Why book this trip?
Discover stunning countryside, unspoilt beaches, hidden gardens and fascinating cultural heritage in the welcoming county of Northumberland. Centre-based in the port town of Amble we explore some of the highlights of this friendly region from imposing castles guarding the dramatic coastline, ancient religious sites and Roman sites along Hadrian’s Wall.
- Ancient Castles– Bamburgh, Alnwick and the ruins of Dunstanburgh
- Hadrian’s Wall– Housesteads Fort, Vindolanda Settlement and walk along the wall
- Holy Island– Lindisfarne Castle and Priory
- DAY 1– Join trip in Amble
Arrive in friendly Amble, a waterfront port town that hugs the River Coquet estuary at the southern entrance to the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Check in is possible from 3pm. There is a car park for hotel guests. If arriving by train, Alnmouth Station is about 5 miles away by taxi.
The Tour Leader plans to meet you in reception at 6pm for the introductory briefing, followed by the option to enjoy a group meal (not included) to get acquainted with your fellow guests.
NB – Please note that during covid restrictions it is advisable to pre-book entrance tickets for most suggested site visits on this trip. Go to the optional activities listed in the trip information section for more details on pre-booking the visit (with timings and prices).
- DAY 2– Bamburgh Castle, RNLI Grace Darling Museum, Craster and Dunstanburgh Castle
We start the day with a drive (45min) to visit Bamburgh Castle (included). The castle’s impressive ramparts are best appreciated from the beach so we plan a short walk up the coast and along the vast sandy beach. This vast Norman stronghold has stood guard over the spectacular Northumberland coastline for over 1,400 years. A short walk and we visit the RNLI Museum of Grace Darling, the Victorian Heroine who risked her life to rescue survivors of a wrecked ship in a storm back in 1838.
In the afternoon, we drive back down the coast with a stop at the beautiful fishing village of Craster – famed for its Kippers that are still smoked in the village today. A scenic walk along the coast for about a mile leads us to the magnificent ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle (English Heritage, entrance not included) standing proudly on a remote headland.
- DAY 3– Alnwick Castle, Alnwick Gardens and Hulne Park
Today we drive a short distance to the market and castled town of Alnwick – a cultural highlight that is pretty hard to beat! The town is surrounded by a wall dating back to the 14th century and is overlooked by the imposing Alnwick Castle, home of the current Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. The castle and its remarkable gardens have been featured in many film and TV productions. You will have time to explore the Castle and the adjacent Walled Gardens and famous Treehouse. If time allows there is a lovely walk into Hulne Park, a former hunting park for the Duke of Northumberland, now open to the public. Entrance into Alnwick Castle and Gardens is included.
- DAY 4– The UNESCO Site of Hadrians Wall, Housesteads and Vindolanda
We drive (1.5hrs) inland today to Hadrian’s Wall at The Sill Visitor Centre. This is one of the best preserved sections of the wall that is great to see up close on a 4-mile walk alongside the Wall passing Sycamore Gap to Housesteads Roman Hill Fort (National Trust, entrance not included). The wide-open spaces and stunning views looking north will give you an insight into how it would have been for a Roman Centurion to be posted here nearly two millennia ago. Alternatively, there is the option to travel in our bus. After time for an optional visit to Housesteads Fort, we drive the short distance to the ruins of the Roman archaeological site of Vindolanda, a Roman auxiliary fort just south of the Wall that originally pre-dated it. Around 25% of Vindolanda has been excavated and archaeologists are still hard at work here and it may be possible to learn about that process and any recent finds. Entrance into Vindolanda is included.
- DAY 5– Holy Island of Lindisfarne & Berwick Ramparts
On our final excursion, we drive to the historic and religious Island of Lindisfarne. We plan to drive across the causeway but for those who are feeling energetic and if the tides allow, you can walk over the sands from the mainland following the route of St Aiden who walked this route to found the Priory in 635AD. Once on the island you have the option to visit the Priory (English Heritage, entrance not included), Lindisfarne Castle (National Trust, entrance not included) and you can visit the Lindisfarne Mead Shop to sample the local meads. Later in the day we will head further north to the once feudal town of Berwick upon Tweed which has changed hands from English to Scottish ownership no less than 11 times. We plan to take a walk along the tops of the walled Ramparts and, time permitting, you have the option to visit the Barracks before driving (1hr) back to our hotel.
- DAY 6– Trip ends in Amble
The tour ends this morning after breakfast. You may choose to explore more of the local area under your own steam. We can suggest a self-guided short walk to Warkworth Castle and The Hermitage or a boat trip to Coquet Island – an RSPB seabird sanctuary a mile off the coast – home to 90% of the UK’s rare roseate tern population. Puffins arrive in their thousands to breed each spring, staying until mid to late July.