From castles and Roman world heritage sites to vibrant cities, the North-East of England offers world-class and unique attractions. Below are some of the highlights, but the region is so compact that they are all close to Felmoor Park. Northumberland has a vast array of activities to enjoy including excellent golf courses such as the championship course at Burgham Park, horse riding, cycling, walking or shopping at one of Europe largest shopping centres, the Metrocentre. You will find it difficult to find time to fit them all in. And all within easy reach of Felmoor Park!
The beautiful market town of Alnwick has two world-class attractions. You might recognise Alnwick Castle from the Harry Potter films and magical mystery tours will show you where Harry learned to fly. Alnwick is Britain’s second largest inhabited castle after the Queen’s home at Windsor and the castle owns one of Europe’s finest collections of Renaissance art. A five-minute stroll from the castle through the rolling countryside will bring you to the Alnwick Garden. The garden is famous for its treehouse restaurant which is the largest in the world but also has Britain’s largest fountain and wonderful themed gardens to explore.
The Northumberland Coast
Northumberland has one of the most beautiful coastlines in England and has nearly eighty miles to explore. Enhancing its long sandy beaches are a string of historic castles, traditional pubs and excellent restaurants serving local cuisine such as the famous Craster kippers. One of the most dramatic castles is Bamburgh Castle (pictured) which is a spectacular piece of architecture overlooking Bamburgh’s stunning beach.
At low tide, drive to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, cut off from England twice daily by the sea. With only 150 inhabitants it’s a relaxing place to visit – try a glass of traditional Lindisfarne Mead while you’re there. A short drive inland lies the typically English villages of Ford and Etal, with their craft shops, miniature railway and thatched cottages. Etal Castle is a must for anyone interested in the English-Scottish border warfare that lasted hundreds of years.
Newcastle Upon Tyne
The Quayside joining Newcastle and Gateshead is a must – take a river cruise to see the famous seven bridges and the Gateshead Millennium Bridge will open like a giant eyelid to let you pass. Key attractions include the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and The Sage Gateshead – a world-class concert hall. Newcastle’s old Georgian quarter offers shopping, restaurants and more galleries and museums.
Make sure you pay a visit to the Ouseburn art and music district – it boasts superb live music venues and pubs such as The Cluny, The Cumberland Arms and The Tyne Bar serving award-winning food and a range of local and international ales, lagers and ciders. The live music, craft markets and art exhibitions are as brilliant as they are eclectic!
In the heart of Grainger Town is Earl Grey’s monument, commemorating the ex-Prime Minister and local resident that the famous tea was named after. Taste the perfect cup at Blackfriars, Britain’s oldest restaurant, housed in a former 13th-century monastery part-destroyed by Henry VIII.
To discover the natural beauty of North East England head along the 2000-year-old Hadrian’s Wall. This 73-mile-long World Heritage site has twenty-five Roman forts and museums to visit. Two of the best are Housesteads and Vindolanda. Both have museums and, during the summer, Vindolanda has archaeological digs which visitors can take part in. If you feel like being more active there are a number of excellent cycle routes and if you want a really long walk you can go the whole length of the Wall on the National Trail Path – taking an average of six days to complete in full!
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne
In 635AD St. Aidan came from Iona and chose to found his monastery on Lindisfarne. The Christian message flourished here and spread throughout the world. However, Holy Island is not only a centre of pilgrimage. Its tranquillity, spirituality and scenic beauty attract a multitude of visitors to its shores every year. Undoubtedly, it is the jewel in the crown of Northumbria.
Holy Island is tidal so make sure you don’t get stranded!
Another World Heritage Site is the magnificent 1000-year-old cathedral in Durham City, described by Bill Bryson as ‘the best Cathedral on planet Earth’. Sitting high above the River Wear next to Durham Castle, it is a truly awesome sight.
If you have the energy to climb the 300 steps of the main cathedral tower the views are worth it! A stone’s throw away from the Cathedral is Crook Hall – a medieval manor house whose beautiful, fragrant gardens is the perfect place to relax with a traditional English cream tea. Durham is delightful to wander ’round with its winding cobbled streets, excellent shops, pubs and restaurants.
Winner of the prestigious ‘European Museum of the Year’, Beamish is a massive 300-acre open-air museum that recreates a Victorian town and village with period houses, shops, schools and costumed characters. You can don a hard hat and go down the drift mine and take a ride on the 1825 railway ‘Pockerley Waggonway’ – and the see the recreation of the 1813 steam locomotive, Puffing Billy, in action. It’s quite a sight when it gets up a full head of steam. A full day is needed to explore Beamish in full.
Bordering Yorkshire, Tees Valley shares the official Captain Cook Trail with Whitby as Captain James Cook was born and grew up in the region. Tees Valley was also the birthplace of the railways with the first passenger service running between Stockton and Darlington. See the first train Locomotion No. 1 at Darlington Railway Museum. For more railway heritage, the National Railway Museum in nearby York is also a great place to relive the Age of Steam. York also boasts a treasure house of 800 years of stained glass at York Minister and an impressive Roman and Viking heritage.