Northumberland National Park Walks
Situated in the northeast corner of England, Northumberland National Park is an historic county that has long served as a border frontier to the wild lands of Scotland to the north, as is evident from the wealth of ancient Roman and Medieval fortifications throughout the region. While the strategic importance of this area has subsided in modern times, ‘the place of those living north of the Humber’ is still adorned with engineering and architectural wonders, such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site Hadrian’s Wall that stretches across the north of England, as well as iconic castles like those found at Alnwick and Bamburgh. This complex past has created a culture unlike anywhere else in England, as influences from both sides of the border have converged over time to create unique costumes that are fascinating to explore.
While the rich history and culture of Northumberland will be readily apparent, so will the natural beauty of the region. Characterized by rugged upland areas like the Cheviot Hills, vast coastal plains that are perfectly suited to agriculture, and breathtaking seaside landscapes, this stunning region will leave you amazed at every turn. If you are looking for a beautifully scenic destination for your next adventure that features a bit of everything, then look no further than England’s most northerly county.
10 Best Walking Routes In Northumberland
With such a rich diversity of terrain that includes beautifully scenic seaside landscapes, vast coastal plains, and rugged upland areas, Northumberland is the perfect place to set out on a fantastic walking adventure. Here, you will find a nearly endless supply of walking routes that are geared towards all ages and skill levels, from relaxing strolls along the coast to thrilling excursions into the undulating terrain of the Cheviot Hills. For those outdoor enthusiasts that are more inclined to explore historical or cultural sites, the vast collection of ancient Roman fortifications and Medieval castles will allow you to travel back in time while providing countless hours of educational fun. If you aren’t familiar with the county, it can be a bit daunting to start planning an adventure, so we’ve put together this list of our 10 favourite walking routes in Northumberland below to help get you out exploring the northern borderlands of England.
- Bamburgh Castle and Budle Point Walk: This amazing walking route will take you along the rugged terrain of the Northumberland coast to view the ruins of a Norman era castle set against the dramatic backdrop of the North Sea.
- Holy Island of Lindisfarne Walk: Another fantastic coastal adventure, this walk will take you around a tidal island that was once seen as one of the holiest sites in Anglo-Saxon England, and features a stunning 16th Century castle and 7th Century priory.
- Alnwick Castle and Gardens Walk: The Alnwick Castle and Gardens Walk is an amazing family-friendly adventure that will take you around the grounds of a Norman era castle, although it will likely be very busy due to it being a filming location for the Harry Potter films.
- Happy Valley Circular Walk: Featuring beautiful countryside views and fascinating historical sites, this walk will take you to visit the ruins of an abandoned village that dates back to the Medieval period.
- Seahouses to Craster Walk: If exploring the coast on a lengthy one-way trail is your idea of fun, then you will definitely love the Seahouses to Craster Walk, which takes in a number of lovely seaside villages and the historic Dunstanburgh Castle.
- Cragside House Walk: This fun excursion in Northumberland will lead you through a wonderful stretch of woodland terrain to visit a Victorian era country house, making it ideal for a wide variety of outdoor enthusiasts.
- Dunstanburgh Castle Coastal Walk: Another, shorter route leading to the magnificent Dunstanburgh Castle, this trail will take you along the coast to explore the 16th Century fortifications up close, while also offering some amazing views of the sea.
- Sill and Sycamore Gap Walk: Quick, easy, and beautifully scenic, the Sill and Sycamore Gap Walk will expose you to the natural beauty of the Northumberland countryside, as well as its rich history by visiting Hadrian’s Wall.
- Hadrian's Wall and Vindolanda Fort Circular Walk: Another wonderful walking route that will showcase the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall, this trail will also stop off at a Roman auxiliary fort that was occupied from roughly 85 CE to 370 CE.
- Alnmouth to Warkworth Walk: This trail is an exceptional adventure that will take you through a variety of landscapes, including riverside settings and the beautiful Northumberland coast, before arriving at the ruins of a 12th Century castle.
When is the Best Time to Walk in Northumberland?
The county of Northumberland can be found in the northeast of England and has a temperate maritime climate, meaning that the summers here are typically warm and the winters are cool to cold. Rainfall is fairly consistent year-round and the area will likely see some snowfall throughout the winter; however Northumberland rarely experiences extreme weather, meaning that any time of year is suitable for a visit. If you are looking to undertake a walking adventure in Northumberland, the best time would be during the summer months when temperatures are at their warmest, although if you are looking to avoid the influx of summer tourists it would be best to visit during autumn.
Other Outdoor Activities in Northumberland
While walking is arguably the most popular outdoor activity in Northumberland, there are a number of other fun activities that can be undertaken to experience the natural beauty of the landscape here. For those who enjoy sticking to land-based adventures, cycling, mountain biking, ziplining, paintballing, quad biking, rock climbing, and horseback riding are all popular options; while water sports enthusiasts will find comfort in the countless opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, paddleboarding, sailing, and angling.
Epic Adventure Tours in Northumberland
Planning adventure travel can sometimes be an overwhelming experience, particularly if you aren’t overly familiar with the region you are looking to travel to. That’s why we have partnered with local guides all across the United Kingdom, to ensure that all of the little details are taken care of so that you can focus on enjoying your next adventure. If you want to experience the natural and historic beauty of Northern England without the hassle of planning every aspect of your trip, be sure to check out our list of adventure tours in Northumberland.
Frequently Asked Questions About Northumberland
Is Northumberland in England or Scotland?
While the culture of Northumberland does share quite a few similarities with the Lowlands of Scotland, it is actually the northernmost county of England.
What food is Northumberland famous for?
While there are a number of iconic foods from Northumberland, some of the most popular are Earl Grey Tea, Craster Kippers, and Singin’ Hinnies.
What is Northumberland famous for?
There are a number of notable things about Northumberland; however, the most well-known is likely the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall that was built by the Romans in 122 CE.
Find other spectacular walking regions in the United Kingdom
Best Hikes in Northumberland National Park
Bamburgh Castle and Budle Point Walk
The Bamburgh Castle and Budle Point Walk is a fantastic adventure in Northumberland that will take you to explore a scenic coastal path with views of an iconic Norman Era castle. While out walking the trail, you will pass by the imposing Bamburgh Castle to walk along a rocky and sandy trail along the coast, before looping around the countryside on the return leg through the village of Bamburgh. This is an amazing walking route that can be enjoyed by a wide variety of age and skill levels.
Holy Island of Lindisfarne Walk
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne Walk is a spectacular adventure in Northumberland that will allow you to explore a scenic tidal island while taking in views of the North Sea and historical sites. While out walking the trail, you will pass through the village of Holy Island to visit the ruins of the Lindisfarne Priory, before walking along the coast towards the 16th Century Lindisfarne Castle. This is an exceptionally beautiful walking route that is perfectly suited for anyone with an interest in visiting historical sites and taking in stunning coastal scenery.
Alnwick Castle and Gardens Walk
The Alnwick Castle and Gardens Walk is an amazing family-friendly excursion in Alnwick, Northumberland that will take you around the grounds of a Norman Period castle along the River Aln. While out walking the trail, you will explore the streets of Alnwick and skirt around the perimeter of the castle grounds, taking in views of Alnwick Castle as you walk along the banks of the River Aln. This short walking route is perfectly suited for a fun afternoon stroll in Northern England.
Happy Valley Circular Walk
The Happy Valley Circular Walk is a great excursion in Northumberland that will lead you around a charming valley to visit an historical site. While out walking the trail, you will explore the beautiful landscape along Happy Valley and visit the abandoned Medieval village of Middleton Old Town, before looping around to follow along the banks of Coldgate Water. This is a fantastic walking route for those with an interest in history and experiencing scenic countryside views.
Cragside House Walk
The Cragside House Walk is a wonderful Northumberland excursion near Rothbury that will take you to an historic house before exploring the surrounding forests. While out walking the trail, you will visit the extravagant Victorian-era country house known as Cragside, before taking a tour through the serene woodland terrain of the surrounding area. This is a relaxing adventure that will be sure to excite you if you are a fan of beautiful architecture.
Seahouses to Craster Walk
The Seahouses to Craster Walk is a beautifully scenic, albeit lengthy, walking route along the Northumberland coast that will take you to an historic castle. While out walking the trail, you will traverse the rugged coastal terrain and enjoy stunning views of the North Sea, before passing by the 14th Century Dunstanburgh Castle and making your way into the charming fishing village of Craster. If you enjoy exploring Medieval castles, set against the dramatic backdrop of the sea, then this will be a perfect route for you.
Dunstanburgh Castle Coastal Walk
The Dunstanburgh Castle Coastal Walk is a beautifully scenic and historic adventure in Northumberland that will take you along the coast to view a 14th Century castle. While out walking the trail you will traverse the sandy beaches and rugged terrain of the shoreline, enjoying breathtaking views looking out onto the North Sea before arriving at the impressive fortifications of Dunstanburgh Castle. Whether you are completing this walk for the views of the fascinating history, you will surely not be disappointed.
Sill and Sycamore Gap Walk
The Sill and Sycamore Gap Walk is a great outdoor excursion in Northumberland that will take you along Hadrian’s Wall to a scenic hillside setting. While out walking the trail, you will traverse the English countryside to reach Sycamore Gap, the most photographed tree in the county, before returning along Hadrian’s Wall and Steel Rigg. This is a fun walk for ancient historians, photographers, and those who simply enjoy views of the countryside.
Hadrian’s Wall and Vindolanda Fort Circular Walk
The Hadrian’s Wall and Vindolanda Fort Circular Walk is an exceptional adventure in Northumberland that will take you to several fascinating ancient history sites in Northern England. While out walking the trail, you will make your way past the impressive 1st Century CE Roman fort of Vindolanda, before circling around the countryside along a portion of Hadrian’s Wall. This really is a spectacular walking route that will make any lover of history feel as though they have been transported back in time.
Alnmouth to Warkworth Walk
The Alnmouth to Warkworth Walk is a wonderfully scenic coastal adventure in Northumberland that offers views of the sea and the chance to visit an historic castle. While out walking the trail, you will follow the River Aln to the coast to enjoy spectacular views looking onto the North Sea, before travelling inland to the 12th Century Warkworth Castle along the River Coquet. This is a great walking route for anyone interested in Medieval English history or experiencing beautiful seaside views.
Kielder Forest Skyscape Walk
The Kielder Forest Skyscape Walk is a short outdoor excursion in Northumberland that passes through a lovely stretch of woodland terrain to reach a hilltop art installation. While out walking the trail, you will pass through the trees towards Cat Cairn, where internationally renowned artist James Turrell created an art installation that plays with the perception of light and space. This unique walk is perfectly suited for a fun family adventure, or for those looking to blend some artistic flair into their time outdoors.
Embleton to Craster Walk
The Embleton to Craster Walk is a fantastic excursion in Northumberland that will take you through a variety of terrain and to historical sites. While out walking the trail, you will make your way along the coast for amazing views of the North Sea, before visiting the 14th Century Dunstanburgh Castle and the charming seaside village of Craster on the return. This is a great route if you are looking for an easy-going, intermediate length adventure along the coast.
Plessey Woods Walk
The Plessey Woods Walk is a fantastic family-friendly adventure in Northumberland that will take you through a charming forest setting. While out walking the trail, you will explore the forests within the Plessey Woods Country Park, before following along the winding banks of the River Blythe. This is an excellent route that will allow you to relax and reconnect with the natural world without straying too far from the city.
The Northumberlandia Walk is a spectacular outdoor excursion in Northumberland that will take you around a series of hills that form an interactive art piece. While out walking the trail, you will explore the various hills and trails that form the Lady of the North, a quarter mile long carving of a reclining woman. While the route is a popular one with families and tourists, the fascinating image of a hill carved into the shape of a human is truly an amazing sight.
Lindisfarne Castle and Straight Lonnen Walk
The Lindisfarne Castle and Straight Lonnen Walk is a fascinating walking route in Northumberland that will expose you to the rich religious history and wonderfully scenic views along the coast. While out walking the trail, you will pass through the village of Holy Island on the way to the Church of St Mary and the Lindisfarne Priory, before looping around the coastline on the way to the 16th Century Lindisfarne Castle and the coastal point of Emmanuel Head. This is an amazing adventure if you are interested in visiting a charming tidal island or learning about the complex history of early Christian Britain.
Otterburn Ranges to Buchtrig Walk
The Otterburn Ranges to Buchtrig Walk is an exceptional adventure in Northumberland that offers stunning views of the surrounding hills. While out walking the trail, you will traverse the undulating landscape of the Otterburn Ranges, where you will enjoy amazing views of the surrounding hills as you cross over the Scotland/England border and pass by the Iron Age hillfort atop Woden Law. This is an amazing walking route if you are looking to get outside and experience an unspoiled stretch of wilderness in Northern England.
Crag Lough and Housesteads Roman Fort Circular Walk
The Crag Lough and Housesteads Roman Fort Circular Walk is an amazing adventure in Northumberland, thanks to its scenic views and fascinating ancient Roman historical sites. While out walking the trail, you will traverse the rocky outcrop of Steel Rigg and pass by the wonderfully scenic Sycamore Gap, before skirting the edge of Crag Lough on the way to the Housesteads Roman Fort. this is an exceptional walking trail for those who enjoy sweeping views of the countryside and visiting well-preserved historical sites.
Thrunton Wood Extended Circular Walk
The Thrunton Wood Extended Circular Walk is a laidback intermediate length trail in Northumberland that will lead you through a charming stretch of woodland terrain that will allow you to reconnect with nature. While out walking the trail, you will stroll along tree lined pathways while taking in the peaceful atmosphere and plentiful wildlife of Thrunton Wood. This is an excellent walking route for those who aren’t overly concerned with breathtaking vistas and care more about staying in tune with the outdoors.
Cheviot Hills Circular Walk
The Cheviot Hills Circular Walk is an absolutely breathtaking adventure that will take you through a rugged stretch of upland terrain in Northumberland. While out walking the trail, you will climb uphill in order to traverse a number of summits including Scald Hill, The Cheviot, and Cairn Hill, where you will experience jaw-dropping views of the surrounding landscape of Northumberland National Park. Walkers should take note that the terrain here can be quite boggy, so be sure to wear proper waterproof walking boots.
Wylam and Ovingham Circular Walk
The Wylam and Ovingham Circular Walk is a lovely adventure in Northumberland that will expose you to charming villages and scenic riverside settings. While out walking the trail, you will make your way along the banks of the River Tyne, passing through peaceful parks and crossing over the Ovingham Bridge, before making the return along the opposite bank of the river. This is a fantastic walk for those who enjoy spending time by the water.
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