Short Breaks in Northumberland

Visit Northumberland: Where Nature and History Unite

Northumberland, with its rugged coastline, sweeping hills, and ancient castles, offers an enthralling blend of natural beauty and historical significance.

The county invites you to explore its wild landscapes, rich history, and vibrant local culture.

Whether you’re looking to relax in secluded beaches or delve into the past, Northumberland provides the ideal setting for a memorable short break.

Country road in Northumberland National Park, near Hexham, England.
Country road in Northumberland National Park, near Hexham, England.

Why Short Breaks in Northumberland?

Northumberland is not your typical getaway destination, and that’s what makes it special. Visitors love short breaks in Northumberland thanks to the unique combination of nature, history and beauty.

It’s a place where you can escape the crowds, breathe in the crisp sea air, and travel back in time as you wander through historical sites.

From the picturesque Holy Island of Lindisfarne to the towering Alnwick Castle, the county offers a plethora of experiences that are both unique and rejuvenating.

Sunset over Hadrian's Wall from Caw Gap near Haltwhistle in Northumberland
Sunset over Hadrian’s Wall from Caw Gap near Haltwhistle in Northumberland.

How To Get To Northumberland

Navigating your way to Northumberland is fairly straightforward, whether you prefer to drive, take public transport, or even cycle.

The county is well-connected, ensuring that your journey is as smooth as possible. Below are some common methods of transportation to help you plan short breaks in Northumberland:

  • By Car: The A1 and A69 roads provide easy access to Northumberland from various parts of the UK.
  • By Train: The East Coast Mainline services a number of stations in the county, including Berwick-upon-Tweed and Alnmouth.
  • By Air: The nearest airports are Newcastle International and Edinburgh, both of which are within a reasonable driving distance.
  • By Bus: There are numerous local and long-distance bus services that run through Northumberland, making it convenient for those who prefer not to drive.

Average Driving Times To Northumberland

FromAverage Driving Time
London5-6 hours
Manchester3-4 hours
Edinburgh1.5-2 hours
Newcastle45 minutes – 1 hour

Highlights of Northumberland

A visit to Northumberland would be incomplete without experiencing its breathtaking landscapes and historical landmarks.

Among the must-see attractions is Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage site that offers a glimpse into the Roman era. Here, you can explore well-preserved ruins and enjoy scenic hikes along the wall.

For beach lovers, Bamburgh Beach is an unmissable destination, boasting clean sands and the backdrop of the majestic Bamburgh Castle.

Wildlife enthusiasts should not miss a trip to the Farne Islands, where you can get up close with a variety of seabirds and even seals.

Bamburgh Castle on the northeast coast of Northumberland, England.
Bamburgh Castle on the northeast coast of Northumberland, England.

Activities to Enjoy in Northumberland

Northumberland offers a myriad of activities to suit all interests and ages.

For the outdoorsy types, hiking trails are abundant, taking you through the Cheviot Hills or along the coast for stunning views of the North Sea.

Watersports such as kayaking and paddleboarding are popular in the coastal regions, offering an exciting way to explore the area.

If you’re a history fan, the many castles and heritage sites provide an engaging way to step back in time.

From participating in archery at Alnwick Castle to bird-watching tours on the Farne Islands, there’s no shortage of activities to fill your itinerary.

The Keep at Alnwick Castle in the town of Alnwick in Northumberland.
The Keep at Alnwick Castle in the town of Alnwick in Northumberland.

Places To Visit in Northumberland

In Northumberland, history, natural beauty, and modern-day charm coalesce into a captivating blend.

With sites ranging from the ancient ruins of Hadrian’s Wall to the mesmerising waters of Kielder Lake, there is something for every type of traveller.

Whether you love the outdoors, are fascinated by medieval castles or just love nature, Northumberland offers an array of unforgettable experiences.

Here are some must-visit spots that you should visit while enjoying short breaks in Northumberland:

  • Hadrian’s Wall – An ancient Roman fortification and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this wall offers an evocative glimpse into the past.
  • Bamburgh Castle – Overlooking the North Sea, this castle offers stunning views and a rich history.
  • Holy Island of Lindisfarne – Accessible only at low tide via a causeway, this island offers a unique natural setting and historical sites like Lindisfarne Castle.
  • Cragside House and Gardens – A Victorian mansion with an elaborate garden, it was the first house in the world to be lit using hydroelectric power.
  • Kielder Water & Forest Park – With the largest man-made lake in Northern Europe, it’s an ideal spot for water activities and nature walks.
The remains of a military fort at Hadrian's Wall.
The remains of a military fort at Hadrian’s Wall.

Popular Towns In Northumberland

Northumberland boasts an array of charming towns that offer a glimpse into the region’s rich history and culture.

Each town is unique, providing travellers with a variety of experiences, from ancient castles and beautiful beaches to bustling marketplaces and serene gardens.

Here’s a rundown of some towns in Northumberland you won’t want to miss:

  • Abingdon: Known as one of the oldest towns in England, Abingdon is replete with historical sites and a beautiful riverside.
  • Banbury: Famous for its unique cross and the nursery rhyme “Ride a Cock Horse,” Banbury is a bustling market town with much to offer.
  • Witney: Renowned for its high-quality woolen blankets, Witney is a lively market town that has succeeded in preserving its historical charm.
  • Wallingford: With a rich medieval history and a stunning riverside setting, Wallingford offers a peaceful retreat.
  • Thame: This quintessentially English market town offers traditional shopping streets, a wide range of pubs, and is often used as a filming location for popular TV shows.
The beach at Bamburgh in Northumberland.
The beach at Bamburgh in Northumberland.

Advice for Visiting Northumberland

When planning your short break to Northumberland, a little local knowledge can go a long way.

From what to pack to the best times to visit, these tips can help ensure your Northumberland holiday is both enjoyable and memorable.

  • Weather Gear: Northumberland’s weather can be unpredictable, so pack layers and don’t forget a waterproof jacket.
  • Local Cuisine: Don’t miss out on tasting local delicacies like Craster kippers and stottie cake.
  • Public Transport: While public transport exists, services are less frequent in rural areas. Consider hiring a car for more flexibility.
  • Historical Sites: Many attractions have seasonal opening hours, so check ahead to avoid disappointment.
  • Walking Tours: If you’re interested in history or nature, consider booking a guided walking tour to get in-depth knowledge.

Northumberland offers an intoxicating mix of rugged landscapes, unspoilt beaches, and historical landmarks.

From the ancient walls of Hadrian to the serene beauty of the Farne Islands, the region invites you to take a step back, breathe, and immerse yourself in its natural and cultural riches.

If you’re seeking an escape that combines the allure of history with the refreshment of nature, Northumberland stands as a compelling destination.

With activities and sights that appeal to adventurers, history lovers, and those simply looking to relax, Northumberland is a versatile getaway that promises a unique and fulfilling experience.

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