Staying… in Northumberland

A staycation used to involve taking time off from work or usual activities but staying at home – a chance to spend time on a hobby, do things with the family or maybe tackle a spot of DIY.  But it can also mean taking a holiday without travelling abroad and in this context it has become a real buzz word in recent weeks.

So, have you taken one yet this year?  Did you head out as soon as it was permitted, or are you biding your time until the rush is over?

And where will you go?  Let’s have a look at some of our coastal counties, ones that you perhaps usually pass through – beginning with Northumberland.

Cross the River Tweed to leave Scotland and enter Northumberland

The northernmost county of England is a long way from most large areas of population.  Major north-south routes pass through it (road and railway) but if you just go straight through you are missing out.  There’s lots to see in Northumberland.  Let’s take a look at the geography.

To the west, the land rises into the northern Pennines and The Cheviot Hills.  In the latter you will find the highest point in the county, called The Cheviot.  It’s 815 metres high and best approached from the east, unless you want a very long walk.  The route is easy to follow with a stone path laid over the boggy summit. Here’s the view on the way up. The top is here.

The hill country to the west is protected by National Park status but the coast is also protected too, with an AONB designation (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).  Due to its northerly and distant location, relative to most of the population, it does seem to be rather a well-kept secret – the vast sandy beaches are often empty.

If you like a bit of history, there are loads of castles along the coast…

…and National Cycle Route #1 links them together in a relatively flat and quiet route.

There’s some great history and archaeology in the south of the county too, along the line of Hadrian’s Wall.  Caleb covered that in 3 posts last term. (123)

On Blog About Britain we have also featured Northumberlandia

…with its fantastic view of the workings of the neighbouring coal mine.

And if the weather demands an indoor retreat, the county town of Alnwick (pronounced AN-ik) has the most amazing secondhand bookshop, housed in the old station. 

So, check out Northumberland – my home for 3 years – definitely recommend.  (Subscribers – check your inbox for a map activity – enjoy!)