Walking is a lovely way to get out and explore a new area; you take so much in when you walk somewhere, from the colour of the setting to the smell of nature and the scurry of wildlife.
Northumberland is made up of beautiful landscapes and stunning coastlines, historic villages, castles and sandy beaches, and there is no better way to explore it all than by foot. It has over 60 miles of coastline and around 60 nature reserves!
Whether you are looking for nice family walks, wanderings to do with your best friends, romantic strolls with a loved one, or trails to take on yourself, Northumberland has everything for everyone. Here are what we consider to be some of the best walks in Northumberland.
Explore with short walks in Northumberland
If you are the kind of person who likes to fit a lot into a holiday, then short walks and meanderings are probably better for you. It’s nice to break up your days and fit different excursions in, especially when there is so much to see around Northumberland. Leave early and time the end of the walk with lunch somewhere, or burn off the morning calories with an afternoon breath of fresh air, followed by a beer in the pub. Here are a couple of our favourite short walks in Northumberland.
5-mile walk around the Holy Island
A visit to Northumberland is not complete without a visit to the Holy Island and Lindisfarne. Here you will discover a romantic island only reached when the tide allows, a historic castle and priory, and an idyllic village that is like something out of a storybook.
The walk begins at the information board at the end of Chare Ends Road (easily reached from the car park). Go through the gate and find the grassy footpath that follows the fence, taking you to a sandy bay framed by lovely big dunes. Here you can cross the beach to get onto the sand dunes before carrying on. Enjoy views of the Farne Islands, Bamburgh Castle, and the Cheviot Hills.
The path will curve round to Castle Point Lim Kilns, continuing onto the castle, passing upturned boats once used for fishing, seafood creels and pebbly shores. The path takes you to Lindisfarne Monastery and the Holy Island village where you can end your 5-mile jaunt with a hot cup of tea! Speckled with the lives of Anglo Saxons, Vikings, monks and fishermen, the island's history can be seen all over, and the best way to experience it is by foot.
Want to find out more about the island? Read all about it in our Guide to Lindisfarne.
Seahouses to Bamburgh Castle
From village to village, this is a lovely walk along the beach that takes in history, scenery, and nature all in one. It couldn’t be easier, get yourself to Seahouses if you aren’t staying there already and head to the beach to take on this short 3-mile walk.
All you have to do is follow the beach where you will see Bamburgh Castle in the foreground, elevated above the sands. Dogs are welcome in the castle grounds so tie this in with your daily dog walk. Once in Bamburgh you can explore the fortress, but also visit the village where you can get a nice hot cup of tea or find somewhere to grab a bite to eat. You can walk back along the road or along the beach, but if you are too tired there is the option of the Arriva X18 bus too!
Take on a long walk in Northumberland
To some people, the idea of being out all day in the wilderness and fresh air is a complete dream. Luckily, Northumberland is big enough to have all sorts of options when it comes to walks. Whether you are looking for a coastal adventure, circular walks in Northumberland, a mosey over the countryside or to take on woodland trails, there is something for everyone. Here are some full-day options which should only be followed with a large meal at the end!
Soak up history during a leg stretch at Hadrian’s Wall and Sycamore Gap
This is a circular walk that starts at the visitor centre to the Roman Fort at Housesteads and takes you along the World Heritage Roman wall footpath to Sycamore Gap, an iconic sycamore tree in Northumberland. Find your way up to Housesteads Fort and join the wall where you will see a footpath to follow. You want to go west! When you come to a farm track at the bottom of the hill at Hotbank Farm you want to cross it to get onto the north side of the wall, carrying on through Crag Lough Woods. You will drop down further and come to Sycamore Gap – you can’t miss it!
To get home, walk downhill from the tree, following the wall until you see a path running parallel. Hop on to this and follow the route of the Roman Military Way. This will take you back to the farm track at Hotbank and you can retrace your steps back. This is a lovely Roman wall walk in Northumberland.
For more about this area take a look at our guide to Hadrian’s Wall Country.
Discover and explore Kielder Forest and its network of walking paths
Kielder Water and Forest Park, on the border of the Northumberland National Park, has over 600km of forest and around 27 miles of shoreline to pick from when it comes to planning a walk. This is one of the best locations for spotting wildlife in Northumberland. From leisurely strolls to long-distance walks there are lots to suit everyone here, and they can be done at any time of year.
There are over 20 pieces of outdoor artwork to stumble upon including Belvedere Shelter, a futuristic stainless steel structure that reflects the forest’s seasons on its walls and the three rotating Janus chairs which offer a nice place to sit and soak up views across Kielder Water.
Bakethin Nature Reserve is found at the northern end of Kielder Water and the ‘Wild Walk’ trail lets you explore all the nature and wildlife you find along the way. Keep an eye out for information boards telling you all about the different species of water birds and woodland creatures. There are some hides along the way where you can sit and take cover in, so as not to scare them off!
You will come across ponds where you can search for frogs and newts, and if you look carefully, you will see nibble marks from red squirrels in the trees! Hunt out Kielder Viaduct for amazing views and get close to the ground with the bug hotel! There is so much to enjoy and discover with long walks in Northumberland!
For more inspiration check out our helpful guide to Northumberland National Park.
Go towards the sea and enjoy coastal walks in Northumberland
The Northumberland coast is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is also home to around 60 nature reserves including Druridge Bay, Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve, and Annstead Dunes Nature Reserve. There are also many castles dotted along it, as well as traditional fishing villages which can act as the perfect pit stop to rest and refuel. Northumberland has approximately 62 miles of coastline just waiting to be explored with a mix of beautiful beaches, wildlife, and ancient history, and pretty much all of it can be walked. Here are some ideas for Northumberland beach walks.
Take on the Northumberland Coast Path
The coast path runs from Cresswell in the south to Berwick-upon-Tweed in the north. You can break it into 20-mile sections and cover a lot of it in a few day trips! The route is made up of mostly footpaths and bridleways, but there are some short sections which run on minor roads, beaches, and tracks, offering up all sorts of terrains to adventure over.
There are a number of nature reserves along the coastline including Annstead Nature Reserve, Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve and Hauxley Nature Reserve. These are all areas ripe in flora and fauna and there are many seabirds nesting and feeding that bring hours of entertainment. Remember to take your binoculars on your coastal walks in Northumberland.
Some village to village walks you could take on along the coast include:
- Bamburgh to Budle
- Craster to Seahouses
- Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle
- Cresswell to Amble
- Low Newton-by-the-Sea to Dunstanburgh Castle
Explore our cottages in these coastal Northumberland areas:
Soak up the past with some historic walks in Northumberland
Northumberland has a fascinating past, much of which stays alive in the castles, monuments and ancient artefacts that can be found around the county. Some of the castles like Bamburgh Castle and Alnwick Castle are still inhabited, but others like Dunstanburgh Castle are now ruined. Walking around these castles is the best way to admire their architecture and setting.
Here are some routes that take in the wonderful castles of Northumberland.
Warkworth Castle to Alnmouth – This is a 7-mile walk so it’s worth taking a picnic if you are inclined to get peckish. Starting at Warkworth Castle head along the path of St Oswald’s Way where you will be graced with views over the ocean. You follow this path and river all the way to Alnmouth, a coastal village with iconic, red-roofed townhouses clustered around the river. Take some time to wander the streets here admiring the small boutiques and shops and grabbing a bite to eat in one of the many cafes.
Bamburgh Castle to Budle Bay – A simple but lovely stroll starting below Bamburgh Castle on Bamburgh Beach. Head in the direction of the lighthouse before walking up to The Wynding, a quiet coastal road. When you get to the golf course you will come to a path that borders Budle Bay and the beautiful estuary. Spend time paddling in the water and resting on the sand before heading home.
Thirlwall Castle walk – This is a 2-mile walk which will take about 2 hours at a leisurely pace which takes you to the characterful ruin of Thirlwall Castle. You will also pass the Carvoran Roman Army Museum and the Hadrian’s Cycleway cycle path. Starting at Greenhead, opposite the church, find the footpath at the end of Station Road and follow signs to Thirlwall Castle. Take time to look around the ruins before heading back – it would be a nice stop for a picnic!
Enjoy the best walks in Northumberland
We hope this guide has inspired you to come and visit Northumberland and walk your way to happiness on your holiday. If you are looking for a self-catering break, keep our Northumberland cottages in mind. They make wonderful bases for all sorts of outdoor adventures.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.