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Out and About

Alnwick Castle Alnwick
Alnwick Castle, just a 15 minute drive, is the seat of the Percy Family, Dukes of Northumberland, and now best known as Britain's most exciting gardeners! Their castle home boasts classic paintings by Canaletto and Gainsborough, and is a much filmed Gothic castle whose latest starring role was as the magical role Hogwarts in Harry Potter. Now boasting the modernity of the electric light [installed as recently as 1889!], you will be transported into a ducal way of life that arrived in the north with William the Conqueror. The Alnwick Garden is completely 21st century, with its exciting fountains, poison garden and water sculptures. It’s environmentally friendly visitor centre and amazing tree house will delight even the most hardened stay-inside gardener. Alnwick’s town is one of the best places to live in the UK, and certainly one of the finest to visit. Amongst other things, it has Europe’s largest 2nd hand book shop – Barter Books - housed in the town’s former Railway Station.

Warkworth Castle

Warkworth’s village is a delight – but even its 8th century origin is overshadowed by its mighty Castle. Started in the 11th century, it too was home to the Percy’s [most notably the famous Harry Hotspur who rose and fell in Shakespeare’s Henry IVth, along with other Northumbrian names and landmarks]. Now well preserved by English Heritage, and uninhabited, it provides plenty of scope for imagination and space for visitors

Bamburgh CastleBamburgh Castle
Bamburgh goes well back into Saxon times as a place of significance. Home to Northumbrian Kings since the 5th Century, its mighty location has been fortified by successive royals and dukes, most latterly, the armaments “king”, Sir William Armstrong – the Victorian arms manufacturer who built Cragside [another day out!]. Most photographed and filmed of all Northumberland’s locations, and still in private hands – you will still be welcomed to inspect its many layers of history, after you have taken in its iconic outward aspect, towering above the beach.

Beach Hut Berwick upon Tweed
Glimpsed from the train the Royal Border Bridge, visitors are stunned by Berwick’s medieval layout, rooftop landscape, and key position at the mouth of the mighty River Tweed. The town has controlled the crossing since Roman Times, but a modern visitor will find that its Elizabethan fortifications, still completely intact, inspiring but spireless Cromwellian Church, 18th century Barracks by Nicholas Hawksmoor, and its amazing vista of bridges gives it as much eye-catching appeal as anywhere in the North.

Holy Island of Lindisfarne

The Cradle of Christianity, where St Aidan founded the monastery and St Cuthbert was a missionary, it is now a place of pilgrimage for visitors from many lands, whether seeking spiritual regeneration or a chance to glimpse the special habitats of plants and wildlife. Cut off by the tide, twice daily, this does not deter the careful [and sometimes not so careful] motorist!

The Northumbrian Countryside

Words almost cannot describe the sinuous lanes that try to penetrate the wild Cheviot Hills, or the huge rolling landscapes, rich in agriculture that bring different colours and varieties throughout the year, or the rivers teeming with trout and salmon, or the endless dunes and beaches which are home to orchids

A little further

Both the A1 and the East Coast Main Line [10 minutes away] will take you to days out that are almost as vibrant and exciting – an hour to Edinburgh and 45 minutes to the North’s capital of culture, leisure and pleasure – Newcastle-Gateshead.