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
View Northumberland National Park Walks on Map
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Best Hikes in Northumberland National Park
Howick Hall to Craster Circular Walk
The Howick Hall to Craster Circular Walk is an amazing outdoor experience in Northumberland that will showcase an historic estate and provide wonderful seaside views. While out walking the trail, you will explore the estate grounds that are the historic seat of the Earls Grey, before traversing the coastal landscape for views looking out onto the North Sea. This exceptional route features easy-going terrain, stunning views, and fascinating history, making it ideal for a fun family adventure.
Berwick-upon-Tweed Coast and Walls Trail
The Berwick-upon-Tweed Coast and Walls Trail is a fun family adventure in Northumberland that is rich with history and magnificent seaside views. While out walking the trail, you will traverse a stretch of coastal terrain and enjoy views across the North Sea, before looping around to explore the Medieval town walls of Berwick that date to the 14th Century. This is an amazing adventure that is well suited for walkers of all ages and skill levels.
Stocksfield and Shilford Wood Circular Walk
The Stocksfield and Shilford Wood Circular Walk is a lovely adventure in Northumberland that will take you through a peaceful stretch of woodland terrain. While out walking the trail, you will enter into the cover of Shilford Wood, following its quiet pathways before looping around through Stocksfield omn the return leg. This is a great route for those who simply want to reconnect with nature and enjoy some peace and quiet outdoors.
Hartside to Linhope Spout Walk
The Hartside to Linhope Spout Walk is a magical walking route in Northumberland that will take you through the countryside to visit a cascading waterfall. While out walking the trail, you will follow along the winding banks of Linhope Burn as it flows in between several rugged hills, before arriving at Linhope Spout and its quaint pool below. This is a laidback route that is perfectly suited for a fun adventure during the summertime.
Bardon Mill to Haydon Bridge Walk
The Bardon Mill to Haydon Bridge Walk is a fantastic adventure in Northumberland that features a variety of terrain and beautifully scenic views. While out walking the trail, you will walk along the River South Tyne and pass through the Allen Banks & Staward Gorge National Trust Site, before traversing the open countryside on the way into Haydon Mill. Walkers should take note that this is a one-way trail; however, the start and end points of the walk are conveniently located at railway stations to allow for easy transportation between the two.
Holystone Circular Walk
The Holystone Circular Walk is a quick and easy outdoor excursion in Northumberland that will take you to an interesting religious site and some nearby woodlands. While out walking the trail, you will leave the village of Holystone behind to visit the Lady’s Well, before looping around through a beautifully scenic forest on the return leg. Walkers should take note that the forests in this area are sometimes subject to seasonal closure as a result of tree felling.
Simonside Hills Circular Walk
The Simonside Hills Circular Walk is an amazing walking route that will expose the natural beauty and rich history of Northumberland. While out walking the trail, you will climb uphill through the forest to view interesting geological formations, before traversing the Simonside hills to the east on the way to the fascinating Lordenshaws Iron Age Hillfort. This is an exceptional adventure for anyone who enjoys scenic views and learning about the history of the region.
Hadrian’s Wall: Heddon on the Wall to Chollerford
The walk along Hadrian’s Wall: Heddon on the Wall to Chollerford is a lengthy one-way trail in Northumberland that will see you traverse the English countryside along an iconic historical monument. While out walking the trail, you will follow along the Hadrian’s Wall Path and visit several ruined portions of the wall and its fortifications that were constructed by the Roman occupiers of Britain. Walkers should take note that this is a one-way trail, so you should either plan on taking transit or arrange a pick up at the end point of the walk if you are not planning on walking its entirety.
Allenheads and Byerhope Bank Walk
The Allenheads and Byerhope Bank Walk is a great walking route in Northumberland, UK that will take you through a variety of terrain including forests and open moorland. While out walking the trail, you will leave behind the village of Allenheads and climb uphill to traverse a small wood, before crossing the rugged expanse of moor and looping around for a return along the banks of the River East Allen. Be sure to keep your dog on a lead, as you will likely encounter some sheep roaming on the grassy moorland.
Cairn Hill, The Cheviot, and Scald Hill Circular Walk
Walking the Cairn Hill, The Cheviot, and Scald Hill Circular is a fantastic, albeit challenging, adventure in Northumberland that will take you into the mountains for spectacular views along the England/Scotland border. While out on the trail, you will make your way uphill through a valley alongside harthope Burn, before looping around to traverse the summits of Cairn Hill, The Cheviot, and Scald Hill on the return leg. Make sure to wear proper walking boots that offer good support and are ideally waterproof for this rugged adventure.
Hulne Park Circular Walk
The Hulne Park Circular Walk is a fantastic outdoor adventure in Northumberland that will load you through a variety of terrain to experience the Northumberland countryside. While out on the trail, you will pass through tranquil forests, open moorland, and green meadows that are teeming with plant and animal life. This is an exceptional walking route if you are looking to get out for some fresh air while enjoying nature.
Hethpool Wild Goat Walk
The Hethpool Wild Goat Walk is a spectacular outdoor excursion in Northumberland that will take you through the countryside to view some amazing local wildlife. While out on the trail, you will make your way along the valley floor, taking in the views along College Burn and of the wild Cheviot Goats that populate the area. If you are walking with your dog, be sure to keep them on a lead at all times, as the goats will get close enough for photos but may become aggressive if they feel threatened.
Lambley Viaduct and Featherstone Castle Walk
The Lambley Viaduct and Featherstone Castle Walk is a beautifully scenic walking route in Northumberland that will take you to several historical sites along the banks of the River South Tyne. While out walking the trail, you will traverse the open countryside to visit the 19th Century Lambley Viaduct, before walking along the river to reach the grounds of Featherstone Castle, a manor house that has its origins in the 11th Century. This is an exceptional walk if you are looking for a laid back route with natural and manmade views.
River Wansbeck Walk
The River Wansbeck Walk is a beautifully scenic adventure outside of Morpeth, Northumberland that will take you along the forested banks of the river for a relaxing experience. While out walking the trail, you will follow along the winding banks of the River Wansbeck and take in the natural beauty of the surrounding woodland plant and animal life, before returning via the same route. This is a laidback route that will allow you to remove yourself from the outside world and reconnect with nature.
Horncliffe to Norham Circular Walk
The Horncliffe to Norham Circular Walk is a fantastic walking route in Northumberland that will take you along the scenic banks of the River Tweed to visit Norham Castle. While out walking the trail, you will enjoy scenic views across the river to Scotland as you make your way to the 12th Century Castle, before returning through the open farmland. This is a great adventure for anyone with an interest in history or those who enjoy scenic riverside views.
Longhoughton and Littlehoughton Walk
The Longhoughton and Littlehoughton Walk is a nice and easy adventure in Northumberland that will take you through the countryside for some nice views. While out walking the trail, you will leave behind the village of Longhoughton, traversing fields and woodlands to loop around Littlehoughton, before making the return journey across the countryside. This is a laidback adventure that is perfectly suited for an afternoon stroll.
Little Church Rock, Criss Cross, and Simonside Walk
The Little Church Rock, Criss Cross, and Simonside Walk is a wonderfully scenic route in Northumberland National Park that will take you through some undulating terrain for sweeping views of the surrounding landscape. While out on the trail, you will climb uphill through the forest past Little Church Rock and Criss Cross Rock on the way to the summit of Simonside, where you will have a commanding view of the surrounding moorland and forest terrain. This walk is great for those that enjoy a bit of uphill climbing to experience some beautiful landscape views.
Simonside and Dove Crag Circular Walk
The Simonside and Dove Crag Circular Walk is a fantastic walking route that will take you across the summits of several hills for some sweeping views across the eastern portion of Northumberland National Park. While out walking the trail, you will climb uphill through the forest past several interesting rock formations, before traversing the moorland hills of Simonside and Dove Crag. This is a great walking route if you are wanting to experience some amazing views and a bit of a challenge, without going overboard.
The Cheviots and Hedgehope Hill Walk
The Cheviots and Hedgehope Hill Walk is a spectacular outdoor adventure in Northumberland that makes a steep ascent of Hedgehope Hill for some incredible views of the surrounding landscape. While out walking the trail, you will cross over Harthope Burn and cut across the open moorland, working your way up the steep hillside for a commanding view of the surrounding hills from atop Hedgehope Hill. While not technically difficult, walkers should not underestimate the challenge that this steep route will present.
Bamburgh Castle and Coastal Walk
The Bamburgh Castle and Coastal Walk is a great adventure in Northumberland that features interesting historical sites and stunning views of the coast. While out walking the trail, you will make your way to the shores of Budle Bay and take in the views across the North Sea, before visiting Bamburgh Castle, an imposing fortification that has its origins in the Norman period. This is a great intermediate length route that will appeal to a wide variety of outdoor enthusiasts.
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