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
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Best Hikes in Northumberland National Park
Saint Cuthbert’s Cave Circular Walk
The Saint Cuthbert Cave Circular Walk is a great outdoor excursion in Northumberland that will lead you into the Kyloe Hills to visit a cave associated with Saint Cuthbert, the 7th Century Anglo Saxon monk. While out walking the trail, you will climb uphill and enter the forest to view the sandstone cave, before looping around near the hamlet of Holburn. This is a nice walk through the countryside for those interested in taking in some local English history.
West Newton Tor and Great Hetha Cheviots Walk
The West Newton Tor and Great Hetha Cheviots Walk is an exceptional walking route in Northumberland that will take you across several rugged summits for some outstanding views across the undulating landscape. While out walking the trail, you will traverse the peaks of Wester Tor and Hare Law to enjoy some scenic views, before looping around the valley to climb Great Hetha. Be sure to keep an eye out for wild Cheviot Goats that will likely be roaming the rugged landscape here.
Hadrian’s Wall: Chollerford to Steel Rigg
The Hadrian’s Wall: Chollerford to Steel Rigg walking route is a fantastic adventure that makes up the third segment of a long distance route across the north of England. While out walking the trail, you will experience the natural beauty of the northumberland countryside as you follow along the Roman fortification of Hardian’s Wall that was constructed to defend Roman Britain from the Picts. This is a great route for anyone that enjoys long distance walks and visiting historic sites.
Berwick Walls Walk
The Berwick Walls Walk is a great adventure in Northumberland that will take you along the town walls of Berwick upon Tweed. While out walking the trail, you will make your way towards the historic centre of the town, where you will be able to explore the fortifications that were constructed in the early 14th Century by King Edward I. This fun walking route through the city is perfectly suitable for all ages and skill levels.
Rothbury Riverside Walk
The Rothbury Riverside Walk is a laidback adventure in Northumberland that will allow you to explore a charming town and relax in a wonderful riverside setting. While out on the trail, you will walk along the banks of the River Coquet and enjoy the surrounding scenery, before looping through the charming town of Rothbury. This short route is perfectly suited for a relaxing weekend stroll.
Crag Lough and Hadrian’s Wall Circular Walk
The Crag Lough and Hadrian’s Wall Circular Walk is a fun outdoor adventure in Northumberland that will take you around a charming lake to view an ancient historical site. While out walking the trail, you will make your way through the countryside and take in views of Steel Riig, looping around to pass by Sycamore Gap Tree and Milecastle 39 along Hadrian’s Wall. This quick excursion is filled with beautiful scenery and interesting highlights.
Elsdon Valley Trail
The Elsdon Valley Trail is a fantastic adventure in Northumberland that will take you through the village and surrounding countryside to view historical sites. While out walking the trail, you will pass through one of the best-preserved Medieval settlements in Northumberland, the village of Elsdon, before looping around the picturesque fields to fully experience the North England countryside. This is a great walk for those who enjoy Medieval history and lovely strolls through farmland.
Elsdon Burn Walk
The Elsdon Burn Walk is a great outdoor excursion in Northumberland, UK that will take you through an historic village to roam the nearby countryside. While out on the trail, you will pass through the Medieval settlement of Elsdon, before looping around the picturesque countryside surrounding the winding banks of Elsdon Burn. This fun route is suitable for nearly all ages and skill levels.
Lesbury, Alnwick, and Hulne Park Walk
The Lesbury, Alnwick, and Hulne Park Walk is a long distance walking route in Northumberland that features a mixture of urban and natural terrain, as well as interesting historical sites. While out walking the trail, you will traverse the open countryside along the banks of the River Aln to visit Alnwick Castle, before looping around Hulne Park to visit the historic Hulne Priory. This walk may be very long, but it does offer a great chance to see a number of popular Northumberland highlights.
Crag Lough and Vindolanda Fort Loop
The Crag Lough and Vindolanda Fort Loop is an amazing adventure in Northumberland that will take you to several historical sites featuring Roman ruins. While out walking the trail, you will make your way along the ruins of Hadfrian’s Wall for views over Crag Lough, before looping around to visit a Roman auxiliary fort that was occupied from approximately 85 CE to 370 CE. This is a spectacular walking route for those with an interest in ancient history.
Alwinton and Harbottle Walk
The Alwinton and Harbottle Walk is a great outdoor excursion that will take you to several interesting geological and historical features in Northumberland. While out walking the trail, you will first visit the 12th Century ruins of Harbottle Castle, before climbing uphill through West Wood to visit the 9 m sandstone formation known as the Drake Stone. This is a fantastic walking route that is perfectly suited for a fun family adventure with some mildly challenging terrain.
Slaley Forest Circular Walk
The Slaley Forest Circular is a fantastic walking route in Northumberland that will allow you to explore a beautiful stretch of woodland terrain in the region. While out walking the trail, you will loop around through the forest on wide pathways that make for an easy, family-friendly day on the trails. This route is perfectly suited for anyone looking to take a leisurely stroll through the forest.
Windy Gyle and Mozie Law Walk
The Windy Gyle and Mozie Law Walk is a great excursion in Northumberland National Park that will lead you through an undulating stretch of terrain for spectacular views. While out walking the trail, you will traverse a number of rolling hills and valleys in order to reach the summit of Windy Gyle, where you will enjoy sweeping views over the Scotland/England border. Sections of the route are fairly rough and often boggy, so be sure to wear proper walking boots that are preferably waterproof.
Once Brewed to Gilsland Walk
The Once Brewed to Gilsland Walk is a great one-way adventure in Northumberland that follows a small segment of the Hadrian’s Wall Path to visit a number of historical sites. While out on the trail, you will pass by the Milecastle 42 stretch of Hadrian’s Wall, as well Thirlwall Castle on the way into Gilsland. Walkers should take note that this is a one-way trail, meaning you will need to either take transit back to the trailhead or arrange a pick up at the end point of the walk.
Hartside and Hedgehope Hill Walk
The Hartside and Hedgehope Hill Walk is a rugged adventure in Northumberland that will take you up to a summit vantage point with sweeping views across the landscape. While out on the trail, you will visit the beautiful Linhope Spout Waterfall, before climbing up the steep hillside to reach the top of Hedgehope hill for some amazing views. Terrain along this route can be a bit rough and boggy, so be sure to wear proper walking boots with good support.
Holburn, North Hazelrigg, and Belford Circular Walk
The Holburn, North Hazelrigg, and Belford Circular Walk is a wonderful adventure across the Northumberland countryside that features a good variety of terrain along the route. While out walking the trail, you will make your way across the open farmland to reach the village of Belford, before looping around the Swinhoe Lakes and Holburn lake to visit St Cuthbert’s Cave. This is a fantastic outing for those who want a bit of a longer route when exploring Northumberland.
The Drake Stone and Harbottle Castle Circular Walk
The Drake Stone and Harbottle Castle Circular Walk is a fantastic adventure in Northumberland that features interesting historical sites, geological features, and a relaxing riverside setting. While out on the trail, you will climb uphill along the edge of West Wood to reach the 30ft tall Drake Stone, looping around the forest to eventually follow the River Coquet past Harbottle Castle. This is an excellent outing for anyone with an interest in visiting historical sites.
Hethpool Linn and Yeavering Bell Walk
The Hethpool Linn and Yeavering Bell Walk is a great excursion in Northumberland that will lead you across the undulating terrain to visit historical sites and charming waterfalls. While out walking the trail, you will follow along the banks of College Burn to visit the cascading waters of Hethpool Linn, before traversing the undulating landscape to the east in order to explore the Iron Age hillfort at Yeavering Bell. This is a fun adventure that features several interesting highlights to keep you entertained throughout your walk.
Dunstan hill Caravan Site to Craster Loop
The Dunstan Hill Caravan Site to Craster Loop is a wonderful walking route in Northumberland that will lead you along the coast towards the charming village of Craster. While out walking the trail, you will traverse a number of open fields on the way to the 14th Century Dunstanburgh Castle, before walking along the coast to reach the village. This is a fantastic adventure for those who love scenic seaside views.
Blythe River Walk
The Blythe River Walk is a laidback adventure in Northumberland that will lead you along the winding banks of the River Blythe to experience the beauty of the countryside. While out walking the trail, you will pass through a tranquil stretch of Quarry Wood to reach the edge of the river, following it to the southwest while taking in the views of the scenic riverside and surrounding wildlife. This walking route is perfectly suited for a relaxing adventure that will allow you to escape the chaos of the outside world.
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