Location Local Area, Things To Do
Ideally located in between Alnwick and Morpeth, Eshott Hall is a convenient base from which to explore ‘Gods own county’ of Northumberland. Discover the majestic Northumberland Coastal Path, unrivalled for its rugged beauty, the picture-perfect backdrop of mighty fortresses dotted along the shoreline and its nature-spotting opportunities. Get up close to puffins and grey seals on the Farne Islands or discover the gruesome history behind many of the area’s iconic castles. Immerse yourself in a horticultural heaven at the many phenomenal gardens at Alnwick, Howick, Belsay Hall and Capability Brown’s birthplace, Kirkharle. After all this, you’ll deserve a rest – it’s a good job that we have that covered!
Here’s our list of places to visit.
Probably Britain’s most iconic castle and the film set for Harry Potter and Downton Abbey, Alnwick Castle is a hugely popular destination that offers something for everyone. Children and adults alike will enjoy the challenge of the Dragon’s Quest and broomstick training as well as discovering the State Rooms and collections of fine art housed within this imposing fortress. The castle is closed to the general public during the winter months and we advise checking their website for opening times.
The Alnwick Garden
Just across the road from the castle, the Duchess of Northumberland’s vision for a forgotten plot is now a one of the most visited gardens in the country. A joy for all the senses, designed for all seasons the gardens boast a collection of over 4,000 plants, thousands of seasonal blooms and many opportunities to get wet and play in The Garden’s water sculptures.
This mighty castle dominates the Northumberland shoreline where it stands 150 feet above the sea. The film set for many blockbusters, Bamburgh Castle is full of myth, legend and over 1,400 years of history to explore. The castle is open to the public. Visit the fine state rooms, art gallery and 12th century keep which is the oldest surviving part of the castle.
Standing in the Rothbury hills, you’ll find the sprawling Cragside Estate, original family home of Lord Armstrong, Victorian inventor and industrialist, and the birth-place of green energy. The first building to be lit by hydroelectricity is now a National Trust property offering a truly awe-inspiring day out for the whole family. Aside from the main house itself, there are over 30 miles of paths, play areas and a magnificent display of rhododendrons and azaleas.
Few places compare with the seven mile-stretch of beach that runs from Amble in the north to Cresswell in the south where the Northumberland Coast Path starts. Enjoy the fabulous beach, sand dunes and rock pools as well as the nature reserves where you’ll spot a myriad of migrating birds. The area is popular for walkers, horse riders and cyclists as well as those trying their hand at water sports.
Home to colonies of puffins, terns, razorbills, kittiwakes, shags and guillemots, and Sir David Attenborough’s favourite place to ‘see nature at its best’, the Farne Islands are a birder’s paradise. The islands also have the largest breeding colony of grey seals in England and you’ll often see them hauled up on the rocks or bobbing in the sea. Take a boat from Seahouses between Spring and Autumn for the best sightings.
The Northumberland International Dark Sky Park in which Kielder Observatory sits is officially the best place in England to enjoy the stars. Head to Kielder for one of their hugely popular (advanced booking essential) star gazing evenings to see the skies as you’ve never seen them before.
Lindisfarne Island (Holy Island)
Just a few miles off the Northumberland coast, Lindisfarne Island is a must-see destination. Although cut off twice a day from the rest of world by fast-moving tides, you can drive, walk or cycle over the causeway to Holy Island (after checking the safe crossing times). The epicentre of Christianity in Anglo Saxon times, the Lindisfarne Priory, is one of the region’s most revered treasures and the island remains a place of pilgrimage today. Visit Lindisfarne Castle, spend time in the Lindisfarne museum and potter around the pretty village. The island status protects tidal mudflats, saltmarshes and dunes which make up the Lindisfarne Nature Reserve, home to rare plants and an exciting array of wildlife. You’ll often see seals hauled up on the sand as well as the abundance of bird species.
Morpeth Bagpipe Museum
Discover the Northumbrian pipes, a very special part of the county’s musical heritage. With a collection of over 150 sets from around the world housed in a stunning medieval Chantry building it’s a wonderful, interactive attraction to entertain the whole family.
Seahouses to Bamburgh Walk
The 3-mile linear walk from Seahouses harbour to the mighty Bamburgh castle is one of the county’s best. Following the coastal path that runs along the beach this easy, flat route takes in attractive sand dunes, wildflowers and views to the nearby Farne Islands. Better still, is the sight of Bamburgh Castle, a stunning backdrop for the duration of the walk.
Warkworth Castle and Hermitage
This magnificent Northumberland fortress crowns the hilltop above the River Coquet. From the almost intact 600-year old keep to the lavish gold-patterned leather-lined walls of the Dukes Room there’s plenty to keep you occupied, if you’ll excuse the pun. Walk half a mile up river to find the Hermitage, a religious building carved out of the rock, and return by boat to the castle. The castle and hermitage are closed for part of the year; please check their website for details.