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25 May 2023

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 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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22 May 2023

Dog friendly attractions in Northumberland

Do you love a dog friendly break, or can’t bring yourself to leave your four legged friend at home? Then look no further, as we have rounded up some of the best dog friendly attractions in Northumberland so you can have a fantastic day out with your dog. Ford and Etal Estates           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Lady Waterford Hall (@ladywaterfordhall) Ford and Etal is an excellent option for taking your dog on a day out in Northumberland. Nestled in the valley of the River Till, Ford and Etal Estates, and the hamlet of Heatherslaw which lies in between, are surrounded by staggering walking routes great for getting the dog out for a long walk. In the estate itself, there are a number of dog friendly attractions to make the most of such as Lady Waterford Hall, Etal Castle and Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre. Dogs are even allowed on Heatherslaw Light Railway, the steam train that offers a great way of getting between the three villages. Wallington National Trust            View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Rachel Kilickap (@rjnkxx) Wallington Hall is the perfect place to walk your pooch, as although dogs aren’t allowed in the house itself, they are welcome year-round in the stunning surrounding landscapes there. The historical property has miles of woodland walks to explore and a picturesque walled garden to stroll, and well behaved dogs are allowed in almost all outdoor areas including the surrounding woodland, along the river and farm routes and in the walled garden. If you need to escape from the weather or fancy a bite to eat, you can also take your dogs into the Clocktower Café and buy doggy treats from the shop. You'll also find water bowls in the courtyard and outside the visitor welcome area.  Kielder Forest           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Kielder Water & Forest Park (@visitkielder) Another fantastic dog friendly day out in Northumberland is a trip to Kielder Water and Forest Park. Kielder Forest is dog friendly throughout and there are so many sights, viewpoints and wildlife for you and the dog to enjoy en-route. Wonderful, waterside routes can be enjoyed along Kielder Reservoir, the biggest man-made lake in Northern Europe, and fantastic outdoor architecture structures are scattered throughout the forest just waiting to be admired and explored. Bamburgh Castle           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Bamburgh Castle (@bamburgh_castle) Treat your dog like royalty on a day at Bamburgh Castle as the grounds and Victorian Stables are completely dog friendly. The views from Bamburgh Castle’s grounds are second to none, as it offers an exceptional viewpoint for Bamburgh Beach and the everlasting Northumberland coastline stretching out into the distance. While you’re in Bamburgh, it’s worth exploring the village and stopping for a coffee in one of the dog friendly cafes, and head to the beach for a windswept walk. Cragside House and Gardens           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by NT Cragside (@ntcragside) Cragside House and Gardens is another spectacular dog friendly attraction that is not to be missed. Surrounded by acres of incredible landscapes, you can enjoy woodland, trickling streams and beautiful fauna while you explore. Dogs are not allowed inside the house itself, but are welcome in all parts of the estate, including the grounds, gardens, shop and tea rooms, where you can pick up a pot of doggy ice cream! Dogs must remain on leads at all times to protect the wildlife and for dog safety as there are steep drops and crags at Cragside. Coastal Castles           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by OurNorthumberlandAndBeyond (@ournorthumberlandandbeyond) Northumberland’s coastal castles are great for a day out with the dog in Northumberland as many of them sit along the Northumberland coast path, a perfect dog walking route. Warkworth Castle, Lindisfarne Castle and Dunstanburgh Castle all welcome dogs into their grounds, so you can delve into Northumberland’s history and admire our romantic ruins. As always, do be mindful of the coastal wildlife when walking your dog and follow local signage regarding lead walking and other potential guidance. Farne Islands boat trips           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Alexandra Lloyd (@alexandracoyle) Take your dog out on a boat trip to The Farne Islands with Billy Shiel or Serenity Boat Tours, where well behaved dogs are welcome on board to admire the grey seals, puffins and sometimes even dolphins that can be seen from the boat. There are unfortunately no landings on the Farne Islands at the moment as the seabird colony was sadly devastated by bird flu last year. Nonetheless, seeing them from the comfort of the boat is a fantastic experience and you should be sure to explore Seahouses after your trip. Heritage Walks           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Ray Biggs (@heritagewalksnorthumberland) Relax and don’t worry about the route on a guided walk with Heritage Walks, who welcome dogs on their Northumberland routes. During 2022 we had all shapes and sizes join us, including one determined hole digger on the crossing to Holy Island - see photo. Ranging from the Pilgrim’s Path over to incredible Holy Island, to the fascinating Yeavering Bell in Northumberland’s countryside, there are a number of routes to choose from that your dog will absolutely love. Beaches           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Northumberland Coast AONB (@northumberlandcoastaonb) Northumberland’s beaches make for excellent dog walking routes, as most of them welcome well behaved dogs throughout the year. Wander along the stunning, sweeping beaches, paddle in the clear (and chilly!) water and stop off for some fish and chips along the way on a dog friendly day out. Staggering Druridge Bay and beautiful Budle Bay are just a couple of examples of the pristine beaches that can be enjoyed with your dog. There is a seasonal restriction for breeding shorebirds in the middle of Beadnell Bay during the summer months, so make sure to observe signs and put your dog on a lead before you reach the site. Outside the AONB, there are restrictions at Blyth and Newbiggin, so again be sure to follow local signage. Please also take a look at the AONB’s guidance to bringing your dog to the coast. So, now you are fully prepared to explore Northumberland with your dog, enjoy a dog friendly day out in Northumberland without worrying about whether your dog is welcome.
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05 May 2023

Celebrate the Coronation in Northumberland

Coronation Celebrations Northumberland With the Coronation Ceremony of His Majesty King Charles III taking place soon, many across the country eagerly await this historic occasion. You may be wondering where you can take your seat to watch the crowning, as well as how you can get involved in celebrating the longstanding tradition of a new monarch being crowned. Take a look at our guide to celebrating the new king and spending time with your family and friends over the bank holiday weekend.  Watch the Coronation Screening Enjoy watching the screening of the Coronation Ceremony from the most spectacular castles in Northumberland.  Watch the Coronation Ceremony from the Windsor of the North Head to Alnwick Castle to take your place within the medieval castle walls to watch the screening of King Charles III’s Coronation. Bring along a picnic or enjoy tasty treats from a variety of food trucks, as you take your seat on your picnic blankets or lawn chairs, and enjoy watching the day’s events, from the King’s Procession to the famous Buckingham Palace balcony appearance. The screening is a free event taking place from 10am until 2pm on Saturday 6th May. If you wish to watch the screening at Alnwick Castle tickets must be pre-booked through the Alnwick Castle website prior to arrival.            View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Alnwick Castle (@alnwickcastleofficial) Take in the Coronation Ceremony from a Coastal Castle Watch the regal celebration of the Coronation Ceremony from the dramatic setting of Bamburgh Castle. Take your seat within the aptly named ‘King’s Hall’ inside the castle to witness the crowning of our new king, His Majesty King Charles III, from 10am until 2pm. Access to the Bamburgh Castle Coronation screening is included within the price of an admission ticket, which means you can enjoy the rest of your day exploring this coastal fortress and historic royal seat of Northumberland.           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Bamburgh Castle (@bamburgh_castle) Eat Like a King Dine in style this bank holiday weekend at one of a wide variety of restaurants in Northumberland. From countryside cafes such as The Drift Cafe in Cresswell, dog friendly pubs such as the beautiful, Blanchland-based Lord Crewe Arms, The Holly Bush Inn in Northumberland National Park, The Pheasant Inn in Kielder or one of The Inn Collection Group's coastal pubs such as The Amble Inn. Have a royal dining experience at Langley Castle, try Matfen Hall's luxurious restaurant, relish fresh, home-grown produce at Battlesteads or enjoy sweeping views of the Breamish Valley from The Bosk Restaurant. There are so many options to enjoy a celebratory meal over the Coronation weekend.            View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Lord Crewe Arms Blanchland (@lord_crewe_arms) Enjoy The Great Outdoors This bank holiday weekend spend time with your loved ones in the great outdoors, from exploring the best of Northumberland’s coastline, to discovering wild forests and beautiful gardens. Northumberland has some of the most spectacular areas of natural beauty for you to enjoy, including some of the best cycling routes, as well as some of the most pristine coastal walks and dog friendly beaches.   Explore The History of Northumberland With over 900 years of Coronation history being celebrated as part of the traditions of His Majesty King Charles III’s Coronation, there is no better time to explore the history of Northumberland. Discover mighty castles that tower over towns, such as Warkworth Castle, Dunstanburgh Castle or lesser known Etal Castle. Based in Ford and Etal Estates, Northumberland's best-kept secret, you can also explore Heatherslaw Corn Mill, Lady Waterford Hall and jump on board the steam train at Heatherslaw Light Railway. Discover fascinating ancient sites and Roman forts like Vindolanda and the Roman Army Museum, Houseateads Roman Fort along Hadrian’s Wall. 
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19 April 2023

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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16 March 2023

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  offers beautiful, cosy cottages, where 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. 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 offer a number of stunning self-catering options that still have availability too. 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. 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. Visit Marley the Miniature Pony, the local celebrity who has appeared on Come Dine with me and Countryfile, for a short cart ride. 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 Gorge Walk, complete with trickling streams and picturesque scenery that will make the perfect family walking route. 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) /*if(window.FB){window.FB.__buffer = true;}*/ 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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17 February 2023

Robson Green’s Weekend Escapes in Northumberland

If you haven’t seen it, Robson Green’s Weekend Escapes is a must-watch. He takes viewers to his favourite beauty spots in the North East, showcasing many of Northumberland’s highlights. Throughout the series, there is a focus on mental health and the healing power of Northumberland’s stunning natural landscapes. Follow in his footsteps with our guide to where Robson Green visited in Northumberland, what activities he did and how you can do them too. Episode 1 - The Northumberland Coast In the first episode, Robson Green explores Bamburgh and admires Bamburgh Castle before hiring an electric bike from Go Electric Bike Hire. They deliver his e-bike directly to him, and he cycles the stunning Coast and Castles cycle route from Seahouses to Bamburgh. He then settles down for the night at spectacular Bamburgh Under Canvas, an adult-only glamping site offering luxurious Bell Tent accommodation just one mile from Bamburgh village. The following day Robson Green pops into Swallow Fish of Seahouses to try some smoked kippers, a Northumberland delicacy, before trying his hand at stand up paddle boarding with KA Adventures at beautiful Beadnell Bay.
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10 February 2023

10 things to do in Northumberland on Valentine's Day

As Valentine’s Day looms, romance blooms in Northumberland. With a coastline full of romantically ruinous castles, a star-studded sky where the Milky Way can be seen with the naked eye and awe-inspiring landscapes to explore together, there’s something for every type of couple to celebrate their love in Northumberland. Whether it’s filling your boots at a candle-lit feast or dusting off your hiking boots to set out on adventure together, here is our list of 10 things to do in Northumberland this Valentine’s Day: The Hopeless Romantics 1) Stargazing For the dewy eyed duos who like to spend Valentine’s in a traditionally romantic manner, spend the evening hand-in-hand beneath Northumberland’s dazzlingly dark skies. There’s something spectacularly moving about a star-studded sky, and we aren’t just talking about standing on your driveway and looking up. Make sure you are in the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park and spot the almost incomprehensible number of stars that look like diamonds that have been lodged into the sky. Head to one of Northumberland’s Dark Sky Discovery Sites with a flask full of tea and a couple of deck chairs in your boot. Or book an evening at one of Northumberland's observatories - Kielder Observatory offers a range of stargazing sessions and Battlesteads Observatory still has availability for Astronomy for Absolute Beginners events on Valentine’s weekend. 2) Spa day         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by LAURA CRANSTON | BLOGGER | (@girltalkwithlaura) There’s nothing like taking some time to relax together by sinking into a hot tub, unwinding in a sauna and sipping on a glass of bubbly to finish it all off. In Northumberland, Georgian stately homes, opulent estates and Edwardian mansions have been renovated into serene spa hotels, offering indulgent Couples Massages and tranquil spa and fitness centres to while the day away in. Bask in Doxford Hall’s heated pool, Slaley Hall’s bubbling hot tub, or Matfen Hall’s soothing sauna (please note Matfen Hall will be closed for Valentine's Day 2023, re-opening spring 2023) and treat yourselves to an intimate day out. The Table for Twosomes 3) A Romantic meal for two For some, Valentine’s Day calls for a feast complete with an overflowing sharing platter and delectable desserts and Northumberland is the perfect place for a foodie love affair. Battlesteads’ restaurant serves exquisite local dishes using vegetables, herbs and fruits that are grown in their own gardens and polytunnels, mushrooms from their on-site old shipping container-style mushroom farm. Along with a Head chef who smokes his own meats, fish and cheeses on-site, you can savour fresh, local flavours with their five-course or eight-course tasting menu, then follow up your meal with a home-made fruit gin and some stargazing at the hotel’s own observatory.       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Battlesteads Hotel (@battlesteads) on Sep 7, 2019 at 4:52am PDT 4) Sea-Foodie Festival How about a fantastic seafood feast at The Lindisfarne Inn. The Inn’s location makes it perfect to pair with a trip to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, where the spiritual priory and a castle that perches on the edge of the coast are there to be explored and you can sip on Lindisfarne Mead (ALWAYS check causeway crossing times before visiting). The Cosy couples 5) Hide away for the weekend         View this post on Instagram A post shared by Northumbria Cottages (@northumbriacoast) on Feb 1, 2020 at 1:22am PST Sometimes, all you want to do is… well… absolutely nothing. Especially at this time of year when the temperature has dropped and curling up on the sofa with your hands wrapped around a warm mug of frothy hot chocolate is far too tempting. Northumbria Coast and Country Cottages have a selection of self-catering cottages to hide away in your pyjamas and fluffy socks together. Crackling log burners, spectacular sea views and romantically remote locations are common features of their properties, so take your pick, stock the cupboards full and cosy up together for your romantic retreat. 6) Find an open fire       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Lord Crewe Arms Blanchland (@lord_crewe_arms) on May 9, 2019 at 6:10am PDT Already got your accommodation sorted? Find an open fire pub in Northumberland and spend the evening warming your toes with a glass of wine in-hand. The Twice Brewed Inn, The Ship Inn, The Boatside Inn and The Lord Crewe Arms are just a few examples of pubs with wood burning fireplaces that set that romantic, glowing ambiance that will make your heart melt. The Couples that Train Together 7) Mountain Biking While some couples like to cosy up together, others are itching to get out and have completed an early morning adventure together before some of us have even rolled out of bed. If this sounds like you, spend your Valentine’s weekend scaling Kielder Water & Forest Park’s mountain biking trails. Forestry England’s off road routes are waiting to be explored by thrill-seekers, so tackle the Bloody Bush trail, the Lonesome Pine or the Deadwater red and black trails to take in the plummeting, 1900 ft summit of Deadwater Fell together. 8) Watch the sunrise       View this post on Instagram A post shared by (@thenorthernhikers) on Feb 1, 2020 at 1:08am PST Make the most of your ‘morning person’ attributes by packing up a flask and some snacks then heading somewhere beautiful to enjoy a private sunrise breakfast for two. Pull your bobble hat over your ears, step into your walking boots and hike to Hedgehope Hill in the rugged Cheviots in Northumberland National Park, where extensive views across Breamish Valley are paired with the blissful sound of silence. The Pet Parents 9) Family beach day If you can’t go anywhere without your (four-legged) baby in tow, take your dog for a windswept beach walk on one of Northumberland’s many dog friendly beaches. Commit to the coastal path walk from Craster, where Dunstanburgh Castle sits on the coast, to Newton-by-the-Sea. Dunstanburgh Castle can still be seen in the distance from this quaint civil parish, and you can warm up with a coffee or a hearty pub lunch bursting with local flavours at The Joiners Arms. Dogs are more than welcome in their beautifully rustic and cosy restaurant (because three is never a crowd when the third wheel has four legs!).       View this post on Instagram A post shared by The Joiners Arms (@joinersarmsnorthumberland) on Nov 3, 2019 at 10:04am PST 10) Roam along the River Tweed Take your dog on a cultured day out and head to Berwick-upon-Tweed, the cobbled town that teeters on the border of England and Scotland. Explore its quaint alleyways and independent shops before scaling the Elizabethan Town Walls that hold such significance to the town’s haunting history. Viewpoints over the romantic River Tweed and the three bridges that stand proudly over it can be enjoyed en-route as you wander hand-in-hand (and lead in-hand) along the walls and down to the quayside. Then, stop off at The Lookout Café, a dog-friendly, waterside eatery that sits along The River Tweed. If you can bear the cold, it’s worth sipping on your coffee from their outdoor seating area to watch the sun lowering over the river’s sparkling waters.
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08 February 2023

Free things to do in Northumberland

There are so many amazing things to do in Northumberland that don't cost a penny. With incredible forests and coasts, beautiful gardens, the second largest Dark Sky Park in Europe, as well as historical sites and Hadrian’s Wall to discover. There is something around every corner, from family-friendly days out to the perfect routes for cycling enthusiasts. All you need is to know where to look for a fantastic, budget day out in Northumberland. From free attractions to activities that cost less than £10 per person, use our guide for your next budget break. Explore Northumberland's beaches           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Harry & Lydia | UK Travel Creators (@thenomadsyouknow) A Northumberland beach trip is one of the best ways to spend a free day out in Northumberland. Northumberland’s breathtaking coastline is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), so you can expect nothing less than pristine beaches perfect for a family day out, picnic, sunbathe or sea dip (if you’re brave). Quiet bays, the Northumberland Coast Path and incredible castles are all there to admire, from the tranquil beach at Druridge Bay to the coastal walks and imposing castle at Warkworth. Discover Bamburgh's hidden gems         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Duesy Duesbury (@duesy_2022) Beautiful Bamburgh is a firm favourite for Northumberland visitors, but did you know about the fantastic RNLI Grace Darling Museum that is tucked away just one street behind the picturesque high street? Entry is completely free and the museum commemorates the life of Victorian Britain’s greatest heroine, who risked her life to rescue nine survivors from the wrecked SS Forfarshire on 7 September 1838. Inside you can find stories about Grace’s life in the lighthouse and the events that led to her becoming a heroine through her letters, family portraits and the famous coble used in the rescue. If you’re looking for things to do with the kids in Northumberland, make sure to combine a visit to their museum with a trip to Bamburgh Beach, where you can get a spectacular view of Bamburgh Castle. Do the Magic Bottles Adventure in Alnwick           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The Escape Key (@escapekeynewcastle) A day out in Alnwick is a must-do when you visit Northumberland, and can make for a cheap family day out. Take a virtual tour of this cobbled market town with The Escape Key’s Magic Bottles Adventure. Inspired by the cursed bottles that hang in the window of The Dirty Bottles pub in Alnwick and, with a touch of witchcraft and wizardry, you will use your skills to solve clues and win ingredients for the spell to put the curse back in the bottle and save the town. The tasks are varied, from logic problems and numerical challenges to word based and visual puzzles, as well as selfie challenges, and it costs less than £10 per person (based on a group of four). You can admire amazing Alnwick Castle en-route, and pop into Barter Books (free entry) to browse through their secondhand book selection, enjoy the warmth of the roaring fireplace and grab a bite to eat or drink. Discover ancient history           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Visit Northumberland (@visitnorthumberland) Hadrian’s Wall is one of the most spectacular remaining ancient structures in the world, and Northumberland holds the longest stretch of it. The best part is, it is completely free to pull on your hiking boots and explore the length of Hadrian’s Wall, admiring outstanding views of the National Park landscape as you do so. There are a number of car parks available depending on which section of the wall you would like to explore, and if you are travelling car-free you can take the AD122 bus service in the summer which stops at all of the main sites along the wall. There are also attractions, forts and museums you can visit if you would like to learn more about Northumberland’s history that cost £10 per person or less, including Vindolanda, The Roman Army Museum and the iconic Sycamore Gap. Walk all over The Lady of the North           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Peter Greig (@chameleon__360) Northumberlandia, otherwise known as The Lady of the North, is a fantastic, free spot to spend the day in Northumberland. The site is the world's largest human landform sculpture and this landmark feature resembles a woman who is carved out of the landscape, rising around 34m high and 400m in length. This country park is free to access, dogs are welcome (but must be kept on leads) and the site boasts magnificent views across the Northumberland countryside. There is also a Visitor Centre and small café open daily from 10:00 to 17:00. Visitors can enjoy a woodland walk, wildlife interpretation boards, a bird-feeding station and various events throughout the year. Wander around Ford and Etal           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Ford & Etal (@fordandetal) Ford and Etal is an incredibly picturesque, quirky hidden treasure in Northumberland and is completely open to the public. Step back in time and stroll along the quintessentially British, old-fashioned streets, browse the Pre-Raphaelite paintings in Lady Waterford Hall, and explore the grounds of Etal Castle. Then, pick a picturesque spot to enjoy your pre-packed picnic, or enjoy a bite to eat in the Lavender Tea Rooms. Be sure to visit Heatherslaw Corn Mill and browse the gift shop for locally sourced sweet treats and souvenirs, and have a tour of the fascinating corn mill for a small cost. Make sure to check opening times ahead of visiting, as many of Ford and Etal’s attractions close during the winter months. Do some independent stargazing           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Dan Monk (@danmonk91) Northumberland’s Dark Sky Discovery Sites are designated sites that have been awarded special status due to the outstanding quality of their dark skies. Positioned beneath the Northumberland Dark Sky Park, the second largest Dark Sky Park in Europe, they are completely free to access and offer a breathtaking evening of solitary stargazing. All you need to do is wrap up warm, turn off your headlights when you arrive and enjoy the awe-inspiring view of a gold-tier rated dark sky, where you can see thousands of stars, the Milky Way, and the Andromeda Galaxy (2.5 million light years away) with the naked eye. The whole of Northumberland National Park and most of Kielder Water & Forest Park make up our International Dark Sky Park.  Try a waterfall walk           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Polar_brock (@brock_and_betty) Walks and hikes are a great way to spend a free day out in Northumberland’s amazing landscapes, and wandering to a waterfall is a magical experience to enjoy as a family without spending a penny. Linhope Spout, Hareshaw Linn, Harthope Linn and Hindhope Linn are just a few examples of Northumberland’s stunning waterfalls that can be reached on foot, with amazing scenery to admire along the way. With varying levels of difficulty, length and terrain, be sure to do your research prior to your adventure by looking on specific walking route websites, such as Northumberland National Park. Head to Holy Island           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Will Holligan (@will.holligan) The journey across the causeway to Northumberland’s tidal island is an experience in itself. Make sure to check the tide times before you visit to make sure it’s safe to cross, then drive along the incredible causeway and admire the views as you go. You will feel like you are heading into the world’s best-kept secret, and once you arrive on the island you can enjoy breathtaking sea views, a beautiful beach, a spectacular view of Lindisfarne Castle and free samples of Lindisfarne Mead from St Aidan’s Winery. If you do want to visit some of the island’s attractions, explore Lindisfarne Priory for less than £10 per adult and less than £5 per child, or head into Lindisfarne Castle for similar pricing. Now you are set to discover Northumberland and enjoy a budget friendly day out without compromising on experience, enjoyment or adventure, whether you are looking to spend a relaxing day at the coast, have fun with the family, or soak up some history and culture. Author: Jenni Meikle  
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13 January 2023

23 for 2023

We have rounded up 23 things to do in Northumberland in 2023, so you can scroll through some of the best things to do in Northumberland, add them to your bucket list, and book your next trip for a year filled with endless experiences. From christmas celebrations, magic castles, easter fun and coastal walks filled with wildlife spotting, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Northumberland. Make sure you tag us in your Northumberland adventures at @visitnland/ @visitnorthumberland and use the hashtag #endlessexperiences. 1) Do something whisky           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Ad Gefrin (@adgefrin) 2023 will see the exciting opening of Ad Gefrin, a world class Anglo-Saxon Museum and English whisky distillery in Wooler, Northumberland. Opening in Spring 2023, the distillery will celebrate the unique heritage, ancient hospitality, and contemporary crafts, arts and produce of Northumberland. You will be invited to step back in time to the Royal Court of the 7th century Northumbrian kings and queens to experience the ancient spirit of hospitality. Immerse yourself in the same landscape that shaped ancient royal hospitality and today gives us the finest malting barley and the purest Cheviot water with which Ad Gefrin creates its Single Malt Whisky. 2) Wish it could be Christmas every day           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Lilidorei Alnwick (@lilidoreialnwick) 2023 is an exciting year for Northumberland, as it will also see the opening of Lilidorei, a new magical Christmas village at The Alnwick Garden containing the world's biggest play structure. The fantasy village development, which which will have a Christmassy feel all-year-round, set in a forest clearing where you can find wooden homes of magical creatures like elves and goblins, who are preparing for Christmas throughout the year. With zip wires, slides and climbing walls connecting each area, the idea for the park was dreamt up by the Duchess of Northumberland and will make for the perfect family day out in Northumberland. 3) Find ospreys and eat canapes           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Wild Intrigue (@wildintrigue) Hiding amongst the vast forest and tranquil waters of Kielder lies one of northern England’s most outstanding conservation success stories; the return of the Osprey. Should the ospreys return to Kielder this year, Wild Intrigue will run a uniquely tailored cruise for the second year running, where you will get the truly special opportunity to watch the Kielder Ospreys as they soar overhead and fish the tranquil water. Your Wild Intrigue guide will share the history and inspiring story of the Osprey while giving you the best chance to see them for yourselves. All the while, Canapés and prosecco will be served on board this 2.5 hour sunset cruise on Kielder Water. 4) Go on a safari           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Patrick Norris (@patrick.norris.581) Go on an adventure with the special Ingram Valley Farm Safari, a Northumberland experience launched in 2021. Starting at Ingram Bridge car park, the fantastic Patrick from Footsteps in Northumberland and a member of the Wilson family will take you on a journey through time, discovering what has shaped this beautiful valley for over a millennia and beyond. Immerse yourself in 6,000 years of farming history as we take you chapter by chapter through myth, legend, nature and the history of England’s largest scheduled ancient monument at Ingram Valley Farm. Half way through, you will pause for a picnic provided by Ingram Cafe, complete with fresh, local ingredients.  5) Find out where the magic happens           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Hallow & Crux (@hallowandcrux) If you’re a Harry Potter fan, then Alnwick is the place for you. Visit the cobbled market town of Alnwick and discover the magic at Alnwick Castle, known for its starring debut as Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, for a Harry Potter-themed tour or a broomstick lesson. Try Escape Key's outdoor adventure 'The Magic Bottles', which uses a Harry Potter-inspired spot to send you in search of clues, tasks and puzzles to solve as a team and (hopefully!) win the game. Then, sleep like a wizard in Alnwick’s exciting and newly renovated hotel Hallow and Crux, which holds four individually designed rooms with a whimsical, witchy twist. Pick from The Common Room, The Dumbledorm, The Marauders and The Chamber and experience the magic for yourself.   6) Car Gaze       View this post on Instagram A post shared by @elishascott_photography on Oct 9, 2018 at 9:26am PDT There are few places in the UK where you can pull over, turn off your headlights, allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness and admire the dazzling sight of Gold Tier Status Dark Skies. In Northumberland, 572 square miles of Gold Tier Dark Skies await your arrival, so fill your boot with a deck chair, flask and binoculars and venture to one of the county’s Dark Sky Discovery Sites. If the conditions are right and the sky is clear, you can gaze at dazzling stars and admire Orion or The Milky Way with the naked eye. 7) DO n’t go chasing waterfalls         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by imogen banks (@imogenbanks) Wander into the wilds of Northumberland and you just might find an unexpected opening where a whimsical waterfall tumbles into a bottomless plunge pot. Roughting Linn and Hareshaw Linn all wait at the end of hidden trails and off-the-beaten-track routes, making perfect picnic spots and even somewhere to dip your toes after a long walk. 8) Much Ado about Puffins       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Ian Henderson (@ianhendersonimages) on Dec 10, 2019 at 2:53pm PST Head to Seahouses between March – October and book a Farne Islands boat trip with Billy Shiel Farne Island Tours or Serenity Farne Island Tours. Adorably clumsy puffins and lolloping seals reside at The Farne Islands, where birds rule the roost and humans are in the minority, and seals are regularly spotted lazing on the rocks.  9) Wake up on the bright side of the bed       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Stablewood Coastal Cottages (@stablewood_coastal_cottages) on Sep 10, 2019 at 1:14pm PDT Watch the sky become emblazoned with oranges, pinks and reds over Northumberland’s staggering coastline and capture it on camera if you can. Northumberland’s sunrises are well worth the early wake up, so just remember that when your alarm disturbs your slumber. While the experience is spectacular year round, people fall for the horizon most in autumn as the colours are simply magical. 10) Whatever floats your goat       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Explore Northumberland (@explorenorthumberland) on Apr 9, 2019 at 1:43pm PDT Go wild cheviot goat spotting and enjoy an al fresco dinner with Wild Intrigue’s Goats and Gourmet activity. Cheviot Goats are members of one of the oldest herds of wild animals in Britain, and are a rare find roaming in the Cheviots. The trip is followed by an al fresco gourmet meal prepared by local chef Chris from Fells Kitchen while you take in the breath taking College Valley views. If you like the sound of this, you’ve goat to try their other activities too, such as Bats and Pizza, Moths and Muffins and more. 11) Find your Porpoise       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Pot A Doodle Do (@pot_a_doodle_do) on Jun 21, 2019 at 11:37pm PDT The romantic River Tweed is a sight to behold, as Berwick’s three iconic bridges stand proudly over its shimmering water. Hop on board The Border Rose with Berwick Boat Trips and sail out to sea in search of the dolphins that are regularly sighted at the mouth of the river. David and crew will open your eyes to Berwick’s tumultuous history while you keep them peeled for the water’s wildlife. 12) See the Rolling Stones       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Matt Wood (@matt.jwood) on Jan 1, 2020 at 11:19am PST Northumberland boasts the longest stretch of Hadrian’s Wall, the fascinating Roman remains that delve and dive across the rolling Northumberland National Park landscape. Step into your hiking boots and explore one of the National Park routes where iconic sites such as Sycamore Gap, Roman Forts and ancient temples can all be discovered and the wall is with you every step of the way. Want to walk the length of the wall without being weighed down by your luggage? Let Hadrian's Wall Baggage Transfer do the heavy lifting for you.  13) Hang out in Kielder Water & Forest Park       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Discover Northumberland (@discovernland) on Aug 18, 2019 at 12:38pm PDT This one is a beginner adrenaline-junkie’s dream; Calvert Kielder’s ZipCoaster has you soaring through the air in roller-coaster-esque ups, downs, twists and turns. Securely strapped into a harness, the thrilling ride gives you a free-flying sensation and, like all of Calvert Kielder’s activities, is completely accessible, so users with a disability can enjoy the ride. 14) Get to know a telescope       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Kielder Observatory (@kielderobservatory) on May 7, 2019 at 11:39am PDT As well as doing some independent stargazing, you might want a bit of guidance when you’re gazing into the galaxy. Northumberland’s observatories are here to help, offering everything from beginners’ workshops to experienced astronomy events. Kielder Observatory, which sits directly below the International Dark Sky Park, and Battlesteads, the award-winning, sustainable hotel that has its own observatory, are two excellent examples. 15) Be OAR-some         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Landal Kielder Waterside (@landalkielderwaterside) Paddle past Warkworth Castle or into the estuary (depending on tide levels) with a two hour canoe tour along the River Coquet, or kayak over to Coquet Island and drift past puffins on an incredible wildlife excursion with Adventure Northumberland. Stand-up paddle board beside a castle on our coastline, or on breath-taking Kielder reservoir, and kayak over its calm waters.  16)  Walk a mile in someone else's shoes         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Cherry Cottage (@crastercottage) Let Footsteps in Northumberland lead the way along The Pilgrim's Way and follow in the footsteps of 6th century saints across the causeway to Lindisfarne Island. From April to September, hundreds of grey seals gather on the sandbanks, and from October to March thousands of migrating birds fill the bay and make this trip a wildlife lover's paradise. *Always check safe crossing times for Lindisfarne Island ahead of visiting. 17) Have your pick of the bunch         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Discover Northumberland (@discovernland) Pick your food straight from the forest and onto the plate with a Northern Wilds Wild Food Forage Feast course. Their emphasis on gut health, wellbeing and the benefits of eating fresh, natural produce will make you come away wanting to escape to the wilderness and live on wild mushrooms and berries. On their full day tour, they prepare the day’s harvest in a wild food wagon and turn it into a delicious feast so you can taste your picks there and then. 18) Give yourself a push         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by @eco_cabs Get on yer’ bike and freewheel through forests, countryside and coast in Northumberland. We have gentle, circular routes for families, off-road adventures for the experienced cyclists, and scenic routes perfect for sight-seeing by bike. Hire everything while you're here with our fantastic bike hire services like Pedal Power, or book a guided cycling trip to Northumberland with Saddle Skedaddle who offer itineraries along our fantastic coastline, on the Sandstone Way and more. 19) Branch out         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Hesleyside Huts 🌿 (@hesleysidehuts) Feel the magic of sleeping in the treetops in one of Northumberland's awe-inspiring self-catering tree houses. Both Hesleyside Huts and Woodland Chase offer fairytale stays in a mystical woodland setting where you are quite literally immersed in nature, nestled away in the trees.  20) Fifty shades of Earl Grey       View this post on Instagram A post shared by @theteatraveller on Nov 3, 2019 at 11:39am PST Howick Hall was the home of Charles Grey who, in the 1830s, received a tea blend from a Chinese mandarin as a gift. The tea had been specially blended with bergamot to suit the water from the spring at Howick Hall and, after Lady Grey served it to numerous guests, it became so popular that British tea merchants requested permission to replicate it. Today, it is known as Earl Grey, and it is pretty much essential to stop at Howick Hall Tea Room for a pot of the refreshing beverage in what was once the ballroom of the Grey family’s residence. 21) Discover your roots       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Sophie Pearce Travel Blogger (@thirdeyetraveller) on Jun 14, 2019 at 10:00am PDT Get outside and experience the healing powers of nature in Northumberland. Visit the cobbled market town of Alnwick in spring and spend a magical day amongst The Alnwick Garden’s cherry blossoms and Alnwick Castle’s grounds. The Alnwick Garden has a short window between the end of April and the beginning of May where their collection of Taihaku cherry blossoms (the largest in the world) blooms. Relax on one of the swinging benches amongst the fluttering blossom trees before heading to Alnwick Castle, whose surroundings become flooded with daffodils in the springtime. Warkworth Castle also shines brightly in spring due to its host of surrounding daffodils, or visit Cragside at the end of May/ beginning of June to see the staggering rhododendrons that are dotted around the grounds. 22) Love is ale you need       View this post on Instagram A post shared by scotland247 (@scotland247) on Jun 22, 2019 at 8:08am PDT Tucked away in the heart of Ford & Etal Estate sits the only thatched pub in Northumberland, The Black Bull Inn. Managed by the brand new Cheviot Brewery who brew real ale just up the road, you can taste local tipples and enjoy a pint or two in the cosy, stone interior and by a warming open fire. While you're visiting Ford and Etal Estates, you can't miss fascinating historical attractions Etal Castle, Lady Waterford Hall and Heatherslaw Corn Mill. 23) Watch a film that ends in ruins       View this post on Instagram   Staggering, iconic and magnificent no matter when you visit, Bamburgh Castle dominates Northumberland’s coastline as you approach the village of Bamburgh. Stay in the castle grounds after sunset for one of its magical and spell-binding outdoor cinema viewings, where towering turrets are the back-drop and crashing waves are the soundtrack. Author: Jenni Meikle
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30 November 2022

Cosy cottages in Northumberland

Find the perfect Northumberland cottage for your winter getaway with our round up of some of the best cottages in Northumberland for a winter break. We've picked a selection of countryside hideaways and seafront stays, all with the cosy characteristics that we crave in the winter months, such as open fires, soft robes, private hot tubs and sky lights for looking up at the stars. Breamish Valley Cottages           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Luxury Holiday Cottages (@breamishvalley) Breamish Valley Cottages are nestled at the foot of the Cheviot Hills and are the definition of cosy winter hideaway. With log burners and an on-site spa with heated swimming pool, sauna and steam room, there’s no better place to warm up after a winter day out traversing the Cheviot Hills, discovering the local history and admiring the surrounding scenery. There is also an on-site restaurant, The Bosk, where you can enjoy delicious meals with amazing views through the floor to ceiling windows. Till Fishing           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Till Fishing (@tillfishing) Till Fishing is a paradise for anyone looking to reconnect with nature this winter. Sitting on a private stretch of the unspoilt River Till, you will wake up to the peaceful sound of silence, other than the gentle background noise of trickling water and chirping birds. Nearby woodland walks and ancient landscapes can be enjoyed during your stay, as well as larger attractions that are a short drive or train journey away from this base near Berwick. On-site bread making workshops with Pauline Beaumont, author of Bread Therapy, are a must when you stay here. Beach and Quiet - Hemmel House           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Jane Riley (@beachnquiet) Beach and Quiet’s coastal Craster cottages are winter havens. Their elegant cottage, Hemmel House, is conveniently located for a winter wander along the beach, followed by a local pub stop for some warming home-cooked food, before returning to warm your toes in the glow of the property’s crackling log burner. The ground floor offers spectacular, uninterrupted rural views with the sea and Dunstanburgh Castle on the horizon while you stay warm and snug inside and you can end your evening by stargazing beneath Northumberland’s incredible dark skies using the cottage’s telescope. Village Farm Cottages           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Village Farm Cottages (@villagefarmcottages) Village Farm Cottages have a number of properties located midway between some of Northumberland’ must-visit market towns and villages, Alnwick, Alnmouth and Warkworth. From log burners to rustic wooden beams, and private hot tubs to on-site leisure facilities, there are so many qualities that make Village Farm Cottages an excellent choice for a winter break. Wrap up warm and admire the staggering nearby Northumberland coastline and AONB, and head out on an adventure to enjoy some of Northumberland’s best attractions that are only a short drive away. Burradon Farm House and Cottages           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Burradon Farm Houses&Cottages (@burradon) Burradon Farm Houses and Cottages has a range of snug, country cottages that range from accommodating two to eight guests. Located on a working farm close to Northumberland’s magnificent beaches and with fantastic walking routes on the doorstep, the cottages boast beautiful views, wood-burning stoves to snuggle up in front of in the cold winter evenings, are all dog friendly (a small charge applies) and offer a tranquil home from home with super-comfy beds and cosy living spaces. Burradon Farm is located a short drive from some amazing country pubs and restaurants and you can enjoy anything from wining and dining to walking and cycling. Ingram Valley Star Barn           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by IngramValleyGB (@ingramvalleygb) Ingram Valley’s Star Barn is offers the ultimate antidote to the busy stresses of life, as its rural location and position under Northumberland’s Dark Sky Park allow you to immerse yourself in Northumberland’s nature. Arrive to an overflowing welcome hamper holding gift vouchers for nearby Ingram Cafe and Gift Shop and make use of the barn’s wetsuits and Dry Robes if you are brave enough to take a winter sea dip! Step into your hiking boots and enjoy nearby Northumberland National Park’s nature trails, misty valleys and magnificent Hadrian’s Wall, then come home to warm up and gaze at the stars. Wydon Farm B&B           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Wydon Farm B&B (@linda_wydon_farm) Have the best of both worlds at Wydon Farm B&B in one of their refurbished self-catering rooms. Their snug, ground floor rooms now come fitted with a microwave, fridge, tea and coffee making facilities and a toaster and you will arrive to a stocked fridge full of breakfast essentials. Based just a 20 minute walk from Haltwhistle, which is accessible by train should you prefer a car-free break, meaning homely pubs and some excellent restaurants are just a starry evening’s walk away from your accommodation. Plus, this excellent location means that staggering National Park landscapes and Hadrian’s Wall are nearby too. The Coachhouse at Crookham,       Ford and Etal           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The Coach House (@thecoachhousecrookham) The Coach House in Crookham has five newly renovated studios situated within a 17th century coach house, the oldest unfortified building in North Northumberland. Each snug studio sleeps two and welcomes four-legged friends, and you can expect to arrive to wine, chocolates, flowers and dog treats to welcome you to your new home for the week or weekend. Some studios have breathtaking views of the Cheviot Hills and all are in a spectacular position for stargazing and boast two acres of fields that guests can use, home to sheep and hens and you can even have fresh free-range eggs for breakfast every day. They are also located near the Battle of Flodden site, the pretty, must-visit villages of Ford & Etal and are an easy drive to the coast at Berwick. Falstone Barns           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Falstone Barns (@falstonebarns) Falstone Barns are luxurious, self-catering barn suites based near spectacular Kielder Water and Forest Park in Northumberland. This beautifully renovated set of farm buildings offers accommodation sleeping from 2 to 6 people and each barn has its own decor style, from opulent to romantic. The barns sit on the Falstone Farm Estate, a 32-acre farm which boasts an ideal central location for Kielder, Hadrian’s Wall, Hexham, the Scottish Borders and the Northumberland Coast. It also has the benefit of being positioned beneath Northumberland’s dazzling Dark Sky Park, so bring your binoculars or book an experience at nearby Kielder Observatory. Don’t forget to make the most of nearby pubs and cafes the Blackcock Inn, Pheasant Inn and the Falstone Tea Room if you fancy a break from cooking. Seahouses Holiday Homes           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Kelvinside (@seahousesholidayhomes) Seahouses Holiday Homes are two beautiful character homes in the bustling coastal village of Seahouses. Both homes are within an easy five minute walk from Seahouses centre and boast secure gardens ideal for young families and dog parents! With terraces perfect for wrapping up warm and gazing at the stars, a garage to secure bikes, hiking boots, wetsuits or anything else you might need for your winter adventure, and easy access to nearby attractions such as The Farne Islands, Bamburgh Castle and the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, you are guaranteed an unforgettable winter break here.  Original Cottages           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Original Cottages (@originalcottages) Original Cottages is a cottage agency that offers a range of beautiful cottages across the country, including some excellent winter retreats in Northumberland.  Have a look at Cuckoo Cottage near Wooler, based in outstanding Northumberland National Park beneath Northumberland’s Dark Sky Park and offering outstanding panoramic views over a frosty 1,800 acre working farm. Enjoy the warmth of the crackling log burner after a long, misty walk in the surrounding landscape and spend a cosy evening enjoying the provided books and games. Or how about Dingley Dell, in Lowick, also with a log burner as well as a whirlpool bath perfect for warming up after a chilly day out, with provided robes to add an extra touch of luxury. Plus, this cottage is within walking distance of two fantastic pubs if you’d like a break from cooking or fancy a freshly pulled pint. Whittle Dene House           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Chris🤘🏼Cash 🐺 (@northernnavigator) Whittle Dene House is a stunning property on the banks of a reservoir that couldn’t be more perfect for a winter stay. Wake up to frosty, waterside views, stargaze from the private hot tub and dine by an open fire set in an inglenook fireplace in the dining room, perfect for cosy game nights around the table. Built in Tudor style with a two storey octagonal tower, and grand features throughout, the property is luxurious and full of character, and is the ideal place to stay for families, friends and special occasions. Plus, enjoy extra touches such as a Nespresso coffee machine for your early morning coffee and a wonderful roll-top bath that sits perfectly in the window to take in the extensive views and Northumberkand’s dark skies. Set in the countryside, there are extensive nearby walks, including sections of Hadrian’s Wall, nature reserves, Vindolanda Roman fort, The Sill Landscape Discovery Centre and more. Simply Coastal           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Mark Green (@simplycoastal_holidaycottages) Simply Coastal’s Craster Rocks and Craster Waves are two stunning, seafront cottages located on National Trust land on the coastal path to Dunstanburgh Castle. Their location couldn’t be more perfect, based in the irresistibly picturesque fishing village of Craster, where you can pick up some famous Craster Kippers after just a short walk, as well as reach the fantastic pubs and cafes that Craster has to offer. You are just a short walk away from amazing Dunstanburgh Castle, which teeters over the coastline, and if you venture just a little further you can visit stunning Embleton Bay. Watch the sun rising over the wild North Sea as the local fishermen check their lobster pots, snuggle up beside a log burner and enjoy the provided books, board games and pizza oven, and store your cycling gear in the cottages’ bike shed as the Northumberland Coast Path is quite literally on your doorstep. Budle Bay Croft           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Louise (@louise_bespoke_newcastle) Budle Bay Croft provides luxury 5* Northumberland holiday cottages with a simply enviable location, situated on Budle Bay, close to beaches and castles on the stunning Northumberland coastline. With the Cheviot Hills to the west, and nestled into the Lindisfarne Nature Reserve, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Special Scientific Interest, Budle Bay Croft offers a host of winter days out, as well as a beautifully furnished, dog friendly cottage to curl up in at the end of the day. Glowing log burners perfect for relaxed evenings, private enclosed gardens great for gazing at the stars, and provided games, books and toys to entertain the whole family are just a few of the special touches here. Little Hideaways           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Little Hideaways (@ourlittlehideaways) Little Hideaways offers five stunning, Seahouses-based cottages all with log burners, charming decor and excellent locations on Northumberland’s coastline. Hidden in a cobbled courtyard of traditional fisherman’s cottages,  they all sit within easy reach of unspoilt beaches, ancient castles and access to amazing wildlife. Their location in the traditional fishing village of Seahouses means that a range of amenities are just a short walk away, as is Seahouses harbour where you can set off for a fantastic boat trip to The Farne Islands. Just four miles away lies outstanding Bamburgh Castle, which you can actually see in the distance when you are in Seahouses, as well as Lindisfarne Castle. Cherry Tree & Almond Apartments           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Cherrytree & Almond Apartments (@ctabeadnell) Beadnell-based Cherry Tree & Almond Apartments are ideally located in a beautiful coastal village, popular with surfers and anyone looking for a coastal break, as Beadnell Bay is one of the most beautiful sections of Northumberland’s coastline. The cottages are dog friendly and all offer the opportunity for some spectacular winter walks, with ancient castles as your backdrop  and the Northumberland Coast Path on your doorstep. Whether you want to escape for a quiet winter weekend walking on the beach, or fill your time with sightseeing and outdoor pursuits, this is the perfect base for any type of trip. Head into Beadnell for a selection of popular cafes, pubs and restaurants, such as Beadnell Towers and the Saltwater Cafe, or simply stay snug in the comfort of your cottage and make use of your self-catering facilities. Coast and Country Northumberland           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Coast & Country Northumberland (@coastandcountrynorthumberland) Coast and Country Northumberland offers a selection of five coastal properties, all sitting in and around one of Northumberland’s most beautiful fishing villages, Craster. You can hunker down for a relaxing, romantic break in one of their immaculate and luxurious cottages, enjoying the local cafes, short walks to the seafront and harbour, and a warming glass of red wine at The Jolly Fisherman pub. Or, head out on an adventure and cycle the Northumberland Coast Path, discover the local history at one of the many coastal castles here in Northumberland and admire the local wildlife. No matter how you spend your trip, you can end each day at your cottage with uninterrupted seaviews, an open fire, large private grounds and more depending on which cottage you pick. Host and Stay           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Host & Stay (@hostandstayuk) Host and Stay is a cottage agency offering a number of cottages across the whole of Northumberland. Take your pick from cosy log burner cottages, seafront stays and market town getaways as they have so many to choose from including some of the cottages already mentioned above. If you need a hand filtering your search by location, have a look at our towns and villages page to see which is the right fit for your stayy. Now that you are fuelled with ideas for the perfect place to stay in Northumberland in winter, get booking your cosy winter cottage break in Northumberland. Author: Jenni Meikle  
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08 November 2022

Winter walks in Northumberland

Come rain or shine, you can rely on Northumberland to provide a stunning winter walk. Find the perfect Boxing Day walk in Northumberland with a pint waiting for you at the end, or a frosty New Year’s Day walk in Northumberland to blow away the cobwebs with our list of some of the best winter walks in Northumberland. Hareshaw Linn ‘The one with the waterfall’           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Debora Kraczkowska (@deborakraczkowska) Nestled above the fork where the River Rede meets the North Tyne, the rural village of Bellingham is the starting point for a walk to one of the most magical places in Northumberland: Hareshaw Linn.  The first part of the walk takes in several key areas of Bellingham’s industrial past. Much of the landscape itself was shaped by the 19th century ironworks, mine and quarry. Keep an eye out for the bubbling spring which appeared when miners were drilling for coal.  Further along the route, you leave industry behind once you walk through the kissing gate and into the ‘Linn’. The dark and damp conditions of this ancient woodland of oak, hazel, elm and ash lend an ethereal atmosphere. Could pixies be watching you as you walk? We couldn’t possibly say, but we do know the conditions create the perfect environment for some rare flora and fauna.  To warm up, head to nearby Battlesteads for some good grub and a chance to relax in front of a roaring fire. Things to note: The route is considered moderate difficulty and the uneven terrain means it is not accessible for all. It is suitable for older children and teens and it is dog-friendly, as long as dogs are kept on a leash. Steel Rigg ‘The one that feels like a film set’           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Mchardy24 (@mchardy244701) In terms of breathtaking scenery, you’re spoiled for choice in Northumberland, but Steel Rigg in Northumberland National Park is one of the most iconic spots. This natural phenomenon is part of a line of rock known as the Whin Sill running like a spine down Northumberland. The ever-resourceful Romans used it to their advantage, incorporating the cliff into their defenses by running Hadrian’s Wall directly over the top of it.  This circular route runs from Steel Rigg car park, following the Wall to Housesteads Roman Fort before circling back around Crag Lough through farmland at the base of the crag to Steel Rigg car park. It is an exposed part of the county, so in winter be sure to layer up with thermals and waterproofs. Don’t forget to charge your phone to take an obligatory photo of Sycamore Gap. Once you get back to the car park, you might be in need of a warm up or dry off, so head down the hill to the Twice Brewed Inn for some hearty food and a glass of ale from their microbrewery. Things to note: The route is considered moderate difficulty and the uneven terrain means it is not accessible for all. It is suitable for older children and teens and it is dog-friendly. Amble to Warkworth  ‘The one for when you’re short on time’           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Elizabeth L (@lizlang123) Walking in Northumberland doesn’t have to mean waterproofs and hiking boots. There are plenty of shorter walks scattered around Northumberland with just as much to see as the more challenging paths. If you’re in need of a quick route to stretch your legs or your mobility limits how long you can be up and about, how about a stroll from Amble to Warkworth?  You can start this pretty little stretch at Amble Harbour Village, heading north out of the town. Most of the route does run along Beal Bank (A1068) which can be busy, but the path is set back from the road by a wide grass verge and you’ll be too busy admiring the Coquet Estuary on your right to notice. Once you’ve explored Warkworth and indulged in some retail therapy at the independent shops, you can either walk back or hop on the X18 bus. On your return to Amble, you can catch your breath as you quench your thirst at The Amble Inn.  If you like what you see and you’re in the mood for a longer walk, this route is part of the 62-mile Northumberland Coast Path which runs from Cresswell to Berwick-upon-Tweed. Taking in Northumberland’s sandy beaches, rocky outcrops and pretty coastal villages, there’s something new to see with every step. Be sure to order a Northumberland Coast Path Passport to log your journey by collecting stamps from local businesses known as ‘Welcome Ports’.  Things to note: Aside from a slight incline as you enter Warkworth village, this route is flat and of even terrain so it is suitable for both pushchairs and wheelchairs. It is also dog friendly, you’ll find plenty of locals walking their dogs along the route. Heatherslaw to Etal  ‘The one where you step back in time’           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Ford & Etal (@fordandetal) There aren’t many places in Northumberland like the Ford and Etal Estates. It’s a place where history lives and breathes. In season, you can ride a steam train, stroke a heavy horse and see the inner workings of the last remaining watermill in Northumberland. But the sleepy rural charm also belies a darker past. Just a stone's throw from the Scottish Borders, the landscape once saw centuries of Anglo-Scots conflict such as the Battle of Flodden. One way to enjoy the quiet beauty of this rural spot is by walking the path between Heatherslaw and Etal Village. The usually bustling Ford and Etal Estates are a little quieter this time of year as attractions such as Heatherslaw Mill and Etal Castle are closed for the winter. However, you’ll still find a warm welcome in Etal at the Lavender Tearooms and The Black Bull, Northumberland’s only thatched pub. The route begins at Heatherslaw Light Railway car park and ends at a peaceful spot in Etal on the banks of the River Till. On the way, the route takes you past Tillside Cricket Club pitch - one of the prettiest in Northumberland - and the impressive ruins of Etal Castle. To return to Heatherslaw? Simply retrace your steps. Things to note: This walk is considered an easy linear route. The terrain is flat and on a designated path so it is accessible for all including wheelchair users and families with young children and pushchairs. Dogs are also welcome.  Wallington ‘The one to put you in the Christmas spirit’           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by National Trust Wallington (@wallington_nt) To really ramp up the festive spirit this year, be sure to visit Wallington Hall to see it in all its Christmas glory. There’s something for the whole family to enjoy with crafts in the Servants’ Parlour, carols in the Central Hall and storytime with Mrs Christmas.  You can work off the prosecco and mince pies with a walk in the grounds. There are miles of footpaths and trails in the grounds of Wallington House and Gardens, but one of our favourites is the route along the banks of the River Wansbeck. Beginning in the Courtyard, the route follows both natural and surfaced footpaths so it’s the perfect stroll whatever the season. Keep your eyes peeled for two big oak trees near the Garden Pond - they’re the oldest on the estate - and take care over the stepping stones.  If you’ve got the time, take a short car journey to Kirkharle Courtyard. Once the birthplace and childhood home of Capability Brown, this 18th century courtyard is now a hub for artists and independent shops. Feeling peckish? Make a pit-stop at the Kirkharle Coffee House.  Things to note: This walk is considered an easy route and accessible for all thanks to a couple of well-signposted deviations in the route to avoid the stepping stones. Dogs are also welcome on a lead.  Featherstone Castle to Lambley Viaduct  ‘The one for history buffs’           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Your_NorthEastUK (@your_northeastuk) For those in the know, the South Tyne area of Northumberland is a true rural idyll. Once home to a thriving lead mining industry, today the area features some of the most unspoilt landscapes in the UK. It is home to a section of the North Pennines AONB which is the UK’s first UNESCO European and Global Geopark. You can take your pick of walking routes, each with their own unique insight into the area.  History lovers can’t go wrong with this trail beginning at Featherstone Castle. Once home to generations of the Featherstonehaugh family as far back as the Norman conquest, part of the present-day castle consists of a 14th century pele tower built to defend the family from Scottish Border Reivers.  Further along the walk you pass through a WW2 prisoner of war camp used to house thousands of German officers until 1948. The concrete Nissen huts and guard house are a sharp contrast to the lush green countryside and a sobering reminder of recent history, but these days it is a haven for wildlife such as buzzards. If you came prepared, Bellister Estate Orchard is a great place to take a detour for a lunch break whilst you take in some glorious views of the North Pennines and South Tyne valley.  Things to note: This is a moderate walk of 6.4 miles. Due to the terrain of this route, the walk is not considered accessible for all.  Simonside Hills  ‘The one for all the family’            View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Cooper & Sunny. (@theramblingspaniels) With a plethora of routes to choose from, the Simonside Hills near Rothbury is a staple for walkers. You’ll find trails to suit all abilities, but if you’re looking for something for the whole family, the Simonside Family Walk is for you.  This easy to follow circular trail through the forest gives you plenty to see along the way, including spectacular views of the Coquet Valley and the Cheviot Hills as the route nears the edge of the forest. It’s easy to see why it is so beloved by Northumberland walkers, but it can be slippery in the winter months so you need to take care.  On the route, a short detour to Little Church Rock is sure to be a winner with younger members of the family. Cup marks in the stone are thought to be man-made and over 4,000 years old - the perfect inspiration for some mythical storytelling.  Once you’re back in the car, journey north towards the picturesque town of Rothbury. Take a walk along its bustling high street of independent shops, pop into Coquetdale Art Gallery above the library then head to the Newcastle House Hotel for some delicious pub grub.  Things to note: This walk is considered an easy route and accessible for all. Dogs are also welcome on a lead.  Cragside ‘The one that looks good in all seasons’           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by NT Cragside (@ntcragside) Cragside House, Gardens and Estate is a feast for the eyes, whatever the season. Lush green in spring, a riot of colour in summer, russet shades in autumn, every season has its moment. In winter, the stark grandeur and scale of the coniferous forest comes to the fore. Much is known of Cragside’s original owner, renowned Victorian inventor Lord William Armstrong, but did you know it was his wife who designed much of Cragside’s landscape? Fuelled by a love of geology, botany and horticulture, Lady Margaret Armstrong created a series of outdoor ‘rooms’ including the Pinetum and the Formal Garden. Soak up Cragside’s winter wonderland beauty with a walk around Tumbleton Lake on the Armstrong Trail before enjoying a light bite or sweet treat in The Still Room.  Things to note: The section of walk outlined above is considered to be accessible for all including wheelchair users and families with young children and pushchairs, though there are some steep inclines. Dogs are welcome on a lead. Author: Bethany Gallacher
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