Coast’s Choice: Northumberland

Coast’s Choice now traverses the northern edge of England to bring you our recommendations if you’re planning to visit Northumberland.

‘Geordieland’ has produced many famous talents such as television stars Ant & Dec, singer Sting, actor Robson Green, comedian Ross Noble and countless footballers including Bobby and Jack Charlton, Paul Gascoigne and Alan Shearer. Its brown ale has become popular throughout the country, while its culture and landscape has been captured in many TV series – from children’s drama Byker Grove to recent murder mystery series Vera.

A trip up the A1 to Newcastle will showcase it’s most iconic landmark – Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North – while here are a few other places you might like to visit within the county.

Couple by the Sea

It’s worth taking an afternoon trip to the coastal town of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea to view the picturesque sculpture by international artist Sean Henry.

Commissioned by the South East Northumberland Public Art & Design Initiative (INSPIRE), ‘Couple by the Sea’ is a bronze installation located 300 yards out to sea. The two five-metre tall figures are secured to a steel plinth, which disappears below the surface at high tide to give the impression that the couple are walking on water.
While you’re waiting for the tide to come in, you can take a walk along the sea front, visit one of the town’s fish and chip restaurants or enjoy an ice cream. Newbiggin also has a Maritime Centre and golf course.

Nearest caravan site: 0.4 miles

Cragside House

This impressive stately home once belonged to Victorian inventor Lord Armstrong and it combines both architectural prowess and visionary invention.

Cragside was the first building in the world to be lit by hydroelectric power in the late 1800s, while it contains other progressive gadgets from the Victorian era including a Turkish bath suite, passenger lift and some of the first telephones to be installed in the area.

Actors posing as Lord Amstrong’s servants will guide you through life at Cragside during its heyday and there are also impressive collections of Victorian art, furniture and objects of scientific curiosity on display.

Little visitors will enjoy the venue’s rhododendrom maze and play area, not to mention 30 miles of footpaths and lakeside walks. The grounds also feature a large rock garden, one of the UK’s oldest iron bridges and more than seven million types of tree and shrub.

Entry to Cragside, which is open seven days a week, costs £13.20 for adults and £6.60 for children. Click here to find out more.

Nearest caravan site: 7.6 miles

Hadrian’s Wall

Built in AD 122 as a fortification by demand of the emperor Hadrian, the surviving part of the wall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts thousands of walkers and cyclists each year.

The remaining section begins at Wallsend and travels along the river Tyne into Cumbria. Located at the gateway to the wall is Segedunum, a Roman fort and bath with an interactive museum full of educational information on life in Roman Britain. It also has a 35 metre viewing tower, which provides a truly impressive platform for taking in the Northumbrian landscape.

Admission to Segedunum is priced at £4.95 for adults, while entry is free for children under 16 years of age. The museum is open seven days a week from the end of March until the beginning of November. Visit the website for further information.

Nearest caravan site: 8 miles

Lindisfarne Castle

Lindisfarne, or Holy Island as it’s often referred to, is a tidal island located along the north east coast of the county and is accessible via a causeway at selected times of the day.

Although it is worth visiting the island purely for its crisp air and breathtaking views, visitors to Lindisfarne are urged to look around its romantic 16th century castle, now owned by the National Trust.

The castle was established originally as a Roman fort and helped defend the area from naval attack for more than three centuries. In 1903 it was converted by Edwin Lutyens into a private house and now features intimate Edwardian interior decoration. The castle also houses some of the largest 19th century lime kilns in the country and a walled garden planned by Gertrude Jekyll.

Entry to Lindisfarne Castle costs £6.30 for adults and £3.15 to children. Visitors are advised to check the website for the tide timetable before setting off, to make sure they are able to safely access and depart the island.

Nearest caravan site: 7.2 miles

Woodhorn Museum

Northumberland has a strong mining heritage, which is brought to life by a visit to Ashington’s Woodhorn Museum.

Based in the original colliery buildings that welcomed thousands of miners to work each day, the venue contains interactive displays about the work and social life of the mining community. In addition to finding out more about conditions in the mine itself, Woodhorn Museum celebrates the local culture it produced including art and brass band music.

Another major attraction to Woodhorn is The Ashington Group Collection; original artwork by a group of artists known as the Pitmen Painters, who were immortalised in a 2011 ITV documentary with Robson Green and a theatre production by Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall.

Woodhorn Museum is open Wednesday-Sunday and is free of charge to enter. Click here to find out more.

Nearest caravan site: 3.6 miles

Before you set off this summer, make sure your caravan insurance or motorhome insurance is up to date, in order to protect your leisure vehicle while you’re on the road. Coast can offer you a competitive quote on your touring caravan insurance or campervan insurance; for more information call Freephone 0800 614 849 or visit our Quotation Page.