Discover Northumberland’s hidden gems with our list of lesser-known
attractions and secret spots. We’ve covered everything from hidden castle
ruins to barely discovered beaches:
1) FORD AND ETAL
One of Northumberland’s best kept secrets, this working estate has
fascinating historical sites such as lesser-known Etal Castle, Lady Waterford
Hall and Heatherslaw Corn Mill. Based in the valley of the River Till, its striking
countryside setting makes for picturesque viewpoints and fantastic walking
routes. To top it all off, you can hop on board the steam train at Heatherslaw
Light Railway to travel between Heatherslaw Station and Etal Station,
something which kids are guaranteed to love.
2) DUDDO FIVE STONES
Duddo Five Stones is a stone circle made up of five, 4000 year old stones
that sit in rural countryside, accessible only via a 1km walk through fields.
Their remoteness adds to their mystery and their striking setting adds to their
beauty, as they stand with incredible views of the Cheviot Hills to their south
and impressive vista towards the Scottish border, which is only six kilometres
away. The site is a ten minute drive away from Ford and Etal, so the two
attractions are great to do in the same day.
Tucked away on the outskirts of Wooler, Chillingham holds some fascinating
attractions. The first is Chillingham Castle, Britain’s most haunted castle, with
the highest recorded levels of paranormal activity in Britain. If you’re brave
enough, you can meet the ghosts for yourself on a nighttime ghost tour, but
if ghouls don’t get you going and you can’t handle the haunt, a daytime visit
allows you to appreciate the medieval architecture and beautiful gardens. Pair
your visit with a trip to see Chillingham Wild Cattle, the remarkable survivors
of the ancient cattle that once roamed Britain’s forests.
4) WALLTOWN COUNTRY PARK
Hadrian’s Wall attracts tourists from across the globe, but this unmissable site
is a whopping 73 miles long, leaving plenty room for lesser-known spots in
its midst. Discover the irresistibly peaceful spot of Walltown Country Park,
a site that used to be a working quarry until 1976 when it was filled in and
landscaped. You can relax and admire the wildlife here, enjoy a coffee from
the visitor centre and use the spot as a base to discover some staggering
viewpoints along Hadrian’s Wall.
Northumberland’s coastline is undoubtedly one of its major draws for a
holiday, but you may not have heard of Hauxley, a hidden beauty spot on the
Northumberland coast. The area is home to stunning, peaceful Low Hauxley
beach and one of the best wildlife watching spots in the North East, Hauxley
Wildlife Discovery Centre. Looking out over Hauxley Nature Reserve, which
attracts a myriad of birds as well as red squirrels and tree sparrows. Enjoy
the walks and nature trails, the tranquil nature hides and a delicious snack or
beverage in The Lookout Cafe which offers staggering views over the lake.
6) SEATON DELAVAL HALL
There are a number of stunning stately homes in Northumberland and one
that is slightly lesser-known is Seaton Delaval Hall, based near the lovely
coastal village of Seaton Sluice. Seaton Delaval Hall has just had a £7.4 million
renovation and the results are spectacular, including the restoration of
stunning cantilevered staircases and addition of playful interpretations that
tell the story of the house. From history-lovers who are fascinated by the hall’s
background, to anyone looking for a peaceful and picturesque picnic spot,
this is the perfect place.
Another lesser-visited spot on the Northumberland coastline is Howick, a
tiny, picturesque village nestled between Craster and Boulmer. A hidden
cove, Rumbling Kern, is one of Howick’s highlights and is revealed at low
tide, with its rocky landscape and tidal pools offering a great family day out
rockpooling and discovering the sealife. Venture slightly further inland to
visit Howick Hall Gardens and Arboretum, another of Northumberland’s
more secret attractions. This site is the home of Earl Grey Tea, as Charles 2nd
Earl Grey lived here and had his namesake tea specially blended for him by
a Chinese Mandarin.
8) HARESHAW LINN
Northumberland is home to many fantastic waterfalls and Hareshaw Linn
based in Northumberland National Park is one of them. Although it is a
quiet spot, it can be easily accessed from the village of Bellingham if you
know what you’re looking for. Head to the car park in Bellingham where
you will find the well sign-posted, picturesque, woodland footpath to spot
where breathtaking Hareshaw Linn waterfall awaits. *This route may have
been affected by Storm Arwen so please check ahead on Northumberland
National Park’s website before visiting.
9) WARKWORTH HERMITAGE
You may have already heard of Warkworth Castle, but did you know
that Warkworth is home to a secret medieval hermitage that can only be
accessed by rowing boat? Simply book a ticket to the Hermitage on arrival
at Warkworth Castle, walk half a mile up the serene River Coquet, and hop
on the rowing boat that is rowed back and forth by a member of staff so
that visitors can admire this mysterious spot. When you get there, you will
see the religious site that is carved out of rock and was probably built as a
private chapel for the first Earl of Northumberland.
10) CHESTERS ROMAN FORT
One of the quieter forts along Hadrian’s Wall is Chesters Roman Fort. The
cavalry fort, known to the Romans as Cilurnum, was built in about AD 124
and holds some of the best collections of inscriptions and sculpture on
Hadrian’s Wall. There is a collection of famous finds and some lesser-known
artefacts, including delicate glass work and intriguing graffiti. Before you
head home, go and see Brocolitia Roman Temple, the remains of a temple
which was dedicated to the mysterious deity Mithras.
Now you are fuelled with fresh ideas for a day out in Northumberland, go
out and explore the hidden corners of this amazing county.