Top 10 things to do in Northumberland
Read blog >
Northumberland is home to a bustling retail scene and here are some of the best places to shop. A great example of this can be found at Hexham where there is a weekly market selling locally-baked goods and hand-made jewellery and gifts, along with a popular twice-monthly farmers’ market. In fact, in summer months, many of the nearby farmers actually open up their fields to families wanting to soak up the sunshine while picking all manner of berries. Brocksbushes, on the A69 near Corbridge is one of the most popular and also has a year-round tea room and shop, so local produce is always at hand.
Corbridge itself offers a fabulous range of one-off shops, including Vintage at the Tower and an Aladdin’s cave of home accessories called RE. Top of your list in Hexham is The Vintage Emporium, with an eclectic collection of wares from a bygone era. Elsewhere in the town you will find Northumbrian Candleworks, Cogito Books, market stalls every day of the week at The Shambles, a selection of eco-friendly gifts at Matthias Winter, and a range of brands in the Hexham Outlet Centre.
Morpeth is a joy to visit and the jewel in its crown is surely its long-standing department store; Rutherford & Co. Across the road you will find 27 shops in Sanderson Arcade, including big name retailers like Paperchase, New Look and Waterstones, along with an exceedingly good delicatessen; the Morpeth Larder, which sells all manner of locally-produced and sourced goodies.
Alnwick, too, is a haven for shoppers and is split into three main streets; Bondgate Within, Market Street and Fenkle Street, which form a triangular circuit around the Market Place. One of the pleasures of shopping in Alnwick is the sheer diversity and number of independent shops you will find – some of which have been trading for decades and provide a fascinating glimpse into life here.
2 Shop Cottages, Kirkharle, Newcastle upon Tyne NE19 2PE
Set in the stunning Northumbrian countryside, Kirkharle Courtyard and lake offers a fine selection of independent, artisan workshops and galleries selling hand-crafted jewellery, original artwork, homeware, bespoke kitchens, plants and fine food. Stroll around the serpentine lake and visit the 14th-century church where famous landscape gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown was baptised. Or try your hand at a new craft in one of the workshops, then enjoy refreshments in the coffee house. Visit website
11 Middle St, Corbridge NE45 5AT
Shorts of Corbridge is an independent retailer who reflects their true spirit through both their service and collections. The store specialises in quality, distinctive, contemporary menswear and shoes. It also regularly introduces new brands to their portfolio.
Alnwick Station, Wagon Way Rd, Alnwick NE66 2NP
Back in April 1991, a husband and wife team decided to open a second-hand bookshop, based on the swap system, in the waiting room of Alnwick’s magnificent old Victorian railway station Now, over 20 years later Barter Books has not only been referred to by New Statesman magazine as The British Library of second-hand bookshops but has also initiated one of the biggest cultural trends of the current decade – and this is how. After being forgotten for more than half a century, a rare original of the now famous World War II poster bearing the slogan Keep Calm and Carry On was rediscovered in a box of old books bought at auction by Barter Books. When the bookshop owners had the poster framed and put up in the shop, customer interest was so great that, in 2001, they started producing copies for sale – copies which were soon copied and recopied. Now, not only is the Keep Calm poster one of the first truly iconic images of the 21st century, but it has inspired the design of everything from t-shirts to coffee mugs. Visit website
Bell & Sons, 15-17 Bondgate Within, Alnwick NE66 1SX
Bell & Sons is an independent family-run business trading since 1897 with over 121 years of experience, they are able to use all of that experience to be able to find the right products at the best prices. Visit the well-stocked shop in Alnwick in the heart of rural Northumberland and discover a wide selection of contemporary clothing and shoes. Visit website
10-16 Bridge St, Morpeth NE61 1NJ
Rutherford & Co of Morpeth is an exclusive family-owned department store which has been the heartbeat of Morpeth since 1846. Morpeth’s flagship store originally started as a tiny draper’s shop and has evolved through five generations of the Rutherfords family. Priding itself as a contemporary lifestyle store, stocking exclusive womens and mens fashions, luxurious home furnishings from candelabras to cushions, cookware, shoes, cosmetics and handbags. The personal touch is evident throughout the store, with attention to detail that attracts customers from throughout the UK and beyond. Once you have shopped till you’ve dropped, the mouth-watering cafe is the perfect haven where you can relax in comfort and enjoy a bite to eat. Visit website
Northumberland restaurants and cafes
Northumberland nightlife venues
Northumberland cultural attractions
Image credits: ©Aigars Reinholds/Ihor/Pixel Shot/stock.adobe.com; Northumberland Tourism/visitnorthumberland.com