Northumberland will be in the world’s spotlight when the Tour of Britain whizzes through the county in two weeks’ time, and two National Trust places are gearing up to welcome spectators who want to catch a glimpse of the action from a prime position.
Stage 4 of the race, on Wednesday 9 September, ends at Blyth and just before the finish line the racers, including ‘Team Wiggins’ and ‘Team Sky’, the Great British cycle team, will pass by Seaton Delaval Hall. The Following day, stage 5, will see the cyclists setting off from Prudhoe before racing along Hadrian’s Wall and past Housesteads Roman Fort on their way to the finish line at Hartside in Alston, Cumbria.
For both stages of the race, the National Trust teams are getting into the race day spirit and preparing to welcome visitors stopping by to watch the race with them.
Joanna Royle, assistant director of consultancy at the National Trust told us:
“The National Trust is really excited that such a major sporting event is coming to Northumberland, and will show off this beautiful county to the world through live international media broadcasts. For those of us lucky enough to live close enough to watch the race in person, we’re pleased to be able to offer two great locations.
“Both Seaton Delaval Hall and Housesteads Roman Fort are on the race route. As well as offering a great vantage point, while you’re waiting for the race to go by you can visit the gardens and grounds at the Hall, or the historic Roman Fort and museum at Housesteads, and pick up snacks and refreshments.”
Here’s everything you need to know about watching the race with the National Trust:
Stage 4, Seaton Delaval Hall, Wednesday 9 September
This stage sees the race kick off in Edinburgh at around 10am before racing across the border and into Northumberland, finishing in Blyth, just down the road from Seaton Delaval Hall.
Visitors can park up for the day at Seaton Delaval Hall, but need to arrive between 11am when they open and before 1pm when the local roads close. Parking is £5 per car, however it’s then free to visit the gardens and grounds and set up camp at the Hall to watch the race go by at around 3pm. There will be snacks and refreshments available at the Hall and if you choose to arrive on two wheels, there’s somewhere safe to lock up your bike while you’re visiting.
The National Trust is also recommending Seaton Delaval Hall as a great place to leave your car for the day if you fancy cycling down to the finish line in Blyth to catch the end of the race. The car park will be open between 11am and 5pm.
Stage 5, Housesteads Roman Fort, Hadrian’s Wall, Thursday 10 September
This stage of the race kicks off at Prudhoe and makes its way along the River Tyne before heading along the military road and past Housesteads Roman Fort. If you fancy stopping to watch the race at Housesteads, you can combine it with a trip to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Military road will close from 10.30am so you’ll need to arrive before then, and after the race whizzes by at around 12noon, it will then re-open at 1pm.
If watching one of the world’s greatest cycle race’s wasn’t enough, there are two great offers to entice you to Housesteads Roman Fort. People arriving by bike are being offered a free tea or coffee at the National Trust’s visitor centre, and the Trust’s partners English Heritage are offering visitors 2 for 1 on the cost of admission to Housesteads Roman Fort.
Housesteads also have bike sheds where you can store your bikes while you wait to have a cycle along the military road after the race goes by.
“The Tour of Britain will highlight just how beautiful Northumberland really is, including some of places we look after like Hadrian’s Wall and Seaton Delaval Hall. People who chose to watch the race with us can do so knowing that their contribution, whether paying for parking or buying a cup of tea in the visitor centre, will help the National Trust to keep our heritage attractions, coast and countryside places, looking special for years to come.”
To find out more about the National Trust in the North East visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/NorthEast