Northumberland is a stunning County spanning miles of rolling countryside and beautiful coastline. You will never be short of wonderous sights and unforgettable places to visit when you come. Here is a small selection of historically famous castles and fantastic landscapes to explore. Once you’ve exhausted yourself, why not come along to Sunnyhills for a warming Hot Chocolate or a hearty meal.
Bamburgh Castle is one of the most magnificent castles in the UK and by far one of Northumberland’s most iconic. Once thought to be the capital of the British Kingdom and first mentioned in writing in 420AD, the original structure was destroyed in 993 by the Vikings and then rebuilt on the same site by the Normans which forms the core of the castle today. Although it was left to deteriorate over subsequent centuries and attempts were made to restore parts of the structure, it wasn't until it was purchased by William Armstrong the Victorian industrialist that it was restored to its current state. Bamburgh Castle is open to the public and is one of North Northumberland’s major attractions with stunning views of the Northumberland coast from the walls. www.bamburghcastle.com
Constructed in 1096, Alnwick Castle has had a some may say, turbulent history, including being ordered to be demolished by King John in 1212. The Percy family, after gaining notoriety from military accomplishments bought the Barony of Alnwick and has owned both the castle and title of Dukes of Northumberland ever since. Alnwick Castle is a must when visiting Northumberland and has something for everyone.
Warkworth Castle was first documented in 1157 and is another excellent example of a great castle built in Northumberland to defend against Scotland. Originally constructed from wood and considered feeble, it was improved over the years to the imposing structure seen today. Once again owned by the Percy family, they refurbished the castle and restored the keep in the 19th century and have since passed stewardship to English Heritage who now care for the site. Warkworth Castle is now one of Northumberland’s Scheduled Ancient Monuments.
Situated on the beautiful island of Lindisfarne, the castle sits atop a base of solid whinstone rock making it a small but striking sight. Due to its location it was vulnerable to attack from the sea including the Vikings and the Scots and was strengthened using the stone from the original Lindisfarne Priory which had become disused. In 1901 it was refurbished including the walled garden which was designed by Gertrude Jekyll. Lindisfarne Castle is well worth a visit when on the island and provides a beautiful view from the upper battery towards Bamburgh and across the island.
Built back in the 14th century, on the site of an Iron Age fort, Dunstanburgh was the largest castle built in Northumberland covering an area of almost 10 acres. It is a very popular destination for visitors to the small harbour village of Craster and is a 1.25 mile walk along the coast. Dunstanburgh is now owned by the National Trust and run by English Heritage and is on a Site of Special Scientific Interest for birds and amphibians.
St Cuthbert’s Way
Bridging the national border between Scotland and England, this 62.5 mile inspiring cross-border route links Melrose in the Scottish Borders, where St. Cuthbert started his religious life in 650AD, with Holy Island off the Northumberland Coast, his eventual resting place and his original pilgrimage shrine.
Hadrian's Wall is a spectacular World Heritage Site, stretching an impressive 73 miles from sea to sea across some of England’s most impressive and wild countryside. Although the full walk is not for the f faint hearted, it is easy to dip in and out and travel some of the route by public transport if preferred. Experience Roman life and epic history in stunning locations.
St Oswald’s Way
Linking between St Cuthbert's Way at the Holy Island and the Hadrian's Wall Path at Heavenfield this 97 mile route recalls the life and importance of King Oswald / Saint Oswald who ruled and travelled this countryside in the 7th century.