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Things to do in

Northumberland

Our most recommended things to do in Northumberland

Hadrian's Wall & Roman Britain 1-Day Tour from Edinburgh

1. Hadrian's Wall & Roman Britain 1-Day Tour from Edinburgh

Travel south from Edinburgh on the old Roman Dere Street that linked the supply ports in the south of England with the ancient city of York. Then go north past Hadrian’s Wall to the Roman settlements in Central Scotland. Your first stop on this tour will be in the border town of Jedburgh, a historic burgh that lies only 12 miles north of the Scotland-England border. Here you have time to take a short walk through the narrow streets that lead to the remains of the Augustinian Abbey, which has been a great symbol of power during its 900 year history. Continuing south you make a brief stop at scenic Carter Bar on the edge of the Cheviot Hills. This crossing point between Scotland and England runs close to the ancient Roman road and has formed the border between the 2 countries for the past 700 years. The tour continues through the magnificent forests of Northumberland National Park before turning west towards the remains of Hadrian’s Wall. Follow the road taking you along the south side of the wall, stopping at Steel Rigg where you come face-to-face with large sections of the wall’s remains. Take time to walk along the wall and experience the isolation that Roman foot soldiers would have experienced as they guarded their empire from the barbarians to the north. You continue your journey west along the wall towards the village of Lanercost, the western gateway to Hadrian’s Wall. After pausing for lunch you travel a short distance to Birdoswald, one of the best preserved of the 16 Roman forts along the length of Hadrian’s Wall. Enjoy time to explore this fascinating site and further sections of the wall before you turn north for the return journey. Traveling through the Galloway hills, stop in the Victorian spa town of Moffat before continuing through the Southern Uplands and Scottish Borders, and returning to Edinburgh.

From Edinburgh: Holy Island, Alnwick Castle & Northumbria

2. From Edinburgh: Holy Island, Alnwick Castle & Northumbria

Take the scenic coastal route south into the Medieval Kingdom of Northumbria in North-East England; visit the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, once the most important center of religious learning in the British Isles. Explore the medieval market town of Alnwick and its stunning castle - where scenes from ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Downton Abbey’ were filmed. Our first stop is Holy Island, connected to the mainland by a causeway that leads into the quaint island village of Lindisfarne, where there are stunning views of Lindisfarne Castle* (dating back to 1550). Spend time wandering through the ruins of its Priory* where the magnificent Lindisfarne Gospels were produced, sample some of the world-famous Lindisfarne ‘Mead’ brewed by Monks on the island, and enjoy the tranquility for which the island is renowned. We continue south passing Bamburgh, ‘Ancient Capital of Northumbria,’ then on to the bustling market town of Alnwick, whose greatest building is the medieval Alnwick Castle*. Enjoy time in the town center or visit the castle complex where there is something for everyone. Home of the Percy Family for over 700 years, Alnwick Castle is considered one of the finest castles in England and is proudly known as “The Windsor of the North”. Visitors can step into the unexpected in the spectacular Alnwick Garden* with its Grand Cascade fountain and Poison Gardens. The castle grounds were also used in the TV series Downton Abbey and the Harry Potter films. In the mid-afternoon, we begin the drive north to cross the River Tweed and back into Scotland at the historic border town of Coldstream. If time permits during this journey there may be a stop at Flodden Field, one of the best-preserved battlefields in Northern Europe and scene of the infamous battle of 1513, which ended in victory for the English and the death of James IV, King of Scots.

From Edinburgh: Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Tour

3. From Edinburgh: Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Tour

Explore the borderlands of Scotland and England during this full-day tour from Edinburgh. Stop at the charming town of Kelso, where you can explore this handsome town and what is thought to be Scotland’s largest market square. You also see the ruins of Kelso Abbey, a reminder of the many ancient conflicts between Scotland and England. Follow the ancient Roman Dere Street that connected Scottish Caledonia with Roman Britannia through the Scottish Borders. Stop at the charming town of Melrose, home to the remains of the Cistercian Abbey and the burial place of the heart of Scottish king Robert the Bruce. Cross the border and travel to thousand-year-old Alnwick Castle, one of the great castles of Northumberland. Originally built to protect the north of England from Scottish Border Reivers and invaders, more recently Alnwick Castle and its perfectly manicured gardens have found fame as one of the settings for the fictional Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter movie series. After around 3 hours at Alnwick, travel north along the stunning Northumberland Coast. You stop on your way back to Edinburgh at one of the beautiful historic villages or castles that pepper the rolling landscapes of Southern Scotland.

Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Tour from Edinburgh

4. Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Tour from Edinburgh

On this 9.5-hour excursion from Edinburgh you’ll visit the picturesque town of Coldsream and the inspiring Bamburgh Castle. But it’s Alnwick Castle that’s the main destination of the day. It’s been a key filming location for Harry Potter and Downton Abbey and is a historic location in its own right. You’ll leave Edinburgh at 08:15 in the morning and head east to the Scottish Borders. Along the way, you’ll have views of gently rolling hills and dramatic coastlines. The first stop is the beautiful coastal town Bamburgh. Take a stroll to the stunning beach and view the dramatic 5th-century Bamburgh Castle sitting on a natural throne of volcanic dolerite. In the afternoon you’ll visit Alnwick Castle. Admire the large stately rooms and the stunning architecture or learn a little about all the popular films and TV shows that have been filmed at the site, including Harry Potter. After spending time in Alnwick, you will make your way back over the border and in to Scotland. The final stop is the border town of Coldstream that lies on the north side of the River Tweed. Hear about the turbulent past of this charming town before your journey ends in Edinburgh in the early evening.

Alnwick: Self-Guided Walking Tour with Audio Guide

5. Alnwick: Self-Guided Walking Tour with Audio Guide

Explore the beauty of Alnwick, a quaint Northumbrian town on a self-guided audio walking tour. Put on your headphones and stroll through the streets of the Alnwick at your own pace. Download the MP3 audio tour combined with a fully detailed map of the area and start your adventure with your audio device as your guide. The culturally rich audio tour will take you on a journey through a place rich in history. Walk through the old cobbled stone paths of the town and see the marketplace, community gathering place, and the fine stone buildings. Learn about the past of Alnwick and discover how it evolved into the vibrant and beautiful market town of today. Visit the most popular attractions of the town like the old Market Cross, the Alnwick Garden, a famous castle, a quaint market, historical buildings, and a beautiful cozy bookstore. Enjoy a hassle-free audio tour of one of England’s iconic market towns.

Hadrian's Wall: 2-Hour Guided Tour

6. Hadrian's Wall: 2-Hour Guided Tour

Feel Roman history come to life as you discover just what Britain was like under the Caesars on this 2-hour tour of Hadrian's Wall. Explore this breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site with a local guide dressed in an authentic costume of the era, and discover hidden archaeological gems. Hear your guide weave a narrative from both sides of the wall — the tales of the natives and the stories told by the occupying forces — and walk along the iconic central section of Hadrian's Wall. See a milecastle (a rectangular fortification) and one of the best sections of the Vallum defensive ditch. Throughout your tour, admire the magnificent backdrop of the Northumberland National Park, and enjoy some of the best views across the rugged moorland vistas.

Hadrian's Wall: 4-Hour Guided Tour

7. Hadrian's Wall: 4-Hour Guided Tour

Walk along the iconic central section of Hadrian’s Wall, followed by a visit to one of the best-preserved Roman Forts in Britain. Discover the unique stories of the Roman museums and archaeological sites in Northumberland on this 4-hour walking tour. As your guide explains the history of each site, they will also weave in the importance of the surrounding landscape to reveal what makes each place so special. Soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the stunning views across Northumberland National Park and Hadrian’s Wall.

Newcastle: Castle Entry Ticket

8. Newcastle: Castle Entry Ticket

Discover an imposing Norman fortress in the center of Newcastle upon Tyne, a rugged reminder of northern England's turbulent history. This was no baron's stately home. Newcastle Castle is a grim reminder of royal authority where armies gathered and criminals were imprisoned and executed. It is where the story of Newcastle began and the reason the city got its name. During your visit, enjoy the most commanding views over the city of Newcastle and the River Tyne. See Newcastle's most historic buildings, the Castle Keep and its 13th-century gatehouse the Black Gate, which were once part of a much larger fortress. Marvel at how much of Newcastle Castle has remained intact despite its tumultuous history. Today, you can explore the ancient passageways and chambers where kings walked and villains were imprisoned. Find the marks left by the inhabitants through the ages and learn the fascinating story of the Castle Garth community that grew up around the ruins. The two buildings that remain were cut off from each other by the Victorian railways of the 19th century — an unfortunate side effect of the North East's trailblazing role in the Industrial Revolution. Exhibits guide visitors through the Castle's history over the years: from settlement in Roman times, to medieval stronghold, to use as a modern day museum and everything in between.

Vera Half Day TV Locations Tour of Newcastle

9. Vera Half Day TV Locations Tour of Newcastle

Join this wonderful tour which takes fans of the show 'Vera' around the heartlands of where it is filmed in Newscastle Upon Tyne and Gateshead in Northumberland. The fully guided coach tour lasts approximately 4 hours and starts and finishes from central Newscastle. For the first part of the tour you will get to visit some of the Vera locations in Newcastle as well as Gateshead on the other side of the River Tyne. For the second and longer part of your tour you will be heading out towards the coast to explore some of the murder scenes and filming locations at Fish Quay in North Shields, Tynemouth and Whitley Bay before heading back into Newcastle. As part of the tour you'll have the opportunity to get out and see up close some of these locations to catch a good view. Sites you'll visit include Castle Keep, Industrial Film sites, The Staiths, The Sage Gateshead concert venue, the seven bridges of Newcastle, and you’ll have 30 minutes time to explore the Sage and surroundings. During the course of the tour you will get to see clips from the TV show to help you recognise the locations that you'll see on the day.

Northumberland: Full-Day Tour of Vera Filming Locations

10. Northumberland: Full-Day Tour of Vera Filming Locations

Follow in the footsteps of Ann Cleeves’ no-nonsense Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope on this full-day guided tour of “Vera” film locations in Northumberland by coach. Get an insider perspective of ITV’s best-loved detective drama. Starting and ending in the center of Newcastle, visit coastal locations in Northumberland including Amble, Warkworth, Alnmouth, Bamburgh, and Lindisfarne Island (or Holy Island), the fictional home of Vera. See more than 15 actual locations from episodes all the way through ten years of "Vera." Enjoy time to get on and off the coach and see some locations up close with plenty of opportunities to take photos.

Other Sightseeing Options in Northumberland

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What people are saying about Northumberland

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 952 reviews

Lovely experience driving through to east Lothian. Our guide Connor was friendly and helpful, gave us information about history as well as nice places to explore within the spots. We loved the scenic view of the beach in Bamburg and driving near the Northumbria coastline apart from Alnwick. Overall, a day well spent exploring.

A friendly welcome. Comfortable coach , little snippets of Vera episodes to add to the coordinated stops. Good value for money

Beautiful countryside and Alnwick Castle is amazingingly beautiful. We enjoyed the Harry Potter information as well.

Willy was a wonderful guide and we had a great time learning about the history of the area

Well organised timely, friendly guide and bus driver