Castles, Forts and Hadrian’s Wall

From Hadrian's WallIf you are visiting Northumberland, and are not a member of the National Trust, I strongly urge you to join.  In one week you will easily recoup the outlay just visiting National Trust managed properties. And, as membership also gives you entrance to many English Heritage Properties too, you will have lots to see and so. I have been a member for many years, and don’t always use them enough, yet I see it as an annual donation to a charity that is preserving our heritage. And as membership also was valid in Australia, I got to see some great places there too.  With hindsight, I realised it would have been better value if I had also bought the Young Person Membership, for my 22 year old son, but it wasn’t until we visited Lindisfarne that the good value of this membership (£27) was pointed out to me. The son, not being a National Trust sort of person (yet) enjoyed visiting Lindisfarne CastleHousesteads Roman Fort and Hadrians Wall, and exploring Dunstanburgh Castle.

We didn’t get to see all the properties managed by these organisations (good, we have another reason to return to this lovely part of the country) and as Northumberland has more castles than any other county in England we didn’t get to see all of the castles.  Many of these are privately owned, such as Alnwick Castle, where Harry Potter was filmed, and while not cheap to visit, the ticket is good for a year.

This is where we did get to.

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Lindisfarne, the drive here is half the adventure.

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You are warned constantly of the tide times, so plan your visit around these.

There are plenty of places to eat and get a drink, some fantastic walks, and while there are one or two more touristy gift shops, compared to Tintagel, which is now over commercialised, tourism on Lindisfarne is low key. I suspect this has much to do with it being a Holy Island.

Housestead Roman Fort

Housestead Roman Fort and Hadrians Wall, involves a short and steep walk from the new visitor centre.

The Fort

This is the only part of Hadrian’s Wall that you can walk on. The drops are huge, so hold on to children and be aware if heights are not your thing.

Hadrian's Wall

I had to include this, as the William Hutton who wrote a book about Hadrian’s Wall also wrote this book about Birmingham, him and my home city.

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A History of Birmingham

The walk from Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle is stunning.

Craster

We were so lucky with the weather, the beautiful sky, the light and the coastline.

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And the castle at dusk was also beautiful.

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All of these wonderful places to visit were an easy drive to from Newbiggin by the Sea, where we were based. At the time of year we visited (late September) the roads were quiet. We chose coastal routes where we could and avoided the A1 and other main roads (ignoring the Satnav often).

Now Cornwall lovers will not be happy with what I am about to say, but I think Northumberland rivals Cornwall for its coastline and its history. And there is more to share about Northumberland. I haven’t mentioned the fish and chips yet, or the seals. Lots more to share about lovely Northumberland.

Have you ever been to Northumberland? Do you think it rivals Cornwall for its beauty?

Let me know.