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08 September 2022

Afternoon Tea in Northumberland

Northumberland is home to a number of luxury hotels, manor houses, spas and cafes that serve the best Afternoon Teas perfect for a day out with friends, to treat your loved ones or to celebrate a special occasion. From traditional Afternoon Teas to Afternoon Teas with a twist, we have featured some of the best for you to book now:  Doxford Hall           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Doxford Hall Hotel & Spa (@doxford_hall) The magical approach to Doxford Hall will lure you in even before you have tried their delicious Afternoon Tea. Served in either the opulent Georgian Room, magnificent library or the cosy Morning Room with its roaring log fire, their Afternoon Tea is made up of freshly baked sweet and savoury scones, homemade cakes and a selection of finger sandwiches. Opt for a warming tea or coffee on the side, or upgrade to a glass of bubbly for an extra treat. The warming glow emanating from the hotel window will make you desperate to get out of the cold and tucking into your Afternoon Tea, and the stunning setting of the hotel lawn will have you enjoying your Afternoon Tea al fresco in the spring and summer months.  Matfen Hall           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by @architecturalengland Magnificent Matfen Hall, nestled away in 300 acres of unique parkland in Northumberland’s countryside, makes for an exquisite setting for Afternoon Tea. Offering a classic British Afternoon Tea, they serve up delicious savoury treats to begin with, followed by delicate, hand-crafted sweets and a selection of beverages to enjoy while you soak in your stunning surroundings. You will be seated in either the elegant Emerald Restaurant or luxurious Great Hall. Extend your treat day with a trip to the hotel spa, or how about a spot of golf on the hotel’s 27-hole course.  The Alnwick Garden           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The Alnwick Garden (@alnwickgarden) Not many people know that you can enjoy an Afternoon Tea at the fantastic Alnwick Garden at The Pavilion cafe, overlooking the magnificent Grand Cascade. With a menu of mouth-watering sandwiches, buttery sausage rolls and fluffy scones, it is an excellent Afternoon Tea spot, particularly as you can make the most of your surroundings and explore The Alnwick Garden afterwards. Don’t forget to pop into Alnwick centre to enjoy the picturesque cobbled streets and other attractions such as Barter Books while you’re there. Langley Castle Hotel           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Langley Castle Hotel (@langleycastle) What's more quintessentially British than enjoying a traditional afternoon tea within opulent, stone walls of a medieval castle? At Langley Castle Hotel, you can do just that, as this castle hotel serves Afternoon Tea in its lavish Drawing Room. You will feel like royalty while you enjoy freshly prepared sandwiches, sweet treats and scones, and make sure to book a tour of the castle afterwards to really make the most out of your visit to this magnificent historical site.  The Cookie Jar           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The Cookie Jar (@thecookiejaralnwick) The Cookie Jar is a beautiful, boutique hotel in the heart of Alnwick which was formerly the Convent of Mercy and has been tastefully renovated into 11 luxurious rooms and suites. Perfect for a cosy retreat, they also offer exquisite Afternoon Teas which are served up in the impeccably decorated bistro which overlooks their spacious, heated, two-tier terrace, garden area and lawn. Pick from Afternoon Tea with Fizz, a G&T or warming cuppa and enjoy a selection of sandwiches, savoury tarts, delicious scones and more.  The Lord Crewe Arms           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Lord Crewe Arms Blanchland (@lord_crewe_arms) The Lord Crewe Arms perfectly matches its idyllic setting on the stonefront streets of the postcard-perfect, fairytale village of Blanchland. This atmospheric hotel is one of the oldest hostelries in the country and you can expect to find stone wall interiors, rustic wooden beams, flickering candles and a roaring open fire when you visit for Afternoon Tea. In the autumn and winter months you can cosy up in one of the comfy boltholes in front of an open fire, or in the warmer months you might want to head outside and dine on the sunny terrace. They offer a selection of savoury bites, delicious cakes of the day together and more.  Beadnell Towers           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Beadnell Towers | Boutique Hotel in Northumberland (@beadnell_towers) Beadnell Towers is a stunning, boutique hotel based in the idyllic seaside village of Beadnell. Some of the best beaches, attractions and restaurants in Northumberland are within easy reach of this fantastic spot. What’s more, this spot of luxury offers delectable Afternoon Teas, specially served in The Lounge, a tranquil haven set apart from the rest of the hotel. In this calm space you can enjoy the large fireplace, library of books and gorgeous interior while you indulge in a delicious Afternoon Tea. Afternoon Teas are pre-order only here, so contact the hotel directly to book your table and have a look at the menu. The Running Fox           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The Running Fox (@runningfoxcafe) The mother of all Afternoon Teas, The Running Fox offers an Afternoon Tea with a twist. To say the portions are huge is an understatement, and each guest receives a four course feast of a sandwich, slab of pie, slice of cake and finally two mini scones. There are a few different Running Foxes in Northumberland, so you can visit their Felton, Longframlington, Shilbottle or Longhoughton bakery for a day of deliciousness (just make sure you arrive hungry!). So, now you are fully informed to make a decision on where to enjoy Afternoon Tea in Northumberland - the hard part is picking just one! Make sure to tag us in your foodie days out in Northumberland by using the hashtag #visitnorthumberland or tagging us at @visitnorthumberland.  
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04 August 2022

Hidden gems in Northumberland

Get away from the crowds when you visit Northumberland and uncover Northumberland’s hidden treasures. From lesser-known viewpoints along Hadrian’s Wall, to castle ruins that have remained somewhat of a secret, to fantastic family days out that will escape the crowds even during the school holidays, read on for some of Northumberland’s best hidden gems. 1) Ford and Etal           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Ford & Etal (@fordandetal) Ford and Etal is one of Northumberland’s best kept secrets and this hidden treasure is a firm favourite with families, lovers of the great outdoors, and anyone wanting to get away from the crowds when they’re in Northumberland. This working estate has fascinating historical sites such as lesser-known Etal Castle, Lady Waterford Hall and Heatherslaw Corn Mill. Based in the valley of the River Till, its striking countryside setting makes for picturesque viewpoints and fantastic walking routes. Plus, there are a number of eateries here to enjoy before or after your explorations, including cafes, the only thatch roofed pub in Northumberland and a microbrewery serving traditional cask and bottled ale. To top it all off, you can hop on board the steam train at Heatherslaw Light Railway to travel between Heatherslaw Station and Etal Station, something which the kids are guaranteed to love. Ford and Etal attractions close during winter, so check ahead if you’re hoping to visit during the winter months. Top tip - There are a number of B&Bs and holiday cottages in Ford and Etal, plus a new glamping site made up of bell tents and glamping pods for you to choose from if you are looking for places to stay in Northumberland. 2) Duddo Five Stones           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Elisha (@elishascott_photography) Duddo Five Stones is a stone circle made up of five, 4000 year old stones that sit in rural countryside, accessible only via a 1km walk through fields. Their remoteness adds to their mystery and their striking setting adds to their beauty, as they stand with incredible views of the Cheviot Hills to their south and impressive vista towards the Scottish border, which is only six kilometres away. There were originally seven stones before three went missing, then a further stone was added in 1903, making the five that we see today. Top tip - The site actually sits a ten minute drive away from Ford and Etal, so the two attractions are great to do in the same day, and it is also only a 15 minute drive to some fantastic coastal spots such as Berwick-upon-Tweed where you can enjoy excellent shops, restaurants and wildlife boat trips, and Beal, where you can head on to Lindisfarne causeway to visit The Holy Island of Lindisfarne. 3) Chillingham           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Your_NorthEastUK (@your_northeastuk) The small village of Chillingham, tucked away on the outskirts of Wooler, holds some fascinating attractions that you should explore when you visit Northumberland. The first is Chillingham Castle, Britain’s most haunted castle, with the highest recorded levels of paranormal activity in Britain and a large collection of spectres and apparition spottings by visitors over the years. You only have to take one step into the torture chamber and you’ll be quaking in your boots. If you’re brave enough, you can meet the ghosts for yourself on a nighttime ghost tour and you can even stay overnight. Pair your visit with a trip to see Chillingham Wild Cattle, the remarkable survivors of the ancient cattle that once roamed Britain’s forests.The animals are regarded as a scientific marvel and have inhabited Chillingham Park for as long as 700 years. Even more secret, there will be a very small number of special tours in Chillingham Park this August. Guiding you into areas normally blocked off for the public, the tour will be led by Chairman Professor Stephen Hall who has been involved with the park for more than 20 years. Top tip - If ghouls don’t get you going and you can’t handle the haunt, Chillingham Castle is still a splendid attraction. A day time visit allows you to appreciate the astounding medieval architecture and decor, as well as the beautiful gardens onsite. 4) Walltown Country Park           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Visit Northumberland (@visitnorthumberland) Hadrian’s Wall is a major attraction for many visiting Northumberland, attracting tourists from across the globe to admire its incredible engineering and many popular forts that are scattered along it. However, this unmissable site is a whopping 73 miles long, leaving plenty room for lesser-known spots and hidden gems in its midst. Get away from the crowds and discover the irresistibly peaceful spot of Walltown Country Park, a site that used to be a working quarry until 1976 when it was filled in and landscaped so that, today, it is a haven for wildlife and nature. You can relax and admire the wildlife here, feed the ducks, enjoy a coffee from the visitor centre on site and use the spot as a base to discover some staggering viewpoints in Northumberland National Park and along Hadrian’s Wall.   Top tip - Pick a clear day to enjoy an evening meal in a local village pub before parking at Walltown Country Park and walking to Hadrian’s Wall for the evening. You are guaranteed a spectacular sunset viewing spot and will most likely have the area to yourself. 5) Hauxley           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Peter Bell (@petermbell) Northumberland’s coastline is undoubtedly one of its major draws for a holiday. There are staggering castles, miles of pristine sand and a number of bays to explore. But have you heard of Hauxley, a hidden gem on the Northumberland coast just a short drive from some of the more well-known spots? The area is home to stunning, peaceful Low Hauxley beach and one of the best wildlife watching spots in the North East, Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre. Looking out over Hauxley Nature Reserve, this spot attracts a myriad of birds and is one of the easiest places in Northumberland to see red squirrels and tree sparrows. Enjoy the walks and nature trails around the reserve, the tranquil nature hides and a delicious snack or beverage in The Lookout Cafe which offers staggering views over the lake. Top tip - There is no entry fee for Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre but donations are welcome to help with the upkeep of the site. A small parking charge applies for all visitors. 6) Seaton Delaval Hall           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Cal \ Adventure \ Travel (@adventure_cal) There are a number of stunning stately homes in Northumberland, boasting fascinating history, beautiful grounds and amazing architecture. One that is slightly lesser-known than some of its fellow National Trust properties in Northumberland is Seaton Delaval Hall, based right at the south of the county near the lovely coastal village of Seaton Sluice. One of The National Trust’s most ambitious conservation projects, Seaton Delaval Hall has just had a four-year, £7.4 million renovation and the results are spectacular, including the restoration of stunning cantilevered staircases, transformation of the basement, addition of playful interpretations that tell the story of the house, and building of a cafe onsite. From history-lovers who are fascinated by the hall’s background and architecture, to families coming to enjoy the interpretations and an educational day out, to anyone looking for a peaceful and picturesque picnic spot, this is the perfect place.    Top tip - You can walk directly from the grounds of Seaton Delaval Hall to the gorgeous, pristine coastline at Seaton Sluice if you want to extend your day out. You’ll also find some excellent pubs here and locally renowned fish and chip shop The Harbour View, which is a must-visit when you’re in Seaton Sluice. 7) Howick           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Wayne Ridley (@wayne_ridley_photography) Another lesser-visited spot on the Northumberland coastline is Howick, a tiny, picturesque village nestled between Craster and Boulmer. Those who know Howick well will have a mental picture of Howick Bathing House, which teeters on the coastline here and makes for a beautiful photograph with Dunstanburgh Castle ruins visible in the distance. The hidden cove, Rumbling Kern, is revealed at low tide, with its rocky landscape and tidal pools offering a great family day out rockpooling and discovering the sealife. You can only reach this spot on foot, but it is just a short walk from the available parking on the coast of Howick. Venture slightly further inland to visit Howick Hall Gardens and Arboretum, another of Northumberland’s more secret attractions. This site is the home of Earl Grey Tea, as Charles 2nd Earl Grey lived here and had his namesake tea specially blended for him by a Chinese Mandarin, using bergamot to offset the taste of the water from the well. You can enjoy a cup of traditional Earl Grey here in their tea room before exploring the stunning gardens.   Top tip - Sitting in the heart of Howick is beautiful B&B, Old Rectory Howick. This Georgian Country House is only 400 yards from the seafront and offers beautiful rooms, fresh, local food and an irresistibly tranquil setting. 8) Hareshaw Linn           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Visit Northumberland (@visitnorthumberland) Northumberland is home to many fantastic waterfalls - some are very popular and clearly mapped out and some are a little more obscure and difficult to get to. One that sits somewhere in the middle is Hareshaw Linn, the lesser-known waterfall in Northumberland National Park that can be easily accessed from the village of Bellingham if you know what you’re looking for. Head to the car park in Bellingham where you will find the well sign-posted, picturesque, woodland footpath to the waterfall which will take you over bridges, past trickling streams, amongst oak, hazel, elm and ash trees until you eventually reach an opening where breathtaking Hareshaw Linn waterfall awaits. Stick around once you reach this magical spot and enjoy a picnic, listen to the birds, admire your surroundings and even go for a dip if you’re brave enough to withstand the cold. *This route may have been affected by Storm Arwen so please check ahead on Northumberland National Park’s website before visiting.   Top tip - We worked with bloggers Brock and Betty on a guide to Northumberland’s waterfalls. Take a look for more waterfall routes and some top tips on visiting waterfalls in Northumberland. 9) Warkworth Hermitage           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Northern Adventures (@northernadventuresltd) You may have already heard of Warkworth Castle, an astounding site in the beautiful coastal village of Warkworth that looks particularly charming in spring when it becomes surrounded by daffodils. But did you know that Warkworth is home to a secret medieval hermitage that can only be accessed by rowing boat? Simply book a ticket to the Hermitage on arrival at Warkworth Castle, walk half a mile up the serene River Coquet and join the rowing boat that is rowed back and forth by a member of staff so that visitors can admire this mysterious spot. When you get there, you will see the religious site that is carved out of rock and was probably built as a private chapel for the first Earl of Northumberland. Top tip - Warkworth village is worth an explore and its winding, cobbled streets, great cafes and independent shops make for a lovely day out. Plus, sweeping Warkworth Beach is another of Northumberland’s quieter coastal spots. 10) Chesters Roman Fort           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by James McCune (@jamesmccune) Northumberland National Park is home to numerous fascinating Roman forts holding thousands of years of history, with Hadrian’s Wall dipping and diving across its landscape. One of the quieter forts along the wall is Chesters Roman Fort, which is one of a series of permanent forts built during the construction of Hadrian’s Wall. The cavalry fort, known to the Romans as Cilurnum, was built in about AD 124 and housed some 500 cavalrymen until the Romans left Britain in the 5th century. Pioneering excavations in the 19th century exposed the structures visible today and these excavations yielded one of the best collections of inscriptions and sculpture on Hadrian’s Wall. There is a collection of famous finds and some lesser-known artefacts, including delicate glass work and intriguing graffiti.    Top tip - Before you head home, go and see Brocolitia Roman Temple, which is just a five minute drive away from Chesters Roman Fort. Here you can see the remains of a temple which was dedicated to the mysterious deity Mithras, who inspired a secretive and exclusive cult which was popular amongst Roman soldiers.  Now you are fuelled with fresh ideas for a day out in Northumberland, go out and explore the hidden corners of this amazing county and make sure to tag us in your adventures at @visitnorthumberland or use the hashtag #visitnorthumberland. Author: Jenni Meikle  
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13 July 2022

What's new for 2022 in Northumberland

Set the trend on your next trip to Northumberland with our list of ten of the best, brand new hotels, glamping sites, activities, experiences and more for you to try in Northumberland. 1) Ospreys and Canapes with Wild Intrigue           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Polar_brock (@brock_and_betty) In the tranquil landscape of Kielder lies one of Northern England’s most outstanding conservation success stories; the return of the Osprey. This activity, launched by Wild Intrigue and Kielder Waterside, sets sail on serene Kielder Water in the evening, ready for a striking sunset.  While you admire the rare Ospreys soar overhead and fish in the water, your expert guide will share the history, ecology and inspiring conservation story of the Osprey, all while you munch on the delicious canapes that will be served on board.  2) Hillside Huts           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Hillside Huts & Cabins (@hutshillside) This truly unique luxury glamping accommodation has relaxation and wellbeing at its heart. Set in natural woodland on a farm near Morpeth, the rural setting and rustic style of the stunning huts allow you to truly connect with nature, not to mention the meadow yoga sessions you can partake in during your stay. This focus on nature does not compromise on comfort and luxury and each cabin has its own private decking with a wood-fired hot tub and fire pit, plus other features such as freestanding bathtubs, an outdoor shower and a bountiful hamper filled with local treats on arrival. Top tip - Enter our competition for the chance to win a two night stay here. 3) The Magic Bottles Adventure           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The Escape Key (@escapekeynewcastle) The Magic Bottles is a brand new outdoor ‘escape room’ style family adventure game in the magical town of Alnwick, where broomsticks, bookshops, jousts and dragons are just a few of the possibilities. Using your smartphone, the game guides you around Alnwick where you will meet characters from the town’s past at various points along the route. The game is inspired by the legend of The Dirty Bottles pub, whose window holds haunted bottles that (legend has it) the landlord of the pub tried to move 200 years ago. After touching them, he immediately dropped dead and no one has touched them since. The game skilfully blends this local legend with a Harry Potter-inspired plot where the players take the role of young wizards to tackle a variety of challenges.   4) Till Fishing’s Border View Cottage           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Till Fishing (@tillfishing) Nestled on the border of England and Scotland, Till Fishing’s newly renovated cottage near Berwick is perfect for exploring Northumberland. You can cosy up in front of the crackling open stove at the end of a day exploring nearby Berwick and Northumberland’s staggering coast, or sit out in the west facing garden to watch the sunset. The cottage is pet friendly so you can bring your pooch on your staycation. The River Till is just a short walk from the cottage offering serene, waterside walks, excellent fishing opportunities and even wild swimming if you fancy a dip. Based on a working farm, there is an abundance of wildlife including red squirrels, badgers, deer and many species of birds.    5) Bamburgh Under Canvas           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Bamburgh Under Canvas (@bamburghundercanvas) Starting purely as a pop-up concept in summer 2021, Bamburgh Under Canvas is an adult only glampsite located within one mile from the historic village of Bamburgh, and the success of the pop-up made owners Cam and Amy decide to make this a permanent fixture for 2022. The experience is as close to camping as you can get without compromising on comfort, as the luxuriously furnished Lotus Belle tents have proper beds with bedding and even cooking/ barbeque facilities provided. If you are visiting for an occasion or just fancy treating yourself to an extra touch of luxury, there is one deluxe tent on-site with the added bonus of a private, wood fired hot tub under the stars. The site’s proximity to Bamburgh means you can feel the sand between your toes on striking Bamburgh Beach, explore majestic Bamburgh Castle and enjoy exquisite food on the village high street. Travel further afield for attractions such as Holy Island, Beadnell, Craster and a host more of Northumberland’s highlights. 6) Bothy Ho Ho at Budle Bay Croft           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Budle Bay Croft (@budle_bay_croft) Budle Bay Croft’s newest addition, Bothy Ho Ho, is a beautiful, two bedroom glamping cabin located on a coastal farm near idyllic Budle Bay. This cosy, wooden cottage is family, couple, solo-traveller and pet friendly and is ideally located to explore Northumberland’s wonderful beaches, majestic castles, and quaint towns and villages. The open plan lounge and dining area offers tranquil views and a crackling log burner perfect for warming your toes after a day on the beach. There are a number of luxurious touches, including a Hotel Chocolat velvetiser for the creamiest of hot chocolates when you’re curled up on the sofa at the end of the day, and outdoor seating to enjoy a glass of wine under the stars on warm evenings.   7) Sea Kayaking in Craster with Adventure Northumberland           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Adventure Northumberland (@adventurenorthumberland) Starting from the picturesque harbour at Craster, this astounding adventure takes you along a staggering stretch of Northumberland’s rugged coastline, navigating around reefs, under cliffs, along hidden coves and beside secluded beaches. Stopping regularly to explore these hidden sections of shoreline and maybe even jump from the cliffs, you will pass the stunning, ruinous remains of Dunstanburgh Castle as you paddle. This three hour trip (including one hour for kitting up) is an unmissable experience on your next visit to Northumberland.   8) East Farm Glamping           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by East Farm Luxury Glamping (@eastfarmglamping) Providing a perfectly romantic, rural escape for couples, East Farm is surrounded by rolling fields and peaceful countryside. Spend your Northumberland getaway in this secret spot and you’ll be surrounded by blooming trees, wildlife and the soundtrack of British farmland. Opening in September 2021, Duck Pond Cabin is fully furnished and equipped for two, and a traditional log burner warms the open plan kitchen/living/diner. The real highlight is the wood fired hot tub that sits on your private, fairy light-strewn terrace, overlooking the peaceful duck pond and the remote landscape beyond. A brand new Shepherd's Hut will be a welcome addition in early 2022, so keep your eyes peeled. 9) Hallow and Crux           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Hallow & Crux (@hallowandcrux) “Sleep like a wizard,” at Hallow and Crux, the hotel inspired by witchcraft and sorcery that Alnwick has been waiting for. Given the town’s starring role in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, when Alnwick Castle is the backdrop for Harry and co’s first flying lesson, what better place to stay than in one of four individually designed bedrooms with a wizardly, whimsical twist. With names such as, “Dumbledorm,” and, “The Marauders,” candlelight sets the tone of the interior, as well as four poster beds, stone walls and hanging tapestries. Two of the rooms sleep four making a fantastic options for a Northumberland holiday with the kids, and the hotel’s location makes it an excellent spot for exploring Alnwick’s attractions including Alnwick Castle, The Alnwick Garden and Barter Books. Not to mention that this hotel is part of The Dirty Bottles pub, so mouth-watering meals are just a staircase away. Top tip - Speaking of witchcraft, Hallow and Crux isn’t the only new thing bringing a hint of magic to Northumberland. Pop into Sweet Solstice, a new witches' kitchen specialising in magical sweet treats including delicious chocolate frogs, as well as a myriad of other irresistible pastries that fill the counter. 10) Trees at Tughall           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Trees at Tughall (@trees_at_tughall) Trees at Tughall is a new, contemporary and modern self-catering accommodation just a two minute drive from Beadnell Beach. The concept of these stunning cabins is simply to offer a clean platform to enjoy nature, far away from the clutter and hustle of modern life. Just one look at the cabins will make you feel just that, with their light and airy decor, floor to ceiling windows and position in nature, each of them are placed in what feels like a completely private spot with their own specific relationship to their surroundings. Whether that be amongst ancient woodland or beside a trickling stream, the therapeutic qualities of nature are sure to take effect when you stay here. Close to some of Northumberland’s finest stretches of coastline and the rugged Cheviot Hills, there is also a bustling local dining scene, with the Potted Lobster and quirky takeaways such as Embers just down the road. 11) Land Rover Defender Hire with Overland Adventures           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Overland Adventures ( Go completely off the grid with Overland Adventures' expedition-ready Land Rover hire. From their beautifully rural location on the outskirts of Morpeth, incredible beaches, countryside, lakes and the Scottish Border are all within easy reach. Set out for an overnight adventure in the fully equipped Land Rover that has a Howling Moon roof tent, 270 awning and camping gear, plus there is parking on-site so you can leave your car once you pick up your new one. If you're arriving by public transport, they also offer a handover service from all local airports, train stations and North Shields ferry terminal.  Be a trend-setter on your next trip to Northumberland and try one of its brand new accommodations, activities and experiences. Make sure to tag us in your adventures @visitnorthumberland and use our hashtags #endlessexperiences and #visitnorthumberland. Author Jenni Meikle  
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16 June 2022

Take the plunge in Northumberland

Northumberland has a huge array of exciting water sports and activities to choose from. Fascinating wildlife boat trips, amazing diving courses and adrenaline-pumping coasteering are just a few of the options, so read on to find out more and stick your oar in next time you visit Northumberland. Diving courses with a conscience           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The Fifth Point (@the_fifth_point) The Fifth Point Diving Centre specializes in adventures that protect the ocean. From grey seal snorkel safaris, to beginners and advanced scuba diving sessions, you can take the plunge and have a fantastic experience with the guidance of expert instructors. All of their courses focus on the fundamental skills and knowledge required for divers to protect marine ecosystems, and they also hold regular beach and underwater clean ups that you can get involved in too. Go with the flow at Ford and Etal           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Ford & Etal (@fordandetal) Glide along the stunning River Till with Active 4 Seasons’ canoe trips in Ford and Etal. Admire stunning views and an abundance of wildlife as you row, and don’t worry if you’re new to canoeing, as the trips are completely beginner-friendly and run by Ollie who has been coaching in Ford and Etal for over 22 years. Find ospreys and eat canapes           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Wild Intrigue (@wildintrigue) ...NOT the other way around! Wild Intrigue, in partnership with Kielder Waterside, are running a fantastically quirky activity called the Ospreys and Canapes Cruise. Celebrating Kielder’s outstanding conservation success story; the return of the Osprey, the cruise sets sail on Kielder water at sunset and takes you to spot the ospreys as they soar overhead and fish the tranquil water. Your Wild Intrigue guide will share the history, ecology and inspiring conservation story of the Osprey, and their expert eyes and ears will ensure you have the best chance of watching the birds themselves. And of course, as the name would suggest, delicious Canapés and prosecco will be served on board. Get hooked at Till Fishing           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Till Fishing (@tillfishing) Till Fishing is a fisherman’s paradise, and its situation in north Northumberland, beside a private stretch of the unspoilt River Till where there are excellent Trout, Salmon and Grayling fishing opportunities. From families wanting to give fishing a first go, to expert anglers wanting to come and experience Northumberland, Till Fishing is welcome to all and has its own set of stunning, riverside cottages so you can wake up to water views every day. If fishing isn’t your thing, wild swimming might be, and the cottages’ locations offer a serene spot for an invigorating morning swim or a refreshing dip after a day of exploring. Stay current with Northside Surf School           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Northside Surf Amble (@northside_surf) Amble based Northside Surf School offers surf and stand-up-paddle board lessons on several beautiful beaches and rivers along the Northumberland coast. If you’re an experienced surfer, you can also hire equipment and discover Northumberland’s coastline independently. Owners and guides here have over 30 years’ experience in international surfing, so you’re in safe hands with their tailored surf coaching. Do nothin' but look for puffins           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Lydia Laws (@lydiaenglishrose) Northumberland is renowned for its incredible wildlife boat trips, and a visitor favourite is always a trip to The Farne Islands from Seahouses Harbour. The harbour is lined with small huts selling boat trips on the day, for example Billy Shiels and Serenity, where you can either buy tickets on the day or buy online in advance. During spring and summer, you can head out to see the hundreds of adorable puffins that return annually for the mating season. While you’re en-route, you’ll also see grey seals and maybe even dolphins. Be oar-some with Adventure Northumberland           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Adventure Northumberland (@adventurenorthumberland) Adventure Northumberland offer some incredible activities, and all of them are water based. With them you can kayak with grey seals around Coquet Island, coasteer from the rocky coastline at Howick, or kayak along Craster’s stretch of coastline with Dunstanburgh Castle in clear view. There are plenty more activities to choose from, so have a look for yourself and explore Northumberland by water. Fin yourself with Berwick Boat Trips           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Scenic Northumberland (@scenicnorthumberland) Set sail from Berwick Quayside with Berwick Boat Trips and pick from a number of trips to suit your interest. A romantic sunset cruise, a historical cruise up the River Tweed, and a wildlife cruise out to the mouth of the river and into the North Sea are all on offer. With the potential to spot grey seals, dolphins and a myriad of birds along the way, these trips are unmissable when you are visiting Northumberland’s coast. Take a sip by the sea           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by GEORDIE GIRL EATS (@geordie_girl_eats) The excellent, seafront Drift Cafe is renowned for its staggering seaviews, freshly cooked food and homemade cakes. A firm favourite with locals and visitors, their highly rated new addition, The Drift Chippy, serves delicious fish and twice fried chips. You can head inside the café to enjoy the decor and browse second hand books, paintings and prints, or sit outside and soak up the sunshine while you look out over the sand dunes. So make a splash when you next visit Northumberland with our guide to everything water-based, and don't forget to take us in your adventures @visitnorthumberland.
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27 May 2022

Food on the move in Northumberland

Don't let dining disrupt your day and grab your food on the move when you're exploring Northumberland. We have rounded up a list of five foodie spots that offer takeaway in Northumberland, but they aren't just your average takeouts. From an osprey spotting cruise with tasty canapes, to a new seafront fish a chip shop, you'll be spoilt for choice when you're next picking up lunch or a snack in Northumberland. The Drift Cafe Fish and Chips           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The Drift Cafe (@thedriftcafe) The local favourite, sea front eatery The Drift Cafe not only serves excellent lunches and snacks, but has now opened their own fantastic fish and chip shop. Their crispy cod bites, mouth-watering chips and delicious cod have earned them resounding five star reviews and their stunning coastal location near Druridge Bay makes for the perfect food stop. L Robson & Sons' Craster Kippers           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Northumberland Cottage Breaks (@northumberland_cottage_breaks) You can’t visit Northumberland without sampling our famous Craster kippers, smoked and served up at L Robson & Sons in the peaceful village of Craster. You can dine in, but the most popular way to enjoy these is from a brown paper bag on a bench that looks out onto Craster harbour as the boats drift lazily on the water. Wild Intrigue's Ospreys and Canapes Cruise           View this post on Instagram                       xxx A post shared by Wild Intrigue (@wildintrigue) A true example of takeout with a twist, Wild Intrigue are the masters of food on the move. Pairing five star food with fascinating wildlife, they host Goats and Gourmet tours in the Cheviot Hills. Their newest addition to their long list of exciting excursions is Ospreys and Canapes, celebrating the return of the Osprey by taking you on a sunset cruise on Kielder Water while Canapés and prosecco are served on board.  Cheviot Brewery           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Cheviot Tap (@cheviottap) Cheviot Brewery sits amongst the staggering scenery of Ford and Etal Estate and is a great option for a delicious bite on the go. This microbrewery, tap bar and glamping accommodation if you’re looking to stay, serves up freshly made stone baked pizza perfect for a quick bite or tasty takeaway while you are enjoying the nearby walking trails and attractions such as Heatherslaw Cornmill and Lady Waterford Hall. The Hut at Bamburgh           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Northern Hideaways (@northernhideaways) Situated on the sands at Bamburgh Castle Estate, this tiny beach hut attracts flurries of customers with its exquisite offering sourced from local businesses. Their ‘Bamburgh Banger’ is courtesy of Bamburgh butcher R Carter & Son and their ‘kipper sandwich’ from nearby Craster’s L Robson & Sons. Not to mention their delicious coffee fit for a connoisseur, which is brewed local at Pilgrim’s Coffee on Lindisfarne Island. So next time you're out and about in Northumberland, grab some fish and chips, local delicacies or book an activity that includes a bite to eat and experience our takeaways with a twist.
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25 May 2022

Father's Day in Northumberland

Father’s Day: The day that we let the ‘dad jokes’ slide and all ‘dadmin’ duties are relinquished for just one day while we let our dads put their feet up. You have scratched your heads and come up with a few gift ideas, you have bought his favourite tea bags and chocolates and the ‘best dad’ mug, but what should you do on the day itself?  We have categorised a few types of dad that we hope yours somewhat falls into, so you can have the best ever Father’s Day. Read on for inspiration, deals on the day, vouchers and gift ideas in Northumberland. (Oh, and it’s on the 19th June in case you needed a reminder…). For the dads that have everything           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Budle Bay Croft (@budle_bay_croft) For the dads that are hard to buy for, give him the chance to make some memories with you instead with a getaway or experience in Northumberland.   Budle Bay Croft Stunning Budle Bay Croft, based near Budle Bay and Bamburgh, is running a fantastic Father’s Day offer. Book for Father’s Day weekend or a week which includes Fathers Day (19th June) you get 19% off using voucher code: “Happy Fathers Day!”. This can be used for any remaining availability which includes the 19.6.2022 and not in conjunction with any other offers. The code must be put in at time of booking as it can not be applied retrospectively.     Till Fishing Voucher Take your dad fishing for Father's Day for the ultimate bonding experience. Till Fishing is a fisherman’s paradise, situated in beautiful North Northumberland where there is a private stretch of the unspoilt River Till with Sea Trout, Salmon, Grayling and Brown Trout. You can make a full day of it by exploring the river's surrounding, semi ancient woodland and nearby ancient Duddo Stones, historic Etal castle and the ruins of Twizel Castle. For the Nigel Thornberrys           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Wild Intrigue (@wildintrigue) If you don’t remember The Wild Thornberrys, they were the lates 90s’ ultimate wildlife explorers, and Northumberland offers a host of wildlife adventures that are perfect for Father’s Day.   BATS AND BEERS EVENING WITH WILD INTRIGUE The team at Wild Intrigue run a number of mini expeditions which include wild goat-spotting and al fresco gourmet meals, and Moths and Muffins mornings at Wild Northumbrian. Our top pick for Father’s Day, however, is Bats and Beers, an evening of sampling award-winning, local beers, learning about the art of brewing using locally foraged and sourced ingredients, and embarking on a guided bat safari. Heading out with bat detectors in-hand, you will hear and watch the bats which cruise the starry night skies above First & Last Brewery Northumberland.   PUFFIN, SEAL AND DOLPHIN SPOTTING AT THE FARNE ISLANDS Take your dad out on a sealife safari with Serenity Farne Islands Tours. The boat trips depart from Seahouses harbour and take you to the spectacular group of tiny islands off the Northumberland coast, where hundreds of puffins return every year to mate and nest. Grey seals are commonly spotted here too, and regular dolphin sightings make the trips especially magical. If you can’t make it on the 19th, buy a voucher to gift to your dad to use it at a later date through Serenity’s website, or if you would like a flexible voucher with a one year expiry, buy it direct by contacting [email protected]   For the DIY dads           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Ford & Etal (@fordandetal) If your dad is constantly coming over to offer his DIY expertise, or can often be found focusing on his latest project at his workbench, take him to see the inner-workings of Northumberland’s sculptures and architecture   THE ALNWICK GARDEN PUMP ROOM TOUR The Alnwick Garden runs a fascinating tour of its Grand Cascade’s Pump Room, where you can delve into the inner workings of this astounding sculpture. Learn how it pumps huge quantities of water every minute, allowing its visitors to enjoy magnificent water displays. At only £10 per person, just contact The Alnwick Garden directly to make an enquiry. Once you’ve done the tour, pop into the garden’s shop to browse products from their ‘Maker of the Month’ who is selling organic skin care with a men’s range as an additional treat for your dad.   HEATHERSLAW CORN MILL  Ford and Etal always makes for a fantastic family day out. Heatherslaw Light Railway is loved by kids and dads, as the steam locomotives take you from Heatherslaw Station to Etal Castle. Once you have delighted dad with the steam train journey, take him to Heatherslaw Cornmill, one of the oldest working corn mills in the UK, and get to grips with the mechanics of water power and the milling process. A firm favourite with dads, and with regular events and activities for kids too, you can come away with freshly ground flour for some family baking later that day. For the big kids           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Laverocklawcottages&Glamping (@laverocklawholidaycottages) A common group of the dad species, the big kids can’t get enough of exciting activities, they love an adventure, and they grasp any opportunity to get competitive.   KIELDER WATERSIDE Kielder waterside is an activity playground perfect for Father's Day. Feel macho and try out Tomahawk Throwing, channel your inner Robin Hood with archery lessons, and put your aim and accuracy to the test with a crossbow session. There are a number of other activities and nearby walking routes, cycling trails, and stunning viewpoints to explore too.   LAVEROCK LAW FAMILY ADVENTURES Laverock Law Holiday Cottages run a number of excellent activities, including yoga sessions and bread making, but the perfect activity for the ‘big kids’ is their Family Adventures. Starting at Wooler Common with some basic map reading skills, you head out with a map in-hand, pausing along the way to learn about local history and admire staggering viewpoints. Ending at the top of Humbleton Hill, adults can enjoy an elderflower champagne while the kids work with dad to make strawberry chocolate and cream fondue on a stove. You don’t have to be an overnight guest to book this activity, but you can make a weekend (or longer!) of it by booking a stay at the cottages. We hope you have a great Father’s Day and please don’t hesitate to tag us in your Northumberland adventures at @visitnorthumberland or use our hashtag #endlessexperiences. Author: Jenni Meikle
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04 May 2022

Best short walks in Northumberland

Get outside and increase your own mileage with our round-up of some of Northumberland's best short walking routes. You don’t have to be an avid hiker to enjoy them, they incorporate everything from sweeping sea views to historical artefacts, and they are all dog friendly: SEASIDE STROLLS 1). From Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle – This easy walk along the coast offers fantastic views out to sea. An incredible view of Dunstanburgh Castle, photographed above, acts as your guidepost for the duration, and can only be reached by foot. You can enter the castle for a fee upon arrival, or, if you have a dog, they cannot enter the castle but they are more than welcome up to and around the castle. Many visitors with dogs enjoy refreshments at The Jolly Fisherman pub after their walk, where canine friends are welcome. The walk to the castle is around 1.3 miles long, and you can either turn back and return to Craster, or those wanting to extend can continue past the castle to Embleton Bay - a quiet, pristine beach that is largely unknown by tourists. Getting here – A popular option is to park at Craster Tourist Information Centre where a large car park is conveniently located for the walk. From here, you head past The Jolly Fisherman, past the quaint harbour and towards the castle. Where to stay - Beach and Quiet's stunning self-catering cottages are based in Craster, making them the perfect option to explore this route. From grand Dunstan Hall that sleeps ten for a large group or family, to beautifully cosy Stable Cottage that sleeps four, they have an option for every group size. 2). From Seahouses to Bamburgh Castle - This beach walk is a slightly longer option, and the route to Bamburgh is roughly 3 miles long. Predominantly with golden sand underfoot, you can admire the coastline and the castle that perches on a rocky plateau ahead. On the approach to the castle, its dramatic presence and sweeping beach are simply breath-taking. Once you arrive, dogs are welcome in the castle grounds, and from here you can admire the enchanting fortresses and some impressive views of the surrounding coastline. You can also stop for a drink in Bamburgh village, and many dog walkers visit The Copper Kettle where dogs are welcome in the courtyard. Getting here – There are several car parks to choose from in Seahouses, including a sea front car park, parking at the harbour wall and parking behind the Tourist Information Centre. Various bus routes also stop at Seahouses if you are taking public transport. Where to stay - The Bamburgh Castle Inn sits in the prime location to enjoy this spectacular walk. Based in seafront Seahouses, home to the harbour where you can take a boat trip to The Farne Islands, this lovely inn serves fantastic food and offers cosy bedrooms. INLAND ADVENTURES 1). Sycamore Gap - Northumberland National Park is an extremely popular route for walkers, and this circular route (ideal for getting back to your car!) takes you to Housesteads Roman Fort, then along the UNESCO World Heritage Site Hadrian’s Wall and to the National Trust-protected Sycamore Gap. The walk begins at Housesteads Information centre, and along the way you will walk through woodland, wander past magnificent, panoramic views of the wall and, of course, approach the iconic sycamore tree standing in the dramatic dip in the landscape. This circular route is around 5.2 miles in total. Getting here - The AD122 Hadrian’s Wall Country Bus stops at Steel Rigg car park and The Sill car park. You can also park at either of these in order to access this walking route. Where to stay - The Barrasford Arms is a stunning country pub and B&B based in Northumberland National Park, great for hanging up your hiking boots at the end of a day exploring Hadrian's Wall. 2). Walltown Crags - Northumberland National Park is one of the most spectacular places to see Hadrian’s Wall, as it dives and undulates through dramatic, sheer landscape and sweeping, volcanic rock edge. The variety of trails in this area feature woodland, meadows, wildlife lakes and lengthy views across the lush greenery of the National Park. There are circular routes to choose from, and the area has trails that are marked out as suitable for wheelchairs. Getting here - There is a spacious car park here that guests requiring wheelchair access have found useful and the AD122 Hadrian’s Wall Bus stops at Walltown. This service has ramp access and ‘Easy Access Guarantee’ meaning that a complimentary taxi will be arranged should any problems occur. Where to stay - Wydon Farm B&B in Haltwhistle is a National Trust working farm with bed and breakfast accommodation in a luxurious barn conversion. Lying close to The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre, it's in a great spot for starting this route as well as many others in Northumberland National Park. WATERSIDE WANDERS 1). Kielder Water & Forest Park Lakeside Way – On this stunning, waterside route, you can walk along the *27 miles of shoreline around Kielder reservoir and past open-air art pieces and nature-hides where ospreys, red squirrels and other wildlife are spotted regularly. Kielder Dam and Kielder Castle are also en-route, and you can do as much or as little of the route as you choose as its circular nature makes it extremely easy to navigate. Many walkers choose to stick to either the north shore or the south shore, and some routes even incorporate the Osprey ferry along the way. Getting here - Parking is available at Tower Knowe Visitor Centre, Kielder Waterside and other spots. Where to stay - Kielder Waterside Holiday Park lodges are nestled in the heart of Kielder Water & Forest Park in an exclusive waterside location, bringing you an outdoor escape with a touch of luxury. * Please be aware that diversions are in place on the Lakeside Way and Bakethin is closed due to storm damage earlier in the year. Please check the following page for updates - Storm Arwen Recovery Update 2). Alnmouth circular – Stunning Alnmouth, located at the mouth of the River Aln, is a small fishing village which lies within the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Wander along the beach heading north towards Marden Rocks, then make your way inland following the track through Alnmouth golf course. Once you reach the main road, cross over and walk the gentle path descending to the River Aln. Once you reach the village of Lesbury, cross a footbridge over the river and follow the river bank back to the start of the route. Getting here – Park in one of the dedicated roadside parking bays in Alnmouth. Where to stay - Village Farm Cottages are ideally positioned between Alnmouth and Alnwick making an excellent overnight stay to enjoy this route and its surrounding villages and attractions. Now, take a walk on the wild side in Northumberland and please be sure to check any chosen route before you go and make sure you have the appropriate clothing and footwear for the conditions. We have so many fantastic walking routes, so just click through for more of Northumberland's walks and hikes.
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29 April 2022

Cherry Blossoms at The Alnwick Garden

When spring is in full bloom in Northumberland, there are many botanical delights to behold. Daffodils surround our castles, rhododendrons create bursts of colour amongst our gardens, tulips open up to the sunshine overhead, and the largest collection of white cherry blossoms line The Alnwick Garden…           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Vivian Tan (@viviantan629) Yes, you read it right, The Alnwick Garden grows over 300 Japanese cherry trees (officially named Taihaku) in their cherry orchard from the end of April to the beginning of May. While many travel to the likes of Tokyo, Mount Fuji and Japanese islands such as Okinawa to view cherry blossoms, we have them on our doorstep. Where to stay to see them Stay in Alnwick so that you're within easy reach of The Alnwick Garden. Village Farm Cottages' two farms enjoy a tranquil rural setting and provide an ideal holiday base for exploring Alnwick. Or, named after the Inn in Harry Potter books, the Hog’s Head Inn is just a short drive from Alnwick and is a superb place to eat, drink, sleep and explore. The Old Rectory Howick is another excellent option, just ten minutes from Alnwick in the staggering coastal location of Howick. How to ‘Hanami’… Every year, Japanese locals come together for ‘Hanami’, which directly means ‘flower-viewing’ but usually refers to when groups of family/ friends/ colleagues get together to admire the cherry blossoms. Hanami is rarely done without a picnic, and the tradition involves munching on picnic treats beneath the dazzling trees. We have put together a little guide on How to ‘Hanami’ so that you can have a taste of Japan in Northumberland. Step 1) Head to The Alnwick Garden with your friends or family (please ensure your visit is in line with the government roadmap). Step 2) Roll up your picnic blanket, gather your plates, cutlery, cups and flask and buy some delicious food from The Alnwick Garden’s café to put in your picnic basket. Or, keep the Japanese theme and pack your basket at home with traditional Japanese snacks such as sushi rolls, ongiri and tamagoyaki. Step 3) Find a spot that offers a stunning view of the cherry blossoms – maybe somewhere along the sloping grass down to the orchard itself. Or, set yourselves up on one of the romantic swinging benches in the cherry orchard (we hold no responsibility for motion sickness!). Step 4) Enjoy your food with the enchanting, fluttering white cherry blossoms as your backdrop. Wander through the cherry orchard – you might spot some ladies wearing kimonos passing through the gardens. Step 5) Continue the Japanese theme and head to Bari Tea Brewery in Alnwick for a cup of soothing, loose-leaf tea. Or, visit Bari Tea Brewery beforehand and take it with you to your picnic. This century old drink has fantastic health benefits and its sweet, yet earthy, flavour. If your Hanami lasts into the evening, you could head to one of Alnwick’s many restaurants such as Cookie Jar or find a place to stay in Alnwick for a night or two! So, what are you waiting for - invite your friends, pack up your picnic and view the cherry blossoms at The Alnwick Garden.
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05 April 2022

10 things to do in Northumberland this Easter

Easter events, experiences, spa days and spectacular walks are just a few of the things Northumberland has to offer for an Easter break. Read through our list of 10 of the best things to do in Northumberland this Easter for some inspiration (and some TERRIBLE hot cross puns). 1) Chick out our wildlife           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Billy Shiel's Boat Trips (@billyshielsboats) Spring is a fantastic time to discover Northumberland’s wildlife. Boat trips from Seahouses harbour to The Farne Islands resume in April, where you can see hundreds of adorable puffins up close. Kielder’s ospreys have made a return and you may be lucky enough to spot them when you visit. The best places to look out for them are at the dam, Tower Knowe Visitor Centre, Leaplish Bay at Kielder Waterside and the weir at Bakethin. They fish at any time of day, but early morning and early evening are your safest bet. Chillingham Wild Cattle re-opens on 15th April, so head along to see the rare animals before paying a scary visit to Chillingham Castle, known for its extremely high levels of paranormal activity. Extend your trip by staying at peaceful and luxurious Chillingham Manor, the beautiful Grade-II listed building which is perfectly located near a number of Northumberland attractions. 2) Be all ears           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Kielder Observatory (@kielderobservatory) Learn a new skill under Northumberland’s dark skies at one of our observatories. Kielder Observatory runs fantastic events that range from Introductions to Astronomy to Aurora Nights, covering every interest and level of expertise. Aiming to encourage everyone to experience moments of inspiration, wonder and hope through observing the cosmos, the team are passionate about offering their guests a magical and informative evening. Battlesteads Observatory also offers excellent stargazing events, and you can make a night of it here by dining in their exquisite, eco-friendly, award-winning restaurant, and stay overnight in their hotel rooms or self-catering accommodation. 3) Find an egg-cellent last minute deal           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Jane Riley (@beachnquiet) It’s not too late to book an Easter break in Northumberland if you haven’t already. Beach and Quiet still have availability in their beautiful, cosy Stable Cottage, formerly the Georgian stables for Dunstan Hall. The delightful fishing village of Craster is less than half a mile away, where you can see Dunstanburgh Castle, try Craster kippers, and explore paths along the coast leading to the superb sandy beach at Embleton Bay. Perfect for a family of four, take a look at their website to book. If you are a larger group or are looking for a couple’s retreat, visit our late availability page for some last minute steals. Crabtree and Crabtree also have rare Easter availability at The Sheiling, a lovely Bamburgh property that is offering a 10% discount for Easter week. Castle View Cottage, another of their gorgeous new property near Belford with amazing views over Holy Island, is also offering a 10% discount throughout the Easter Holidays.  4) Discover hare-raising history           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Vivi & Becky • Van Life Europe (@viviandbecky) Following its annual winter closure, Alnwick Castle has re-opened just in time for the Easter holidays. Set in the magical town of Alnwick, this staggering castle is the second largest inhabited castle in the country and has been home to the Duke of Northumberland’s family, the Percys, for over 700 years. Combining magnificent medieval architecture with sumptuous Italianate State Rooms, Alnwick Castle is also known for its starring role as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter films. Explore the magnificent grounds, have a flying lesson at the very spot where Harry Potter learned to fly, and explore Alnwick’s cobbled streets afterwards where you will find a witch-themed cafe, one of the largest secondhand bookshops in Europe, a treehouse restaurant and, of course, The Alnwick Garden. 5) Take it over-easy           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by ABIGAIL ♡ TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE (@abigailrose_94) For those tired teachers or anyone wanting a break, how about a sumptuous spa day at staggering Matfen Hall. This magnificent country house hotel is set in the heart of some of Northumberland's most beautiful countryside and offers a luxurious leisure club featuring a swimming pool, gym, aerobics studio and 5 beauty treatment rooms. Make this a getaway by booking a stay in one of their elegant hotel rooms, enjoy dinner in their grand but inviting Emerald Restaurant, and how about a round of golf at their fantastic 27-hole golf course. 6) Spring into Northumberland's gardens           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The Alnwick Garden (@alnwickgarden) Northumberland has a number of flourishing gardens to boast about and they look particularly dashing in spring. The Alnwick Garden is brimming with daffodils at this time of year and Prunus blossom flutters in the breeze in the Ornamental Garden. The Poison Garden is as exciting as ever and, if you dare to enter, you can expect to discover around 100 deadly, toxic, intoxicating, and narcotic plants. The boundaries of the Poison Garden are kept behind black iron gates, so access is by guided tour only. Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens is another stunning spot to enjoy an Easter day out, particularly as they have their Easter trail. This cracking adventure quest involves a hunt for clues and challenges, as well as traditional Easter games like egg rolling and the egg and spoon race. Track down the Easter eggs and you’ll be rewarded with a chocolate treat and an adventurer’s certificate. 7) Eat your way through Easter Sunday           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by JULIA🤍FOOD BLOG (@belterbait) A roast dinner is an absolute must during the Easter period and what’s better than letting someone else do the cooking and the washing up for you by going out to eat. Northumberland has so many cosy pubs offering fresh, local pub grub, such as The Holly Bush Inn. Based in Northumberland National Park, it was an Old Drovers Inn dating back more than 300 years. A bar stocked with real ales, snug interior and friendly atmosphere makes it a great place for a relaxed meal with family and friends. The Barrasford Arms is another excellent option, serving traditional local food to the highest standard, from a chef whose experience in fine dining makes for exquisitely fresh meals. Dine in the cosy restaurant or, if the sun comes out (fingers crossed), eat al fresco in their spacious beer garden. 8) Find out what's hoppening at Bamburgh Castle           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Bamburgh Castle (@bamburgh_castle) Bamburgh Castle has a brimming events calendar ready for the Easter holidays. Go in search of clues on The Dragon Easter Trail and, once you’ve cracked the case, take the secret word to the Clock Tower Tea Room and claim your Easter treat. Visit Marley the Miniature Pony, the local celebrity who has appeared on Come Dine with me and Countryfile, for a short cart ride. Join an Easter crafts session or create a beautiful wreath at an Easter Wreath class using a variety of foliage including local ivy, seasonal greenery and early spring flowers, buds and blossom. Children age 8 and above can join the class, but this is also great for adults wanting to take something home to hang on their front door. Don’t forget to soak in the sea views, explore Bamburgh village and visit sweeping Bamburgh Beach while you’re here. 9) Go walking on egg shells           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Visit Northumberland (@visitnorthumberland) There’s nothing better than a beautiful spring walk at Easter time. The sun often decides to make an appearance, early spring flowers can be spotted and fellow walkers give off the relaxed atmosphere that can only be found on someone who has a few days off work. Keep your eyes peeled for Cragside House, Gardens and Estate’s brand new Gorge Walk, complete with trickling streams and picturesque scenery that will make the perfect family walking route. Or walk a section of the Coast to Coast on the Ravenber Way route, a 210½ mile coast-to-coast walk across northern England from Ravenglass in Cumbria to Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland. Northumberland offers so many different walking routes that can be enjoyed at this time of year, from family-friendly and short walking routes to longer, more challenging hikes. National Park routes, coastal walks and nature trails are all here in Northumberland waiting to be walked all over.  10) One for the history teachers           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Andy (@andyck87) A fantastic family day out, or maybe one for the history teachers to get stuck into, spend the Easter season in Corbridge, the historical market town complete with stunning architecture, fantastic pubs on almost every corner, independent shops and bakeries and one of the oldest historical sites in Northumberland. Corbridge Roman Town was once a bustling town and supply base where Romans and civilians would pick up food and provisions. It remained a vibrant community until the end of Roman Britain and today you can wander through the town’s streets and imagine life as a Roman. The museum is also home to the Corbridge Collection, the largest of the Hadrian's Wall's collections. We hope we have left you with enough inspiration to have a fantastic Easter trip to Northumberland. Tag us in your Easter adventures at @visitnorthumberland or use the hashtag #visitnorthumberland. Author: Jenni Meikle  
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18 March 2022

Visiting Duddo and Twizel by Fabulous North

Ah Northumberland. With its sprawling countryside, endless coast and serious abundance of castles, there is always something to find for your next adventure. If you are visiting from afar or even nearby, it’s easy to be drawn to the undeniably beautiful big hitters. Who hasn’t searched for things to do and been drawn to magical Alnwick Castle, astounding Hadrian’s Wall or mesmerising Bamburgh? But there are many hidden gems to be found too if you know where to look. In this post, Fabulous North are going to be exploring some fabulous places in the Duddo area, right at the top of Northumberland.  Duddo Stones           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Elisha (@elishascott_photography) Northumberland is not known for its wealth of stone circles and the Duddo Five Stones are probably the best we have to offer. These 4,000 year old stones sit right in the middle of the countryside with a kilometre walk through fields to get there, so their remoteness just adds to the mystery. There were originally 7 stones before 3 went missing with a further stone being added back in 1903 to improve the skyline bringing it to the 5 we see today. Regardless of the season you visit the Duddo Stones they are so picturesque that they look spectacular in all conditions. The stones also offer amazing views over the Cheviot Hills to the south and the Lammermuir Hills to the north. Duddo Tower Visitors to Duddo tend to be attracted to the stones, but don’t realise there is also a ruined tower nearby. Perched up some crags in the middle of the village, it was originally a 15th century tower house and defensive enclosure (a barmkin – love that word), built by the Clavering family. However it was destroyed by King James IV of Scotland. If you know your local history, he ruined a lot of castles and buildings in Northumberland during his reign. The remains were then integrated into a tower house and the ruins you see date to around the 16th century. There is a small path around the back of the tower if you fancy wandering up, but it can be a little overgrown, so take care.  Twizel Bridge           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Claire Johnson (@claire_johnson_photography) Just 3 miles west of Duddo you’ll find a charming Tudor arch bridge that was built in 1511. Although it may not look imposing now it was actually the largest single span bridge anywhere in Britain at its time and the only dry crossing over the River Till between Etal and the Tweed. Now King James IV of Scotland, who we mentioned in the Duddo Tower summary above, had a few invasions into England with the most famous (and his last) being the Battle Of Flodden in 1513. Both the Scottish and English crossed this bridge on their way to the battle with the English traversing with over 10,000 men and a cannon. There is a small car park and information board right next to the bridge. Twizel Castle After you have marvelled at the bridge, then take the track up into the woods and within a few minutes you will find the ruined Twizel Castle. Sir John Heron owned a medieval house on these grounds, but was destroyed in 1496 by the Scottish army commanded by King James IV of Scotland and subsequently the grounds were then abandoned. Nearly 150 years later Sir Francis Blake purchased the estate, living there until 1738 when they moved to Tillmouth Hall. The Blake family attempted to rebuild the castle into a five level mansion, but it was never complete and in 1882 they used the stone from the castle to build a new mansion on Tillmouth Park. There is still plenty of the castle to see and would have garnered amazing views over the Till.  We hope this has given you a tast of some fabulous places for the next time you are on an adventure in Northumberland. This blog was written by Fabulous North. Head over to their website for more travel inspiration on the north of England. Author: Simon Hawkins  
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11 March 2022

Why go abroad...

...when you can go up north... Going abroad has been tricky for the last couple of years, and now many of us have the staycation bug, re-discovering home soil and looking to the UK for an unforgettable staycation. Who needs to go overseas anyway, when you have staggering beaches, fascinating history, incredible wildlife, and diverse landscapes on your doorstep? We are celebrating English Tourism Week by rounding up things to do in Northumberland that will make you forget all about going abroad. Switch the following for a staycation in Northumberland this year and discover our endless experiences… Croatia’s waterfalls         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Visit Northumberland (@visitnorthumberland) If you were hoping to head to Croatia this year, wander from waterfall to waterfall in Northumberland National Park instead. Nestled away in the idyllic Breamish Valley is Linhope Spout, a 60 foot chute of water that rushes into a 16ft deep plunge pool. Hareshaw Linn sits just a stone’s throw away from Bellingham, where secrets of St Cuthbert, an abundance of walking routes, and stone cottages adorned with ivy are all closeby. Seemingly secret Roughtin Linn, where you could almost miss the narrow path that leads down to it, tumbles in a secluded spot in Ingram Valley in The Cheviots. Where to stay: The Holly Bush Inn Idyllic islands         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by ilovefridaysme (@ilovefridaysme) For an idyllic island escape, simply venture across Lindisfarne causeway and visit Holy Island. This tidal island holds an ancient priory, an enchanting castle and Gertrude Jekyll Garden, and of course shimmering sea views fit to soothe the soul. Sip on Lindisarne Mead at St Aidan’s Winery and stop for a coffee at Pilgrim’s Coffee House. *Always check safe crossing times before visiting Holy Island. Where to stay: The Lindisfarne Inn Rome’s history          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Kate (@moira.willow) When in Northumberland, do as the Romans do… from Hadrian’s Wall that plunges across Northumberland’s rugged landscapes, to the Roman auxiliary fort Vindolanda where ancient artefacts are uncovered during excavations every summer, Northumberland boasts a host of Roman history. Secrets of the Roman Empire are scattered across our countryside in our Roman Baths, Corbridge Roman Old Town and numerous forts. Where to stay: The Barrasford Arms The Azores’ dolphins          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Lindisfarne Mead (@lindisfarne_mead) It’s not just foreign seas that boast dazzling dolphin displays. Bottlenose dolphins are regulars on the Northumberland coast, and they have a habit of showing off to visitors. They can be seen from many points along our coast, but to heighten your chances, take a boat trip with Berwick Boat Trips. Heading out to the mouth of the River Tweed, regular sightings take place along with grey seal spotting. Venture over to The Farne Islands on a boat trip from Seahouses harbour and keep an eye out for dolphins while you’re admiring the puffins, as they love to race the boats in this area too.   Where to stay: The Walls B&B Canada’s log cabins          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by JACK | Adventure + Travel (@jackboothby) Craving a cosy, Canadian-style log cabin getaway in the heart of nature? Northumberland’s remote treehouses, huts and cabins are the perfect fix for a rustic retreat. Woodland Chase’s glamping cabins and treehouse with hot tubs and wooden terraces, Huts in the Hills’ huts with spectacular views and outdoor copper bath tub, and Alnmouth Shoreside Huts that teeter on our staggering coastline are just a few options. Not to mention Hesleyside Huts’ cabins and brand new treehouse accommodation nestled away in Hesleyside Estate, or Kielder’s glass-roofed Sky Den that’s perfect for stargazing. Iceland’s sealife          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Roberto Sauli (@sauliroberto) Iceland’s marine life is one of its highlights, but you don’t have to travel there to see adorable puffins and incredible whales. Visit The Farne Islands from Seahouses harbour with Serenity or Billy Shiels boat tours and you can see thousands of colourful puffins and lazing grey seals. Humpback and killer whales are also known to have been spotted off Northumberland’s coastline. Where to stay: Seahouses Holiday Homes Japan’s cherry blossoms          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Lulu Knowles (@lulu_knowles_uk) If you’ve always wanted to walk beneath Japan’s famous Taihaku cherry blossom trees, you don’t have to travel as far as you think. Every spring, from the end of April to the beginning of May, The Alnwick Garden boasts the largest collection of ‘Taihaku’ cherry blossoms in the world. Comprising of 329 trees, they all bloom for a short-but-sweet two week period, when you can watch them fluttering above you while you wander through the orchard and relax on the swinging benches. Where to stay: Village Farm Cottages Norway’s Northern Lights         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Coast & Country Northumberland (@coastandcountrynorthumberland) Beautiful Norway is known for its dazzling Northern Lights displays and star-studded night skies, but did you know you can see the Northern Lights in Northumberland? We’re fortunate enough to have extremely low levels of light pollution, making Northumberland one of the best places in the country to go stargazing. The Northern Lights have been known to dance over our coastline, and the whole of Northumberland National Park and most of Kielder Water & Forest Park make up our International Dark Sky Park. Both Kielder Observatory and Battlesteads Observatory host awe-inspiring stargazing events, where you can see thousands of stars, the Milky Way, and the Andromeda Galaxy with the naked eye. Where to stay: Kielder Waterside Mediterranean beaches         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Harley Bean (@harleyannx) Crystal clear water, pristine sand and exquisite seafood aren’t specific to overseas. Northumberland’s coast is an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, meaning it has been recognised for its distinctive character, striking beauty and outstanding wildlife. Endless beaches, quiet bays and countless castles sit along the stretch from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Seaton Sluice, just waiting to be discovered. Where to stay: Cherry Tree & Almond Apartments Show us your staycation adventures by tagging us on social media and using the hashtag #visitnorthumberland. Author: Jenni Meikle
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24 February 2022

Where to stargaze in Northumberland

572 square miles of Northumberland have been awarded Gold Tier status for their dark skies. This makes up Northumberland’s Dark Sky Park which is the largest in the UK and the second largest in the whole of Europe, spanning Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water and Forest Park. So, when autumn falls over the county and the nights become longer and darker, visitors arrive with their binoculars ready for a star-studded show. Now you know that Northumberland is one of the best places to stargaze in the UK, where do you start? It may sound daunting to beginners, but there are experts here in Northumberland who are passionate about teaching visitors everything there is to know about astronomy. If you do want to do it independently, all you need are some warm clothes, a deckchair, a flask, a pair of binoculars and a little bit of luck with the weather. Plus, of course, our tips on where to go to have the best possible experience… Night time novices Kielder Observatory           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Kielder Observatory (@kielderobservatory) If you prefer a bit of guidance while you stargaze, everyone from night-time-novices to astronomy experts can head to Kielder Observatory for events that are out of this world. Sitting beneath Northumberland’s vast, Gold Tier status International Dark Sky Park, their telescopes sit in concrete pillars for outstanding levels of stability. Some are even computer controlled meaning any visitor can experience the thrill of "driving" a telescope around the skies with just the click of a mouse. From beginners’ Introductions to Astronomy to Physics in the Forest and everything in between, there is an event to suit every ability. Take a look at their events calendar. Stargaze until you fall asleep at Falstone Barns and PoshHuts. Nestled in the North Tyne valley, close to Kielder Observatory and Kielder Water and Forest Park, it is perfectly located for stargazing. Offering beautifully converted former stables and gloriously glamorous shepherds huts, there’s something for every group type. Battlesteads Observatory           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Inn Places (@innplaces) Battlesteads is the only hotel in the country with an on-site observatory and its magical location means that there is just as much to do after the sun sets as there is during the day. Battlesteads Observatory's accessible, public astronomical observatory offers sessions that range from Astronomy for Absolute Beginners to Stargazing and Moonwatch. You can even have a Shooting Star Supper and dine on fresh food from the award-winning hotel that is attached to the observatory while you stargaze. (Tele)scope out your options on their events calendar. Stargaze until you fall asleep in Battlesteads’s cosy accommodation that is just a few steps away from the observatory. Choose from snug hotel rooms filled with cushions and blankets-galore, or treat yourself to a stay in a private eco lodge with its own terrace for some independent, late-night stargazing (not to mention a relaxing, super-sized spa bath). The Twice Brewed Inn           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Twice Brewed (@twicebrewedinn) Tucked away in Northumberland National Park, The Twice Brewed Inn isn’t just known for its excellent pints and stunning location. The pub has recently taken action to make the most of its situation beneath Northumberland’s International Dark Sky Park and now offers stargazing events. With a team of in-house astronomers, you can enjoy an inspiring presentation before heading outdoors for a laser guided tour of the constellations. Then, observe incredibly distant objects including planets, galaxies, nebulae and star clusters using large aperture telescopes. Plus, you can do it all with a pint in hand! Stargaze until you fall asleep in The Twice Brewed Inn’s snug hotel rooms and wake up to a hearty Northumbrian breakfast, and Northumberland National Park and Hadrian’s Wall on your doorstep. Strong independent stargazers Dark Sky Discovery Sites           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Alpha Bravo Photography (@alphajphoto) The beauty of Dark Sky Discovery Sites is that you can do some solitary stargazing – all you need is warm clothing and maybe a pair of binoculars if you want to get up close and personal with the night’s sky. Dark Sky Discovery Sites are locations that are internationally recognised for their lack of light pollution, clear view of the sky and public access and many of them are scattered across Northumberland National Park. Each one has been awarded special status due to the outstanding quality of its dark skies and given one of two darkness ratings; “Orion” where the seven main stars in the constellation Orion are visible to the naked eye and “Milky Way” sites where the Milky Way is visible to the naked eye. Take a look at the Go Stargazing website where you’ll find a map of Northumberland’s Dark Sky Discovery Sites that you’d be lost without! Or, click through to Northumberland National Park's list of stargazing spots. Stargaze until you fall asleep with Breamish Valley Cottages. They list number of stunning self-catering cottages based in the Northumberland Dark Sky Park, conveniently located near Dark Sky Discovery Sites.  Northumberland’s Coastline           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Dan Monk (@danmonk91) Head to the coast where the sand is your seat and the sound of crashing waves accompanies your stargazing experience. The dazzling Aurora Borealis, more commonly known as the Northern Lights, have been known to grace the skies above the Northumberland coastline. The dark expanse of sky over the ocean and the limited street lighting along this official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty means that, even in towns and villages, it is possible to enjoy the darkness of Northumberland’s skies. With more than 30 miles of beaches, there are castles on the coast, hidden bays and dramatic, sweeping vistas that make amazing Aurora viewpoints. Stargaze until you fall asleep at Cherry Tree and Almond Apartments. Boasting five luxury, dog friendly self-catering holiday homes, each one is tailor-made for couples seeking the perfect coastal escape. When to stargaze You can stargaze all year round, but the best time is autumn and winter.  When temperatures dip, the sky is at its most transparent and the darker nights make these seasons the prime viewing time. That's when the shivering river of stars that is the Milky Way can be spotted overhead. Now you are fully equipped to discover Northumberland's Dark Sky Park and pristine coastline and reap the rewards of staying out after sunset on the cold nights. Author: Jenni Meikle
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