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26 November 2021

Places to eat in Northumberland this winter

Find some of the best places to eat in Northumberland this winter with our cosy cafes, festive restaurants, snug pubs and Christmas markets. Whether you are looking for indulgent comfort food, delicious Christmas dinners, somewhere for a work's Christmas meal or a family celebration, Northumberland can cater for all of your Noel needs:   Battlesteads           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Battlesteads Hotel (@battlesteads) Located in the picturesque village of Wark, there’s something for everyone at Battlesteads Hotel and Restaurant. Eco warrior? Their seasonal menu uses only fresh ingredients grown on site or sourced from local artisan producers within a 25-mile radius. Craft ale connoisseur? Battlesteads bar stocks four cask ales including two from local micro-breweries and they host an annual beer festival.  By day, Battlesteads sits in the heart of rural Northumberland, making it a cosy pitstop at the end of a long winter walk on Hadrian’s Wall or a bike ride through Kielder Water and Forest Park. By night, combine dinner and a star-studded show thanks to their on-site observatory, one of Northumberland’s prime Dark Sky Discovery sites.  Top tip: You can stargaze at any time of the year in Northumberland due to our low levels of light pollution, but cooler temperatures and darker skies means it is a fantastic winter activity.  Barrasford Arms           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Barrasford Arms (@barrasfordarms) If you’re in the mood to indulge a sophisticated palate this winter, look no further than the Barrasford Arms. Nestled in the heart of Hadrian’s Wall country, this picturesque country pub offers a menu fit for an Emperor. Before taking over the Barrasford in 2017, owner Michael worked in top kitchens across the North East and Scotland, earning his stripes as executive head chef at Slaley Hall and Malmaison Hotel in Dundee. This wealth of experience shines through in the elegant menu of this AA Rosette restaurant. Top tip: Pre-booking a table is essential. The Inn Collection Group           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The Inn Collection Group (@theinncollectiongroup) Wherever you are in Northumberland, you can rely on the Inn Collection Group to provide a warm and welcoming retreat from the cold winter weather.  Making the most of its harbourside location in Seahouses, a quick look out of the dining room of the Bamburgh Castle Inn is all you need to see where its name came from. Whether you’re in need of a hearty meal after a boat tour around the Farne Islands or you’ve been for a ramble down the Northumberland Coast AONB, this cosy pub and restaurant has laid-back atmosphere and a menu full of favourites to suit all members of the family.  Located in the eponymous fishing village of Amble, The Amble Inn is the newest addition to the Inn Collection Group’s inns. The restaurant and bar has a contemporary feel, blending rustic brick and wood beams with quirky floral wallpaper and upholstery to create a welcoming atmosphere for both couples and families alike. The perfect spot to chill out after a day out at Warkworth Castle or the nearby Hauxley Nature Reserve at Druridge Bay.  Top tip: The Inn Collection group have three more inns across Northumberland: The Lindisfarne Inn (Beal, near Holy Island), The Hog’s Head Inn (Alnwick) and The Commissioners Quay Inn (Blyth). You’ll find a fantastic array of light bites and hearty meals at them all. The Drift Cafe           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The Drift Cafe (@thedriftcafe) There’s nothing quite like a blustery beach walk to blow away the cobwebs and where better than along the pristine sands of Druridge Bay? This seven mile stretch of unspoilt coastline includes several nature reserves and three miles of uninterrupted beach fringed by tall dunes just waiting for you to run (or roll) down. Just a hop and skip over the dunes near Cresswell is where you’ll find the Drift Cafe. This bright and airy cafe is famous for its menu full of homemade tasty treats, freshly-prepared with each order. From delicious cakes to hot pies, bowls of hearty soup and jacket potatoes, it’s the perfect retreat at the end of a wintery day out at Druridge Bay.  Believe us when we say the Drift is just as much a favourite Northumbrian residents as it is with visitors - you know a place is good when the locals can’t get enough. Our fave? The corned beef and brown sauce toastie. Trust us, it’s heaven. Top tip: Be sure to browse the array of art, bric-a-brac and secondhand books found around the cafe. It is a treasure trove of local history and mining memorabilia.  Bosk Restaurant           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by B&B - Bistro - Wine Bar (@the_bosk_bvc) This brand new restaurant and wine bar in the heart of the Breamish Valley is quickly becoming the place to be. Their Sunday Brunch menu is regularly a sell-out event. Thanks to their themed nights - Family Feast on Wednesday, Steak Night on Thursday, Pizza Night on Friday and Supper Club on Saturday - The Bosk really does cater for everyone. What makes The Bosk special is the way it centres everything around one common goal: bringing people together.  The gable end of the building is one giant window, making the most of their breathtaking surroundings. Where better to watch the winter sky darken and the stars come out as you enjoy a get together with friends?  Top-tip: The Bosk is only open from late afternoon until 10pm Wednesday-Saturday and 9am-1pm on a Sunday, so be sure to plan ahead if you’re keen to visit.  Foxton’s Wine Bar           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Foxtons_winebar (@foxtons_winebar) You can’t visit Northumberland without sampling some delicious seafood caught off the North Sea coast.  Foxton’s Wine Bar and Restaurant in Berwick-upon-Tweed is the only seafood restaurant in the town and works closely with fish merchants just over the border in Eyemouth to source the freshest ingredients for their menu. But never fear if you’re not a sea-foodie, you’ll find plenty of tasty morsels to take your fancy including five gourmet burgers named after landmarks in and around Berwick - ‘Tommy the Miller’ is a great veggie option. Top-tip: Book ahead and try their bottomless Prosecco and Brunch, available six days a week excluding Sunday. You won’t regret it! The Angel of Corbridge           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The Angel of Corbridge (@angelcorbridge) When exploring Hadrian’s Wall country, you can rely on three things: epic scenery, ancient history and really good grub! At the Angel of Corbridge, you can experience all three at once.  Sitting in a prime spot in the centre of picturesque Corbridge and dating back to 1569, the Angel is said to be one of the oldest inns still standing in Northumberland. In winter, you can expect a roaring fire waiting for you in the cosy oak-panelled lounge and a menu fit to burst with hearty British pub grub like ham hock terrine with ‘proper’ pease pudding. Delicious! Just a short walk from Corbridge Roman Town, one of several Roman heritage sites along Hadrian’s Wall. Great for walkers, cyclists, families and even our four-legged friends.  Top-tip: Just popping in for a casual drink? Dogs are not permitted in the bar area, but you’ll find fire pits and covered gazebos outside to keep you cosy in any weather. Sanderson Arcade market           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Sanderson Arcade, Morpeth (@sandersonarcade) Staying in is the new going out and at Sanderson Arcade, Morpeth's Street Food Market, you’ll find lots of local produce to make a tasty tea at home. How about bangers and mash courtesy of regular traders Geordie Bangers and Julian’s Fruit and Veg? And for those with a sweeter tooth, you can’t beat the cakes from Murphy’s Kitchen. Before you go, take a wander through Sanderson Arcade for a spot of retail therapy. Bookworms can browse to their heart’s content in Waterstone’s, sartorialists have a range of choice from Sandersons Boutique to Mint Velvet and be prepared to lose dad for a while in Mountain Warehouse. You can even pick up a tipple or two at Morpeth Gin or Enjoy Beer & More and you’re ready for the perfect night in.  Date for the diary: Saturday 18th December Christmas markets            View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Alnwick Market (@alnwick_markets) Nothing beats a stroll through a Christmas market. Throughout December you’ll find markets across Northumberland, perfect for stocking up on gifts from local businesses. Treat yourself to a mulled wine, artisan coffee or street food while you browse to really ramp up that Christmassy feeling. Roasted chestnuts, anyone? Each weekend, make a beeline for our market towns to soak up their historic charm as you find the perfect present for that special someone. Berwick sees the welcome return of the Christmas Market on Marygate. Santa will be in attendance for the mini members of the family and there will be hot mulled wine stalls for mums and dads.  Fancy something a bit different this year? Farplace Animal Rescue is bringing a vegan Christmas market to Morpeth. Pop along to peruse food, drink and gifts from over 25 vegan stalls, and follow your nose to find mouthwatering Caribbean vegan street food courtesy of Brownin’s.  Even our four-legged friends can join in the festivities thanks to the dog-friendly Northumberlandia Christmas Food and Craft Market. After your shop, beat the chill with a walk around our Lady of the North then finish off with a hot chocolate or two in the visitor centre. We hope we've given you enough inspiration to fill your boots in Northumberland this winter. Don't forget to tag us in your festive foodie delights on social media using @visitnorthumberland.  
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11 November 2021

The magic of Harry Potter

Time flies! It’s hard to believe that on the 16th of November 2021 it’s 20 years since Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone first hit our screens!   To mark twenty magical years since November 2001, when the first film adaptation of J.K Rowling’s boy wizard was released in UK cinemas, we’ve created a muggles guide to Harry Potter filming locations you can visit here in North East England.   Alnwick Castle  The magnificent Alnwick Castle had a starring role in the first two Harry Potter movies.   The Outer Bailey is instantly recognizable as the backdrop for Harry and his fellow students first flying lesson in The Philosopher’s Stone. In the scene Neville’s broomstick goes rogue and Harry flies through the grounds to catch his Remembrall. The Outer Bailey is also where Harry learns the rules of Quidditch from Oliver, the Gryffindor Quidditch Team Captain.   Explore the grounds of Alnwick Castle imagining you are part of Madame Hooch’s flying lesson and join the resident wizarding professors for broomstick training sessions on the very spot where Harry, Ron and Hermione had their first lesson.   © Alan Mason Remember the scene in the Chamber of Secrets where Ron and Harry crash land the Weasley’s flying Ford Anglia car into the Whomping Willow, this was filmed at the castle’s Inner Bailey. The castle’s main courtyard was featured several times in both movies, including the scene where Harry and Ron complain about Hermione on their way to Potions lesion – “It’s LeviOsa not LeviosA”!    The splendid Lion Arch can be seen in the background when Harry, Ron and Hermione make their way to Hagrid’s hut and the Forbidden Forest.  Alnwick Castle is closed for the winter season, re-opening in Spring 2022.  Durham Cathedral   Several Harry Potter films were filmed at Durham Cathedral in Durham. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was originally brought to life at Durham Cathedral. Numerous memorable scenes were filmed at various locations throughout the cathedral for the first two movies – The Philosopher's Stone and The Chamber of Secrets.  The cathedral clositers are where young witches and wizards pass through the covered walkways in-between classes, Ron’s "eat slugs" spell backfires and he ends up vomiting slugs after trying to defend Hermione’s honour, and Harry earns Dobby the House Elf his freedom.  It was in the snow-covered cloisters where Harry releases Hedwig to stretch her wings and fly away over the snowy castle. As she flies off you can see the cathedral digitally enhanced to look like the grand Hogwarts castle.      Once the area where the daily business of the monastery was undertaken, the magnificent Chapter House was transformed into Professor McGonagall’s classroom. It’s in this classroom that the students are taught the magic of transfiguration where they turn animals into water goblets and where the Professor explains the history behind the chamber of secrets.  © Durham Cathedral Less well known is that the Triforium, which is an interior gallery overlooking the cathedral’s nave, doubled up as the Forbidden Corridor in which the young wizards encounter the terrifying three-headed dog Fluffy who is guarding a trap door leading to the Philosopher’s stone.  Recreate your favourite Harry Potter scenes when you visit the cloisters which are open throughout the year. The Chapter House is only open on special occassions and during events - so keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to step inside McGonagall's classroom. The Triforium is not open to the public.   The Cathedral is open Monday to Saturday 10am - 4pm and Sundays 12noon - 4pm.   Just a stone’s throw from Alnwick Castle you can sleep like a wizard, at the newly opened Hallow and Crux. Take your pick from four individually designed bedrooms with a wizardly, whimsical twist, or treat yourself to delicious food and potions in the adjoining Dirty Bottles restaurant. For witches and wizards looking to extend their stay when visiting Alnwick Castle, you can also stay at The Hog’s Head Inn, a three-star inn named after the wizarding inn and pub found in Hogsmeade.  The award-winning Lundgren Tours also offer family-friendly Harry Potter tours of Alnwick Castle, where you can learn how to become a wizard in the very same place as Harry and friends.   So if you’re a Potter fan, there's no need to wait for your invitation from Hogwarts, you can follow in the footsteps of Harry, Ron and Hermione any time you wish, by visiting the places where this incredible film franchise began!    
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03 November 2021

Dog friendly pubs and cafes

There's no need to leave your four-legged bestie at home when you're eating out in Northumberland. We have a number of excellent dog friendly pubs, cafes and restaurants that go the extra mile for their canine guests and sit in stunning locations surrounded by fantastic dog walking routes. We have rounded up 10 of the best dog friendly pubs and cafes in Northumberland, so you can dine out together after a windswept dog walk on Northumberland's coastal paths and country lanes. 1) The Inn Collection Group           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Pom About Town (@pomabouttown) The Inn Collection Group has a number of inns scattered across Northumberland, and all of them welcome pups with open arms. From inns with seafront seating to pubs tucked away in cobbled villages, all are in prime locations to do some exploring with your dog after a hearty, home-cooked meal. They offer dog friendly indoor seating and, of course, allow dogs on their outdoor terraces. No matter which inn you choose, you and your dog will be welcomed with dog treats, delicious food and local ales. Top tip: Pick from The Hogs Head Inn, The Amble Inn, The Commissioners Quay Inn, The Lindisfarne Inn or The Bamburgh Castle Inn. All inns have dog friendly rooms, so they are perfect options for overnight escapes in Northumberland. 2) Battlesteads           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Battlesteads Hotel (@battlesteads) Battlesteads is renowned for its sustainable menu of fresh fruit and veg from its very own vegetable patches and polytunnels. The rest, including meat and fish, is locally sourced from Northumbrian providers, as the restaurant’s countryside setting puts it in a prime location for fresh produce. Offering a dog friendly bar area, you can have your pal by your side while you sip on a pint. Top tip: Did you know you can also stargaze at Battlesteads, as they have their own observatory and run regular events for incredible astronomy evenings. While this isn’t a dog friendly experience, Battlesteads have a number of dog friendly rooms, so you can leave your pup to chill in your room while you gaze at the stars. 3) The Drift Cafe           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The Dawg Hotel (@thedawghotel) The Drift Cafe is a much-loved, dog friendly cafe on Northumberland’s coast, famous for its delicious, home baked cakes and fresh breakfast fry-ups. Escape the autumn chill and head to the heated marquee where well-behaved dogs will be warmly welcomed. Or, if you are lucky enough to be graced with some sunshine, watch the world go by in their cafe garden which boasts spectacular sea views. They also offer a selection of secondhand books, paintings and prints for you to browse and purchase. Top tip: This is a great stop for nature lovers, as Cresswell pond lies just a few hundred yards away and offers excellent bird watching opportunities. The striking Northumberland Coast Path also starts in Cresswell, so step into your walking boots and fuel up at The Drift Cafe before venturing on this walking route with your four-legged friends. 4) Barrasford Arms           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Barrasford Arms (@barrasfordarms) Barrasford Arms gives a warm welcome to dogs. Serving exceptional, award-winning pub food, you can dine with your dog in the bar area and private dining area. Or, admire the breath-taking beer garden views and enjoy your meal al-fresco. Their setting in the stunning Northumbrian countryside makes it an excellent place to refuel after walkies, and they are also based near beautiful Hexham for some historical exploration after your meal. Top tip: Five of The Barrasford Arms’s bedrooms are dog friendly, so make it a long break and enjoy bedroom views of Houghton Castle and the North Tyne. Hadrian’s Wall is only a few miles away, as well as Hexham and Corbridge which are full of history (and are great spots for some shopping!). 5) The Duke of Wellington Inn           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The Duke of Wellington Inn (@dukeinnewton) This charming, dog friendly village pub offers a cosy place to retreat to after a windswept, autumn dog walk. With a roaring open fire and hearty pub grub, it’ll be sure to offer a warming escape from the cold. The traditional stone flooring means a guilt-free stop-off point for muddy walkers and dogs alike, as dogs are welcome in the bar area. The full restaurant menu is served in the bar, as well as a vast collection of gins, malt whiskies and local ales. Top tip: Make this a countryside getaway and book a dog friendly room at The Duke of Wellington Inn. Just a stone’s throw away from Hadrian’s Wall and the historical market town of Corbridge, there is so much to see and do when this inn is your base. 6) The Angel of Corbridge           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The Angel of Corbridge (@angelcorbridge) Sitting in the centre of cobbled Corbridge, The Angel of Corbridge is a firm favourite with dog owners. The Lounge and Angel’s Table areas are both dog friendly, meaning your four legged friend can curl up by the open fire while you dine. There are a number of fascinating, dog friendly sites nearby, due to the pub’s location in such a historical town. Take your four-legged friend to see Corbridge Roman Town, where you can walk along the main street of a Roman garrison town, flanked by the remains of granaries, a fountain house, markets, workshops and temples. Top tip: Stay overnight in The Angel of Corbridge’s dog friendly rooms and wake up to Corbridge’s boutique shops and picturesque streets lined with wreath-hung front doors. 7) The Ship Inn           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by katiesarahcrosby (@katiesarahcrosby) This seafront, dog friendly and oh-so-popular pub is great for sunny beach walks in the summer and windy coastal retreats in the winter. Based in Low Newton, its sea views are a real temptation for passers by, and inside the dog friendly dining area you will find a toasty open fire and freshly-cooked food. Step outside for panoramic sea views and even take your drinks to the beach and let your dog have a run around while you relax with a beer. Top tip: Treat your dog to a blowy coastal walk to see Dunstanburgh Castle. Passing Embleton Bay on the way, this idyllic route is perfect for before or after you pop into The Ship Inn. 8) The Lord Crewe Arms ​         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by 𝗝𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗮𝗻 𝗗𝗼𝗱𝘄𝗲𝗹𝗹 (@jordandodwelll) The Lord Crewe Arms is nestled in the honey-stone village of Blanchland. Offering an irresistibly cosy, stone interior with roaring open fires and candle-lit tables, your dog is in for a treat. Dogs are welcome in the crypt bar, reception and garden, and you can dine together in the downstairs larders too. Oozing with fascinating history, the pub dates back to 1165 and you can feel this history, not only within the pub walls, but in the beautifully quaint village of Blanchland itself.  Top tip: The Lord Crewe also offers the warmth of twenty-one bedrooms, including dog friendly rooms for the perfect getaway. Perched on the southernmost tip of Northumberland beneath the fells of the Pennine Moors, it’s in an excellent spot for striking country walks. 9) The Twice Brewed Inn           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Maui the handsome Cockapoo🐶🇬🇧 (@cockapoo.maui) The Twice Brewed Inn serves home-cooked meals that can be enjoyed with a side of stunning, country views. As well as offering delicious pub classics, they have partnered with Fire&Dough to bring you mouth-watering Neopolitan pizzas, served from their specially built pizza area in the beer garden. Dogs are welcome in the beer garden as well as in the bar itself, so you can enjoy your meal together.  Top tip: Spend the night here in one of The Twice Brewed’s dog friendly rooms and gaze at the stars. The pub is located in Northumberland National Park, beneath the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park. 10) The Holly Bush Inn           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Patrick Oconnor (@patrickoconnor.69) Tucked away in Northumberland National Park, The Holly Bush Inn’s flower-filled front door, stone front and crackling open fire make it impossible to resist. Serving fantastic, fresh, home-cooked food in their pet friendly bar area, you can expect excellent service and a cosy ambience that will warm you and your dog up after a cold winter’s walk. Top tip: Like The Twice Brewed Inn, The Holly Bush Inn sits beneath the Northumberland Dark Sky Park, perfectly located for a spot of stargazing in the autumn/ winter months. Stay overnight in their dog friendly rooms and make it a trip to remember. Don't forget to tag us in your dog-friendly adventures in Northumberland. Use our hashtags #visitnorthumberland and #endlessexperiences or tag us at @visitnorthumberland for a chance to feature on our social media channels.  
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20 October 2021

Top things to do on a rainy day

A wet-weather guide to Northumberland We will admit, Northumberland has its fair share of unpredictable weather. That's why it's important to come prepared with expert knowledge of the best things to do in Northumberland on a rainy day. Don't worry - we have done the hard work for you and rounded up 10 of the best activities in Northumberland when it's raining. From castles to country houses, check out our rainy day suggestions: 1) Be spellbound by Bamburgh Castle           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Bamburgh Castle (@bamburgh_castle) Bamburgh Castle is open to visitors all year round and entering the grounds of this fascinating, medieval castle takes you through impressive, stone-walled corridors, towering turrets and formidable fortresses. A fantastic family day out for a rainy day, you can pick up a Children's Activity Pack, crammed full of challenges and puzzles to crack around the castle. If the rain does ease off, the outdoor grounds are also spectacular and the beach is just a stone's throw away. 2) Whet your appetite           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Beth (@tricxks) There’s nothing like a bit of foodie indulgence when the weather is miserable. Pile the family into the car and visit The Drift Cafe in Cresswell, where home baked goods fill the counters and the sea views are the icing on the cake. For a sit down meal, book a table at Battlesteads Restaurant where the fruit and veg is home-grown and the meat is smoked on-site. Or visit The Angel of Corbridge for delicious, locally-sourced traditional pub dishes. Find out more about Northumberland's pubs and restaurants perfect for a rainy day. 3) Embrace the rain           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Jay Fordham (@aroamingginger) If you're going to get wet anyway, you might as well do it properly! For you brave and adventurous readers, throw on your waterproof and venture to Northumberland's waterfalls. We have a number of incredible waterfalls that, on a rainy day, look especially mystical. Feel the spray from the tumbling water tickle your cheeks and embrace the rain (then escape to a cosy pub afterwards and warm up by an open fire - you'll need it!). 4) Step into a fairytale at Cragside House and Gardens         View this post on Instagram A post shared by Sarah Jane Millman (@sarahjanemillman) on Nov 12, 2019 at 12:17am PST Cragside House looks like something from a fairy tale, peeping out of the thick woodland that surrounds it and showcasing the idyllic architecture of a traditional Victorian country house. Entering the estate is like travelling back to the future, as the house was years ahead of its time and was the first in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity. Lord Armstrong’s gismos and gadgets are still there today and are waiting to be admired by visitors. Book your visit for a half term history fix or a weekend away from the rain. 5) Shop 'til you drop           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Vicky Combs (@vixta12) There's nothing like a spot of retail therapy on a rainy day. Visit Manor Walks Shopping Centre for its excellent shops, restaurants and even cinema which are great for whiling away a rainy day. Time your visit with the second Saturday of the month for their Makers and Bakers Market, which is brimming with gifts, treats and crafts from local producers. Or spend the day in stylish Morpeth and fill your shopping bags at Sanderson Arcade. Blending the beauty of a traditional market town with modern high street names, there are ample opportunities to buy gifts and souvenirs. 6) While the day away at a Leisure Centre           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Active Northumberland (@activenland) The beauty of visiting a leisure centre is you can pack so much into your day without having to step outside between activities. With play areas, bowling alleys and swimming pools, plus gym classes galore if you want to get active, there’s plenty to do at Active Northumberland's leisure centres while you’re taking shelter. Head up to the very north of the county and visit The Swan Centre in Berwick, or to the magical town of Alnwick for a day at Willowburn.   7) Unleash your inner artist           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Brenda Kilgallon (@brendakilgallon9) A drizzly day is an ideal opportunity to appreciate Northumberland's art galleries. Dennis Kilgallon Gallery, based in Hexham, is known as "The Gallery in the Hills" and showcases the owners' original works, as well as other artists' drawings, paintings, sculptures and ceramics. Dockside Gallery up in coastal Berwick-upon-Tweed is another excellent choice, offering an ever-changing exhibition of uplifting artworks from a variety of artists specifically chosen for the quality and originality of their work. 8) Broaden your mind           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Bailiffgate Museum (@bailiffgatemuseum) Take the opportunity of a grey day to learn something new at one of Northumberland's museums. Bailiffgate Museum  recently won the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award in recognition of its outstanding family offering and relaxed atmosphere. Woodhorn Museum is another fantastic option, where you can delve into Northumberland's mining history. And finally, The RNLI Grace Darling Museum is a fascinating spot dedicated to Britain's greatest heroine, Grace Darling, who rescued nine survivors from a shipwreck in 1838. 9) Get medieval           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Aimie Burley (@aimiesphotos) Get out of the rain in the medieval castle Belsay Hall, where you can power up 56 spiral stairs to marvel at the view from the top of the 14th-century defensive 'pele tower'. Explore the maze of rooms and keep an eye out for rare traces of elaborate medieval wall paintings. In the manor house style wing you can still see the old cooking range and fireplaces. Find out more about our indoor attractions, and don't forget to tag us in your rainy day adventures at @visitnorthumberland or use our hashtag #endlessexperiences.
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28 September 2021

Cosiest pubs in Northumberland

‘Tis the season when Northumberland's pubs light their fireplaces and load their log burners in preparation for the frosty days and bitter nights that autumn and winter bring. As much as we are going to miss the sunshine in the winter months, there is little more satisfying than sitting beside a crackling open fire after a long, cold, windswept walk. We have rounded up six of the cosiest pubs in Northumberland, all with open fires, so you can hide away from the cold, wrap your hands around a hot cup of tea and fill your belly with some hearty pub grub. 1) The Angel of Corbridge           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The Angel of Corbridge (@angelcorbridge) The Angel of Corbridge sits in the centre of cobbled Corbridge and is a firm favourite for visitors discovering the area’s numerous historical sites. Sit by the crackling log burner while you tuck into a hearty pub meal from their menu of fresh, local ingredients. The Lounge and Angel’s Table areas are both dog friendly, meaning your four legged friend can curl up by the glow of the fire while you dine. What’s nearby? Don’t miss Corbridge Roman Town, which is just a stone’s throw away from The Angel of Corbridge. 2) The Ship Inn           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by writer + twin mama (@disastersofathirtysomething) The seafront Ship Inn offers sunny beach beers in the summer and a cosy haven in the winter. Based in Low Newton, its coastal location and sea views lure in its guests, and they stick around for the toasty open fire, freshly cooked food and exquisite local ingredients. With its whitewashed exterior, exposed stone interior, open fire and live music, what more could you wish for after a long walk by the sea. What’s nearby? See Dunstanburgh Castle in the distance and set off on foot, through idyllic Embleton Bay, to see it up close. Head a little further down the coast to magical Alnwick, where you can see The Alnwick Garden at its most festive. Or drive down to Amble for a surfing lesson with Northside Surf School. 3) The Holly Bush Inn           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Stephen Waddington (@wadds) Tucked away in Northumberland National Park, it doesn’t get much more quintessentially British than The Holly Bush Inn. The flower-filled entryway, stone front and remote setting make stepping inside irresistible. Once you’re in, you can expect fantastic food, excellent service and a warm and cosy ambience that will warm you up on the coldest of days. The pub also sits beneath the Northumberland Dark Sky Park, perfectly located for a spot of stargazing in the autumn/ winter months. What’s nearby? Take advantage of The Holly Bush Inn’s position near Hadrian’s Wall and step into your hiking boots to enjoy the numerous attractions and viewpoints along the wall. Be sure to check out Hadrian’s Wall Baggage Transfer if you need a hand getting your luggage from A to B. 4) The Pheasant Inn           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The B & B Directory (@thebandbdirectory) The exterior of The Pheasant Inn becomes cloaked in bright orange and red ivy when the season turns to autumn. Surrounding stone walls, wooden beams overhead and a roaring fire in the centre of the restaurant greet you as you walk in. Relax in one of the lounge bars, lovingly restored with warmth and cosiness at their heart, or dine in the restaurant which boasts sweeping views across Kielder’s countryside. What's nearby? The Pheasant Inn sits near staggering Kielder Water & Forest Park, excellent for walks, bike rides, nature and stunning views. Spend the evening at Kieldder Observatory for an inspiring night of stargazing. 5) Redesdale Arms           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Retreat,Escape,Secret,Boutique (@otterburnlodges) Redesdale Arms sits in the south of the county in remote Redesdale, near the historical village of Otterburn. Echoing the area’s history, the oldest part of the pub is 600 years old and is a former bastle house, and is known as the “First & Last” Inn on route to Scotland. Inside, enjoy the glow of the log burner, locally-sourced, home cooked dishes and a selection of real ales from Allendale Brewery and First and Last Brewery to wash it all down with. What's nearby? Head to the Redesdale Valley where walking and cycling routes are waiting to be explored. Explore the ancient capital of Elsdon, the stonefront village complete with an ancient parish church, a tower house and even the remains of a castle. 6)  Barrasford Arms           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Barrasford Arms (@barrasfordarms) Barrasford Arms is a traditional beauty in the Northumbrian countryside, serving exceptional, freshly cooked, award winning pub food. Take in their breath-taking beer garden views as they overlook the North Tyne Valley, before unwinding in the cosy bar area. Proudly championing local suppliers, and serving vegetables from their very own polytunnel, their exquisite seasonal menu is sure to replenish your energy levels after a chilly walk in the surrounding landscape. What's nearby? Nip to nearby Hexham to explore Hexham Abbey, Hexham Old Gaol and more. Peruse stunning artwork from Dennis Kilgallon Gallery and pick up a piece to take home. Go wild with Allout Adventures and go quad biking, paintballing or clay pigeon shooting. Or explore the area on two wheels with Eco Cycles' fantastic bike hire service. Author: Jenni Meikle
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09 September 2021

10 things to do this autumn

It may still feel like summer with the recent, sporadic sunny days, but autumn is just around the corner. Soon crisp leaves will lie underfoot, frosty mornings will make it almost impossible to get out of bed, and you will be dusting off your winter coat before you know it. Here’s how to make the most of the crisp mornings, dark evenings and array of autumn colours in Northumberland: 1) Take a walk in the park           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Lucy (@missimber) One of the most irresistible things about autumn is its colours. Oranges and copper browns cloak the landscape, and the Cheviot Hills in particular make for a stunning hiking spot. Roe deer dash over the heather and buzzards circle overhead in the peaceful and frosty landscape. Simply visit Northumberland National Park’s website for their extensive list of route suggestions.  2) Espresso yourself           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Helen Templeton (@gingerminx76) While the cold (and sometimes wet) weather isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, there’s just something about heading into a café and cosying up with a cuppa. Snug cafes with sink-into-seating and menus of frothy coffees and fluffy cakes can be found across the county. The Drift Cafe sits on the seafront, offering staggering views and exquisite breakfasts. Or try Kirkharle Courtyard, tucked away in a picturesque spot in the tiny hamlet of Kirkharle, offering an extensive menu of coffees, brunches and lunches, as well as selling artwork, crafts and local artisan eats to take home with you. Head to our food and drink page for some drink-spiration. 3) Get toasty with a roast           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by writer + twin mama (@disastersofathirtysomething) It’s the perfect time of year for a long walk followed by a hearty roast dinner, and an even cosier way to dine is by a crackling open fire. A number of our pubs boast roaring fireplaces perfect for warming your toes after a hike in the crisp autumn air. Grab your pub grub in the countryside at The Holly Bush Inn, The Pheasant Inn, The Angel of Corbridge, The Redesdale Arms or The Barrasford Arms. Or, stop off by the sea and book a table at the seafront pub, The Ship Inn. 4) Cosy Up           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Sandra Tang (@sandratang) Autumn is the perfect time to huddle up in that cosy cottage, rustic log cabin or quirky accommodation you’ve had your eye on. Northumbria Coast and Country Cottages, Original Cottages, and Crabtree and Crabtree  all offer a range of self-catering options with beautifully-decorated living areas, toasty log burners and sweeping sea views. Or, hide out in a luxurious log cabin with a private hot tub in the forest at Kielder Waterside. Pick a B&B where warm welcomes and outstanding customer service are guaranteed, such as Old Rectory Howick, Shaftoe’s Guesthouse, Post Office House B&B or Market Cross Guesthouse. Take a look at our 'Where to Stay' page for some autumn accommodation inspiration. 5) Watch the sun come up           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Visit Northumberland (@visitnorthumberland) Northumberland’s sunrises and sunsets are always spectacular, but in autumn they are pretty hard to beat. When the sun is low, a candy-floss-pink illuminates the sky and simply takes your breath away. Wake up early, wrap up warm, pack a flask and take a windy coastal walk for a spectacular sunrise to start your day. Or, head inland and stay out until sunset, where the horizon becomes fiery with the low sun. Hadrian’s Wall is a particular favourite for astounding sunsets behind the ancient wall.  6) Stare at the Stars           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Daniel Monk (@danmonk91) On that note, along with the dreaded dark nights and mornings comes one of the best things about autumn: the awe-inspiring dark skies that mean you can gaze into the galaxy. The jet black skies make the stars appear clearer, brighter and more spectacular. Search for the stars at Kielder Observatory and graze while you gaze at award-winning Battlesteads’ shooting star supper.  Pull on your walking boots and head to Northumberland National Park, where The Sill, Cawfields, The Stonehaugh Pavilion and Harbottle are all excellent spots for stargazing. 7) Get out of your back Garden           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by hannah 🎃🖤 (@hannahlucyrose) Northumberland's gardens are great places to get away from the crowds in autumn. The swarms of summer visitors have generally cleared, and the ever-changing garden fauna has turned orange and crisp, making for a stunningly colourful day out. From mazes to manor houses and pumpkins to Poison Gardens, we have an array of peaceful gardens to explore at the change of season. 8) Go Wild           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Laverocklawcottages&Glamping (@laverocklawholidaycottages) Set out on an adventure with North East Guides and learn navigation and mountain skills at some of Northumberland’s most picturesque beauty spots. Or have an overnight stay filled with adventure with Laverock Law’s Wildwalks and Family Adventures, where your experienced Mountain Leader-led hike will be accompanied by strawberries and fondue, as well as some bubbly for the adults. 9) Pick your own pumpkin           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by 🍇G (@graceloisrowe) What more festive way to get in the autumnal spirit than by going pumpkin picking? Brocksbushes Farm offers fantastic fruit picking opportunities throughout the year, and throughout October their pumpkin patch is the star of the show. This year, they have expanded the experience as they have more pumpkins, an extra pumpkin patch and will host pumpkin carving activities in their marquee. Pre-booking is essential, so head to their website and sign up to their newsletter to be the first to hear when tickets are available. 10) Save it for a Rainy Day           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Justin Parkes (@picturesbyjustin) We can’t ignore the fact that autumn comes with the potential for some drizzly weather. If you wake up to the somewhat comforting sound of rain tapping at your window, head to one of Northumberland’s indoor attractions. Spell-binding Bamburgh Castle, beautiful Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, enchanting Cragside House, Gardens and Estate and more all have weekend opening hours throughout November and December. Each have stunning interiors with rich historical significance to admire and, if the sky does clear, their gardens are worth a wander. Now you have some inspiration for your autumn adventures, don't forget to tag us on social media when you're sharing snaps of your trip. Tag us at @visitnorthumberland or use our hashtags #visitnorthumberland #endlessexperiences. Author: Jenni Meikle
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17 August 2021

Inside Seaton Delaval Hall

Seaton Delaval Hall is a hidden treasure in the truest of forms. Trundling along on the A190, you could almost miss it, as its entryway is so subtle. After initially missing the turning and doubling back on ourselves, we were astounded when the narrow entrance opened up into a spectacular view of this 18th century country house. Over a number of years, major restoration works have been carried out at Seaton Delaval Hall following funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the National Trust and from donations. We were lucky enough to have a look around and we wanted to give you a sneak peek into one of the National Trust’s most significant restoration projects. Our first stop was the new Brewhouse Café, a cosy building with brick interiors and wooden beams that is set in the once disused brewhouse. We chose to eat outside as it was a beautiful morning, so we took to the flower-filled terrace where there is ample seating and enjoyed a cuppa and delicious bacon butty. Then, it was time to explore Seaton Delaval Hall’s striking surroundings, where the path networks and sightlines have been reinstated, giving visitors views across the wider landscape and back to the Hall. Playful interventions are dotted throughout, and families can play in The Dark Matter Cube, take selfies in The Mirror Cube and run riot in the fantastic children’s play area. After our peaceful wander around the gardens, we headed inside to see the awe-inspiring transformations that have taken place in the interior areas of the Hall. Iconic cantilever staircases have been completely renovated, including the installation of new steps and landings to ensure that visitors can experience their grandeur. One of the most visible transformations can be seen in the Hall’s basement, which has been turned from a dark, damp, unevenly floored space into an atmospheric, architectural, and visually striking part of the building which is now accessible to visitors. New flag flooring and sensitive up-lighting has been installed, and the discovery of a historic drainage system found during archaeological excavations can also be viewed. Make a day of your visit and bring a picnic to enjoy in the tranquil grounds, or wear your walking shoes and explore one of the walking routes that take you on a circular route to the beach and back to the Hall. Based in the stunning seaside village of Seaton Sluice, there are a number of things to do and places to admire in the local area. And, keep your eyes peeled for the hall’s upcoming events, as performances are always being planned. Author Jenni Meikle
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23 July 2021

Hand Luggage Only's top 5

Yaya and Lloyd, creators of Hand Luggage Only, have pulled together their top five Northumberland sites, activities and recommendations. Use their ideas as inspiration to make the most of our stunning county and explore the magic of Northumberland for yourself.  Their new book, Hand Luggage Only, the ultimate travel guide for exploring Britain’s best destinations, is out now and available from local bookshops Waterstones and Amazon. Make sure to bag yourself a copy after you’ve enjoyed this blog! A HOLY-MOLEY HABITAT           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Hand Luggage Only (@handluggageonly) The tidal island of Lindisfarne is perched just off the coast of Northumberland and several times a day it gets cut off from the mainland when the tide rolls in and the road to the island disappears beneath the water. In the 8th century it was raided by the Vikings – its importance as a Christian centre meant this raid in particular marks the start of the Viking Age in Europe. Nowadays, you can explore the ruins of Lindisfarne Priory and pop into the 500-year-old Lindisfarne Castle.  Once a defensive fortification between Scotland and England, the castle dates back to the 1500s and is positioned perfectly on a mound with a rather steep, albeit relatively short, climb to get up to. There are a few shops on the island, too – be sure to pick up some of the famous mead (an alcoholic drink made from honey). Tide and time wait for no man: Be sure to pay particular attention to the tide times (they will be signposted before you get on the road and also available online, so check on the day you plan on visiting), as it comes in very fast and you can get in trouble really quickly.  A LEGENDARY HISTORY           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Hand Luggage Only (@handluggageonly) Northumberland has no shortage of castles – it’s home to more than any other county in England – but even with all that choice, Bamburgh Castle stands out and absolutely has to be visited.  For starters, it has a written history dating back to 420 CE, making it one of the country’s oldest. In the years since, it’s been ransacked by Vikings, been home to kings from Henry VI to James I, and was the first castle in the world to be destroyed by gunpowder in the War of the Roses. (Did you know author George R. R. Martin based his Game of Thrones book series on this ongoing struggle for the English crown?) Explore the staterooms, grand hall, grounds and beach beyond at your leisure.  Arthurian legend has it that Bamburgh is the site of Sir Lancelot’s castle, Joyous Garde.  STARRY SKIES AND ROMAN HERITAGE           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Northumberland National Park (@northumberlandnationalpark) Hugging the border between England and Scotland, Northumberland National Park is home to part of Hadrian’s Wall. Stretching all the way from the North Sea to the Irish Sea, this fortification was built in 122 CE to guard the Roman Empire’s northern frontier. Along the wall, explore the Temple of Mithras (dedicated to the god Roman soldiers adored), Vindolanda (a vast ruined fort) and Housesteads Roman Fort, where you can see remains of the barracks, hospital and some pretty old toilets. The latter is more interesting than it sounds!  For night owls: Northumberland National Park is great for stargazing. It contains an International Dark Sky Park – one of the biggest areas of protected night sky in all of Europe. You can even spot the Andromeda Galaxy with your naked eyes! Just keep your fingers crossed for a clear night. If you really want to stretch your legs, scale the Cheviot, the park’s highest peak. Although this is not not an endurance-style hike, you will need a good level of fitness to reach the very tippy-top. From here, on a crisp and clear day, you might even be able to see Edinburgh in the distance.  HUFFIN AND PUFFIN           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Visit Northumberland (@visitnorthumberland) Just off the coast of Northumberland lie The Farne Islands, an archipelago of 28 islands, of which three are accessible to visitors. Often referred to as the ‘Galapagos of the North’, there’s an abundance of wildlife here (whales, seals, dolphins and lots of sea birds), and it’s easily one of the best places in England to spot puffins. Depending on when you visit, you’ll probably get up close and personal with the thousands of non-human residents. Make sure you pack a pair of binoculars to look the part.  If you’re looking for maximum cuteness, the first seal pups start to arrive in September, so plan your visit accordingly. Birdwatchers will have a field day – many sea birds (guillemots, kittiwakes and razorbills, to mention a few) call this beautiful part of England home. The best way to make the most of it is to hop aboard one of the boat tours leaving from Seahouses. Four private companies offer boat trips between April and October from Seahouses Harbour. Don’t forget to make a back-up plan: Have some alternative ideas to explore the local area – like a visit to nearby Bamburgh Castle- in case the sea is too choppy to travel.  SEA FOOD, EAT FOOD         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Visit Northumberland (@visitnorthumberland) Stretching 62 miles (100 kilometres) in length, the Northumberland Coast Path is one of the best British hiking routes for history buffs. Along the route from Cresswell in the south to Berwick-upon-Tweed in the north, you’ll see historic remnants from the last 7,000 years dotted all across this coastline.  We recommend setting aside a week to complete the trail or dipping in and out at your leisure to enjoy the sections that intrigue you most. As you ramble along the unspoilt coastline, be sure to stop off at the totally pristine Bamburgh Beach where, just shy of the shore, you’ll spot Bamburgh Castle. From here you’re just a short walk at low tide to Holy Island. Hankering for a bite to eat? Pop into the historic fishing village of Craster with its picturesque harbour and country pubs, which offer some amazing local seafood. It’s like heading back to the 1800s, but with much better fish and chips. Remember, Hand Luggage Only is out now, available from local bookshops, Waterstones and Amazon. Pick up a copy and plan your next adventure.
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07 July 2021

Five family walks

Do you have commitment issues when it comes to long walking routes? Or maybe your family holiday is filled with little legs that just can't hack long hikes? Whatever the reason, we've got you covered, as we have picked five of the best short walking routes in Northumberland. Mostly circular, all beautiful, and none over 5 miles, take your pick from fairy trails, mysterious caves and bluebell-carpeted woodland. Here are our five short walks in Northumberland for you to enjoy this summer and beyond: 1) Wandering and wildlife watching          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by NorthEastFamilyFun.co.uk (@northeastfamilyfun) If you love to mix your wandering with wildlife watching, this is the walk for you . Hauxley Nature Reserve is a great place to watch birds, butterflies, red squirrels and otters. There are a number of circular trails around the reserve, so you can easily return to your original starting point once you’ve completed your chosen route. Leave time for a break in the Look Out Cafe, which has wonderful waterside views of the ponds to entertain you while you taste locally sourced refreshments. There is also a 1km accessible trail suitable for those who have the pushchair in tow or require wheelchair access, with two accessible bird hides en-route.  Dreamy Druridge Bay sits just next to Hauxley Nature Reserve, where the views are serene and the wildlife is spectacular. Infringed with rugged dunes, its unspoilt coastline stretches as far as the eye can see and families can play in the sand, explore on foot and wildlife watch.  Where to park: There is car parking on site (NE65 0JR). All day parking for cars is £2, or £25 for an Annual Parking Permit 1 April to 31 March. Make a day of it: Amble is an approximate 10 minute drive away from Hauxley, where you can find plenty of places to eat and drink. Hire a bike from Pedal Power and cycle along the coast, take a surfing or paddle boarding lesson with Northside Surf School, visit The Amble Inn for a bite to eat, and stay at Radcliffes Lodge if you can’t bear to leave just yet. 2) Stepping stones and secret gardens         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Just A Normal Mum (@justanormalmum_) Wallington House, Garden and Estate's River Walk promises a day of fascinating history, peaceful riverside views and exciting adventures over stepping stones and in secret gardens. At just over 2.5 miles, the whole family can enjoy this gentle route.  Explore the secret, walled garden with its lily pad-covered ponds, then cross the River Wansbeck via stepping stones. Once you reach the route’s woodland areas, find hints of magic in the forest, where tiny doorways fit for fairies hide in the tree trunks. The circular route ends at Wallington courtyard, where you can grab some refreshments and rest your legs at the tea room. Where to park: Wallington has a designated car park, and this circular route will take you back to Wallington Hall where you can get back to your car or continue exploring this beautiful building. Please note there is an entry charge when visiting Wallington House, Garden and Estate and there may be pre-booking requirements before you visit. Make a day of it - Visit Kirkharle Courtyard for a frothy hot chocolate, homemade lunch and a walk around the picturesque Serpentine lake. Go for a swim at Ponteland Leisure Centre, or visit Belsay Hall with its magnificent gardens and medieval castle. For a wildlife adventure, book ahead onto one of Wild Intrigue’s “Bats and Beers” evenings which start nearby in Elsdon. 3) Bluebells and bustling streets         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Ijay Ogah (@flourishingmum) Discover the 2.5 mile walk through the bustling, stylish streets of Morpeth to tranquil Bluebell Woods. Starting in the centre, head up Cottingwood Lane, then take the path through the woods and cut into the open fields where, if you’re lucky, you may spot some deer. Follow the path around the outskirts of the hospital and you will arrive at Bluebell Woods, where you can admire the carpet of bright blue in the springtime, and the idyllic woodland surroundings for the rest of the year. Once you’re out of the woods, you can return, full circle, to Morpeth centre. Stop for a coffee en-route to boost your energy before the walk, or save yourself for the way back and head into one of Morpeth’s many restaurants to fill your boots on return. Don’t miss Sanderson Arcade, which holds an array of shops and eateries. Or time your walk with a Wednesday morning and peruse Morpeth Markets, selling fresh, local produce. There is also a Farmer’s Market on the first Saturday of each month.  Where to park: There is plenty of parking in Morpeth town centre, but a parking disc is required. These can be easily purchased from retailers, Tourist Information Centres and libraries. You can also use a disc from another council if you already have one. Make a day of it: Go for a splash about at Riverside Leisure Centre, visit the Morpeth Chantry tourist information centre where you can buy local arts and crafts, and see the snow leopards at nearby Northumberland College Zoo. 4) Riverside roaming and Roman history         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Richard Harrison (@richy.harrison2011) Stroll along the banks of the River Tyne on the 5 mile trail between two historic, quaint, cobbled towns, Hexham and Corbridge. Begin in Hexham where beautiful Sele Park and the stunning grounds of Hexham House make for a peaceful start to your walk. From there, you will wander along woodland trails, past Dilston Castle, and along Devil’s Water where a series of waterfalls tumble into plunge pools. Then, you follow the rushing river until you reach the 17th century stone bridge which takes you into Corbridge. Corbridge is filled with cosy cafes and local pubs to fill up on refreshments once you have made it to this beautiful small town. Where to park: Park in Hexham and take the Go North East bus from Corbridge to Hexham once you have finished your walk. Make a day of it: Visit Corbridge Roman Town, home to the Corbridge Hoard, one of the most significant finds in Roman history. Enjoy a delicious meal at the Angel of Corbridge, then once you’ve taken the bus back to Corbridge, extend your stay at Woodside Lodge, Hexham Holiday Homes, or Shaftoe’s Guest house. Hexham holds a bloody history and there is plenty more to explore here, such as Hexham Abbey and England’s first purpose-built prison, the Old Gaol, which can be traced back to the 1300s. 5) Caves and castles         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Northumberland 250 (@nland250) St Cuthbert’s Cave, nestled away in the remote countryside of Belford, oozes mystery due to its spiritual past. It is said that the ancient monks of Lindisfarne laid St Cuthbert’s body to rest here in AD875, the seventh century Anglo-Saxon monk, bishop and hermit, who possessed the power of spiritual healing. Starting in Holburn, this circular, 3 mile route takes you to the eerie cave on both surfaced and unsurfaced tracks, and offers sweeping views of the rugged Cheviot Hills. When you reach the cave, if you can, go up the hill above it to see the wonderful view over Holy Island. Where to park: The National Trust car park in Holburn Make a day of it: Visit astounding Bamburgh Castle to the east, with its surrounding sand dunes and white sand beach. Or visit Ford and Etal Estate to the west and board the steam train at Heatherslaw Light Railway, bake bread at the old corn mill, and visit Hayfarm Heavy Horse Centre. Extend you stay at Chatton Park House, Post Office B&B, Market Cross Guesthouse, Bluebell Hotel, and Belford’s many other excellent accommodations.
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25 June 2021

Five family days out

The kids are lying in bed all morning, dad’s rocking the socks and Crocs look and mum’s sunnies are fixed to her face whatever the weather. It can only mean one thing – summer is here, and your trip to Northumberland is just around the corner. We may be biased, but we think it’s safe to say that Northumberland is the best place to spend your summer holiday. So, read on for our hints and tips on five of the best family days out in Northumberland. 1) A day of magic in Alnwick         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Alexandra (@piccolipazzi) Visiting spellbinding Alnwick is guaranteed to make for a magical family day out. Start with a visit to Alnwick Castle, known for its starring role as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Spot Harry Potter and Ron Weasley wand-ering the corridors, and enjoy a broomstick lesson on the very spot where Harry, Ron and Hermione learned to fly. Enjoy lunch in the twinkling treetops of The Alnwick Treehouse (if you can make it across the wobbly bridge!) before visiting The Alnwick Garden. Admire the Grand Cascade, mysterious Poison Garden and romantic Rose Garden. Don't miss Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery, which holds over 10,000 years of history in its charming stone walls, before heading to Lal Khazana to dine on delicious Indian cuisine on your way out of the town centre. Make it an overnighter: Stay at Village Farm Cottages, just a ten minute drive from the centre of Alnwick in the old village of Shilbottle. The superb self-catering holiday cottage accommodation ranges from Scandinavian-style chalets to traditional stone-built cottages and a 17th century farmhouse. Plus, they have a Health Club equipped with a swimming pool and spa, perfect for the kids to play and parents to relax. 2) A day of time travel in Ford and Etal         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Days out 4kids(&their adults) (@wherewegoingmummy) Stepping out of your car at Ford and Etal Estates is like stepping out of Marty Mcfly’s DeLorean Time Machine. Start your day by learning to bake bread and grind flour in Heatherslaw Cornmill, the traditional, 700 year old corn mill that is still a working mill today. Take a bag of freshly ground coffee with you and head to Boes Café for coffee and cake, before boarding the steam train at Heatherslaw Light Railway to Etal. Visit beautiful Etal Castle, currently offering free entry. Then, grab a bite to eat at the only thatched pub in Northumberland, The Black Bull. Take the perfect post-lunch walk down to the banks of The River Till and watch canoeists glide by on the sparkling water. Return to Heatherslaw and pop into Lady Waterford Hall (a short walk or drive away). The old school house is now a gallery that is filled with Louise Waterford’s Pre-Raphaelite artwork. And finally, end your day by walking or driving to Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre to see the adorable horses, foals and piglets. Make it an overnighter: Till River Fishing Holidays cottage accommodation lies only 200 yards away from the River Till, offering a large lawn area, a path leading down to the river, an apple and plum tree, and even a tennis court closeby. Make use of your self-catering facilities at mealtimes, or treat yourself to a meal cooked for you by Kooked North, who use all local produce to create beautiful dishes for guests. 3) A day to roam like the Romans in Hexham         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Vindolanda (@officialvindolandatrust) Time your trip to Hexham with a Tuesday and start your morning with a mosey around Hexham Market. Freshly baked bread, organic fruit and veg, and locally sourced meats are just a few of the exquisite culinary offerings. Visit Hexham Old Gaol, the prison that dates back to the 1300s where you can descend into the dungeons and even try out the stocks. Head into Hexham Abbey to admire the striking architecture. The monastery-turned-abbey was built in 674 AD using ancient stones from Hadrian’s Wall, and the eerie crypt from the original building still remains today. Then go for a wander around the idyllic Tyne Green’s lush green spaces, passing trickling streams and views of Hexham Bridge. Take a short detour to The Barrasford Arms and grab a bite to eat, where you can fill up on a hearty pub meal or refuel with light bites and a drink. Then get back in the car and make your way to Vindolanda, or if you’d prefer not to drive, Ecocabs offer an excellent taxi service from Hexham to its nearby historical sites. Once you’re there, see live excavations taking place by expert archaeologists and you might be lucky enough to witness some astounding ancient artifacts being revealed. Enter The Roman Army Museum to learn about the history of the site and see collections of incredible ancient finds that were dug up onsite.  Make it an overnighter: Hexham Holiday Homes sit in the heart of Hexham, making an excellent base for nearby restaurants, shops, and of course incredible historical sites such as Hadrian’s Wall and the many forts and attractions alongside it. Their variety of modern and traditional properties are all beautifully refurbished and offer different designs to suit every family’s tastes and holiday styles. 4) A day to al-paca your wetsuits in Kielder         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Landal Kielder Waterside (@landalkielderwaterside) Fill your day with activities and adventures in Kielder. Start with much-needed coffees and hot chocolates to fuel up for the day ahead at The Forest Bar and Kitchen. Make the most of their staggering, waterside outdoor seating area and enjoy the peaceful reservoir views before you take to the water yourself with Kielder’s guided watersports activities. Northumbrian Water’s newest activity offering means you can admire Kielder reservoir from the water itself. Test dad’s balance on a stand up paddleboarding session, or discover the reservoir on a guided canoe tour. Having surely worked up an appetite, drive to The Pheasant Inn for a delicious lunch and beautiful countryside views. Then, continue the adventure with a visit to Ferny Rigg, who run Alpaca Walks through Northumberland National Park. Get active and enjoy the fresh country air with an adorable, fluffy alpaca by your side. They are guaranteed to make the kids smile with their loveable nature and quirky charm.  Make it an overnighter: Falstone Barns offer four individually designed holiday apartments within a spectacular barn development. The two bedroom apartments generally sleep families of 4-5, and larger groups can reserve two or more apartments together. Or, go glamping in their PosHHuts, in an idyllic, rural setting and overlooking woodland, the river and stunning countryside. A King size bed, sofa and roaring wood burning stove are perfect to relax after a long day of exploring (more suitable for families with older children as the huts sleep 2). 5) A day of beaches and boat trips in Berwick         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Tanya Marsh (@tanya11712) Start your day with a walk along the romantic River Tweed in Berwick, then climb on-board The Border Rose with Berwick Boat Trips, where you can sail beneath the magnificent Royal Border Bridge and into the mouth of the river for some seal and dolphin spotting.    Once you’re back on land, step into Berwick’s complex past and take yourself on a history tour through the cobbled streets. See Berwick Town Hall’s atmospheric jail cells where graffiti from unruly 18th century cellmates lines the walls, get an insight into a soldier’s life at Berwick Barracks and take a haunting walk along the Elizabethan Town Walls.    For an upmarket lunch, stop at Foxton's Wine Bar for exquisite seafood. If you’re looking for something a little more casual, grab a cafe lunch and eat it on the riverbanks at The Lookout Cafe and admire the waterside views.   Once you’ve filled your boots, take advantage of the town’s position along the coast and go for a family walk along barely-trodden Berwick beach, or striking Spittal Beach which lies less than two miles away.   Make it an overnighter: Sleeping up to 8 guests, Ness Street Holiday Cottage makes for a great family getaway. The cosy, four bedroom self-catering holiday home sits within Berwick’s historic town walls, and the sea is less than 100 yards away from this grade II listed building. For more family activities and adventures, see our family friendly attractions page. Don't forget to tag us in your holidays snaps on social media via @visitnorthumberland or using our hashtag #endlessexperiences. Author: Jenni Meikle
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