Every inch of Northumberland hides a piece of history and heritage. The buffer between England and Scotland, Northumberland’s very geographic location has shaped a history of violence and conflict.
From the Roman invasion 2,000 years ago, Northumberland has witnessed plundering Viking attacks, seen Anglo Saxon kings fight to the death protecting their kingdom and set the scene for murderous raids by the notorious Border Reivers. There have been territorial battles between England and Scotland which saw the border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed change sides 13 times.
The legacy of Northumberland’s embattled past can still be seen today. There are more castles than any other county in England within its boundaries. A legacy of its turbulent past, including the infamous Border wars which raged from the 14th to 16th centuries, Northumberland boasts over 70 castle sites. Many have long since disappeared, some, like Dunstanburgh Castle, are romantic ruins. See others in their fully restored glory – like Bamburgh Castle, as seen on Robson Green’s Tales from Northumberland.
Towering 150 foot above the sea, Bamburgh Castle looks every inch the mighty citadel it once was. The very foundation stone of England, Bamburgh was a royal city during the 8th century and the castle the royal seat of the Kings of Northumbria. In 1464 Bamburgh became the first castle in England to fall to gunpowder during the War of the Roses. Fallen masonry from this onslaught can still be seen on the village green beneath. Falling into disrepair afterwards, Bamburgh was later bought and restored by the innovative Victorian inventor and genius Lord William Armstrong into the mighty castle you see today.
Head inland to Alnwick Castle, the second largest inhabited castle in England after Windsor Castle, which stands guard over the River Aln. Home to the Duke of Northumberland, Alnwick has been the Percy family’s home since the Norman invasion over 700 years ago. Alnwick boasts two famous Harrys – the impetuous knight Henry ‘Harry’ Percy, born here in 1364 and nicknamed ‘Hotspur’ because of his readiness to do battle. The other being none other than the boy wizard Harry Potter, a scholar at Alnwick, which doubled as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films.
If you are planning a fun family day out in Northumberland then look no further than Warkworth Castle with its magnificent cross-shaped keep crowning a hilltop above the River Coquet.
For chilly tales of torture chambers and ghosts go to Chillingham Castle, reputedly one of the most haunted castles in England. Or live like the king or queen of the castle and spend a night or few at the award-winning Langley Castle Hotel.
The Roman megastructure of Hadrian’s Wall snakes for 73-miles across high volcanic ridges while the forts and pele towers peppered throughout Northumberland’s now peaceful countryside are a reminder of centuries-old carnage.
The past is everywhere you look in Northumberland and its not very well known that it is the second biggest county in England and the best way to discover it is to explore its ancient sites, battlefields, castles, museums and stately homes. It is also the birth place of Christianity, with stories everywhere you go.
Northumberland is also known for its dark skies which are perfect for stargazing, photography or just admiring. We also have some important places for our wildlife, whether it’s visiting the Farne Islands, home to 80,000 pairs of seabirds, bird migration around the coastline or those beautiful red squirrels you might see in our National Parks we have it all.
We have the most beautiful beaches that go on for miles and have been awarded the gold flag award and it would be a sin if you did not talk a walk from Seahouses to Bamburgh. It’s also a great place to walk your dog.
It also has some stunning places to photograph and Seahouses is the gateway to the Farne Islands and what better way to do it than a trip on board Serenity.