If you live in, or are visiting the North East of England and want to find the best places to visit in Northumberland, then you’ve come to the right place! Being locals to the area, we’ve assembled a list of the top beaches, countryside locations, towns and attractions so you can discover the beautiful nature on offer. Life in Northumberland is peaceful, breezy and you’ll find things to do no matter the weather or season. Inhale the fresh air of one of the greenest counties in the UK!
Read on for the best places to visit in Northumberland and plan an exciting day out!
Alnwick Castle and Gardens
Starting our list of the best places to visit in Northumberland is the beautiful Alnwick Castle and Alnwick Gardens. The castle is an 11th century building that has withstood invasions and occupation throughout the ages. Today, it’s been renovated by its current owner, the 12th Duke of Northumberland and is one of the most popular tourist sites in the North-East. Most notably, it’s the filming site for many scenes in the Harry Potter movies, including the Quidditch pitch.
Next door to the castle is the enchanting Alnwick Gardens. Discover a labyrinth of beautiful flowers, foliage and trees – appearing different every season. It’s a great place to visit year-round and they host frequent events and festivals. Book tickets in advance on their website here.
Just along from Alnwick is the coastal town of Alnmouth. Vast countryside surrounds this quaint town, which also has a long, white-sand beach. Take a stroll around town to see the small shops, cafes and restaurants and then spend the rest of your day at the beach. It’s a great place to visit in Northumberland during the warmer months but its stunning scenery can be enjoyed anytime.
Northumberland National Park
Northumberland National Park is the north-most National Park in England; spanning the border to Scotland. It’s also one of the least populated and visited of all of the country’s parks, giving you plenty of space to roam free and hike to your desire. Explore one of the many walking trails and get lost in bundles of rolling green hills, or challenge yourself to a more challenging hike.
This area of countryside’s one of the best places to visit in Northumberland for nature lovers. Breathe in the fresh country air and get some exercise at the same time. We recommend checking out the official Northumberland National Park website for ideas on walking routes and the top sites to see. They include rock formations, a Roman Temple, waterfalls and the unique ‘Sycamore Gap’.
Bamburgh Castle and Budle Bay
Bamburgh Castle and UK-famous Budle Bay is undoubtably one of the best places to visit in Northumberland if you want to see white-sand beaches. Its 1-mile strip of beach has been printed on postcards for generations, proudly showcasing Bamburgh Castle in the background. For those that want a taste of Northumberland history, pay a visit to the castle as your first port of call, arriving early to beat the queues. Walk along the castle walls for a nice view and delve deep into the keep to learn about its Norman past.
Once you’ve visited the castle, stop by the small but picturesque Bamburgh town for lunch (we recommend fish and chips 😊), and go for a long walk by Budle Bay. If you’re visiting during the summer, you may even want to take a dip in the ocean!
A short drive along the coast from Bamburgh sits the traditional beach town of Seahouses. The whole region is alive during the summer months, where locals and tourists flock for the charming sea views and the many things to do in the town. Enjoy some of the best fish and chips in the country (seriously!), browse the quirky seaside gift shops or play a spot of mini golf. There’s something to do here for all ages and we personally try to visit every summer!
Once you’ve seen the town, board a tourist boat for a Puffin spotting voyage around the North Sea. Boats depart every day in season and it’s a great way to see these adorable birds up close. Other things we recommend checking out are the lighthouse viewpoint and the cosy pubs and restaurants.
Hexham is a bustling market town that’s one of the best places to visit in Northumberland if you want lots to do. Spend a full day walking the historic streets, relaxing in the park or paying homage at the impressive cathedral. The River Tyne flows through the centre of Hexham, providing a pretty sight to see over its bridge and by the riverside.
The town centre comprises of a combination of local, independent gift shops and stores, alongside recognised high street fashion brands. Its weekend market attracts visitors from all over the area and there’s always an event to keep you entertained in the summer. We personally recommend taking a long morning walk around town and then having a picnic in the park.
The much smaller town of Corbridge is a short drive down the road from Hexham, providing the small-town beauty of the area, just on a smaller scale. It has a tranquil river that flows through town, paving the way for a nice nature trail. Walk through the wooded area with your dog or take in the sights and get some fresh air. Back on the main streets of Corbridge, you’ll find a high street of boutique shops and pub restaurants tucked away on cobblestone alleyways.
Life in Corbridge is peaceful and it’s well worth visiting for half a day. We recommend going for a walk by the river and then stopping by the town centre for lunch. During the spring and summer months, why not go berry picking? The fields surround Corbridge have some excellent strawberry picking sites that are open to everyone!
For nature lovers out there, the enchanting forest of Kielder is a welcome retreat from the towns and cities of the North East. Venture deep into the forest for woodland walks, a beautiful lake and plenty of outdoor adventure activities. Accommodation here ranges from lodges and B&B’s to fully equipped campsites. Spend a few days in nature or visit for a one-day adventure – it suits both itineraries!
Kielder Lake is the hotspot for events in the warmer months, but you can visit year-round to enjoy its nature. One thing we love to do is to rent a bike from a lake-shack (or bring your own) and get lost on the wilderness trails.
Amble and Druridge Bay
Out of all the small seaside towns on the Northumberland Coast, not many are quite as charming as Amble. It’s a place that will take you back in time, where life is simple and relaxing. Being a fishing village, there’s an excellent market and marina to visit on a weekend. It also has a number of shops, restaurants and pubs in the centre. Venturing out of town, you have miles of sand dunes and a long sandy beach. It’s a great day out for both families and couples!
A short drive from Amble is the smaller beach area known as Druridge Bay. Druridge has a large lake that’s popular with windsurfers, but also suits those that want a scenic stroll. Enjoy a picnic by the lakeside and then hop over the dunes to one of the nicest beaches in Northumberland.
The Lindisfarne Coastline / Holy Island
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is located just off the Northumberland Coast in the North Sea. In our opinion, it’s one of the most beautiful places to visit in Northumberland. Catch the ferry or a tourist boat there from Seahouses or wait until the tide is down and drive over the long sea-road to arrive by car. This is an exhilarating experience in itself!
Once you arrive on the island, you’ll be greeted by a small village, the historic Lindisfarne Priory and Castle, and some stunning countryside scenery. Stay overnight in a B&B to capture the amazing sunset. That way, you get two full days to explore the coves, attractions and long roads of the island.
In addition to being voted one of the best places to live in the North-East, Morpeth is an exciting town to visit. Its local park is one of the best in the region, with a large lake, excellent playground for the kids and plenty of activity and picnic spots. Rent a rowing boat, go for a walk by the river or explore the shops, cafes and restaurants of town.
A local market, historic buildings and the Northumberland County Zoo are more reasons to check out this must-see town on a day out. You can see everything on offer in half a day, but we recommend staying for lunch and booking a nice country pub for lunch, before relaxing in the park for the rest of the day.
Dunstanburgh Castle & Craster
Dunstanburgh Castle is a historic site for those that seek to learn about the rich past of Northumberland. It was built in the early 1300’s by Earl Thomas and has stood as an iconic northern fortification through the ages. Its hilltop location by the coast adds to its majestic charm, especially as the sun goes down…
The best way to see the castle is by parking up and completing the long coastal walk just before the sun goes down. You’ll capture some excellent pictures! To extend your visit to the area, pop into the town of Craster for a walk around its marina and lunch at a seafood restaurant.
Berwick is the most northern town in England, located right next to the Scottish border. Being right on the border, it has a thrilling mix of cultures and people. You’ll find highland music and Scottish bakery treats alongside traditional English pubs and shops. Two large bridges unite a town that has been divided by the River Tweed, providing a great view on the train as you arrive into the station.
Visit Berwick for a day of sightseeing, enjoying a drink with a view of the river or browsing the local gift shops to your desire. It’s particularly charming on a bright sunny day with the weekend market in full swing. If you’re arriving by car, make sure you explore the outskirts of town too; grand country houses, rolling hills and beautiful beaches await.
Our favourite Northumberland Hotels
If you’re staying overnight in Northumberland and need a place to stay, many of the towns and cities have some excellent hotels. You also have a variety of charming countryside farmhouses and B&B’s. It’s a fairly small county so you can stay practically anywhere and use it as a base to explore the rest of the region.
Here’s a selection of our personal favourite places to stay in Northumberland. Check them out for yourself. 😊
Le Petit Chateau, Otterburn
View on Booking.com | Tripadvisor rating 4.5/5
We first visited Le Petit Chateau for a friend’s wedding and instantly fell in love. This small, boutique hotel sits on a quiet road in the town of Otterburn. It’s themed with French style throughout, featuring a beautiful garden area, classic French décor rooms and a restaurant that sources its ingredients from Northumberland. It’s the perfect place for couples that want a romantic break.
Langley Castle, Hexham
VIEW ON BOOKING.COM | TRIPADVISOR RATING 4.5/5
Langley Castle is probably the most luxurious and grandeur place to stay in Northumberland. As its name suggests, the hotel is situated within an actual castle. From the drive up to Langley Castle until the moment you check out, you’ll get lost in a world that fuses classic royal luxury with a modern twist of dining and amenities. Use it as a base to explore the Hexham and Kielder Forest area of Northumberland.
The Gables, Berwick-upon-Tweed
VIEW ON BOOKING.COM | TRIPADVISOR RATING 4.5/5
We love the countryside location of The Gables Hotel. It’s a large country house that has been converted into 4-star accommodation, providing an excellent place to stay when visiting the northernmost corners of Northumberland, and in particular the coastal towns of Berwick, Bamburgh and Seahouses. Stay in a large suite with your partner or family and enjoy country life at its best.
Now that we’ve inspired you with some of the best places to visit in Northumberland, all that’s left to do is plan your own trip! Explore Northumberland in a day trip or stay overnight to explore multiple areas. There’s plenty to see and do here. 😊
Combine your Northumberland adventure with Tyneside. Check out our list of the best things to do in and around Newcastle here.
An adventurer at heart that loves anything outdoors. Beaches, mountains and amazing scenery is everything I love about travel! I also enjoy home comforts and need a nice place to relax and re-charge after every trip.