11 of Northumberland’s Best Kept Secrets

Posted 24 Aug 15, written by Amanda Lambert

When it comes to exploring the UK, the north of England is bursting with intoxicating sights, sounds and smells. We’ve already brought you 17 reasons Newcastle is the best place in the UK, but step out of the city and you’ll find the stunning region of Northumberland. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Newcastle’s vibrant city centre, Northumberland is packed with iconic landmarks, adventurous activities and rustic restaurants.
 
So whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in the arts, get lost in literature or tease your tastebuds, we’re bringing you 11 of Northumberland’s best kept secrets.
 

Dining with a difference 

Whether you’re an adventurous local or an inquisitive tourist, Northumberland is a treasure trove of authentic cuisine. The list of exciting eateries is endless, but here are some of our favourites:
 
1. Treetop treats
 
 

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If you’re visiting Alnwick, be sure to reserve a table at the stunning Treehouse Restaurant. This magical hideaway is perched high in the treetops of Alnwick Garden and offers a decadent menu, as well as an array of tempting cocktails. Whether it’s a romantic date for two or a family affair, this hidden gem has delicious dining options to suit all tastes. With feasts straight out of a fairytale, you won’t want to miss out on a night in the Treehouse Restaurant.
 
2. Catch of the day
 
 

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When it comes to sumptuous seafood, the fishing harbour of Craster is home to the charmingly named Jolly Fisherman. Indulge in some real ale and drink in the stunning sea views as you chow down on fish caught fresh from the harbour. This dog-friendly restaurant is the perfect pit stop on your tour around the region, giving you the chance to refuel before you head back out into the coastal air.
 
3. A taste of tradition 
 
 

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If you’re on the hunt for a traditional dish, the relaxed atmosphere of the Feathers Inn will be right up your street. This award-winning pub sources its produce from local farmers, guaranteeing diners an authentic experience every time.
 
4. Classic countryside 
 
 

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Sitting snugly on Northumberland’s border is the beautiful Beehive. With low beamed ceilings and traditional ales, this quaint little pub out-rivals tired restaurant chains and is the last word in countryside dining. The Beehive is home to an outdoor eating area stretching an impressive one acre - so you can dine al fresco in the summer or sip your soup by the fireside in autumn.
 

A trip through time

For die hard history buffs or those looking to soak up some local culture, Northumberland has a vast collection of must-visit historical sites. With expansive museum collections and famous castles to explore, you’ll need more than an afternoon to experience all that the region has to offer.
 
5. Woodhorn Museum 
 
 

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With over 800 years of history and exciting exhibitions opening regularly, there’s always something new to discover at Woodhorn Museum. If an educational excursion is the order of the day, children can roll up their sleeves and take part in a mining workshop - and at the end of the day, don’t forget to pop into the gift shop and pick up a piece of memorabilia from your trip.
 
6. A famous fortress
 
 

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From appearing in a number of TV shows to featuring in star-studded films, Chillingham Castle is no stranger to the spotlight. With elusive grounds, amazing architecture and a breathtaking interior, the ancient fortress is popular with both locals and tourists alike. Whether you’re in the mood for a candlelit dinner party or dare to embark on a ghost tour, Chillingham Castle is the perfect host.
 
7.  Nestle away in nature
 
 

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Leave behind the 9-5 grind and head for Kielder Water and Forest Park. For nature lovers, this is the ultimate outdoor experience - allowing you to pitch up your tent and immerse yourself in all that this picturesque part of Northumberland has to offer. Wile away your afternoon getting up close and personal with the osprey before spending your evening under the stars of Northumberland’s stunning night sky.
 
8. A Victorian visit
 
 

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Home to vibrant gardens, Victorian houses and elegant tea rooms, Cragside is a must-see hotspot on your tour of the region. With wonderful walks, cookery classes and opportunities to try on traditional Victorian dress, you can travel back in time and become fully acquainted with Cragside’s heritage.
 

Action & adventure

For those with an appetite for adventure, the region has plenty to offer. From getting lost in the pages of a book to taking in some live comedy to trying your hand at a round of golf, Northumberland caters for all tastes.
 
9. Time to tee off
 
 

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If you’re a sports fan with a passion for the great outdoors, Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Course offers spectacular scenery and 18 holes - giving you a chance to take time out from exploring the rural landscape and spend the day working on your technique. And when you’re ready to take a timeout, kickback in the clubhouse with a refreshing drink and homemade snack before you head off in search of your next adventure.
 
10. Looking for a laugh?
 
 
For a night filled with lively entertainment and plenty of laughs, head over to Blyth and laugh ‘til you cry at a Punch-Drunk Comedy night. With community at its heart, the comedy club offers an opportunity for everyone. So if you fancy getting involved or you’re just there for the laughs, you’re guaranteed a banter-filled night out.
 
11. Lose yourself in literature
 
 

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Starting life as a secondhand bookshop, Barter Books was brought to life in 1991 and has rapidly grown into a much-loved Northumberland attraction. Located in an old Victorian railway station, the building itself has bags of character. With roaring open fires, cosy armchairs and row upon row of fantastic reads, bookworms can leave reality at the door and dive into any number of exciting stories.
 
These are just some of Northumberland’s best kept secrets, and the county has a lot more where they came from. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing retreat or an action-packed adventure, make sure Northumberland is at the top of your list.

 

Find more things to do in Northumberland >

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