Winter scene at Alnwick Castle

Beat the blues with a winter weekend in Northumberland

A winter weekend guide
After what feels like months of cold mornings and dark nights, it can be hard to maintain the festive spirit come December. But the chilly weather needn't mean doom and gloom, and a winter weekend break could be just what you need to boost your holiday spirit this season.

Are you in need of some winter weekend inspiration?

After what feels like months of cold mornings and dark nights, it can be hard to maintain the festive spirit come December. But the chilly weather needn't mean doom and gloom, and a winter weekend break could be just what you need to boost your holiday spirit this season.

If you’re looking to treat yourself this Yuletide and New Year, a winter weekend escape to Northumberland could be the perfect remedy for a case of the winter blues.

Whether you’re local to the region or travelling from further afield, Northumberland’s ever-changing scenic landscape always has something new to offer - with winter changing the face of this coastal county’s backdrop.

In winter, Northumberland’s dramatic landscape and bustling market towns take on a whole new look. From a crisp coastal walk to the hustle and bustle of our Christmas markets, Northumberland is the perfect place for a wonderful winter weekend.

Read on for our suggestions...

Friday evening

Festive family fun at WallingtonOne of Northumberland's most beloved country house attractions, Wallington House, Gardens & Estate is the perfect place to start your Northumberland mini-break.

Before night falls, take in the informal landscape of lawns, lakes, and woodland surrounding the house.

Don’t miss the hidden walled garden, nestled in the woods. It was beloved by Lady Mary Trevelyan and remains a beautiful haven whatever the season. Warm up in the colourful conservatory.

Every Friday evening throughout December, you can visit the house after dark to see it beautifully decorated and illuminated by thousands of fairy-lights.


Treehouse restaurant at The Alnwick Garden in winterYou'll easily while away your Saturday in the historic market town of Alnwick.

Hit the town centre early to stock up on local produce at the weekly market - great for a cosy fireside feast later!

Alnwick Castle is a jewel in the town's crown, home of the Duke of Northumberland and Percy family for over 700 years. The castle is closed in the winter months, so take a walk in Hulne Park. This historic parkland, designed by Capability Brown, surrounds the castle so you get a great view of the grand exterior. Be sure to check the Northumberland Estate website for any park restrictions.

For lunch, head to the Treehouse restaurant outside The Alnwick Garden entrance for a truly unique dining experience sampling locally-inspired dishes while taking in the fairy-tale setting.

After lunch, explore the nationally renowned and award-winning The Alnwick Garden - a truly magical experience in twilight.

Sunday morning

Dunstanburgh Castle in winter

Start the second day of your Northumberland escape by blowing away the cobwebs on a breezy coastal walk between Craster and Embleton Bay.

There's a car park on the outskirts of the village, so wander down to Craster harbour, the focal point of this picture-perfect fishing village known worldwide for its smoked kippers. If you can tear yourself away, set off across the fields towards the historic ruins of Northumbrian coast icon, Dunstanburgh Castle.

This rugged shoreline is peppered with black basalt rocks, part of Northumberland's Whin Sill foundations, but beyond the castle, the cliff gives way to a beautiful wide sandy beach.

For the perfect Sunday lunch, head to the Jolly Fisherman in Craster, but be sure to get there early because this dog-friendly pub is extremely popular with locals and visitors alike, keen for the best seat by the fireplace!

Sunday evening

Milky Way over the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, credit Craig RichardsIf you want to finish your winter weekend with something special, why not round off your mini-break with a spot of stargazing?

Northumberland is lucky enough to have some of the most unpolluted and darkest skies in the country, meaning you can see the cosmos in their full and shining glory.

With minimal light pollution and impeccable conservation efforts, the Gold-rated Northumberland International Dark Sky Park is considered one of the best places to stargaze in the world. Here you'll find Kielder Observatory, and Dark Sky Discovery sites such as Stonehaugh Stargazing Pavillion and Battlesteads Observatory.

Further north, the protected beaches of the Northumberland Coast AONB offer fantastic stargazing opportunities. If you’re lucky enough to get a clear night with the right conditions, you'll be perfectly placed to witness one of nature's most spectacular wonders - the Northern Lights.


Self-catering cottages offer the most authentic and cosy accommodation option for a family or romantic weekend up north. Your own space allows you to relax by the fire at the end of a long day exploring, and sample some of the food and ales you’ve bought at the markets, the perfect home-away-from-home, or can be used as a cosy place to rest your head after an evening out enjoying winter warming places to eat in the region.

Cottages in Northumberland is the region’s one-stop-shop for booking cottage holidays. With a wide range of self-catering Northumberland cottages available, there’s accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets.

Find out how to make the most of your time and explore Northumberland in the dark – it is just as good with the lights off!

More info at #NlandStars

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