It’s the most northerly part of England, comprising of Northumberland and Durham, Tyne and Wear, and the Tees Valley. Bordered to the west by the Pennines, and the east by the sea, Northumbria is one of the few English regions with huge expanses of untouched countryside.
Northumbria is perhaps most famous for its castles and broad golden beaches, but the countryside is just as breathtaking. Big hills in the Cheviots and the Pennines give way to open moorland and green farming country. Dozens of historic villages are sprinkled across the region, with hundreds of attractive and comfortable places to stay. Protected areas like the North York Moors and the Northumberland National Park; the Kielder Water and Forest Park and the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty mean that the landscape is still largely unspoilt.
And in direct contrast, the large towns and cities of Northumbria offer every excitement, you can find out more in our things to do in Newcastle guide. If you’re interested in history, medieval Durham is unmissable – the Castle and Cathedral form a World Heritage Site. Or if you prefer a faster pace, Newcastle, Darlington, Middlesbrough and Sunderland give you the best choice of shopping and eating out in the North. Cultural life flourishes here – Sunderland has the country’s National Glass Centre; the Angel of the North in Gateshead makes news around the world, and the region’s Millennium celebrations will include building two new major arts venues.
Heroes and Heritage
Northumbria’s famous castles stand as a bold reminder of the region’s remarkable history. The area is alive with a vibrant sense of heritage – the legacy of the Roman Empire; the early steps of English Christianity; medieval border warfare; and the roots of the industrial revolution. There’s something intriguing in every village and around every corner.
The Open Road
Unlike many parts of the country, Northumbria still has quiet roads and walking routes. A real relief after city-living, Northumbria’s open spaces are crossed by the “C2C” Cycle Route, the St Cuthbert’s Way walking trail, the Cleveland Way and the Pennine Way – just a few of the thousands of miles of paths and tracks through beautiful countryside.
And of course, the people of Northumbria are what really make the place tick. You’re absolutely guaranteed a genuine North Country welcome from people who really want to get to know you.
Think of Northumbria
Think of Northumbria and you’re sure to think of dramatic medieval castles such as Alnwick, Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh. However, Northumbria is much more than a treasure chest of Britain’s feudal past. The cradle of Celtic Christianity in England, Northumbria was the home to such revered figures as St Aiden, Venerable Bede and St Cuthbert. And as Christianity flourished, so did Northumbria, producing some of the finest churches, cathedrals and abbeys in the world.
The magnificent Durham Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the last resting place of St Cuthbert and St Bede, and dates back 900 years.
A recent creation is Alnwick Garden. Set within the original 18th century garden, it mixes traditional garden design with strikingly modern ideas and has over 65,000 individual plants. A new addition to the garden is the Treehouse – one of the largest wooden treehouses in the world. click here for further details.
Then there’s the chance to experience a taste of our more recent past. Such as the brilliance of some of our country houses like Wallington Hall, a merchant’s show palace lavishly decorated by Italian craftsmen. Or discover how life used to be at Beamish Museum in Chester le Street, Co. Durham.
From the sweeping golden beaches of the Northumberland Heritage Coast the spectacular Northumberland National Park, through the North Pennines, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, to the award winning East Durham Coast, Northumbria really does have it all.
Just an hour from Newcastle, Teesdale is a rural idyll offering beautiful countryside, walking, cycling, traditional shopping in historical market towns, fine food and local produce. Stay in a fine country house hotel or a family-run centuries old country inn. World class attractions include The Bowes Museum and Raby Castle. Don’t miss High Force, England’s largest waterfall and the Rose and Crown Hotel in Romaldkirk, England’s best pub in a quintessential English village.