Six Places To Visit In Northumberland in Your ‘Van

It’s a land of wide-open spaces. It’s also one of the most sparsely populated counties in the country with lots of rural land. That’ll give you all the peace you could want as you unwind and relax to enjoy mile after sandy mile of windswept beaches, forests, moorland, or rolling hillsides.

If that’s already whetted your appetite, let’s take a look at some of the places to visit in your touring caravan:

1. Bamburgh Castle

  • whether or not you’re a history buff, castles – even those in ruins – exert a magnetic attraction and you’ll be pleased to know that Northumberland has more than 70 such sites;
  • one of the most stunning is the medieval Bamburgh Castle on the coast, with distant views of Lindisfarne and the Farne Islands;
  • but that’s not all, with the historic castle providing a majestic backdrop to a glorious sandy beach, Bamburgh has been voted the best seaside destination in the whole of the UK, according to a story in the Guardian newspaper on the 30th of April 2022;

2. Dark Sky Park

  • two vast, independent areas of national parkland – Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water & Forest Park – spread over almost nearly 1,500 square km of publicly owned countryside;
  • it hosts the largest designated site in Europe – awarded gold status by the International Dark Sky Association – where light pollution is minimised to protect the purity of the night skies in what is one of the darkest parts of the British Isles;
  • in daylight hours, you can explore the equally vast Kielder Water and Forest Park which is home to another first, the most extensive manmade woodland and reservoir in northern Europe;

3. Hadrian’s Wall

  • bordering the glowering skies of that vast wilderness of moor and forest is one of Britain’s most icon national monuments and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site – Hadrian’s Wall;
  • also known as the Roman Wall, the surprisingly intact ruins stretch some 73 miles coast to coast, with the remains of countless forts, towers, turrets, and towns that once bordered the wall still visible;
  • when it comes to choosing particular highlights, you can take your pick from among many sites along the course of the wall – one of the most stunning settings on a high Northumbrian escarpment near present-day Haydon Bridge is Housesteads Roman Fort where you can still wander its barracks blocks and hospital;

4. Saddle up

  • there are numerous riding schools and stables where you can hire the necessary gear and that can provide teachers, guides, routes, and horses – so you can get an entirely different view of Northumberland from the saddle;

5. Howick Hall Gardens

  • for all its desolate moorlands and defences against marauding Picts, Northumberland has its softer side too – and how better to take your relaxation than over that most English of beverages, a cup of Earl Grey tea;
  • in the early part of the nineteenth century, Howick Hall was the home of the 2nd Earl Grey for whom the renowned beverage was first blended;
  • once voted Garden of the Year and also listed in the top five of Britain’s coastal gardens by the BBC programme Gardener’s World, Howick Hall Gardens begin every new year with a snowdrop festival in February;

6. Farne Islands

  • a short boat trip from the coastal town of Seahouses, the Farne Islands are any birdwatcher’s or naturalist’s idea of heaven;
  • there are sea birds aplenty – the comical puffin a special attraction – while dolphins play in the open water and seals laze about on the rocks.

Northumberland offers many treasures. Maybe it’s time you hitched up your ‘van and made for the wide-open spaces of this most northerly county of England.