Things to do in
Northumberland

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Our most recommended things to do in Northumberland

Hadrian's Wall & Roman Britain 1-Day Tour from Edinburgh

1. Hadrian's Wall & Roman Britain 1-Day Tour from Edinburgh

On this 1-day tour from Edinburgh you travel south on the old Roman Dere Street that linked the supply ports on the south of England with the ancient city of York, and north past Hadrian’s Wall to the Roman settlements in Central Scotland. Your first stop on this tour will be in the border town of Jedburgh, a historic burgh that lies only 12 miles north of the Scotland-England border. Here you have time to take a short walk through the narrow streets that lead to the remains of the Augustinian Abbey, which has been a great symbol of power during its 900 year history. Continuing south you make a brief stop at scenic Carter Bar on the edge of the Cheviot Hills. This crossing point between Scotland and England runs close to the ancient Roman road and has formed the border between the 2 countries for the past 700 years. The tour continues through the magnificent forests of Northumberland National Park before turning west towards the remains of Hadrian’s Wall. You follow the road taking you along the south side of the wall, stopping at Steel Rigg where you come face-to-face with large sections of the wall’s remains. You have time to walk along the wall and experience the isolation that Roman foot soldiers would have experienced as they guarded their empire from the barbarians to the north. You continue your journey west along the wall towards the village of Lanercost, the western gateway to Hadrian’s Wall. After pausing for lunch you travel a short distance to Birdoswald, one of the best preserved of the 16 Roman forts along the length of Hadrian’s Wall. You have time to explore this fascinating site and further sections of the wall before you turn north for the return journey. Travelling through the Galloway hills, you stop in the Victorian spa town of Moffat before continuing through the Southern Uplands and Scottish Borders, and return to Edinburgh.

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English Heritage: Attractions Pass for Overseas Visitors

2. English Heritage: Attractions Pass for Overseas Visitors

Get a range of benefits with a 9-day or 16-day single or family English Heritage Overseas Visitor Pass, offering free entry to more than 100 stately homes, castles, prehistoric remains and gardens the length and breadth of England. Only available to non-UK residents, the great value pass will save you money even if you only visit 2 or 3 attractions, making a 9-day pass suitable for a weekend break. You can visit as many English Heritage attractions as you like, and come back as many times as you want to. But the more places you visit, the more money you save! Plan your vacation with the help of our overseas visitor Guidebook. The English Heritage website will also help you plan your visit before you travel. Once you have decided which attractions to explore, there is no need to get your money out at every attraction, and no need to keep track of your spending. The monuments bring the story of England to life, and have all been selected for their historic significance. Located in some of the most beautiful settings in England, they include mighty castles, tranquil monastic ruins, pleasant gardens and grand stately homes. Many host special events throughout the year, and your pass also gives you free or reduced price entry. You might even come face-to-face with a knight in shining armor. All sites have reduced opening times during the winter months (October to March). Detailed information available after booking. The full list of places you can access with your pass is as follows: In London: Apsley HouseChiswick HouseEltham Palace and GardensJewel TowerMarble Hill HouseRanger’s House - The Wernher CollectionWellington ArchIn the South East: 1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey & BattlefieldBayham Old AbbeyCarisbrooke CastleDeal CastleDover CastleFort Brockhurst (as part of a pre-booked group)Home of Charles Darwin (Down House)Lullingstone Roman VillaMedieval Merchant’s HouseOsborne HousePevensey CastlePortchester CastleRichborough Roman FortRochester CastleSt Augustine’s AbbeyWalmer Castle & GardensYarmouth CastleIn the South West: Berry Pomeroy CastleChysauster Ancient VillageCleeve AbbeyDartmouth CastleFarleigh Hungerford CastleHailes AbbeyLaunceston CastleMuchelney AbbeyOkehampton CastleOld SarumOld Wardour CastlePendennis CastlePortland CastleRestormel CastleSt Mawes CastleSherborne Old CastleStonehengeTintagel CastleTotnes Castle In the East of England: Audley End House & GardensBerney Arms Windmill (as part of a pre-booked group)Castle Acre PrioryDenny Abbey and the Farmland MuseumGreat Yarmouth Row Houses and Greyfriars’ CloisterGrime’s GravesFramlingham CastleOrford CastleSaxtead Green Post MillTilbury FortWrest Park In the East Midlands: Ashby de la Zouch CastleBolsover CastleHardwick Old HallKirby HallKirby Muxloe CastleLyddington Bede HousePeveril CastleSibsey Trader WindmillLincoln Medieval Bishops’ PalaceRushton Triangular LodgeIn the West Midlands: Boscobel House and the Royal OakBuildwas AbbeyGoodrich CastleHaughmond AbbeyKenilworth Castle and Elizabethan GardenStokesay CastleWenlock PrioryWitley Court and GardensWroxeter Roman CityIn Yorkshire: Aldborough Roman SiteBrodsworth Hall and GardensByland AbbeyClifford's TowerHelmsley CastleKirkham PrioryMiddleham CastleMount Grace PrioryPickering CastleRichmond CastleRievaulx AbbeyRoche AbbeySt Peter's ChurchScarborough CastleThornton Abbey and GatehouseWhitby AbbeyYork Cold War Bunker (pre-booked visits only)In the North West: Beeston Castle and Woodland ParkBrougham CastleCarlisle CastleFurness AbbeyLanercost PrioryStott Park Bobbin MillAt Hadrian's Wall: Birdoswald Roman FortChesters Roman FortCorbridge Roman TownHousesteads Roman FortIn the North East: Aydon CastleBarnard CastleBerwick-Upon-Tweed-BarracksBelsay Hall, Castle and GardensBrinkburn PrioryDunstanburgh CastleEtal CastleLindisfarne PrioryPrudhoe CastleTynemouth Priory and CastleWarkworth Castle

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From Edinburgh: Holy Island, Alnwick Castle & Northumbria

3. From Edinburgh: Holy Island, Alnwick Castle & Northumbria

Take the scenic coastal route south into the Medieval Kingdom of Northumbria in North-East England; visit the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, once the most important centre of religious learning in the British Isles, and explore the medieval market town of Alnwick and its stunning castle - where scenes from ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Downton Abbey’ were filmed. Our first stop is Holy Island, connected to the mainland by a causeway which leads into the quaint island village of Lindisfarne, where there are stunning views of Lindisfarne Castle* (dating back to 1550). Spend time wandering through the ruins of its Priory* where the magnificent Lindisfarne Gospels were produced, sample some of the world-famous Lindisfarne ‘Mead’ brewed by Monks on the island and enjoy the tranquility for which the island is renowned. We continue south passing Bamburgh, ‘Ancient Capital of Northumbria,’ then on to the bustling market town of Alnwick, whose greatest building is the medieval Alnwick Castle*. Enjoy time in the town centre or visit the castle complex where there is something for everyone. Home of the Percy Family for over 700 years, Alnwick Castle is considered one of the finest castles in England and is proudly known as “The Windsor of the North”. Visitors can step into the unexpected in the spectacular Alnwick Garden* with its Grand Cascade fountain and Poison Gardens. The castle grounds were also used in TV series Downton Abbey and the Harry Potter films. In the mid-afternoon we begin the drive north to cross the River Tweed and back into Scotland at the historic border town of Coldstream. If time permits during this journey there may be a stop at Flodden Field, one of the best preserved battlefields in Northern Europe and scene of the infamous battle of 1513, which ended in victory for the English and the death of James IV, King of Scots.

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Newcastle: Castle Entry Ticket

4. Newcastle: Castle Entry Ticket

Discover an imposing Norman fortress in the center of Newcastle upon Tyne, a rugged reminder of northern England's turbulent history. This was no baron's stately home. Newcastle Castle is a grim reminder of royal authority where armies gathered and criminals were imprisoned and executed. It is where the story of Newcastle began and the reason the city got its name. During your visit, enjoy the most commanding views over the city of Newcastle and the River Tyne. See Newcastle's most historic buildings, the Castle Keep and its 13th-century gatehouse the Black Gate, which were once part of a much larger fortress. Marvel at how much of Newcastle Castle has remained intact despite its tumultuous history. Today, you can explore the ancient passageways and chambers where kings walked and villains were imprisoned. Find the marks left by the inhabitants through the ages and learn the fascinating story of the Castle Garth community that grew up around the ruins. The two buildings that remain were cut off from each other by the Victorian railways of the 19th century — an unfortunate side effect of the North East's trailblazing role in the Industrial Revolution. Exhibits guide visitors through the Castle's history over the years: from settlement in Roman times, to medieval stronghold, to use as a modern day museum and everything in between.

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From Edinburg: Viking Coast & Alnwick Castle Day Tour

5. From Edinburg: Viking Coast & Alnwick Castle Day Tour

Follow the sweeping coastline of the North Sea on a scenic drive towards the historic border town of Berwick-on-Tweed. Cross the ancient Scotland/England border into Northumberland and visit Lindisfarne, or Holy Island, a tidal island settled by Irish monks from Scotland circa AD 635. From here the Christian message spread throughout the north of England. In 793 a fierce Viking invasion heralded the beginning of the Viking Age. Take a short walk through an area of outstanding natural beauty to 16th century Lindisfarne Castle, and visit the Priory where the Lindisfarne Gospels were created and enjoy the spectacular views of Bamburgh Castle and the Farne Islands. You may also wish to buy some delicious souvenir Lindisfarne Mead from St Aidan’s Winery. Arrive back at Alnwick Castle at lunchtime after a short drive. This magical place (the 'Windsor of the North') is one of Europe’s finest castles and has been at the center of key historical events – from bloodthirsty battles between the Scots and the English to the intrigues of the Guy Fawkes plot. Alnwick Castle's sumptuous setting and exquisite architecture has famously been used as a film location for ‘Downton Abbey’, 'Harry Potter' (Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry), 'Robin Hood Prince of Thieves', 'Elizabeth' and 'Blackadder'. Enjoy ‘Harry Spotter Tours’ and revisit some of your favorite scenes. Go with costumed guides on a historical and magical tour. Be sure to check the events board on entry to make the most of your time. With fun and interactive activities for children, you'll have 2.5 hours to fully appreciate and enjoy the castle. The tour returns north via the beautiful Border country and, subject to timing, may also visit the East Lothian coast to the south of Edinburgh.

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Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Tour from Edinburgh

6. Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Tour from Edinburgh

Explore the borderlands of Scotland and England during this full-day tour from Edinburgh. Stop at the charming town of Kelso, where you can explore this handsome town and what is thought to be Scotland’s largest market square. You also see the ruins of Kelso Abbey, a reminder of the many ancient conflicts between Scotland and England. Follow the ancient Roman Dere Street that connected Scottish Caledonia with Roman Britannia through the Scottish Borders. Stop at the charming town of Melrose, home to the remains of the Cistercian Abbey and the burial place of the heart of Scottish king Robert the Bruce. Cross the border and travel to thousand-year-old Alnwick Castle, one of the great castles of Northumberland. Originally built to protect the north of England from Scottish Border Reivers and invaders, more recently Alnwick Castle and its perfectly manicured gardens have found fame as one of the settings for the fictional Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter movie series. After around 3 hours at Alnwick, travel north along the stunning Northumberland Coast. You stop on your way back to Edinburgh at one of the beautiful historic villages or castles that pepper the rolling landscapes of Southern Scotland.

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From Edinburgh: Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Day Tour

7. From Edinburgh: Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Day Tour

Your full-day tour begins in Edinburgh and continues further south through the Scottish Borders, where you’ll stop at Melrose Abbey. This is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful ruins in Europe. The heart of Robert the Bruce is said to be buried at the Abbey, which is also the final resting place of a number of other Scottish Kings. From here it's on to England, where you'll have lots of time to explore the tour’s main attraction, Alnwick Castle. Alnwick is the 2nd-largest inhabited castle in England, having been lived in for over 700 years. It’s filled with fascinating things to see and mysteries to uncover. You may recognize it as a location from some of the Harry Potter films.

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Hadrian's Wall: 4-Hour Guided Tour

8. Hadrian's Wall: 4-Hour Guided Tour

Walk along the iconic central section of Hadrian’s Wall, followed by a visit to one of the best-preserved Roman Forts in Britain. Discover the unique stories of the Roman museums and archaeological sites in Northumberland on this 4-hour walking tour. As your guide explains the history of each site, they will also weave in the importance of the surrounding landscape to reveal what makes each place so special. Soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the stunning views across Northumberland National Park and Hadrian’s Wall.

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Hadrian's Wall: Housesteads Roman Fort Entry Ticket

9. Hadrian's Wall: Housesteads Roman Fort Entry Ticket

Visit the historic Housesteads Roman Fort with a pre-booked entrance ticket. Set on an escarpment and flanked by dramatic stretches of Hadrian's Wall, uncover the lives of the self-sufficient soldiers who lived here. Stand on the edge of a formidable empire and take in awe-inspiring 360-degree vantage points. During your tour of the site, imagine what life was like for the 800 soldiers living and working here during the Roman period. Learn about every aspect of their life including clothing, tools, weaponry, religious beliefs, and medicine. See the barracks block, hospital, Commander's House, granaries, and communal toilets. Then, head into the museum to visit the mini-cinema. See the fort brought to life in film with stunning recreations of the original Roman buildings and meet Felix, the character who guides younger visitors around. Next, discover the fascinating collection of Roman finds to give you a snapshot of life, 2000 years ago. See Roman altars, dedication stones, jewellery, tools and weapons, all excavated from the fort. Look out for the impressive winged statue, Victory, a wonderful example of classical sculpture found lying in the landscape around the fort. Finally, take the Housesteads Trail covering some of the most tranquil parts of Northumberland National Park. Run wild in 5 acres, dress-up as a Roman soldier and play a game of 'I spy' on the edge of the Roman Empire.

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Hadrian's Wall: Chesters Roman Fort and Museum Entry Ticket

10. Hadrian's Wall: Chesters Roman Fort and Museum Entry Ticket

Come and see what life was like at one of the Roman Empire's most northern outposts. Chesters Roman Fort is the most complete Roman cavalry fort in Britain. Wander around the unusually well-preserved baths and steam room, and the officers' quarters. Discover an amazing collection of Roman objects and inscriptions in the museum, which were found at the fort and along Hadrian's Wall. Chesters is home to a spectacular Roman bathhouse, a place to relax on Hadrian's Wall for both Roman and modern visitors. The tranquil riverside spa on the banks of the North Tyne consists of a complex of rooms where weary soldiers could take hot, cold, and steam baths. Browse the recently updated Clayton Museum to discover a myriad of Roman artifacts, and find out about the "Savior of the Wall," the Victorian lawyer John Clayton. The museum first opened in 1896 on behalf of the Trustees of the Clayton Collection, and still has many of its original Edwardian display cabinets. Pick up a Chesters Fort takeover trail sheet from the admissions team and set off on a Roman adventure. Take a stroll through history around the fort, the headquarters building and courtyard, hall and regimental shrine. Plus, don't miss the ruins of an elaborate and luxurious commandant's house. Fuel up after your adventure in the Chesters tearooms. Here you will find light lunches made from locally sourced ingredients, sweet treats, and hot and cold drinks. Try a traditional stottie cake for a truly Northumbrian culinary experience.

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What people are saying about Northumberland

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 579 reviews

The weather was really nice when we went, so we had a really good time just wandering the castles and the priory taking pictures and exploring. Also the guide, Andrew T, is very informative, from the history and stories of the places we’re visiting to the things we see on the way to the attractions to the most random facts about Scotland.

We were just a very few people, and Keith guided us. He did a really good job although the weather became very dark. At first we were all a bit uncertain where is the meeting point, and they should send a list before the trip where should we buy the online tickets, just to make us calm.

Our guide was amazing. He is incredibly knowledgeable, therefore able to answer in details all the equations we had. he was also very generous with his time and polite. We would absolutely recommend this tour of Hadrian's wall. Thank you!

Weather was nice. It wasn’t cold, it was wet definitely. My personal experience I would suggest this Specific place if you are not driving. Best time to visit this place is summertime. Definitely I’ll visit this place again.

We had a great day. Andrew J was a fantastic guide.