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Northumberland tourist information & travel guide

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Northumberland and Hadrian's Wall Country
Northumberland is said to be England’s most serene county – its giant skies and alluring sweeps of horizon arch over some of the most unspoilt scenery in the UK. The long pale beaches, tranquil open countryside and serene valleys that stretch from Hadrian’s Wall to the border with Scotland make it a part of England not to be missed. Centuries of old border conflicts with Scotland have left their mark on this region making it fascinating to explore. Stay in one of the sympathetically restored holiday houses in Northumberland and travel by car, foot or bicycle to one of the many castles that guard the stunning coastline. Cross a tidal causeway, and see the enchanted island of Lindisfarne. Visit the vibrant cities of Newcastle and Gateshead or the historic city of Durham with its gothic cathedral, all within easy reach. The area is dotted with towns and villages such as Alnwick and Rothbury where cobbled streets and ancient marketplaces provide a warm welcome. You’ll want to linger in Northumberland and relax in one of the many atmospheric Northumberland holiday cottages that are available to let in this awe-inspiring corner of England.

Northumberland National Park
There are charming holiday cottages to rent in the beautiful wilderness of Northumberland National Park, an area of unsurpassed natural beauty. Cottages are available for all party sizes so whether you are a couple looking for a romantic retreat or a family or larger group looking for a spacious character self-catering base, you are well catered for in this World Heritage Site. For a days out, Kielder Water and Forest Park, said to be the largest man-made lake in Northern Europe. It has a serene beauty and offers many activities too. Take a boat cruise across the iridescent lake, enjoy spectacular fishing at Kielder River’s North Tyne. Or raise your pulse with kite surfing, wind-surfing or water-skiing at the Leaplish Waterside Park. Cycle paths of ever-increasing difficulty are mapped around the lake, with routes to test even the bravest off-roader! Tower Knowe Visitor Centre explains the area’s history and its many bloody battles with the Scots. Rare wildlife roams through the ancient forest that fringes the lake, including red squirrel and deer. If you’re staying one of the many well-equipped rental holiday cottages in Northumberland then you might choose to bring a picnic – there many areas to sit and enjoy a hamper. Otherwise, there are numerous eateries dotted around the park such as the Boat Inn at Leaplish, the Water’s Edge Restaurant at Tower Knowe or the Duke’s Pantry at Kielder Castle, an old shooting lodge of the Duke of Northumberland which has an vast forest drive and an adventure park for youngsters. For walks and cycle routes in the area check out Northumberland National Park.

Hadrian’s Wall
Hadrian’s Wall snakes 80 miles across the Tyne Irthing and Eden Valleys between the cities of Newcastle and Carlisle. Built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in around 122 AD, it took six years and an estimated million-plus cubic meters of stone to build. The area was a frequent battleground between the English and Scots - nearby Berwick-upon-Tweed was passed between the two countries 13 times until 1482. Hadrian's Wall stood between 8 to 10 feet wide and was 15 feet high. It was also flanked by a small ditch to the south, built to contain the rebellious Northern English tribes who might unite with the enemy. It is hard to believe such a tranquil spot was the site of so much blood spilling. Step out from your idyllic holiday cottage near Hadrian's Wall to walk the Housesteads to Great Chesters section for a gloriously rugged trip that will transport you back to past times and ancient dominions. The area is very popular with walkers and there are many cosy holiday cottages to rent which are perfect for a walking holiday, many with wood-burners which are very relaxing after a day's walk.

Alnwick Garden and Castle
Alnwick Garden with its beautiful ornamental and contemporary horticulture, fascinating plants and tumbling water sculptures, is great day out, and there are many 5 star refurbished holiday cottages near Alnwick. If you are holidaying as a family, your children will love getting lost in the confusing bamboo Labyrinth, and will enjoy playing in the enormous tree house with springy walkways suspended in the sky. While the fascinating poison garden thankfully keeps its toxic flora under lock and key! There is a restaurant on site, or if you are staying in one of the well-equipped cottages in the vicinity, stock up on local organic ingredients in Alnwick’s mediaeval market to prepare a meal in the comfort of your vacation home. This stunning newly created garden at Alnwick Castle has become a very popular Northumberland tourist attraction and renting an Alnwick holiday cottage is a great way to explore it at leisure.

Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle stands spectacularly on a peak of basalt, overlooking sensational coastline and the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. It is believed to date from 420 when it was the capital of the Anglo Saxon Kingdom of Bryneich. This picturesque area around the castle has been used in many historical dramas and it has a huge choice of holiday accommodation, including beautifully restored period cottages on spectacular seaside locations and farm houses in little bits of wilderness. Bamburgh Village has an interesting church of St Aidans, built around 1170, and whose Norman building techniques are still visible at the rounded window in the north transept: there are pretty self-catering cottages to rent in Bambrugh.

The Farne Islands
The islands are situated close to the Bamburgh castle, 2-3 miles off the coast. Quality holiday homes are available in the nearby seaside village of Seahouses with its cheerful working harbour is known as the gateway to the Farne Islands. The islands are some of most-photographed sites in Britain and you can take one of the year-round boat trips and visit the Sea bird Sanctuary. A moving sight is the many colonies of Atlantic or Grey Seals that bask on the shore each year.

Holy Island of Lindisfarne
Beautifully renovated vacation properties are available on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. It really is an experience to be on the island when the causeway is covered by the tide rendering it unreachable from the mainland. It is no surprise the people return to this special place year after year. Lindisfarne Priory remains a place of pilgrimage where the body St Cuthbert lay until it was transferred to Durham Cathedral in 1104. The attached museum explains the history of the site. The Lindisfarne Gospels, one of the world’s most famous illuminated manuscripts, were made in St Cuthbert’s honour, in around the 8th Century by the Bishop of Lindisfarne, Eadfrith. The Gospels are now displayed in the British Library. The Lindisfarne Centre is a good starting point for information on things to see and do. If you are staying in a holiday cottages you may have a view of Lindisfarne Castle, visible for miles above a volcanic heap called Beblowe Craig. This stirring site was built in the 1550s using stones that were taken from the Priory after the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII. It was converted in 1902 by renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens into its current Arts and Crafts style.

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