Before I took off travelling for 6 months on an around the world adventure, it had never crossed my mind to visit Northumberland. It almost seems scandalous to admit that now; that despite being ‘well-travelled,’ I’d barely visited half of the destinations right here on my doorstep. Thankfully, if you’ve read my previous post, Why You Should Take a Short Break in Northumberland, you’ll know that I eventually did visit Northumberland and had an absolutely incredible few days. I honestly can’t recommend this beautiful county in North East England enough.
We packed a lot into our short trip, living life on the wild side and taking part in a Northumberland Bushcraft Experience, before having a few extra days to explore the bustling towns, stunning countryside and breezy coastlines. Based on our own trip, I’ve put together a two or three day itinerary which will allow you to make the most of your time when you too, visit Northumberland.
- 1 How To Get to Northumberland
- 2 Hotels in Northumberland
- 3 Food and Drink in Northumberland
- 4 Visit Northumberland – Day One
- 5 Visit Northumberland – Day Two
- 6 Visit Northumberland – Day Three
How To Get to Northumberland
Transport in Northumberland
I would highly recommend taking a car when you visit Northumberland. Yes, there are various forms of public transport available, but if you want the freedom to explore and to make the most of your time there, driving is the way to go.
In case you don’t have your own car, it’s easy to hire a vehicle to visit Northumberland. Car rental agencies include Budget UK, Affordable Car Hire, Alamo, Sixt, Enjoy Car Hire, Argus, Rental Cars, Zest, Indigo, and Avis.
In and around Northumberland, we found the roads to be in excellent condition. Many of the main roads are the original long, straight roads built by the Romans (don’t worry, they’ve been re-tarmacked a few times since then!) making the drive between towns very easy. Many roads take in the beautiful English countryside and pristine farmlands; even the hedgerows with their bright yellow flowers are pretty! A word of warning however, it’ll probably take you longer to get to your destination as you’ll want to keep stopping to take photographs along the way!
If you do prefer to take public transport, I recommend checking out the detailed guide on the Visit Northumberland website.
Parking in Northumberland
Parking the car was never an issue for us. Northumberland County Council has a system in place whereby you purchase a parking disc from a parking metre for £1, set the dial to the time you leave your car, and as long as you return to your vehicle within 4 hours, parking is free. The disc is completely re-usable too, so you only ever have to pay the £1 once! This system works in most car parks and on-street parking in Alnwick, Hexham, Berwick and Morpeth. Just check the signage, or visit the Northumberland County Council website for more information.
Hotels in Northumberland
I can 100% recommend both of the hotels we stayed in during our trip as they were so comfortable and homely with fantastic service and delicious food.
Hexham: The Beaumont Hotel
We paid £72 for a Friday night stay in this beautiful Victorian townhouse, centrally located right in the centre of Hexham. Breakfast was not included and cost us an extra £15 each for an unlimited continental style buffet (cereals, fruit, pastries, yogurt, juice, cheese etc) plus one hot option from the breakfast menu, made fresh to order.
Chatton: The Percy Arms Hotel
A beautiful 30 minute drive from the town of Alnwick, we paid £111 for a Saturday night stay with breakfast included. As above, breakfast was an unlimited continental style buffet plus one hot option from the breakfast menu which was made fresh to order.
We like to use hotels.com for our hotel bookings. You can earn points towards a free or discounted stay with every booking you make. Making use of our previously earned points meant we enjoyed discounted stays in both hotels during our weekend in Northumberland.
If you’d prefer, there are also plenty of AirB&B options in Northumberland. We’ve stayed in plenty of AirB&Bs all around the world and find they are a great way to meet locals and learn about those hidden gems that get you off the beaten track. Use this link to get £20 off your next AirB&B stay.
Food and Drink in Northumberland
We totally overindulged during our weekend in Northumberland. It wasn’t our fault – the food was just too good! Not to mention the local ales and artisan gin. Below is a list of the places we ate during our stay and I would not hesitate to recommend any of them when you visit Northumberland!
The Beaumont Hotel, Hexham
Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, it’s a fabulous place to come and sit in the relaxed surroundings and watch the world go by outside. They have an extensive selection of gins with paired Fevertree tonics, local ales, wines and refreshing soft drinks. The food here is just delicious, but I would recommend booking a table if you’re coming for an evening meal as this place is very popular!
The Garden Coffee House, Hexham
The Garden Coffee House, 20 Hallgate, Hexham, NE46 1XD | Phone: 01434 606656
Definitely a place to check out if the sun is shining. Bag a table in the little outdoor courtyard filled with French style garden furniture and sip on a hot or cold drink. There’s a lunch menu available and the homemade cakes are a must!
The Treehouse Restaurant, Alnwick
It’s a restaurant inside a treehouse. I mean, how could you NOT want to see this for yourself?! Like something straight out the pages of a fairytale, this place is just phenomenal. The food and drink are pretty good too! Make sure you book ahead for this one.
Barter Books, Alnwick
Grab a coffee or cold drink and a homely snack inside one of the quirkiest and largest second-hand bookshops you’ll ever come across. Housed inside the old Victorian Alnwick Railway station, this is another one of those places that just demands to be seen. Don’t blame me if time runs away with you in here and you end up spending far longer than you intended browsing the thousands of books on display.
The Percy Arms Hotel, Chatton
Open for lunch and dinner (and breakfast for those staying at the hotel). Enjoy some proper pub grub washed down with a local ale. Retaining many of the original features, this 1900s style village pub is a comfortable, relaxed and welcoming place to spend a few hours.
Visit Northumberland – Day One
This is a ‘Go Go Go!’ day even by our standards. You might find you want to leave something out of the Day One itinerary when you visit Northumberland to give yourself some time to relax!
|10:00||Arrive early at Housesteads Fort and split your time between some interactive learning in the museum, exploring the ruins, and walking a section of the famous Hadrian’s Wall.|
|12:00||Drive to Hexham (around 30 minutes by car) and go for lunch in The Garden Café|
|13:30||Explore the beautiful Hexham Abbey. Ask a volunteer to let you into the ancient crypt. You may also want to join a free tour of the abbey|
|14:15||Visit Hexham Gaol. We didn’t manage to get here but it’s something I would like to do on a future visit.|
|16:15||Meander around the winding streets of Hexham, browse the local art galleries and buy some local crafts.|
|17:30||Retreat back to your hotel for a rest (we recommend The Beaumont Hotel) and get ready for dinner.|
|19:00||Dinner and drinks in The Beaumont Hotel|
Visit Northumberland – Day Two
|08:30||Breakfast at The Beaumont Hotel|
|09:15||Drive to Alnwick (around one hour by car)|
|10:30||Lose track of time in Barter Books|
|11:30||Make your way to Alnwick Castle. Spend the day learning about the history of this fantastic building and its use as a film location. You can even try your hand at broomstick flying!|
|15:30||Browse the shops in Alnwick Town before heading to The Treehouse Restaurant for an early dinner in a fairy-tale setting.|
|17:30||If you're following the 2 day itinerary, it's time to make your way home now. Safe travels!|
|If you're following the 3 day itinerary, you can start to make your way to Chatton (around 30 minutes by car) and check into the Percy Arms Hotel.|
|18:00||Spend the evening relaxing in your beautiful room or sitting in the bar area, enjoying local ales or a gin and tonic.|
Visit Northumberland – Day Three
|09:00||Breakfast at the Percy Arms Hotel|
|10:00||Relax in the hotel until check out time, or ask the friendly staff to point you in the direction of a short local walk to work off that breakfast!|
|12:00||Visit Chillingham Castle (5 minute drive) – Britain’s most haunted castle. This is not something we did, but we would love to go on our next visit.|
|15:00||Off to the seaside! Drive to Bamburgh Beach (around 30 minutes by car) – the place where the world’s first ever lifeboat was built and tested. Take a walk along the expansive sands, and lose count of how many photos you take of the amazing Bamburgh Castle, sitting proudly atop the rocks overlooking the beach.|
|17:00||Take those last few photos; it's time to start your journey home. Safe travels!|
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Have you been to Northumberland? What did you get up to? Let me know in the comments!