Getting out and about
Due to the fact that you can be in the countryside in less than 10 minutes from all of our major towns and cities, you're never far away from nature. And with more castles per square metre of land than anywhere else in England, the man-made sights aren't too bad either. In 2018 Northumberland was declared the WINNER of The Best Destination category in the 2018 British Travel Awards.
From catching the surf at our four blue flag beaches, tackling challenging ascents on the rock faces in the stunning Lake District or getting lost in the trails of Hamsterley Forest, there's no excuse to be indoors.
Those seeking solitude will find it here with Northumberland as the most sparsley populated county in England - it is quite an experience to be standing on the stunning Cheviot hills, feeling like you have the entire planet all to yourself.
Mysterious caves, historical castles, dark ancient forests, curious seals, comical puffins, thundering waterfalls, stunning coastline, inviting lakes and majestic mountains are yours to explore and to call home.
You don't get puffins everywhere, but you do get them (in their thousands!) at the Farne Islands off the Northumberland Coast where there are few better places to see them up close.
The puffin is unmistakable; once seen, never forgotten. With its beautiful markings, strikingly coloured bill and almost comic gait it is a bird that has endeared itself to millions. Puffins are a red-listed bird species. This means there has been a severe decline in the population of puffins over the last 25 years. Over half of the UK population is based at just a handful of sites.
A nature lover's paradise.
Our region is a feast for the eyes for any nature lover. Here’s just a few of our top tips of places to visit. Whether you’re a seasoned birder or just someone who likes the great outdoors - there’s something for everyone!
Take in a deep breath of that fresh sea air at Northumberland’s Duridge Bay and you may also be lucky enough to spot dolphins and seals. Or you can simply feast your eyes on its stunning seven mile stretch of sand and listen to sound of the surf and seabirds. The bay also boasts a number of reservoirs - home to rare birds including the Golden Eye Snipe.
Remember reading Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Squirrel Nutkin? If you want to catch sight of these wonderful creatures - Allen Bank in Grasmere offers just that. Formally the home of William Wordsworth the site has a fantastic woodlands trail with plenty to see. Or head to River Kent in Kendal and you may spot some otters.
Grab your binoculars and discover Geltsdale. Hidden away in the north west corner of the North Pennines it’s a remote and rugged nature reserve with everything from upland birds such as black grouse to birds of prey like the hen harrier.
Then there’s Jesmond Dene – it may be nestled in the heart of the city of Newcastle, but there’s waterfalls, woodlands and crags to explore and you might spot a kingfisher too. If not, there’s always the free-entry petting zoo! The park was given to the people of Newcastle by Lord Armstrong, an eminent scientist, inventor and philanthropist.
The North East is home to sand bars and big waves. From the Gare in Middlesbrough to the famous Black Midden rocks in Tynemouth, there are a number of great opportunities to surf up and down our coastline. Over the past few years, surfing in Tynemouth in particular has been booming with what was once a relatively small surfing community, now one of the busiest surf scenes in the country.
There are 6 Blue Flag beaches on the North East’s stunning coastline
Getting up close and personal
If you’ve got a head for heights and hill walking is your thing then you’ll be spoilt for choice in our region. From Scafell Pike in The Lake District, the Simonside Hills in Northumberland with its distinctive ridge and craggy profile (watch out for the wild goats!) to The North Pennines, there’s plenty for the adventurous. We guarantee the views will be breathtaking and you’ll get up close and personal with nature. You’ll certainly have a thirst by the time you make it down - just in time to find a warm and cosy country pub! But you don't have to go to the hills to get close to nature - these stunners were pictured less than one mile from the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle!
Facing the North Sea, the North East has a busy coastline with miles of scenic cliffs, dunes and harbours, especially along the estuaries of the Tyne and the Tees. The Northumberland Coast is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covering 40 miles of coastline from Berwick-Upon-Tweed to the River Coquet estuary.
And if lighthouses are your thing - what are you waiting for! We've got dozens, and many with incredible stories to tell (many thanks to Nadarajah Thirugnanasothy, for taking this cracking picture of St Mary's Lighthouse in North Tyneside – Nadarajah is the dad of two of our very own consultants Suba and Logan).