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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- Tiles: ©CyclOSM
Best Hikes in Northumberland National Park
Devil’s Water Circular Walk
The Devil’s Water Circular Walk is a laidback excursion in Northumberland that will take you through the countryside surrounding a winding river. While out walking the trail you will pass through serene woodlands and open agricultural fields, before making your way across the banks of Devil’s Water at several points. Walkers should take note that part of this route does follow along a fairly busy road, so be sure to exercise caution if travelling with children or dogs.
Bamburgh Dunes Walk
The Bamburgh Dunes Walk is an exceptional walking route in Northumberland that is packed full of scenery and history. While out walking the trail, you will pass through the charming village of Bamburgh towards the Norman Era Bamburgh Castle, before heading down to the sand dunes for amazing views overlooking the North Sea. This short adventure is perfectly suited for a seaside family adventure.
Bolam Lake and West Wood Circular Walk
The Bolam Lake and West Wood Circular Walk is a laidback adventure in Northumberland that offers scenic views overlooking a charming lake. While out walking the trail, you will meander along forest pathways that skirt the edge of Bolam Lake, offering some pleasant views across the surface of the tree-lined water. The easy-going nature of the trail, scenic views, and short overall distance of this route make it the perfect option for a fun family adventure.
West to East Woodburn Circular Walk
The West to East Woodburn Circular Walk is an easy-going trail in Northumberland that features laid back country terrain and a riverside setting. While out walking the trail, you will explore the open fields between the villages of West Woodburn and East Woodburn, while also taking in the scenery along the winding banks of the River Rede. This is an excellent route that the entire family will enjoy.
Scotch Gill Woods Walk
The Scotch Gill Woods Walk is a short and easy-going adventure in Morpeth, Northumberland that will take you through a forest on the edge of town. While out walking the trail, you will make your way slightly uphill through the tree cover of Scotch Hill Woods, before descending along the River Wansbeck for the return. This quick route is great for families with children or dog walkers looking to explore the woodlands.
Hadrian’s Wall: Wallsend to Heddon on the Wall
Hadrian’s Wall: Wallsend to Heddon on the Wall is the first section of the long distance Hadrian’s Wall Path walking route across Northern England that takes you to several fascinating historical sites. While out walking the trail, you will visit the Segedunum Roman Fort and walk along the River Tyne, before making your way out of Newcastle upon Tyne on the way into the endpoint of the walk in Heddon on the Wall. Walkers should take note that this is a one-way trail, so be sure to make travel arrangements or plan on using public transit for the return.
Hadrian’s Wall: Steel Rigg to Lanercost
Walking Hadrian’s Wall: Steel Rigg to lanercost is a fantastic - albeit lengthy - adventure that will lead you across the north of England to visit historical sites. While out walking the trail, you will pass by numerous milecastles and fortifications that once made up the impressive ancient Roman defensive line of Hadrian’s Wall, all while taking in the beautiful scenery of Northern England. This is a one-way trail, so be sure to make travel arrangements to return to the trailhead.
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