2023 is just getting started and it’s the perfect time to hike to that waterfall you’ve always wanted to see, book that stargazing experience you’ve been eyeing up for months, or visit that mind blowing castle everyone’s been talking about. Here is a Northumberland bucket list to get you started and help you plan some new adventures:
Do something whisky
2023 will see the exciting opening of Ad Gefrin, a world class Anglo-Saxon Museum and English whisky distillery in Wooler. Opening in Spring 2023, the distillery will celebrate the unique heritage of Northumberland and you can immerse yourself in the same landscape that shaped ancient royal hospitality. Today, it gives us the finest malting barley and the purest Cheviot water with which Ad Gefrin creates its Single Malt Whisky.
Wish it could be Christmas every day
2023 is an exciting year for Northumberland, as it will also see the opening of Lilidorei, a new magical Christmas village at The Alnwick Garden containing the world’s biggest play structure. The fantasy village development will have a Christmassy feel all-year-round and hold magical creatures like elves and goblins, who are preparing for Christmas throughout the year. With zip wires, slides and climbing walls, it will make for the perfect family day out.
Find Ospreys and eat Canapes
Hiding amongst the vast forest and tranquil waters of Kielder lies one of northern England’s most outstanding conservation success stories; the return of the Osprey. Should the ospreys return to Kielder this year, Wild Intrigue will run a uniquely tailored cruise for the second year running, where your guide will share the history and inspiring story of the Osprey while giving you the best chance to see them for yourselves. All the while, Canapés and prosecco will be served on board this 2.5 hour sunset cruise on Kielder Water.
Go on a safari
Go on an adventure with the special Ingram Valley Farm Safari, a Northumberland experience launched in 2021. Starting at Ingram Bridge car park, the fantastic Patrick from Footsteps in Northumberland and a member of the Wilson family will take you on a journey through time, discovering what has shaped this beautiful valley for over a millennia and beyond. Half way through, you will pause for a picnic provided by Ingram Cafe, complete with fresh, local ingredients.
Get to know a telescope
As well as doing some independent stargazing, you might want a bit of guidance when you’re gazing into the galaxy. Northumberland’s observatories are here to help, offering everything from beginners’ workshops to experienced astronomy events. Kielder Observatory, which sits directly below the International Dark Sky Park, and Battlesteads, the award-winning, sustainable hotel that has its own observatory, are two excellent examples.
Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes
Patrick Norris from Footsteps in Northumberland offers guided walks, including one along The Pilgrim’s Way, where you can follow in the footsteps of 6th century saints across the causeway to Lindisfarne Island. From April to September, hundreds of grey seals gather on the sandbanks, and from October to March thousands of migrating birds fill the bay and make this trip a wildlife lover’s paradise. *Always check safe crossing times for Lindisfarne Island ahead of visiting.
Have your pick of the bunch
Pick your food straight from the forest and onto your plate with a Northern Wilds Wild Food Forage Feast course. Their emphasis on gut health, wellbeing and the benefits of eating fresh, natural produce will make you come away wanting to escape to the wilderness and live on wild mushrooms and berries. On their full day tour, they prepare the day’s harvest in a wild food wagon and turn it into a delicious feast.
Give yourself a push
Get on yer’ bike and freewheel through forests, countryside and coast in Northumberland. We have gentle, circular routes for families, off-road adventures for the experienced cyclists, and scenic routes perfect for sight-seeing by bike. Hire everything while you’re here with our fantastic bike hire services like Pedal Power.
Feel the magic of sleeping in the treetops in one of Northumberland’s awe-inspiring self-catering tree houses. Both Hesleyside Huts and Woodland Chase offer fairytale stays in a mystical woodland setting where you are quite literally immersed in nature, nestled away in the trees.
Discover your roots
Get outside and experience the healing powers of nature in Northumberland. The Alnwick Garden has a short window between the end of April and the beginning of May where their collection of Taihaku cherry blossoms (the largest in the world) blooms. Relax on one of the swinging benches amongst the fluttering blossom trees before heading to Alnwick Castle, whose surroundings become flooded with daffodils in the springtime.