Despite its wealth of natural beauty, fascinating historical monuments, golden beaches, miles of stunning trekking routes, world-class golf courses, hidden treasures and some of the best salmon fishing in the world, not many visitors to England venture to the far north-east of country.
But one man’s loss is another’s gain. As a result the region is unspoilt by tourism and offers home-grown holiday makers a peaceful escape and foreign visitors a genuine British experience.
The secret to a holiday in Northumberland is to keep active and explore, not a difficult concept given most of the region is a designated national park. Experienced amblers will tell you Northumberland has some of the best and most diverse trekking routes in the country, coast, forest and field – take your pick!
The county has been able to retain its natural beauty because it is not dominated by a stand-out city. The nearest is Newcastle in neighbouring Tyneside, and to the north is Edinburgh in Scotland. Northumberland is actually made up of quaint bite size villages with humble country cottage-houses, traditional pubs and friendly locals.
The diverse landscape is personified by a rugged coastline. The stunning views and sultry beaches are something of an enigma. During the summer months the lush golden sand can be ablaze with the heat of the sun, but only the numb can brave the ice cold chill of the North Sea.
At low tide levels you should take the opportunity to visit the captivating Farne Islands where you find Holy Island – home to the famous Lindisfarne Mead. Founded by St Aidan in the 7th Century, the Monks that still inhabit the island’s monastery continue to produce the special brew. Said to be an aphrodisiac visitors to the showroom can sample a free taste and buy as much as you can carry.
Alnwick Castle and Gardens
Northumberland boasts a wealth of history and many of Britain’s wealthy family have settled here over the centuries. As a result there are many castles and stately homes in the region, the pick of the bunch being Alnwick Castle, home to the powerful Percy family and the setting for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films.
Adjacent to the castle are the Alnwick gardens, and extraordinary labyrinth of contemporary shrubbery and one of the regions great success stories. Spanning 4.8 hectares the walled gardens transformed derelict waste ground into a vision of peaceful perfection. The styles gardens feature a Franco-Italian ornamental garden and a danger zone of the most dangerous and illegal plants on the planet.
From the old to the new; recent attractions developed in the area include star-gazing in Kielder Water and Forest Park, a UNESCO protected dark sky zone, together with the Northumberlandia (Lady of the North) sculpture which opened in 2012 near Cramlington.
Where to stay
There are plenty of comfortable and affordable Northumberland holiday homes which offer modern amenities for couples, groups and families. Quaint luxury cottages provide a perfect base from which to explore the area and are within easy-reaching distance of the coast and other major attractions the region has to offer.