18 Best Days Out in Northumberland for All the Family

Looking for the greatest days out in Northumberland? Maximise your Northumberland days out with this guide to the best ones in the county. There’s SO much to do there, so let’s break it down!

days out northumberland

Northumberland is in the heart of the Northeast of England and home to beautiful nature, historic towns, and many castles. 

When people describe England as a green and pleasant land, Northumberland epitomises that. If you’re looking to go hiking, shopping, or exploring ancient parts of England – Northumberland has what you want.

If you’re looking for a great day out in Northumberland read on for the best day trips in this historic county.

14 Best Days Out in Northumberland

Here are all the best things to do in Northumberland for a day out.

day out in northumberland

1. Walk a section of Hadrian’s Wall

Hadrian’s Wall isn’t just a staple of British history; it’s a significant statement of world history. This historic wall is the border between England and Scotland and tells a long history of battle, struggle, and unity between the two nations. It runs 73 miles from east coast to west.

days out northumberland

Hadrian’s Wall dates back to 128 AD, and the Romans initially built the wall to protect the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire. The wall is one of England’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the views of the surrounding British countryside are stunning, some of the best in the country. A visit to walk a section of Hadrian’s Wall provides the ultimate day out in Northumberland. Time to lace up those walking shoes!

2. Go and visit Alnwick Castle

When in Northumberland, you have to visit some of England’s finest historic castles. Alnwick Castle is one of the main ones and offers an excellent day out in Northumberland. This castle dates back till the 11th century – and receives over 800,000 visitors from all over the world each year.

days out northumberland

A Norman nobleman called Ivo de Vesci built the castle in the 11 century, and then it was occupied by the British monarchy for many years. Today, the 12th Duke of Northumberland resides in the castle. Due to the historical significance of the castle, it became a grade 1 listed building. Visitors love exploring the architecture, luscious gardens, and fountains – if you’re looking for things to do in Northumberland, Alnwick Castle is a must-see. 

Alnwick Castle is one of the most iconic days out in Northumberland to enjoy.

READ MORE: 10 of the BEST Days Out at Christmas in Northumberland

The Best Northumberland Coastal Walks

3. Explore Dunstanburgh Castle

Dunstanburgh Castle is located on the gorgeous rugged Northumberland coastline and offers excellent views of the endless coast. Earl Thomas built the castle in the 14th century and took advantage of the site’s natural defences on the cliffs. The castle is a superb mixture of heritage and stunning nature – it ranks highly on the list of things to do in Northumberland. 

days out northumberland

Archaeologists believe the castle was initially far bigger than today, but the castle has seen battles throughout the years and since fell into decay. Dunstanburgh Castle played a significant part in the Wars of the Roses where the Yorkist forces twice captured the castle. Visitors love the epic walk to the castle, leading across the windswept coastline, the views of the sea, ruins, and green terrain make it a must-visit attraction. 

One of the best days out in Northumberland for adults to enjoy in quiet.

4. Explore the Farne Islands

The Farne Islands are a group of rocky islands located just off the Northumberland coast. These islands have been a hazard to ships sailing around the area for centuries. Still, they’re majestically beautiful and offer a fascinating insight into some of the most unique seabirds in England. 

day out in northumberland

The islands are home to one of the most prominent grey seal pupping sites in England, and there are more than 2,000 pups born every October and November. Visitors love seeing these beautiful animals and the superb photo opportunities that they bring. Historically these islands have close links to Celtic Christianity, and St Cuthbert lived here during the 7th century. The excellent wildlife and scenery make the Farne Islands one of the best things to do in Northumberland. 

5. Go hiking in the Cheviot Hills

Do you love fantastic hiking scenery?

If so, you’ll adore the Cheviot Hills. Often referred to as the Cheviots, these hills are extraordinary natural wonders just on the border between England and Scotland. Visitors love the history of the Cheviot Hills, with a geological history reaching back 480 million years ago. Go to experience some of the best walks in Northumberland.

northumberland day out

The Cheviot is the highest peak with a total height of 815 metres; it offers spellbinding views of the area. But there are numerous peaks in the area, including Windy Gyle, Hedgehop Hill, and Bloody Bush Edge, each offering their own beauty. Visitors can do anything from hiking, mountain biking, running, sitting around, and having a picnic. These hills remain one of the best Northumberland days out for adults and children.

A great choice for days out in Northumberland with dogs. If you’re going hiking in Northumberland, then you’re definitely going to want to check out these amazing places to stay in Northumberland to stay a bit longer.

6. Visit Seahouses

Seahouses, a quaint fishing village in Northumberland, is a gateway to the Farne Islands, an enchanting archipelago. With its bustling harbour, visitors can embark on boat tours, observing seals, puffins, and a myriad of seabirds in their natural habitats.

The village’s charming streets offer traditional pubs in Northumberland, seafood eateries, and shops selling locally-made crafts. Nestled against the backdrop of Northumberland’s rugged coastline, Seahouses provides a tranquil retreat, with its sandy beaches and stunning sea views, making it a jewel of the northeast. You can read more about the best things to do in Seahouses here.

7. Go out to Holy Island

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is a tidal island situated off the coast of Northumberland. And the focal point of the island is the focus on Christianity. This island has a vast history; many historians track history back to the 6th century AD.

northumberland day out

Visitors love the Lindisfarne Castle, which is built on the top of the island. Initially built in 1550 as a fort to defend the harbour from attacks from the Scots, the castle still stands as impressive today. You can explore the castle and its gorgeous architecture, amazing 360-degree views, and wrap yourself in the history of the castle. The island is an icon of the county – and one of the best things to do in Northumberland!

8. Visit Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh Castle is a grade 1 listed building located on the Northeast Coast of England, which looks over Bamburgh, and offers incredible views of the surrounding area. The history of the castle dates back as far as the 11th century – it remains a fantastic day out in Northumberland.

best castles in england

Visitors love the incredible architecture, which was designed over 1,400 years ago. The castle was home to the monarchy for centuries, with many kings and queens staying there. And it even played a massive part in the War of the Roses, when the castle was home to King Henry VI of Lancaster – after years of standing firm, the castle became the first castle in England to be demolished by gunfire. However, it still stands strong today and remains one of England’s largest inhabited castles. 

Northumberland days out start and end with castles!

Do you love learning about history?
Have a go at our English history quiz and see how high you can score.

9. Hike the North Pennines

If you love hiking in England’s beautiful green countryside, you have to visit the North Pennines. The North Pennines are located in Northumberland and remain some of the most remote parts of the country; you can easily escape the hustle and bustle of life in this beautiful area. A wander around here makes for a fantastic day out in Northumberland.

northumberland activities

The North Pennines are a mixture of incredible waterfalls, moors, and hills, designated as the second largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England. If you love to see unique wildlife, bring your binoculars and come here, because this uncharted wilderness is home to 80% of the UK’s black grouse population. You can also enjoy some fantastic fishing at the Derwent Reservoir – you can see trout that weighs up to 20lbs, that’s a fishing dream!

If you’re looking for free things to do in Northumberland then the Northern Pennines are a great idea.

READ MORE: The Best Days Out from Newcastle

10. Enjoy the scenery of Northumberland Coast AONB

Northumberland’s picturesque coastline is a designated Area of Natural Beauty – and it’s not hard to see why. The coastline is so dramatic and beautiful that it attracts photographers from all over the country. It’s an area of endless beautiful beaches, rugged cliffs, and majestic wildlife.

The best beaches in Northumberland are yours to decide!

northumberland things to do

Visitors love the array of unique wildlife; the coast includes many protected natural wildlife spots. One of the most popular is the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve, and visitors regard this as one of the best sites in Europe for wildfowl and waders, who are attracted by the mudflats, marshes, and endless dunes.

A popular vantage point is the Druridge Bay, which offers a great viewpoint of the coastline. The great thing about the coast is you could spend days hiking and exploring, the endless scenery makes it a fantastic family day out in Northumberland.

11. Visit Berwick-upon-Tweed

If you want to visit a relaxed, quiet town in Northumberland, you should visit Berwick-upon-Tweed. The town is located just 3 miles from the Scottish border and has a long history dating back centuries. Visitors adore the endless cycling spots, beaches, and relaxing places to sit and enjoy the outdoors – it’s a fantastic day out in Northumberland.

Cocklawburn is a rural beach within Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), located just south of Berwick-upon-Tweed and is popular with families and dog walkers

A popular attraction is the museums in the town. These include Berwick Barracks and The Main Guard. Inside these museums, you’ll get an insight into the town’s history and you can explore the old courtrooms and jails. There are many art exhibitions which include The Granary Gallery, Berwick Museum and Art Gallery, and the Dockside Gallery. It is such a relaxed town to visit, an excellent spot to see for the day. 

12. Experience the dark skies of Northumberland

Enough of days out in Northumberland, what about the nights? We suggest stargazing at the Kielder Observatory.

“Thanks to its pristine dark skies and a joint commitment to conserve them, the whole of Northumberland National Park and most of Kielder Water & Forest Park became England’s first International Dark Sky Park in 2013, a designation awarded by the International Dark Sky Association, which is committed to tackling light pollution.
Here, on a clear night, you can see thousands of stars, the Milky Way and even the Andromeda Galaxy (2.5 million light years away) with the naked eye. Every night, there is something special to experience. Let us take you on a journey to the far reaches of the Universe.”


13. Stroll through the Alnwick Garden 

Spread across 12 acres, the Alnwick Garden is one of the town’s top attractions, second only to the neighbouring Alnwick Castle. 

The Alnwick Garden seen on a day out in Northumberland

The Alnwick Garden is actually a series of gardens that include the Ornamental Garden, the Rose Garden and one of the world’s largest Tai Haku Cherry Orchards. The cascading fountain that’s powered by 120 water jets is especially impressive. 

There are play areas and attractions for the kids, plenty of space for a picnic, and restaurants that include the locally revered Treehouse – a great place to grab some proper British grub. 

14. Browse the Roman Army Museum in Hexham 

Ever wondered what life was like for a Roman soldier guarding Hadrian’s Wall? You’ll find out that and much more at the Roman Army Museum in the village of Greenhead, Hexham. 

Day out to the Roman Army Museum in Northumberland

Situated at the site of the Magna Roman fort on Hadrian’s Wall, the Roman Army Museum offers a glimpse into life on the frontier.  

Audio visual displays, ancient artefacts and life-size replicas paint a detailed picture of the Roman Army, from how soldiers were trained to what kind of artillery was used. You’ll also see what life was like on the wall during a 20-minute immersive 3D film. 

15. Discover the Roman Vindolanda Fort 

Head seven miles east from the Roman Army Museum, and you’ll stumble across the Vindolanda, an ancient Roman fort that predates Hadrian’s Wall (and was later incorporated into it). 

Day out to the Vindolanda in Northumberland

So far, excavations suggest that the Romans occupied the Vindolanda from around 85 AD to 370 AD, although only around 25 percent of the site has been excavated to date. It’ll take another 150 years to excavate the rest! 

16. Go for afternoon tea

We’ve sought out all the best spots for a Northumberland afternoon tea. Just check out our list for inspiration!

17. Try paddleboarding

There are lots of great places to go paddleboarding in Northumberland. Just click on our guide and choose the best place for you and your skills.

18. Visit a spa for the day

How about all these great spas in Northumberland for a day out? Toughest part is picking one!

Best days out in Northumberland

The River Blyth reaches the North Sea between the piers of Blyth Harbour in Northumberland

If you’re looking for incredible days out, Northumberland will not disappoint you. The county is teaming with stunning scenery, history, and quaint villages. There is always something to explore and there are endless Northumberland activities to enjoy.

We hope this helps you find some unusual things to do in Northumberland for your day trips.

Quick list of the best days out in Northumberland

  • 1. Walk a section of Hadrian’s Wall
  • 2. Go and visit Alnwick Castle
  • 3. Explore Dunstanburgh Castle
  • 4. Explore the Farne Islands
  • 5. Go hiking in the Cheviot Hills
  • 6. Go out to Holy Island
  • 7. Visit Bamburgh Castle
  • 8. Hike the North Pennines
  • 9. Enjoy the scenery of Northumberland Coast AONB
  • 10. Visit Berwick-upon-Tweed
  • 11. Experience the dark skies of Northumberland
  • 12. Stroll through the Alnwick Garden 
  • 13. Browse the Roman Army Museum in Hexham 
  • 14. Discover the Roman Vindolanda Fort 
  • 15. Go for afternoon tea in Northumberland

days out in northumberland

Beth Wardell

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