Cathy's Holiday Ideas

Exploring Englands Far North

Exploring Englands Far North

We recently had a great holiday self catering in Northumberland. I thought I'd share with you what I consider to be the highlights if you are thinking of a similar break. In case you did not know, Northumberland is the most northerly of English counties, lying mainly to the north of Hadrian's Wall. It's a large county with few people so plenty of wide open spaces. Here are my five best things about Northumberland which we enjoyed when on our self catering holiday as a family in the north of the county:

The Islands
Don't miss out a trip out to the Farne Islands from Seahouses to see the breeding seabirds in summer, as well as the seals. Keep an eye on the weather as the small boats will not put to sea in poor conditions - we only managed to get out on the last day of our holiday. Further down the coast at Amble there are boat trips to Coquet Island, also known as Puffin Island. If the thought of a boat trip is unappealing you can still get to visit an island, without taking a boat. Holy Island is accessible at low tide by a causeway. Most people drive over but we enjoyed walking across the sands following the posts waymarking the Pilgrims Way. It took about an hour and involved taking off our shoes and socks on the odd occasion, but was great fun.

The Beaches
Northumberland is renowned for its mile after mile of wide, sandy beaches often backed by sand dunes. Away from the few small seaside resorts they are usually fairly empty and perfect for a family stroll, ample room for children to play or for the brave prepared to take the plunge.

The Castles
Staying on the coast, there are some great castles which capture the imagination of children and adults alike. Magnificent Bamburgh Castle dominates not only its pretty village but the stretch of coastline for many miles. Further south the ruins of Dunstanburgh have an eerie feel and were a favourite subject of the painter Turner. We enjoyed a coastal walk there from nearby Embleton. Holy Island also has its own stronghold - Lindisfarne Castle. Inland, Alnwick Castle dominates its town and you (or the children) may recognise it from its starring role as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films.

The Gardens
Situated next to the castle, Alnwick Gardens are a joy not just for keen gardeners but also families - we spent a full day here. They have been cleverly designed with lots of opportunities for the kids to get wet and play. Children can collect water in the mini tractors, paddle in the rills, see the many ways water can move in the Serpent Garden and dodge the Grand Cascade's jets. Plus, there's also one of the world's largest wooden tree houses to explore. Cragside House near Rothbury is set in gardens that are a rocky wonderland interspersed by trees through which run miles of footpaths, cycleways and a rhododendron maze. However what makes this place unique is the wealth of ingenious gadgetry in the house- installed by the Victorian inventor whose family home it was - including fire alarm buttons, telephones, a passenger lift and a Turkish bath suite.

The Wild West
A unique herd of wild cattle, in parkland at Chillingham near Wooler are the sole survivors of herds that once roamed the forests of Britain. They are truly wild - you are able to see the cattle only when accompanied by the warden who will ensure your safety. We ventured out in a very small group of people and he took us as close as possible, talking with great passion about the cattle and the herd's history.

When it comes to self catering Northumberland has a good choice of holiday cottages. Below are some of my favourites. Or, click here to see all of our Northumberland cottages.

For enquiries, availability or to book over the phone please call: 0844 561 8329
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  • Chicken Coop View Cottage

    Chicken Coop View Cottage

    Property Reference Number:
    E3333

    Elishaw Moor.  View on map>

    In a nutshell: Pet friendly, wood burning stove, magnificent views. These Northumberland cottages are set in wild and picturesque Redesdale, just ...
    Sleeps: 4
    Weekly price range: £341 - £674
    Add to shortlist > View more information on this property
  • Farmhouse Cottage

    Farmhouse Cottage

    Property Reference Number:
    E3332

    Elishaw Moor.  View on map>

    In a nutshell: Pet friendly, wood burning stove, magnificent views. These Northumberland cottages are set in wild and picturesque Redesdale, just ...
    Sleeps: 4
    Weekly price range: £341 - £674
    Add to shortlist > View more information on this property
  • Stable Cottage

    Stable Cottage

    Property Reference Number:
    E3533

    Ravenshill Forest Park, Kielder.  View on map>

    In a nutshell: Hot tub, walk to pub, pet friendly, two bathrooms. If you hanker for remote cottages Northumberland, and especially Kielder Water a...
    Sleeps: 6
    Weekly price range: £501 - £986
    Add to shortlist > View more information on this property
  • Woodpecker

    Woodpecker

    Property Reference Number:
    E4614

    Ravenshill, Kielder.  View on map>

    In a nutshell: Hot tub, walk to pub, wonderful views, two bathrooms. When it comes to holiday cottages Northumberland has a good choice amidst wil...
    Sleeps: 6
    Weekly price range: £501 - £986
    Add to shortlist > View more information on this property

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