Days out in the North East for grown ups

By Kingfisher Visitor Guides

With a rich industrial heritage, miles of unspoilt coastline, sites of historical significance, and characterful cities and charming towns, the North East is the perfect place for a short break or staycation.

Alnwick Castle and Alnwick Garden

40 minutes north of Newcastle, Alnwick Castle was founded in the 12th century and along with the adjacent Alnwick Garden makes a wonderful day out in the North East.

Home to the Duke of Northumberland, Alnwick Castle and its stately home are the second largest inhabited after Windsor, and the grand buildings have featured in everything from Harry Potter to Downton Abbey and Robin Hood. Sumptuous staterooms, an opulent dining room, a cavernous cellar and collections and exhibitions to browse await the 800,000 visitors per year to this pair of attractions.

Alnwick Gardens features a rose garden with over 3,000 blooms to sniff, a stunning water cascade, an enormous tree house with restaurant, the world’s largest Taihaku cherry orchard and guided tours of the poison garden – the “deadliest garden in the world”.

Durham Cathedral and Castle

Durham is a special place to visit. With its cathedral and castle listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, picturesque riverside walks, museums, and unique shops, you can spend the day exploring its ancient streets before spending the evening in one of the city’s intimate eateries before taking in a show at the Gala theatre.

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle

A walk from the village of Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle is one of the most beautiful on the north east coast. The four mile stroll takes in stunning views of the Northumberland coastline, with access to stony beaches along the way before the imposing ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle come into view.

Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland at sunrise

Get your hiking boots on and make the beautiful walk from Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle

Craster has a picturesque harbour, a smokehouse harking back to the days when 2,000 herring a day were gutted here to supply Europe with kippers, and a pub, cafes and restaurant in which to refuel. Dunstanburgh Castle is a 14th-century fortification which steadily became more ruinous from the 1500s onwards. It makes for a brutal yet beautiful site on a rocky outcrop which once defended Northumberland from raiding Scots.

Hadrian’s Wall by bus

Taking in Hadrian’s Wall by bus makes for an adventure-filled day to take in this most spectacular and historic of landscapes. The AD 122 bus runs between most of the main attractions and you can hop onboard from Hexham and Haltwhistle. Use the bus to visit Chesters Roman Fort, Housesteads Roman Fort, Roman Vindolanda and the Roman Army Museum. And there are walks along the way to hop off and explore.

Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland

Take in the wonderful views from Hadrian’s Wall

A day out in Middlesbrough and the Tees Valley

In the south of the region lies the Tees Valley. The area around Middlesbrough makes for a unique day out, with its industrial landscape surrounded by nature reserves, breathtaking hills, small seaside resorts and pretty towns.

In Middlesbrough itself is MIMA – the town’s institute of modern art. The contemporary art gallery opened in 2004 and features exhibitions and special events all year round.

RSPB Saltholme is an oasis of nature set against a backdrop of the cooling towers and chimneys of the former ICI chemical works and the Tees Transporter Bridge. With grasslands, wetlands, flower gardens, a series of walks and plentiful bird spotting opportunities, Saltholme has an atmospheric and other-worldly feel to it.

While you’re down in the Tees Valley, a run down the coast to take in the views and stop off in the seaside towns of Seaton Carew, Redcar and Saltburn are well worth it.

Get a 360° view of Hadrian’s Wall

Read more

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How to spend 48 hours in Northumberland

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Image credits: ©Courtesy of MIMA; Mark Hamblin/RSPB Saltholme; Michael Conrad/; Pawel Libera/Alnwick Castle;; Video: Youtube/English Heritage

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