayton Museum. ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 594 reviews

Parish Church Choir
Church
Berwick-upon-Tweed
Visit this beautiful and rare Civil War Church. Opened in 1652 - it is the only parish church built under Cromwell. The church contains one of the earliest installations by Lutyens, a John Knox Renais ...

Keep
Historic sites
Bamburgh
A spectacular castle with fantastic coastal views. The stunning Kings Hall and Keep house collections of armour, artwork, porcelain and furniture.     ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 3130 reviews

St Michaels Church in Alnwick
Church
Alnwick
Spacious perpendicular style church with many medieval features, e.g., Hotspur pillar. 1464 charter of Henry VI that two 'burgesses' of Alnwick rebuilt their church. Patronage of Dukes of Northumberla ...

Daffodils and Howick Hall
Garden
Alnwick
Beautiful gardens, woodland walks, sensory garden, a Prime Minister and a famous cup of tea - Earl Grey of course since Howick was his home!  Enjoy Snowdrops, Daffodils, and Rhododendrons in spri ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 522 reviews

Cannon and castle
Historic sites
Chillingham
In the heart of Northumberland, a medieval castle with stunning views of formal gardens and the Cheviot Hills. Perfect for architectural and naturalist/historical enthusiasts. ...

Welcome to Belsay Hall Castle and Gardens
Historic sites
Belsay
With so much to see and do, a trip to Belsay is one of the best value family days out in North East England. Explore the grand medieval castle, later extended to include a magnificent Jacobean mansion ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 541 reviews

Housesteads Roman Fort
Historic sites
Haydon Bridge
Housesteads takes you back 2000 years. Spectacular views, modern and insightful museum and stunning ruins. ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 1316 reviews

St James the Great's Church
Church
Morpeth
St James is a fine Victorian church in Morpeth. It’s open every day, so come and see it. ...

Birdoswald section of the wall
Historic sites
Gilsland
Explore the fascinating ruins, marvel at the longest stretch of Hadrian's Wall and rest your legs in the Tearoom. ...

Outside St Aidans in Bamburgh
Church
Bamburgh
A church was founded on this site in 635 by St Aidan; the site of his death is marked by a shrine within the present church which dates from the end of the 12th century. A squint, a fine reredos, and ...

Outside Cherryburn
Historic sites
Mickley
Birthplace cottage (1700) and farmyard. Printing house using original printing blocks. Introductory exhibition of the life, work and countryside. ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 104 reviews

Outside Union Chain Bridge
Historic sites
The Union Chain Bridge spans the River Tweed between Horncliffe, Northumberland, England and Fishwick, Borders, Scotland. ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 78 reviews

Corbridge
Historic sites
Corbridge
Impressive excavated Roman town, walk down the high street and explore English Heritage's impressive museum of Roman finds.  ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 431 reviews

View of St Cuthbert's
Church
West Woodburn
A place of holy simplicity, Corsenside Church was built to shelter St Cuthbert’s coffin more than a thousand years ago. ...

St Paul's Exterior
Church
Branxton
Tranquil ancient sacred space and historically important Flodden Battlefield church. ...

Sunny Day at Ingram
Church
Alnwick
A beautiful church set in a large rural churchyard, an ideal place for quiet meditation. ...

Outside Cragside House Gardens and Estate
Historic sites
Rothbury
Creation of Lord Armstrong, Victorian inventor and landscape genius. Gardens, red squirrels, woodland and lakeside walks. ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 3012 reviews

Autumn Scene of St Cuthberts
Church
Greenhead
Originally designed by John Dobson, a church with an interesting spire and Kempe Glass. ...

Visitors with the family guide
Museums and galleries
Berwick-upon-Tweed
Located within Berwick Barracks, it is home to the stunning Berwick Burrell Collection of art & ceramics plus historical town artefacts. ...

The Tower
Church
Berwick-upon-Tweed
Ancroft Church is dedicated to St Anne, the mother of Mary, so the granny of Jesus. Follow the trail quiz and climb to the top of the tower to see the sea. ...

Exterior of St Mary's at Etal
Church
Etal
Set in the grounds of Etal Manor, this church (designed by William Butterfield) was built 1856-58 by Lady Augusta FitzClarence as a burial place for her husband Lord Frederick (one of the illegitimate ...

Welcome to Seaton Delaval Hall
Historic sites
Seaton Delaval
Seaton Delaval Hall comprising a centre block between 2 arcaded and pedimented wings, the east wing contains fine stables and there are gardens with statues. ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 90 reviews

Northumberland tranquility
Church
Hartburn
Eleventh-century church used by the Knights Templar. Cromwell's money box and Peninsular War flags. John Hodgson, the historian is buried here. ...

Church External
Church
Chillingham
The Church was founded in the 12th century and retains some of the Norman stonework. The South Chapel of Our Lady contains the 15th century tomb of Sir Ralph Grey and his wife Elizabeth. ...

Aerial photo of Aydon Castle
Historic sites
Corbridge
A beautiful 13thC manor house with strong fortifications against Scottish raiders, Aydon Castle stands in a secluded woodland setting. ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 165 reviews

Outside Prudhoe Castle
Historic sites
Prudhoe
Prudhoe Castle stands in a picturesque location, on a wooded hillside overlooking the River Tyne. ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 95 reviews

All Saints at Ryal
Church
Ryal
A simple but beautiful little country church, with some ancient Norman gravestones embedded in the wall. ...

Sunny Exterior of St Michael's
Church
Felton
St Michael and All Angels is a Grade 1 Listed Building set in a conservation area in the village of Felton.  The delightful old church and its beautiful churchyard (a previous Northumbria in Bloo ...

St Mungo's Church
Church
Hexham
Beautiful 13th century church with a long history of worship by local families through the centuries. ...

Alnwick Castle Grounds
Garden
Alnwick
Parkland, Gothic tower, lovely views and good walking. No dogs, cycles or vehicles are allowed in the park. ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 117 reviews

St Peters Church in Bywell
Church
Bywell
See the tower through the gates. Come inside the Norman building. See lancet windows, stone carvings, a village school room, and fire damaged walls outside. ...

St Cuthberts Church in Elsdon
Churchyard/Burial Ground
Elsdon
14th Century church, Roman tombstone, medieval grave covers, exquisite windows, historic churchyard, 18th century carved headstones, two medieval stone coffins. ...

View of Planetrees Roman Wall
Historic sites
Wall
A 15-metre (49 feet) length of later narrow Wall on earlier broad foundations, marking the junction between the two wall types. ...

St Cuthbert's
Church
Bellingham
Twelfth-century Grade 1 church. Burned down by Border Reivers. Rebuilt with rare barrel-vaulted stone roof. ...

Outside Church of Our Lady
Church
Seaton Delaval
12thC private chapel for nearly 800 years, a parish church since 1891. Anglo-Saxon, Norman and Georgian features, superb Norman arches. 13thC effigies, six hatchments. Window bought here from the Coli ...

Castle and Town Walls
Historic sites
Berwick-upon-Tweed
The remains of a medieval castle, superseded by the most complete and impressive bastioned town defences in England. ...

St John the Baptist Church in Edlingham
Church
Edlingham
An ancient site, there may have been a church here since the 8th century. ...

St Pauls Church in Cornhill-on-Tweed
Church
Morpeth
St. Paul's Church dates from 1200 and was rebuilt in 1849. A tranquil ancient sacred space and historically important Flodden Battlefield church. ...

St Andrews Church in Corbridge
Church
Corbridge
Important Saxon Church. Impressive 13thC remains - particularly east end lancet windows. Roman arch to baptistery. 14thC Vicar's Pele, built of Roman stones, in churchyard - needed because of Scots ra ...

Church
Church
Ellingham
Ellingham Parish Church is situated in the woodland East of the village of Ellingham – you may just see the tower above the trees as you approach. ...

South Aisle Porch and Tower
Church
Morpeth
Ancient Parish Church, over 700 years old, set in a peaceful churchyard with a glorious fourteenth century Tree of Jesse window. ...

St Bartholomew's Church
Church
Newbiggin-by-the-Sea
With its interesting mixture of architectural styles and impressive location, this 13th century church provides visitors with a site of notable historical interest and an individual look. ...

Church Building
Church
Bolam
This beautiful Saxon church is a hidden gem nestling in the rolling countryside of mid -Northumberland.  An oasis of calm in today’s world of noise and rush. Spirituality and a sense of pea ...

Our Lady at Delaval
Church
Seaton Delaval
A small, serene, historic church, which is more than 900 years old and is still in use regularly for Sunday services and weddings etc. ...

St Mary Magdalene in the snow
Church
Whalton
Largely medieval church displaying the evolution of a well-developed 13thC church from a Norman core. Carvings in stonework and a turret clock dated 1796. ...

Inside Bothal Church
Church
Morpeth
Grade 1 church of Norman origin. Outstanding historical features include tudor tomb, medieval stained glass, Jacobean communion rail, 600 year old nave roof etc. Beautiful seating ...

Winter scene at St Andrews Church in Bywell
Church
Bywell
The tall tower of St Andrew’s is a magnificent example of Saxon building ...

Etal Castle - Etal Village
Historic sites
Etal
A 14thC castle in picturesque surroundings, steeped in the history of border warfare. ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 141 reviews

View of St Wilfrid's
Church
Kirknewton
Beautiful light 14th century Grade 1 listed church in which Capability Brown was baptised. This little church consists simply of a nave and chancel, but has striking interior features. ...

St Mary
Church
Blanchland
Blanchland got its name from the white habits worn by monks of the Premonstratensian order who founded Blanchland Abbey. ...

Outside Gymnasium Gallery
Museums and galleries
Berwick-upon-Tweed
Contemporary art gallery with a programme of events by Berwick Visual Arts. Check out our What's On Section for exhibition details. ...

St Mary's Church and Churchyard at Holy Island
Church
Holy Island
The oldest building on Holy Island, the only building that retains work from the Saxon period. It is very likely that St. Aidan worshipped on this site from arriving in 635 AD. ...

A view of Rothbury
Church
Rothbury
An ancient and interesting Church, full of historical information, a quite, peaceful  sanctuary. ...

Willowford Bridge Abutment
Historic sites
Gilsland
A fine 914 metre stretch of wall, including 2 turrets, ending at a bridge abutment, much altered in Roman times owing to changes in the course of the river and rebuilding of the bridge. ...

Scene inside Regimental Museum Kings Own Scottish Borderers
Museums and galleries
Berwick-upon-Tweed
The King's Own Scottish Borderers regimental museum with uniforms, medals, silver and weapons telling the story of the regiment from 1689 until the present day. ...

Sunny day at St Oswald's Church
Church
Wall
A delightful hilltop church believed to be the location where King Oswald (604 -642) raised a large wooden cross before the Battle of Heavenfield (AD 635). ...

St Mary the Virgin Church in Ovingham
Church
Ovingham
Late Saxon West Tower, 12th Century porch, original long lancet windows at east end. ...

Northumberland Countryside
Historic sites
Slaley
On a hilltop almost 300m above sea level, St Andrew’s was built in 1769 to a cruciform plan on the site of a medieval church, and remodelled in 1892. In the churchyard is a magnificent domed mausole ...

St Gregorys Church in Kirknewton
Church
Kirknewton
'More to this church than meets the eye' (Pevsner). A site of Christian worship since the 11th century or earlier, the chancel and south transept date from the late 15th century. ...

Outside Brinkburn Priory
Historic sites
Rothbury
Founded in 1135 for canons of the Augustinian order, Brinkburn was restored in the 19th century and now survives in its entirety as Northumberland's finest example of early Gothic architecture. ...
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:TripadvisorBased on 141 reviews

Heddon-on-the-Wall
Church
Heddon-on-the-Wall
Archaeologically fascinating medieval church, evidence of Saxon church, early Norman chancel, rib-vaulted east bay. ...

Haydon Old Church
Church
Haydon Bridge
Dedicated to St Cuthbert, this church is a hidden gem with amazing views over the tyne valley. It is said said to be oneof the many resting places of St Cuthbert's bones. ...

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