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North East - Northumberland

top 10 places

Top 100 places to visit in north east england

Northumberland and Coast

1. Alnwick Castle and Gardens

Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England after Windsor Castle, and has been home to the Percy family since 1309. The fascinating tour of the interior revels centuries of changing styles and architecture. Alnwick Garden, near the castle is an attraction in its own right. Perhaps the most popular of all is the Treehouse – a network of rope bridges and covered structures integrated into the canopy of deciduous trees and a  popular spot to enjoy a meal from the excellent Garden Café.

2. Bamburgh Castle and Beach

Bamburgh has one of the finest beaches in Northumberland with a vast expanse of golden sands. Perched nearby on a basalt outcrop on the edge of the North Sea is the imposing Bamburgh Castle. A famous local resident is Grace Darling, who along with her father saved many lives from the wreck of the SS Forfarshire in 1838, rowing out in a storm to rescue passengers and crew. Grace is buried at nearby St Aidan's Church and you can learn more about her in the Grace Darling Museum opposite.

3. Holy Island and Lindisfarne Castle

Holy Island, or Lindisfarne is the site of the remains of one of the earliest Christian monasteries Britain, which suffered frequent raids by the Vikings. There is also a romantic 16th-century castle perched atop a rocky crag, which was transformed by the architect Lutyens into an Edwardian holiday home. There is a small community on the island with shops and a pub and fantastic views of Farne Island and Bamburgh Castle can be had on a clear day.

4. Hadrian’s Wall

According to one of Emporer Hadrian's Roman biographers, Hadrian's wall was built to 'separate the Romans from the Barbarians' a feat it achieved for over 250 years. Today, the area between South Shields and Ravenglass is studded with forts, milecastles, temples and turrets. These 2000 year-old remains are brought brilliantly to life by museums, reconstructions and fascinating visitor centres, all with something different. Start your journey at Hexham.

5. Cragside Country House and Gardens

Cragside is an extraordinary Victorian house which was the wonder of its age and Victorian England's most technologically advanced mansion. It was home to the inventor Lord Armstrong, who was known as the "Modern Magician." There's also a fantastic woodland estate with the largest rock garden in Europe, a tricky rhododendron maze and an adventure playground.

6. Kielder Water and Forest Park

Take a stroll through dense forest, literally take your horse to water or hire a bike and explore the mile upon mile of purpose built trails. At Leaplish Waterside Park, waterskiing, sailing, wind-surfing and kite-surfing enthusiasts take to the water year-round, whilst fantastic fishing can be found on the lake or in Kielder's River North Tyne. Alternatively, check out Tower Knowe Visitor Centre and discover Kielder's history, from glaciation to gory Border conflicts with Scottish Reivers.

7. Wallington House and Garden

Wallington House is a magnificent mansion with fine interiors and collections including huge Pre-Raphaelite paintings depicting the history of Northumbria, and the intriguing Cabinet of Curiosities and collection of dolls' houses. It is set in fabulous naturalistic gardens, in the style of 'Capability' Brown, with stone griffin heads on the lawn, and an enchanting hidden garden. This in turn is  set in parkland, surrounded by evocative Northumberland moorland, the 'Border Reiver' territory.

8. Craster Smokehouse

Take a behind the scenes look at the ancient process of curing and discover the fascinaing story of this famous family business in the charming seaside village of Craster. Sample a selection of finest quality Oak Smoked salmon sides and slices, kippers, and specially commissioned recipes from top UK chefs.

9. Seahouses and the Farne Islands

Explore The Farne Islands aboard Motor Vessel 'Glad Tidings' from the lovley seaside town of Seahouses with Billy Shiel M.B.E - whose family boat business was established in 1918. Many visitors say that a boat trip to the Farne Islands is the highlight of their holiday, and there is certainly lots to see if you are a fan of wildlife, inluding seals, terns, puffins and even the occasional whale!

10. Berwick upon Tweed

Berwick-upon-Tweed is the northernmost town in England, located on the east coast of the River Tweed, only two and a half miles south of the Scottish border. The town was fought over from the 11th century and has been English since 1482. Although the town centre is unimpressive, their is some great architecture near the mouth of the river, and it's an excellent place as a base to explore the area from or to stop off at for the afternoon.
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