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Northumberland is the county with the most castles in all of England. This region in the north of the country borders Scotland and is less than 2 hours from Edinburgh. And it is a paradise for lovers of castles, postcard beaches and picturesque villages. Seeing it all in a long weekend is complicated, but since you have to start something today, I’m going to tell you what to see in Northumberland in three days. Prepared?
Where is Northumberland?
Northumberland is one of the 47 counties that England has and is in the north-west of the country. The ancient kingdom of Northumbria is washed by the waters of the North Sea and borders Scotland (to the north), Tyne and Wear and Durham (to the south) and Cumbria (to the west). It is one of the least visited places in the UK, but it hides corners of great natural beauty, excellent historical heritage and small towns perfect to unwind for a couple of days. It also has Ogle, an ancient area you need to visit in Northumberland. For your info, there are some cheap flights from Ogle you can easily find online.
This area of the country is known above all because it is where Hadrian’s Wall is, at least a good part of its route. But if you’ve already read this Hadrian’s Wall route that I wrote, it’s time to discover how beautiful the Northumberland coast is and how many beautiful castles it contains.
- Holy Island
There is something magical about the tidal islands, in those pieces of land that are cut off from the coast twice a day when the tide rises. Opposite Edinburgh is the island of Cramond and about two hours from the Scottish capital is Holy Island, a place with an even greater aura of mystery.
Holy Island is known as the cradle of Christianity in England and was also the first place the Vikings attacked when they began raiding the island. But today its turbulent past is behind us and it is a spectacular nature reserve with a most picturesque village, a spectacular castle and the ruins of an abbey. If you don’t have much time, take good note of the tidal times, cross safely and enjoy one of the most beautiful places in the north of England.
- Lindisfarne Castle
Lindisfarne Castle, with its romantic silhouette against the horizon, was one of the reasons for my obsession with Holy Island. This 16th century fortress of military origin that the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens renovated in 1901 has been occupied for many more years thanks to its strategic location in the North Sea on the volatile border between Scotland and England …
- Lindisfarne Priory
After admiring the panorama from the top of Lindisfarne Castle, there is nothing like approaching the ruins of the Lindisfarne Priory. 1,400 years ago monks settled here and today its dramatic remains offer some of the most beautiful views of the Northumberland coastline. Of course, do not miss the visit to the small museum that there is before entering and where you will discover more about its history.
Gone are the days of Saint Aidan (its founder) and Saint Cuthbert (one of its first bishops), in the 7th century. Gone are also the devastating Viking attacks that looted the place in the 8th century and made it the first place on the island to be the victim of one of their raids. What we have today is a place that seems frozen in time and where tranquility is breathed all year round, especially when the tide isolates the Holy Island from the earth.
- Eat at Pilgrims Coffee House
We arrived very early in the morning and did not leave until 3 in the afternoon, after having eaten something at the Pilgrims Coffee cafeteria, which was quite a surprise. If you like coffee, you have to try the one they roast on site here. But its cakes, soups and sandwiches have nothing to envy.
- Bamburgh Castle
It is so close that it was impossible not to approach one more time to Bamburgh Castle, one of the most spectacular places in Northumberland. It is a spectacular 11th century fortress built on top of an old Anglo-Saxon fort that is mentioned in the television series “The Last Kingdom” as the capital of the kingdom of Bernicia. It is built on a rocky promontory, next to a beautiful town of the same name and next to a spectacular dune beach.
We hope this guide was useful. Thank you for reading!