I’ve never been to Northumberland, but the word Northumbrian is awesome, and it reminds me of a cross between Jurassic Park, and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Sort of like a posh dinosarur theme park where everyone has british accents and when the raptors escape, the don’t just eat the humans straight away, instead they sautee us with basil and serve us with a side of Yorkshire pudding. Yup. Northumbrian Park.
It’s actually called Northumberland, and it is the northernmost (hence, the name) county in the UK, sharing a border with Scotland to the north and the county of Cumbria to the west. One of the defining features of this oft overlooked region of England is its North Sea Coastline with a hiking trail that winds and wends along the coast for 103 kilometers. This region is home to Hadrian’s Wall, a world-famous landmark, constructed in AD122 to mark the northernmost limits of the Roman Empire. Pretty cool. There are numerous Northumberland cottages which allow for easy access to the many forts and milecastels (which is just a cool word for “small forts”) which have been reconstructed in this World Heritage Site.
If you’re a history buff, you’ll find seemingly endless opportunities to explore the historic sites in the area. Most of the Roman forts and museums can be found between Chollerford and Gilsland, within the Northumberland National Park. You’ll find the Vindolanda fort and Chesters, the best preserved Roman Cavalry Fort in Britain. Also, pretty cool – if you’re into that kind of thing.
If you’re more of a natures lover or a hiker, you’ll enjoy the dramatic highlands, the rolling countryside and the quaint and friendly villages of this region. The Hadrian’s Wall National Trial is perfect for amblers, as it provides access to some of the best preserved sections of the wall. There are lots of shorter walks you can take which give you ample opportunity to stop in at a pub or tearoom so you can have that well deserved break for a good pub lunch (and plenty of beer).
Alternatively if you’re a super-cycler, you can now follow the Hadrian’s Wall Cycleway – a 150 mile coast-to-coast route which passes Hadrian’s Wall and numerous Roman sites, forts and museums — a great adventure, to be sure!
Along the border with Scotland, you’ll find a region of Northumbria known as The Scottish Borders (I guess they weren’t feeling too creative when they named that area). The Scottish Borders area was often claimed as both English and Scottish for years, but was eventually recognized as part of England by the Anglo-Scottish Treaty of York in 1237. (That’s going to be on Jeopardy some day – you’re welcome.) These days, this popular and beautiful region is less disputed and more touristed. You’ll enjoy rolling English hillsides as well as the rocky Berwickshire coastline. Book a stay at one of the Holiday Cottages in the Scottish Border and you can explore the fertile valleys and quaint fishing villages at your leisure.