Seals on The Farne Islands

Wildlife Watching in Northumberland

Spot our wildlife
With such a diverse landscape, Northumberland is a fantastic place for wildlife. From rugged hills and historic sites to a sprawling coastline, there are plenty of habitats and lots of opportunities to spot rare birds, woodland critters, and even a dolphin or two.

With such a diverse landscape, Northumberland is a fantastic place for wildlife. From rugged hills and historic sites to a sprawling coastline, there are plenty of habitats and lots of opportunities to spot rare birds, woodland critters, and even a dolphin or two. 

No matter what time of year you visit, you’re sure to find fascinating wildlife across the county. Read on to discover the best wildlife-watching destinations and get an insight into the creatures sharing our beautiful corner of the country.

The best wildlife-spotting destinations in Northumberland

Northumberland is a wonderful place for animal lovers. Whether you’re staying for a weekend break or making a bank holiday of it, here are some must-see wildlife hotspots.

Coastal destinations

Northumberland boasts a beautiful coastline, stretching from Berwick-upon-Tweed to the River Coquet estuary. The designated National Landscape covers 40 miles of beaches and is home to a host of seabirds and coastal wildlife. 

Head to Berwick-upon-Tweed, where you might spot grey seals, or explore Druridge Bay and keep an eye out for wildfowl among the dunes.

Wallington House

The perfect day out for families, Wallington House offers the perfect balance of rural peace and travelling convenience. Located just 20 miles northwest of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, it’s home to some fantastic wildlife. With a secret garden and plenty of woodlands to explore, there are plenty of opportunities to see red squirrels, forest birds, and otters. 

Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre

With nature discovery trails, bird hides, and a natural play area, Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre is one of the top spots to see the best of Northumberland’s wildlife. Children will love learning about marine life with a pond dipping activity, and all the family can refuel at the cosy cafe

Kielder Water and Forest Park

For those who enjoy getting out and about on the water, Kielder offers the chance to sail and waterski. All the while, keep your eye out for water voles, otters, and perhaps a pipistrelle bat as the sun sets. Kielder Water and Forest Park is also home to around 50% of England’s native red squirrel population, so take a stroll through the quintessential Northumberland woodland and see if you can spot any. 

If you fancy it, The Calvert Trust can arrange a guided Osprey and Wildlife motorboat cruise around Kielder Water to help you discover the impressive and rare sea birds.

Northumberland wildlife — what can you see?

While Kielder Water and Forest Park is the perfect place to see red squirrels, you may also find roe deer and badgers. Who else can you find in the Northumberland countryside?

Wild cattle

Over in Chillingham — between Alnwick and Chatton — you’ll have the opportunity to see the descendants of ancient cattle who once wandered the meadows and forests of the British Isles. The distinguished wild cattle now roam Chillingham Park, with bulls, cows, and calves living independently — without human contact. 


Head to the coast and you might catch a glimpse of elegant dolphins playing in the water. Visitors have reported sightings in Berwick-upon-Tweed and Whitley Bay. 

Grey seals

While you’re looking out for dolphins, it’s also worth keeping your eyes peeled for Atlantic grey seals. To boost your chances of seeing these delightful creatures, we suggest heading over to the Farne Islands. Every autumn, you can see 3000 fluffy seal pups lining the beaches — they make a very cute sight!

Wild goats

Did you know the Cheviots are home to wild goats? These shaggy-haired goats have been part of the Northumberland landscape since the Neolithic period and can be found in small family groups throughout the year.


In the late summer and early autumn, hundreds of salmon make their way up towards the Pennines. Hexham Weir is a great place to visit at this time of year — you may even see the salmon leaping through the water as they swim upstream through the River Tyne.

Bird watching in Northumberland

Alongside fish and land-dwelling animals, Northumberland is the ideal location for keen birders. Whether you’re hoping to see birds of prey or seabirds, there are plenty of birdwatching opportunities. 

From Cresswell Pond Nature Reserve to Bolam Lake Country Park, you’re sure to see all manner of rare bird species, no matter which part of Northumberland you visit. 


With their long, stilt-like legs and haunting call, curlews are a striking bird to spot. The largest wading birds in the UK, curlews can be found in the Northumberland National Park and North Pennines, along with other moorland species. 


Is there anything more joyous than the sight of a colourful puffin? With the largest colony of puffins, it’s no wonder the Farne Islands, just off the Northumberland coast, are noted as one of ​​Sir David Attenborough’s favourite places to see nature. Take a boat trip in June, and you can see adorable baby puffins — known as ‘pufflings’.

Make sure you’re prepared for your Farne Island adventure with our guide on five things to know before you visit the Farne Islands.

Marsh harriers and ospreys

Further impressive sea birds can be seen on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. Here, you’ll find more ospreys, along with majestic marsh harriers and Brent geese flying in from Svalbard.

Spotting wildlife safely

Whether you’re exploring Northumberland’s woodlands or strolling along the beach, wildlife watching can be an exciting experience. However, when seeing nature’s marvels up close, it’s important to approach the region’s furry and feathered residents with care and respect. 

Many areas of Northumberland are pet-friendly, but it’s essential to know when and where you can let your dog off the lead and when you need to keep a close eye on them — especially on the coast

Whether you have a dog or not, please always remember to keep a safe distance from birds and animals to avoid disturbing their natural behaviours. Quiet observation is key — use binoculars or a camera with a zoom lens to witness them without intrusion. 

It’s also worth checking which wildlife will be around when you visit and whether or not they’ll have young. Some animals can become very protective of their babies, so be especially mindful if you visit during breeding seasons. 

Discover the birds and wildlife of Northumberland

From spring to winter, there are always some incredible sights in Northumberland. The region’s wildlife offers endless opportunities to witness nature in all its glory. Whether you’re interested in seeing cute baby seals and puffins or witnessing leaping salmon and mysterious birds of prey, any animal lover will have an adventure. 

Stay in Northumberland for a spring getaway,weekend break or extended holiday — start planning your visit today.

Mountain biking in purple heather
Family walk in Northumberland
Couple enjoying a boat trip
Hadrian's Wall
Surf Northumberland
Outdoor adventures in Northumberland

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