It’s been a long, long year, but hope is finally on the horizon. Places are opening up, things are certainly looking up, and after a year of staring at the same four walls, it’s about time you went on an adventure.

We're already a few months into the year, but it definitely feels like time for a fresh start, so we have rounded up 21 things to do in Northumberland in 2021. Scroll through our ideas, add them to your bucket list, and book your trip for a year filled with endless experiences.

Make sure you tag us in your Northumberland adventures at @visitnland/ @visitnorthumberland and use the hashtag #endlessexperiences.

1) Car Gaze

 
 
 
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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.

2) DO n’t go chasing waterfalls

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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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.

3) Al-paca your walking boots

 
 
 
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Quirky, cheeky and charming alpacas are the perfect companions for a walk in Northumberland. Hemscott Hill Farm and Ferny Rigg Alpacas offer fluffy field walks as you (literally) take the lead and trek through stunning landscapes with an alpaca by your side. Just try NOT coming away from the experience with a smile on your face.

4) Much Ado about Puffins

 
 
 
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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. 

5) Wake up on the bright side of the bed

 
 
 
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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.

6) Whatever floats your goat

 
 
 
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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.

7) Find your Porpoise

 
 
 
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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.

8) See the Rolling Stones

 
 
 
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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. 

9) Hang out in Kielder Water & Forest Park

 
 
 
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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.

10) Get to know a telescope

 
 
 
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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.

11) Nama-stay in a hot tub lodge

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Treat yourself, you deserve it! Soak off a tough year in a hot tub haven in one of Northumberland’s lodges and cottages. Unwind in Village Farm’s health club, bask in the bubbles of your private hot tub at Kielder Waterside lodges, or stay in The Little Owl Cottage at Border Forest and sink into your own jacuzzi.

12) Be OAR-some

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. 

13)  Walk a mile in someone else's shoes

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.

14) Have your pick of the bunch

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.

15) Give yourself a push

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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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, if you've got all the gear but no idea how to transport it, Ecocabs cycle transport will do just the trick.

16) Branch out

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. 

17) Fifty shades of Earl Grey

 
 
 
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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.

18) Blossoms and broomsticks

 
 
 
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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, 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.

19) Love is ale you need

 
 
 
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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.

20) Watch a film that ends in ruins

 
 
 
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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.

21) Spread the love

Show our locals some love and shop local when you visit Northumberland. This one doesn’t need much encouragement, as you won’t be able to resist our independent shops and eateries. You’ll be lured in by the flower front doorways of our shops, delicious smells from our butchers and bakeries, and the charm of our cobbled high streets. Pick up souvenirs and peruse artwork at our galleries, such as Dockside Gallery located in beautiful Berwick. 

Please visit Northumberland in line with government guidance, and respect and protect our pristine county. Plan ahead and check individual attractions' websites for any pre-booking requirements. Take your litter home and only park in allocated spaces, give others plenty of space and help keep Northumberland unspoilt. 

Author: Jenni Meikle