A region bursting with history and beautiful nature, Northumberland is the perfect destination for a road trip adventure in the UK. You will be hard pressed to see all of its fascinating sites in one trip, but this blog will show you what to do in Northumberland so you get the most out of your time there! We will also help you find the best places to camp in Northumberland with a list of our favourite campsites.
Holy Island - Lindisfarne
No road trip to Northumberland would be complete without a visit to the holy island of Lindisfarne. The island’s isolated location just off the Northumberland coast, made it an ideal location for religious contemplation. Lindisfarne Priory was founded by St. Aidan as the centre of Christianity, in what was then the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria. It was here that the much revered St. Cuthbert died in 687 A.D., where the Lindisfarne Gospels were produced and where the first Viking raids took place, giving the island a central position in the history of the region. Visit not only for the island’s intriguing past, but also for its stunning nature! The Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve has a rich array of wildlife, especially internationally important species of birds, such as pale-bellied brent geese, grey polvers and bar-tailed godwits. There are also grey seals living around the island, who can often be spotted catching a bit of sun on the beach. Holy Island is one of the best days out in Northumberland, offering something for all the family and a unique insight into the history of the region.
Northumberland’s 30 miles of picturesque coastline offers a variety of attractions for the intrepid roadtripper. Whether you are looking for dramatic sea views, quaint fishing villages or beautiful wildlife, you will find it all along this memorable coastline. The Northumberland Coast path is a great way to make the most of these spectacular sites with unforgettable rambles to be had! This coastline is noted for its wide beaches, high sand dunes and whinstone outcrops. The route between Craster and Dunstanburgh provides some amazing views, especially with the colossal ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle looming in the distance right on the coast. There are also ample opportunities to sample the delicious local fare along the Northumberland Coast path. Make sure to check out the Jolly Fisherman for some fish soup or crab sandwiches or good old traditional fish and chips at one of the many chippies along the route. If you want to plan a day out at the beach there are plenty of options, but the beach at Alnmouth is probably our favourite! It is part of an Area of Outstanding Beauty offering wonderful scenery, a variety of wildlife and wide swathes of seldom busy sands.
Did you know that Northumberland is one of the best places in the UK to see the beauty of the cosmos? The Northumberland International Dark Sky Park is Europe’s largest at 572 square miles and therefore Europe’s largest area of protected sky. This makes it the ideal location to discover the wonders of the night sky! Most of us never get to see the Milky Way in the orange glow of urban areas, but in the park it is possible to see it in all its glory even with the naked eye. You will also be able to pick out the Andromeda Galaxy on a clear night and it is one of the best spots for the chance to see the Northern Lights in England. Yes it is possible to see them in the UK! There are a range of resources to help you make the most of the Dark Sky Park with regular events organized and there are also many useful apps, such as Sky Week and Pocket Universe. Make sure to include a night stop during your road trip in this wonderful area and explore the night sky!
Wondering what to do in Northumberland with the family? Head to one of its many castles of course! Northumberland has more castles than any other English county. Its strategic position on the border with Scotland has made it a historically important region over the centuries, leaving behind a fascinating legacy of castle building. One of the best days out in Northumberland is a visit to the magnificent Bamburgh Castle on the coast. This has been an important site since the 8th century when it was the home of the kings of Northumbria. The original medieval castle was mostly destroyed by Edward IV during the War of the Roses, but was then rebuilt and restored by 19th century inventor Lord Armstrong. It has an intriguing history and is a magical sight in the coastal landscape. It is also easy to combine your visit with a trip to Holy Island just up the coast. If one castle isn’t enough then head to Alnwick Castle, the home to the Percy family (Dukes of Northumberland) and the UK’s second largest inhabited castle after Windsor. The fortress is perhaps better known for its appearance in the Harry Potter films and Downton Abbey! The huge castle complex has elegant state rooms, magnificent medieval architecture and of course Harry Potter themed attractions. Another former Percy stronghold that is well worth a visit is Warkworth Castle. Towering over the River Coquet on a tall hill, the cross shaped castle is relatively complete and is a beautiful example of a late medieval castle. You can learn about the turbulent history of the Percy family and their roles as kingmakers and rebels against the Crown. Looking for more? These are just 3 out of the 70 castles you can visit in Northumberland and there are frequent fun events on offer from medieval festivals to Christmas festivities.
A road trip through Northumberland has to include an exploration of the colossal Hadrian’s Wall! Stretching 80 miles from coast to coast, this epic feat of engineering took 15,000 men 6 years to construct and was in use for over 300 years. A testament to the power and vision of the Roman Empire, Hadrian’s Wall and its many milecastles, forts, temples and bath houses is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site that you cannot miss. You can walk or cycle along its entire length and enjoy some breathtaking landscapes or if you are feeling adventurous or if you simply want to know more about its history then head to the Vindolanda fort and Roman Army Museum. Here you will be able to explore the remains of a large Roman fort complete with some reconstructed towers and examine some eye opening artefacts that have been found in the area. There are also plenty of family friendly activities at the museum to help the younger ones learn in a fun way!
Our Favorite Campsites in Northumberland
South Meadows Caravan Park
Situated in Belford, just inland from Bamburgh Castle and the coast, South Meadows Caravan Park is the perfect family and pet friendly location from which to explore Northumberland. It is also close to the A1 offering easy access to Alnwick, Alnmouth and Holy Island. At South Meadows you can sit back and relax in the wonderful green surroundings with spacious landscaped pitches equipped with electric hook-ups and access to lovely and clean hot power showers, complete with family bathrooms. There is a brand new play area for the kids and many beautiful woodland walks around the site. A short 5 minute walk will take you to the local village where you will find a great pub and plenty of shops for all your holiday essentials! The friendly staff will make sure you feel at home during your stay and help you discover the best ways to explore the stunning local region. The reviews of this award winning campsite speak for themselves, this is a great place to stay!
Highburn House Country Holiday Park
A short walk from the market town of Wooler, Highburn House Country Holiday Park is a great location for exploring Northumberland National Park and the Scottish Borders. This small park offers large pitches with electric hook-ups available as well as superb amenities including new washrooms with showers, hairdryers and vanity basins. There is a fun children’s play area and many footpaths leading through the Cheviot Hills where you will see wonderful wildlife and amazing landscapes.
West Kyloe Farm
Just 10 mintues drive from Lindisfarne, West Kyloe Farm is a working beef, sheep and arable farm with fantastic views of the coast and the Cheviot Hills. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views from the farm which offers 12 pitches suitable for motorhomes with electric hook-ups. It has all the essential facilities that you need including hot showers and a laundry room. It is not uncommon to spot foxes and roe deer near the site, so make sure to head here if you are looking for tranquility and immersion the beautiful Northumberland countryside.
So there you have it, the places you just have to see during your road trip in Northumberland together with our favourite campsites in the region! Why not hire a motorhome from one of Goboony’s private owners and make your experience truly unforgettable?