The Northumberland Coast with its wealth of castles and deserted beaches can be reached in just over half an hour or more by the scenic coastal route making this an easy day trip – Alnwick, Bamburgh, Warkworth castles are all worthy of day trips along with mackerel fishing off Craster and puffin spotting off the Farne Islands. Or if you’re a mad Harry Potter fan then a trip to Alnwick Castle and Gardens needs to be top on your list.
Our hidden secrets: The Ship Inn at Newton by the Sea, The Old School House Gallery in Alnmouth, Barter Books in Alnwick, and take a peek in the smokehouses at Seahouses and Craster.
Sea fishing trips set out from Craster from April to October at a cost of £20. Catch may include cod, ling and mackerel. Matty – Unity Fishing 01665721706
Canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing and coasteering
Farne Island boat trips
01665 720 308 www.farne-islands.com
Hire a beach hut for the day at Amble
For history enthusiasts the real jewel in the crown is Hadrian’s Wall which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and just 15 minutes away, with numerous Roman sites of Vindolanda, Housesteads Fort, Corstopitum. There is fabulous circular walks including Sycamore Gap and Housesteads to Steel Rigg with views the Cheviot hills in the distance. If you’re a keen cyclist then challenge yourself to the Hadrian’s Cycleway which offers incredible scenery through its entire length. You can ride smaller sections at a relaxed pace rather than the 174 miles in one slog. If you need to recharge your batteries stop at The Sill’s Once Brewed cafe for a light lunch or The Twice Brewed Inn next door have their own Brew House.
Pretend to be Tarzan for the day and enjoy a trip to ‘Go Ape’ to swing through the trees and experience some exhilarating super speedy zip wires!
They also offer a brand new axe throwing activity.
01603 895500 www.goape.co.uk/locations/matfen
Wheelbirks Ice Cream Parlour
With stunning views over Northumberland made even better with a few scoops of their luscious ice cream, which comes from the oldest herd of pedigree Jersey cows in Northumberland. On a sunny day you can sit in their old apple orchard.
All Out Adventures
Only a 5 minute journey up the road, All out adventures offers a wealth of outdoor activities that will definitely blow the cobwebs away. Adventures include: Archery, Family and kids quad biking treks, 4×4 off road driving, Segway Safaris, clay pigeon shooting and possibly…axe and knife throwing.
01434 676980 The Pursuits Centre, Slaley Hall Hotel, Hexham NE47 0BX
Derwent Waterside Park
Close by is the Derwent reservoir where you can enjoy a picturesque walk along the north and south shores, they have a nature reserve, a brilliant park, you can learn to fish and take part in water sports such as sailing and windsurfing.
Northumberland’s National Trust
You can enjoy plenty of outdoor adventures in over 13,000 acres at nearby Wallington Hall with gentle woodland strolls to more extensive hikes, or hire a bike and explore the Dragon Cycling Trail, a safe family-friendly route where you may be lucky enough to spot one of the resident red squirrels in the woods. Their stunning gardens can be enjoyed all year round.
Discover the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity at Cragside House and Gardens. Full to the brim of gadgets developed by Victorian inventor, innovator and landscape genius, Lord Armstrong, Cragside is truly a wonder of its age. The adventure playground will be a huge hit with kids, and the gardens here are spectacular especially when the rhododendrons are in full bloom.
Gibside offers a variety of trails wind around the grounds taking you through the walled garden, up to the Column of Liberty and around the ponds and stables. This 18th century garden was designed at the behest of the Bowes family, and once served as the playground to the late Queen Mother. Don’t miss The Orangery built around 1773 and once home to a collection of exotic plants, now makes for a spectacular ruin The 600 acres of woodland are filled with log bridges, a low ropes course and a fabulous play park
Kielder Water and Forest Park, with something for everyone including water sports, cyclists, walkers and artists. Highlights are star gazing at the Kielder Observatory where you can view the outstanding dark skies of the Northumberland National Park and the Architecture trail which includes sculptures, mazes and stunning viewing points.
Barnard Castle is a little further afield but this pretty market town in County Durham is home to many quaint shops and tearooms as well as the spectacular Bowes Museum with its world-class collection of fine and decorative art, stunning rooms and beautiful grounds. You could also tag on a trip to High Force, one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in England, with a drop of 21 metres. You will hear it before you see it.
If you want to go a little further a field a day trip to Edinburgh will take you around a two hour drive or you can get a train from Newcastle. It’s a city which speaks for itself.
If you need a dog sitting service for the day contact Mary Makepeace at Cozy Paws Dog Care which is just a five minute drive up the road.
Cozy Paws Dog Care, Steel, Hexham NE47 0HP