If you’re looking for things to do in Northumberland, you’ve come to the right place. This vibrant, culturally rich county is packed with one-of-a-kind activities, historical sites and much-loved local events. With so many places to visit, organising your Northumberland holiday couldn’t be easier – and we will help you create the ultimate itinerary.
The Great Exhibition of the North ran from the 22nd June - 9th September and was a fantastic event encouraging people to 'Get North' and discover the amazing sights, sounds, art, music, design and culture that the North of England has to offer and was officially opened by the BBC's Breakfast Show presenter Steph McGovern.
Situated in the North East of England, the popular county of Northumberland is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). It is an enchanting corner of the country brimming with history – for example, there are more castles in Northumberland than in any other county in England, including Bamburgh Castle and world-famous Alnwick Castle. With beautiful, golden, sandy beaches, rolling hills, craggy moorland, popular market towns and fishing villages such as Seahouses, Beadnell and Bamburgh, visitors wondering what to do in Northumberland will be spoiled for choice.
There is always a year-round calendar of extraordinary attractions and ‘once in a lifetime’ activities on offer. Bursting with character and beauty, holidays in Northumberland make for lasting memories.
Fun on the beach
The Northumberland Coast is a sight to behold, with no less than 39 miles of unspoilt coastline to explore and a calendar packed with exhilarating water sports options. To indulge in a spot of surfing, kayaking or powerboating, take a trip to one of the many beautiful Northumberland beaches - where dogs love a good walk and spectacular local seafood is never far away.
Nestled between the formidable castle and the stunning Farne Islands, Bamburgh Beach is an essential part of any holiday in Northumberland. With long stretches of golden sand and the chance to watch local kite surfers in action, this seaside hotspot is the ideal route to take to see the epic fortress of the same name.
Escape to the country
Northumberland is a walker’s paradise - blanketed in miles upon miles of rolling hills and rugged landscapes. For a refreshing walk in the crisp country air or a challenging hike to test your mettle, there’s no better place in the UK.
Home to the beautiful Cheviot Hills and the historical Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland National Park is renowned for its open spaces, award-winning Dark Skies and stunning rural backdrops - and is the least populated national park in Britain. Offering access to horse-riding, rock-climbing and a multitude of other action-packed activities, the park is one of region’s greatest draws - making it easy to find new and exciting things to do in Northumberland.
King of the castle
Northumberland is home to more than 70 castle sites; some mere ruins, others well-preserved reminders of their defensive beginnings. Legacies of Northumberland’s turbulent past, these atmospheric fortresses make for a fantastic family day out, so here are some of our favourites.
The second largest inhabited castle in England is now also famous for Harry Potter and the Alnwick Garden project.
Spanning nine acres of land on its rocky plateau high above the Northumberland coastline, Bamburgh is one of the highest inhabited castles in the country.
Standing on a remote headland, this romantic ruin is most dramatic when viewed from Northumberland’s wave-battered coastline.
Experience what it would have been like to be king or queen for the day at this mighty fortress that crowns a hilltop above the River Coquet.
Owned by the National Trust, this 16th-century castle located on Holy Island boasts breath-taking coastal views, picturesque walled gardens and well-preserved examples of Lime Kilns from the 19th century.
A magnificent 12th Century medieval castle, home to the only herd of wild cattle in the world who have lived in the castle’s grounds, unhindered by man, for over 700 years.
Discover Hadrian’s Wall
One of England’s greatest landmarks, Hadrian’s Wall is the best-preserved frontier of the Roman Empire and the nation’s finest Roman monument. In Northumberland, great stretches of the wall remain intact and are a must-visit when you are in the region. The notable writer, George RR Martin used Hadrian’s Wall as inspiration for his own Wall in his bestselling books and hit TV series, Game of Thrones.
All along the Wall are a plethora of ruined forts, museums, milecastles and archaeological sites to explore. From the Roman high street at Corbridge Roman Town which boasts the Corbridge Hoard - one of the most significant finds from Roman Britain, to Housesteads Roman Fort with the most complete example of a Roman Fort anywhere in Britain, Birdoswald Roman Fort which is the best place to see the longest continuous stretch of the wall, and Chesters Roman Fort and Museum full of interesting finds, there is so much incredible history to discover.
Explore beautiful gardens
Scattered across Northumberland are a fine array of fragrant gardens ablaze with colourful blooms and teeming with wildlife. The Alnwick Garden is a vibrant place to visit, with beautifully landscaped gardens, outstanding architecture and unique features, all brought to life with water.
Howick Hall Gardens have been rated by the BBC Gardener's World Magazine as one of the top five coastal gardens in the country and rated by the Independent Magazine as 'one of the Best 10 Gardens to visit this spring'. We also love Cragside House and Gardens, a magnificent example of a Victorian garden created by Lord Armstrong, a landscape genius.
Meet the local wildlife
The Farne Islands lie two to three miles off the Northumberland coast midway between the pretty fishing village of Seahouses and the imposing Bamburgh Castle. As well as being the most famous Bird Sanctuary in the British Isles, they also have a large colony of Atlantic Grey Seals. During the breeding season around 150,000 seabirds vie for space on the islands and they are remarkably tolerant to visitors, allowing you to get up close and take some extraordinary photographs. Regular boat trips from Seahouses Harbour means that you shouldn’t have to wait long for your chance to view the local wildlife in its natural habitat.
The Kielder Water and Forest Park allows you to get up close to nature on a grand scale and have some unique outdoor adventures. Home to the biggest man-made lake in Northern Europe, at 250 square miles, along with the largest forest in England, there are bountiful opportunities to glimpse some of the parks’ remarkable residents. Between late March and early September visitors are able to observe Ospreys, an extraordinary bird of prey, making the most of the parks’ telescopes, live webcams and ‘Osprey ferry’. Also keep an eye out for red squirrels, roe deer, otters, seven species of bat and a variety of woodland birds.
A round of golf
In recent years, Northumberland has developed into one of the most popular regions for golf in the UK. Boasting a variety of courses including links by the dozen along the coast and award-winning parkland tracts further inland, there is a course to suit all levels and abilities of golfers.
Bamburgh Castle Golf Club is one of the most scenic golf courses in Britain sporting views of Lindisfarne, the Farne Islands, the Cheviots and Bamburgh Castle. You could likewise enjoy a round at the popular 18-hole Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Course, designed by the great golf course architect James Braid. We also recommend Alnwick Castle Golf Club a stone’s throw from Alnwick Castle, Seahouses Golf Club offering two of the most prestigious par threes in the North of England and Alnmouth Golf Club, widely regarded as one of the finest golf courses in the North East of England.
For days when you fancy adrenaline fuelled activities, here are some of our recommendations for days out in Northumberland to thrill all ages.
Experienced guides offer adventures in coasteering, sea kayaking, river canoeing and kayaking, rock climbing, and mountain biking as well as micro adventures and much more.
Learn how to surf, bodyboard and stand up paddle with lessons on several beaches along the Northumberland coast: North Druridge Bay, Warkworth Bay, Longhoughton Bay, Embleton Bay, Beadnell Bay, Seahouses and Bamburgh.
Delight in a wide range of unique experiences for all ages and abilities including archery, canoeing, white water tubing, gorge walking, coasteering and rock climbing.
Enjoy adventure activities including coasteering, open canoeing, river kayaking, rock climbing, sea kayaking and skiing.
Offers lessons, treks, and beach rides on some of Northumberland’s best beaches and countryside.
This castle-themed indoor adventure play centre boasts more than 40 play and interactive features including their three-storey adventure play frame which is the biggest in Northumberland. They also offer an outdoor go-karting track.
Experience a guided tour of the Coquet Estuary by canoe or kayak, an excellent way to discover the history and wildlife of the river as it flows round Warkworth Castle and down to the harbour at Amble.
To give yourself plenty of time to relax, as well as a chance to explore our exciting county, book one of our lovely self-catering holiday cottages in Northumberland today. We have a great range of luxury and large cottages too so there really is something for everyone.