Northumberland is England’s northern most county and has more castles than any other county in the country.

Northumberland is so big on beauty that it doesn’t have a city, just small villages and hamlets scattered across the sparsely populated landscape like historic jewels. It’s also home to one of the most spectacular National Parks in the United Kingdom, Northumberland National Park. Along with showcasing spectacular scenery and untamed natural beauty, the landscape is filled with historical relics like Roman ruins, rugged castles and crumbling forts. When you’re exploring the many walking trails in Northumberland, it’s not hard to imagine what it must have been like living here all those years ago as little has changed. Northumberland is the ideal spot for an active English adventure with plenty of history and natural wonders along the way.

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Highlights of Northumberland

Northumberland National Park

Hike in Northumberland National Park

If you like the idea of having one of Britain’s most stunning National Parks all to yourself, you’ve come to the right place. Northumberland National Park is the least populated National Park in the United Kingdom and covers more than 1,050 square kilometres (410 square miles). There is plenty of room to spread out and immerse yourself in the sublime scenery without the crowds. You’ll also find a third of North East England’s 1,389 scheduled monuments here plus four of the five cleanest rivers in Britain. 

Otterburn Castle in Northumberland

Stay in historic accommodation

Northumberland has superb historic accommodation to suit every taste and budget. Check into your room at an old inn dating back over 300 years in Northumberland National Park or stay in a Victorian townhouse-turned-hotel with views of the 6th-century Abbey in Hexham. You could also bed down for the night in a castle that was built in the 1300s or one of Haltwhistle’s most historic buildings. Atmospheric pubs like the Barrasford Arms are another popular historic accommodation option.

Dunstanburgh Castle with stars overhead

Visit a Dark Sky Park

Explore the beautiful Kielder Forest on the border of England and Scotland, where the North Tyne river rises and the dark skies make for a perfect spot for stargazing. The Northumberland International Dark Sky Park is the biggest and best place to stargaze in the United Kingdom thanks to its remote location, small population and lack of major towns. Visit one of the Dark Sky Park observatories for a guided star gazing experience or head to one of the many Dark Sky Discovery Sites to see the twinkling stars for free.

Alnwick Castle

Visit Alnwick Castle

Widely regarded as one of Britain’s most iconic castles, Alnwick Castle will look familiar to Harry Potter fans as it stood in for Hogwarts in the films. The castle has been around since the early 1300s and has been home to the Percy family for more than 700 years. Along with admiring the castle and its grounds, you can tour the art collection of the Duke of Northumberland which includes works by significant painters from the Old Masters of the Venetian School dating back to the 16th Century.

Cyclists in Northumberland

Cycle through the countryside

Northumberland is the ideal spot for a holiday on two wheels (or two legs). Join Intrepid’s Northumberland: Hike, Bike & Kayak tour and cycle from Alston, the highest market town in England, down through the Tyne Gap valley, then take to the water in a canoe or kayak and explore the point where the North and South Tyne meets. If you would prefer to stick to cycling, there are plenty of cycle trails that will take you to the best places in Northumberland.

Hadrian's Wall at sunset

Visit Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland

It’s not a trip to Northern England without seeing the ancient Roman ruins of Hadrian’s Wall, Britain’s largest archaeological feature, which stretches for 73 miles (117 kilometres). Northumberland is home to the longest section of the wall in the country. Along the way you’ll discover ancient Roman forts, temples and bathhouses where Roman soldiers once came to soak their battle-weary limbs. Don’t be surprised if you come across a live excavation site. 

Northumberland Tour Reviews

Northumberland FAQs

Everyone travelling on an Intrepid trip must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of carriage. 

All travellers are required to produce: 

  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination
  • All children aged 5 to 17 years old must provide proof of vaccination (if eligible), proof of recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
  • If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional. 

In all cases, you must be fully inoculated. This means you must receive the full dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine and allow enough time for immunity to take effect. Each COVID-19 vaccine has different dosages and timeframes for inoculation, so please check the relevant medical advice associated with your vaccine.

Learn more about Intrepid's COVID-19 proof of vaccination policy

If you would like to fly to Northumberland, Newcastle International Airport is the closest airport for local and interntional flights. From here, it takes around an hour to reach Northumberland.

Bus and rail services travel to different villages in Northumberland. Check timetables for the best option based on where you are departing from and what village you would like to base yourself in while you're exploring Northumberland.

If you would prefer to drive, Northumberland can be reached via the motorway and various other roads depending on where you are travelling from in England. 

Ferry services are also available to the Port of Tyne which is around an hour away from Northumberland.  

Getting around Northumberland is easy with options for drivers and non-drivers alike. Many locals and visitors choose to explore Northumberland by car. Arriva operates various bus routes that can be used to get around Northumberland, with additional services available during the summer months. 

Due to Northumberland's location in the north of England, the weather is usually pleasantly mild. Northumberland's rainfall is fairly even throughout the year which means anytime is a good time to visit Northumberland. However, this also means you might encounter wet weather during your visit so pack accordingly. The summer months seldom get above 19 degrees Celcius and during winter, the average daily temperature is around 6 degrees Celcius during the day. Although Northumberland does occassionally experience snow, it tends to melt during the day. Autumn weather can be changeable but it's worth taking a chance on this time of year to avoid the crowds.

What to pack for your trip to Northumberland largely depends on what time of the year you choose to visit and what type of holiday you want to have. If you're going to be doing a lot of hiking or other outdoor activities, it's recommended you pack a sturdy, comfortable pair of boots or shoes, as well as long trousers and a waterproof jacket. If you're travelling in winter remember to pack scarves, beanies, gloves, long shirts, and jumpers. When you head out for a walk in Northumberland, always bring a jumper and wet weather gear with you as the weather can be changeable. If you are visiting Northumberland in summer, you will need to pack clothes suitable for warmer weather such as t-shirts, shorts, dresses, and a light cardigan or jumper for chilly evenings. Wet weather gear is essential, no matter what time of the year you're visiting. 

You will find a WiFi signal in Northumberland near major villages and tourist hubs but there is limited or no WiFi available once you get out in the countryside and start exploring the region's trails. If you want to use Google maps while you're in  Northumberland, remember to download the offline versions of the correct maps to your phone before you get there.

You will find a mobile phone signal in Northumberland near major villages and tourist hubs but there is limited or no mobile phone coverage once you get out in the countryside and start exploring the region's trails. 

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

Learn more about Accessible Travel with Intrepid

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