Focus on Northumberland
Published: Monday 22nd Jul 2019
Written by: Chloe Baker
Rural cottages and seaside homes, towns with culture and woodlands of wild beauty – we know you’ll find your dream holiday right here in the kingdom in the north. But where do you start? To help you discover some of the places most guests rarely see, we’ve put together a collection of some of our favourite destinations for your break in Northumberland. From colourful harbourside villages and water-sport lakes to quiet towns and wildlife-filled islands, there’s something for everyone in the county of castles.
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne
Lying peacefully just a few miles off the rugged Northumbrian coastline, you’ll discover a magical retreat known as Holy Island. Both a land-locked island and a picturesque village, this serene spot is cut-off from mainland Britain twice a day. It remains a place of pilgrimage and is the final destination for Scotland’s Great Trail, St Cuthbert’s Way. At the tip of the island, the ancient Lindisfarne Castle rises from the rocks, built to defend the harbour from Scots and raiding Norsemen. And throughout the year, you’ll find an array of wildlife living along its shores and on its tidal mudflats, from resting Pale-bellied Brent Geese in winter to regular Grey Seal guests bobbing in the waters all year round.
The Farne Islands
If you’re a bird-watching enthusiast, nature-loving explorer, or simply looking for a wildlife-filled adventure – the Farne Islands are for you. This cluster of islands found off the Northumbrian shores is a haven for nesting birds, and is Sir David Attenborough’s “favourite place in the UK to see nature at its best”. The islands are only accessible at certain times of day by taking boat trips from the nearby harbour of Seahouses. In the summer, you’ll find around 150,000 seabirds made up of 23 different varieties breeding on the coast of the remote inner island and the wild outer isles. Spot Razorbills, Guillemots, Eider Ducks, Arctic Terns, vibrant-furred Puffins, and even Atlantic Seals with their young across the archipelago. Or, follow in the footsteps of our national heroine, Grace Darling, and her father who set out across the rough seas in a coble boat to rescue the sailors of the SS Forfarshire.
Howick Hall & Gardens
If you’re looking for breathtaking gardens, magnificent architecture, rooms filled with culture, and the true taste of a classic British tea, Howick Hall is sure to impress. This spectacular 14th-century home belonged to Earl Grey, the now-famous cuppa’s namesake. The grounds are made up of two arboretums, overflowing with colourful shrubbery, around 11,000 trees, and a carefully looked-after garden of spring bulbs, summer flowers, and a wild bog tucked away in a tranquil corner of the estate. The traditional tearoom is the perfect Northumbrian treat, with delicious homemade cakes to fuel your woodland walks, and of course, the renowned Earl Grey Tea to tempt your tastebuds.
An extraordinary Victorian house, with stunning gardens and magical woodlands – Cragside is an impressive feat of historical wonder, and one of the most technologically advanced manors in the Victorian era. The first home to be lit by hydroelectricity in 1881, this architectural masterpiece was ahead of its time. Inside, the Drawing Room is dominated by a spectacular ten-ton Italian Marble fireplace, and you’ll get the chance to watch the team recreate some of Lord Armstrong’s experiments in the Electrical Room. As you wander outside and across the Iron Bridge, you’ll find awe-inspiring views of the imposing house, across the rugged rock garden, and beyond to the towering conifers of the Pinetum. And if you’re looking for an adventure this summer, why not take to the water of Tumbleton Lake and canoe, kayak, and paddleboard your way through the heart of rural Northumberland.
Berwick-upon-Tweed is a picturesque town perched along the eastern Northumbrian coastline - at the mouth of the River Tweed - and is the northernmost town in England, only two-and-a-half miles south of the Scottish border. With sandy beaches, beautiful riverside walks, and a rich history waiting for you to discover, this peaceful place is perfect for any explorer. Berwick’s three bridges are famed for the man-made beauty, with the iconic Royal Border Bridge being one of the finest bridges of its kind in the world. Take a tour of the town's old courtroom, find its heritage at the old Barracks and The Main Guard museums, or be inspired at one of the many fantastic galleries – discover real Northumbrian culture in Berwick.
Known as the gateway to the Farne Islands, Seahouses is one of the region’s best holiday spots. A bustling fishing village and a picturesque harbour along the northeast shoreline, it’s the perfect location for a family get-together by the ocean. A treasure-trove of independent shops makes it the go-to place for local souvenirs, while cosy pubs serve hearty meals and cold drinks along the seafront. The Northumbrian Fish and Chips from Neptune’s are delicious, and the butterscotch flavour ice cream at Coxon’s is perfect for sunny summer days – and it tastes just like the butterbeer ice cream from the Harry Potter Studio Tour. Build castles in the sand, search through rock pools, or gallop along the water’s edge on horseback – there’s plenty to see and do for adults and children alike.
Whether you’re relaxing along vast, golden sands with the family, standing in the shadow of a breathtaking World Heritage Site with the one you love, or enjoying the sights and sounds of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with your loyal companion, get closer to the people and places you love in Northumberland with our truly local knowledge. Discover your authentic Northumbrian getaway today with our Northumberland holiday cottages.