Explore the beautiful Northumbria region in north-east England – Northumberland, parts of County Durham, and a brief foray in Scotland, for 8 days. It’s not all Romans, ruins and windswept islands – there are grand houses, gastro pubs and quirky shops. The tour will be based at just two luxury hotels and includes visits to Alnwick Castle & Gardens, Bamburgh Castle, Hadrian’s Wall, the stunning Northumberland coast, Lindisfarne, and the wonderful towns of Corbridge and Hexham. It’s a large region, wild in parts, with lots of space. There are fewer cars and the roads offer maximum enjoyments as beautiful scenery unfolds in every direction.
May be subject to change.
Day 2 119 miles
Enjoy a circular tour crossing Hadrian’s Wall and heading north to Bellingham and Otterburn, and then crossing the border into Scotland and visiting the lovely town of Jedburgh with it’s ruined abbey. This makes a great place for lunch and you can also visit Mary, Queen of Scots House or the jail. Return to England through Kielder Forest and past Kielder Water. Return to the hotel.
Day 3 70 miles
A lovely drive today that also encompasses the very best of Hadrian’s Wall. Start with a drive to Alston, along one of the country’s most scenic roads, before heading north, just into Cumbria, and Lanercost Priory. Then work your way east, along Hadrian’s Wall, visiting the forts and sites at Birdoswald, Vindolanda, Housesteads and Chesters – all of which have really excellent displays to see just how Roman life was in this area from the 1st to 3rd centuries AD. Return to the hotel.
Day 4 89 miles
Discover south Northumberland and Co. Durham with a drive through Allendale and the pretty villages of Allendale Town and Allenheads. Traverse Weardale and then drive along Teesdale, visiting the lead mining museum and High Force waterfall on the way. Drive north over stunning open moorland to the lovely village of Blanchland and then onto Hexham – a perfect spot for a wander and perhaps dinner.
Day 5 73 miles
Leave Langley Castle and drive north-east to the lovely Wallington House and Gardens, followed by a visit to Belsay Hall and Gardens – both well worth a visit and a stroll around the wonderful gardens. Continue north to Alnwick and on to the next hotel – a lovely country house hotel set in manicured parkland.
Day 6 69 miles
Head to Rothbury and Cragside, the former home of Victorian industrialist and inventor, Lord Armstrong. Cragside has many firsts, including being the first house in the world to be lit by electricity. The 100-room house and its 40 acre grounds and gardens are really worth the visit. Drive to the coast at Amble and then pass Warkworth Castle.
Day 7 76 miles
Head out to the coast and visit the impressive Bamburgh Castle. The little village of Bamburgh also makes a lovely coffee stop. Continue onto Holy Island or Lindisfarne, reached by a tidal causeway. Here you can see the ruined priory and Lindisfarne Castle. Drive on to the border town of Berwick upon Tweed. Then visit the estates at Ford and Etal before visiting the gardens at Mindrum. Return to the hotel via the town of Wooler and Chillingham Castle, famed for its wild cattle. Chillingham Castle is also well worth a visit – the antithesis of any National Trust property!
Day 8 28 miles
Drive to Alnwick and spend the day exploring the fabulous Alnwick Castle and the truly stunning gardens. The town itself is also lovely, and any fan of books should make a bee-line for Barter Books in the former station – what a gem! Then drive to the coast at Alnmouth and wind your way back to the hotel.
Depart for home after breakfast. For those heading south a visit to Beamish Museum, near Durham, is a superb visit and time-travel back a century.
The tour will stay at just two hotels – with four nights in each. The first hotel is a magnificent 14th century castle, set in 12 acres of woodland gardens. This beautiful hotel is also renowned for its excellent restaurant. Most rooms will be in the grounds of the castle (just 80m away with a lovely view of the castle), but it’s possible to upgrade to rooms within the castle, but all are very luxurious. The second hotel is a country house estate with spa, near Bamburgh and the coast. Rooms are lavishly furnished with a high level of luxury, and the food is of excellent quality.
- Tour book – includes a brief history of the region, the hotels, route maps and comprehensive directions, and a detailed account of everything there is to do, see and visit each day.