From its stunning coastline to its regent castles and rich history, Northumberland is home to some of the UK’s best hidden gems. Ranking in CEWE’s top ten counties for beautiful beaches, it’s little wonder one in three Brits are keen to holiday at home in rugged Northumberland.
We recently conducted some research to find out what your favourite staycation is as part of our Best of Britain campaign, with Northumberland proving very popular!
Northumberland is the northernmost county in North East England. It borders Cumbria to the west, County Durham and Tyne and Wear to the south and the Scottish Borders to the north. If you’re looking to avoid the hustle and bustle of a city staycation, Northumberland offers a delicate balance between slowing down and relaxing with lots to see and do.
Wildlife in Northumberland
The beautiful countryside of Northumberland is home to a whole host of equally as beautiful wildlife, from birds to wildflowers. To capture the never-ending possibilities that nature presents, Northumberland has plenty of parks and nature areas for you to explore through the lens of your camera. We’d recommend spending an afternoon at Bolam Lake Country Park, Plessey Woods Country Park or Linhope Spout.
For something a little out of the ordinary, head to Falconry Days, a Bird of Prey Centre that is home to over 75 birds of prey from around the world. Take a guided tour then try your hand at an owl encounter! If birds aren’t quite what you were after, how does an afternoon with Alpacas sound? Ferny Rigg Alpacas will allow you to walk an Alpaca in the Upper North Tyne Valley situated in the Northumberland National Park. Take in the beautiful countryside while sharing the journey with your very own furry friend. Remember to book in advance to avoid missing out!
If your to-do list is getting longer and you want to make sure that you don’t miss a single photo opportunity, embark on a walking or activity holiday that focuses on Wildlife Photography in Northumberland. Just think of the impressive shots you could create as you enjoy your surroundings.
According to Northumberland Coast, it is one of the most important areas in Europe for the Atlantic grey seal and they can be seen at any time of the year. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a Dolphin or Whale as they are increasingly spotted off the Northumberland Coast. The best place to see seals, however, is the offshore islands or the Heugh at Holy Island. Here, they pull themselves onto the rocks to rest which allows you to view them in all their glory. Make sure your camera is poised and ready to go!
Places of Interest
Northumberland ranked as one of the most photogenic locations in the UK, with Bambrough Beach topping the chart as one of the top ten most photogenic places, whilst Lindisfarne ranked in the UK’s top 20 landmarks. Northumbrians live in fishing ports, distinguished market towns and far-flung hamlets in the deep valleys of the Northumberland National Park, so there’s lots to photograph everywhere around you.
Northumberland also ranked in the UK’s top 10 counties with the best beaches in the UK (12%) so it only seems natural to visit one.
Bamburgh Beach is known for its beautiful scenery and the stunning view of Bamburgh Castle looking majestically over the unfolding beach in front of it.
Described as a castle (that’s not a castle), on an island (that’s not an island) Lindisfarne Castle is one to discover and photograph. Aside from the breath-taking views, there is plenty of space to picnic, run around with the dog and enjoy some good old-fashioned family time. With daily activities for the children, (such as 50 Things to do before you’re 11 and ¾ – like skim a stone, go birdwatching and fly a kite!) you can take some time out to enjoy the Gertrude Jekyll garden in full bloom.
Alnwick Castle is the epitome of a family day out. Often cited as ‘one of Britain’s most iconic castles,’ it is more than just a photo opportunity (although a shot from the castle green will reward you with a stunning view!) With events such as The Joust of the North to the Outdoor Cinema, you may find yourself exploring for hours and hours…
What to do While You’re There
Stargazing in Northumberland Dark Sky Park
Did you know that Northumberland is a hot spot for star gazing?
Stargazing in Northumberland Dark Sky Park allows you to experience the largest expanse of protected dark skies in the UK. Covering an area of 572 square miles, 96% of the park benefits from the lowest levels of light pollution. Northumberland Dark Sky Park is home to the darkest locations in England and, because of this, you can clearly see the Milky Way on clear moonless nights. If you’re interested in gazing at the beautiful night sky, there is a range of stargazing-friendly accommodation for you to make yourself comfortable too.
To capture the Milky Way on camera, the trick is to capture as much light as possible. You’ll want to start by using the highest ISO setting that your camera will allow without creating excessive noise. This is because most of the colour and light of the Milky Way isn’t seen by the human eye, so you often need longer shutter speeds, a wider aperture, and a higher ISO to capture the intricate colour and detail.
Kielder Water & Forest Park
For 25 years, Kielder Water & Forest Park has been home to a unique collection of visual art and architecture. To complement the scale and complexity of such a beautiful environment, artists have created incredible pieces that sit within the forest for you to find and enjoy. Many people visit the park for this open-air art experience, located at sites around the lake, in the forest, and within Northumberland National Park. Close to Hadrian’s Wall, an afternoon here will provide you with plenty of opportunities to take some unique and fascinating shots to add to your CEWE PHOTOBOOK.
Inspired by Northumberland
Speaking of our beloved CEWE PHOTOBOOK, make sure you preserve your favourite staycation photos with your very own personalised book of memories. Don’t let your creativity sit on your memory card or in your camera roll! Whether you’re a design pro or a first-timer, our award-winning software can help you create a beautiful keepsake featuring your favourite photos in no time at all.
Best of Britain Competition
Don’t forget, our Best of Britain competition is still running and you could win a staycation just by submitting your own British holiday snaps. Find out more here, and happy travelling!