For peace and tranquility, there’s nothing quite like a leisurely stroll along the Northumberland coast.
So vast are the sands here that you could walk for hours and not see a soul.
In fact, there are 30 or so miles of spectacular beaches to explore, plus more castles than any other county in England.
The coastline here is peppered with traditional seaside towns together with promenades, piers and penny arcades. Their retro chic charm plus the county’s sheer, breathtaking beauty lie behind its recent ‘holiday destination of the year’ award by BBC Countryfile Magazine.
Its 70 or so castle sites are a legacy of the area’s turbulent past. Many of the original structures have long since disappeared and some are but romantic ruins. Berwick Castle and Dunstanburgh Castle are two such examples, along with the 12th century ruin of Lindisfarne Priory. This was built by Monks who first came to the island of Lindisfarne in 635. Its limited access, by a causeway at low tide, only adds to the atmospheric intrigue of this breathtaking place.
Other castles, including Bamburgh, have been restored to their former glory. As one of Northumberland’s iconic buildings, it has plenty of history and fascinating exhibits to enthrall the visitor, not to mention stunning views.
For nature lovers, the coastline has plenty to offer, as you might expect from a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Waders, geese and ducks enjoy rich feeding on mudflats while the Farne Islands, situated off the coast near Seahouses, has been declared by Sir David Attenborough as his favourite place to see nature at its best in the UK. Around 23 different species of birds can be spotted here, plus the largest breeding colony of seals in England with around 1,000 pups born each autumn.
In addition to its magnificent coastline, there are many gardens and estates to visit inland too, plus the UK’s least populated National Park. With clean air, water and the darkest skies for miles around it is a stargazers paradise if nothing else.
The endless sandy beaches, mosaic of picture perfect countryside, plus its friendly, charming towns make Northumberland a truly tranquil getaway.
Further south is the exciting coastal city of Sunderland, where more sandy beaches and green spaces sit aside cultural offerings such as the National Glass Centre and Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.
Not too many miles away you’ll find Newcastle and Gateshead, perched on the banks of the River Tyne and linked by seven bridges, including the famous Gateshead Millennium Bridge with its unique tilting aperture.
The cosmopolitan city of Newcastle sits to the north of the river, bursting with culture, award-winning dining, heritage, shopping and acclaimed architecture.