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(56 Posts)
Riverwalk Thu 16-Jan-14 10:29:39

I have an American friend who is visiting the UK mid-April - she'll be based in Newcastle.

"Northumberland, is that near you?" she asked me before checking a map! Mind, 300 miles isn't a great distance for an American.

Anyway, I'm trying to plan - she'll start off in London staying with me for a few days. I know Newcastle itself will have lots for us to see and do but what about the surrounding areas - NE grans, any ideas on places of particular interest?

TriciaF Thu 16-Jan-14 10:47:33

Northumberland is my home county, though don't live there at the moment.
I would think an American would be interested in ancient history, so the Roman Wall would come first - Corbridge to start.
The coast is beautiful if you have fine weather - suggest Bamburgh, and maybe Holy Island.
Northumberland is famous for its old castles - suggest you buy a book about The Castles of Northumberland - I used to have one, but it's disappeared .
Good luck!

TriciaF Thu 16-Jan-14 10:55:19

ps AmazonUK have a book by Brian Long, 1967, for £5 second hand which I think is the one I had.
And tell your friend to be careful if she ventures out "on the Toon" in the evening - it's very lively !

Tegan Thu 16-Jan-14 11:06:02

How long will she be in Newcastle? The S.O. has a flat in Bamburgh so we know the area extremely well. Will she have a car?

harrigran Thu 16-Jan-14 11:18:08

Alnwick castle and gardens, Seahouses, Farne Islands and of course Hadrian's wall. Bamburgh for the castle and beach.
Newcastle has lots of good restaurants and plenty to see and do.

Riverwalk Thu 16-Jan-14 11:27:59

Thanks you for all the helpful suggestions.

She'll be there for about a week, staying in a city centre hotel - I may join her, not sure yet. She may want to hire a car.

gillybob Thu 16-Jan-14 11:40:06

Pretty much as everyone else has said. Alnwick is a beautiful town and aswell as the famous (Harry Potter) castle and the wonderul garden it boasts lovely little shops, tea rooms and restaurants too. Also worth a visit is the famous Barters Books situated in the old station. Bamburgh and Seahouses (almost next door to each other) share one of the most beautiful coast lines in the United Kingdom. Bamburgh has some lovely little tearooms/restaurants and of course the wonderful castle and just along the road Seahouses has the famous fish and chips, a quaint (working) harbour with pretty little fishing boats and pleasure cruises to the Farne Islands and Grace Darlings Lighthouse . Also worth a visit is Holy Island which is accessed via a causeway (you would need to check the crossing times prior to the visit). This is a beautiful little island with a permanent population of only around 160 people. Again there are some lovely little tearooms and Lindisfarne Priory and Castle.

Newcastle itself wonderful for shopping, eating and the theatre, aswell as the famous bridges, the sage music venue, the Baltic Mill art gallery and River cruises too.

Hope you and your friend have a fantastic trip Riverwalk smile

Tegan Thu 16-Jan-14 11:49:37

Ashington Mining museum is one of my favourite places if she's interested in that sort of history; it also has the collection of the paintings by the Pitmen Painters. Would it be worth staying b&b in Bamburgh rather than travelling back [if we were oop there that week she/you could stay with us]; that way she could travel up from Newcastle and stop off at Cragside then go up the A1 to Bamburgh, do the beach, Bamburgh Castle [I'm biased but I prefer it to Alnwick] and Seahouses [I'm not keen on Seahouses]. The Grace Darling Museum in Bamburgh is a little gem of a museum. Her grave is in the church directly opposite; it's also one of the most beautiful churches I've ever been in [again I'm biased]. Then the following day go to Lindisfarne [obviously checking the tide times]. Could also take the train from Berwick to Edinburgh. It's quite a short journey. Chillingham Castle is another favourite of mine [especially if she wants to see an example of British eccentricity; the owner is quite bonkers, bless him]. Then, of course there's Durham a place I've never been to but should. I never ever tire of Northumberland; there are so many beautiful places to see and there is so much history. There might even be some riding out ceremonies when she's up there. Now they are worth seeing!

janeainsworth Thu 16-Jan-14 11:58:40

Wallington Hall is a beautiful 18th Century mansion, with fabulous grounds and walled garden.
Nearby is the famous (well locally anyway)Capheaton Tea Rooms, which are housed in a tin-roofed village hall and are only open on Saturdays and Sundays, but you get a lovely selection of home-made cakes served by the ladies from the village.
If your friend likes walking, and brings some boots or stout trainers, the possibilities are endless, but among my favourites are Allenbanks and Staward Gorge in West Northumberland, not far from Hadrian's wall.
Let us know if you are coming yourself Riverwalk we could have a GN meet up smile

Maniac Thu 16-Jan-14 12:05:16

We lived in Northumberland for 3 yrs in 60s .Bought our first house there in Morpeth.OH taught at Ashington Tech DD1 born up there.
Endorse all places recommended especially Bamburgh,Seahouses,Alnwick and Cragside.Wonderful coastline and beaches.
A trip down memory lane in Northumberland is on my bucket list!!

nanav123 Thu 16-Jan-14 12:08:15

Thanks everyone for the ideas that proved to be a nostalgic trip for me I lived in Northumberland as a youngster ,now live in Devon but my hearts still in Northumberland

Tegan Thu 16-Jan-14 12:08:50

Maniac; I'm feeling that way about Cornwall and Brum at the moment and I feel that, when I'm there it will feel as if I was only there yesterday.

gillybob Thu 16-Jan-14 12:12:52

Have to agree with janeainsworth Wallington Hall is definitley worth a visit. I just love wondering around the rooms looking at the wonderful pieces of furniture and the (I believe) William Morris wallpaper ! Agree lovely grounds, woodland and walled garden. They hold special events throughout the year too so maybe worth checking dates.

Stansgran Thu 16-Jan-14 12:42:49

Of course Durham Cathedral is better than all these things altho' not in Northumberland. We had to keep a tight hold on an Oz visitor in the Bigg Market as she was addicted to the Fat Slags. In a week we took her to HAdrian's wall Alnwick, Craster, the coast road,Beamish as well as Barnard Castle Romaldkirk and of course Durham ,the jewel of the NE. Not employed by the tourist office or anythingsmile

numberplease Thu 16-Jan-14 16:35:13

I haven`t been to all the places mentioned, but heartily endorse all that's been said about everywhere. I was under the impression for many years that Northumberland was a heavily industrial and dark area, boy, was I pleasantly surprised when I finally made it up there, in 1987, and have been several times since, it`s lovely. Tegan, why don`t you like Seahouses? It`s where we always base ourselves when we`re up there.

Tegan Thu 16-Jan-14 17:19:13

It saddens me that the old cottages overlooking the harbour have been renovated in a rather ugly way. What we did last year though was do a walk from North Sunderland to Seahouses taking in all of the old buildings that we didn't know about, and then walked round Seahouses itself with our little guide book. We walked along the old train track; I wish the station was still there. I've never been down to the beach there, although I've been on the boat to the Farnes. Newton by the Sea is another favourite place with Dunstanburgh Castle in the distance, and also Warkworth which it the most Wind in the Willows'ish place I've ever been to.

TriciaF Thu 16-Jan-14 17:41:18

I agree about Warkworth Castle - I think it beats all the others for romanticism.
Getting homesick now sad

Tegan Thu 16-Jan-14 17:50:22

We walked up the little path that goes up the centre of Warkworth between the backs of the houses and allotments. The church is stunning and so full of history [as are they all]. We love sitting in the car by the river or walking along the river down to the hermitage, but I can't trust my knees to get me into the boat that takes you across to it. The shops and pubs are wonderful; it's magical little place. If it was in the Cotswolds it would be packed with visitors. Another favourite place is Ford and Etal where Lady Waterford Hall is like a mini Sistine Chapel.

Tegan Thu 16-Jan-14 17:52:20

FlicketyB Thu 16-Jan-14 22:02:16

I suggest she drops south 20 miles and visits Durham, the castle, the cathedral and the University, like a mini Oxbridge, all grey stone, Georgian terraces and quiet lanes.

gillybob Thu 16-Jan-14 22:50:12

I love Seahouses too numberplease my DH and I spend a lot of time there and we were there very recently ( 27th December through to 3rd January ). Over the years we have gotten to know many of the locals and you could honestly write a book with the tales you hear in The Olde Ship (an old inn dating from 1812) With lovely welcome, real ales, good food, company and a roaring open fire in the winter months (not to mention the odd lock in) I love to walk down to the harbour and see all the brightly painted fishing boats (think picture postcard) and when the sea is calm I also love to take the trip over to The Farnes. Those baby seals and the puffins.......Aaaahhh . I wish I was there right now....... smile

gillybob Thu 16-Jan-14 22:56:12

Aaaahhh Tegan you don't know what you have been missing. To celebrate my birthday on 2nd January, DH and I walked the beach from Seahouses to Bamburgh going around the castle. I collected lots of lovely sea glass for my collection and then we popped into The Castle (Bamburgh) for my birthday treat of Ham, Eggs and chips before walking back to Seahouses again. It was a lovely day. The beach between Seahouses and Bamburgh is one of the best. Hope to see you up there sometime soon. smile

Tegan Thu 16-Jan-14 23:11:01

I've walked from Bamburgh to Seahouses but never back again in one day! Is the Olde Ship the one where they have one of the remaining small model boats that they used to make in the area? I saw a different side to Seahouses when I did my walk last summer. I'm sure you know [but for those who don't] the fishing village was actually North Sunderland but they built some cottages closer to the sea which were called The Seahouses and then more houses were built. I'm probably not going up there till it gets warmer [soft southerner blush]. Did you see how much erosion happened after those high tides? And did you see the wooden Nativity that was placed outside Clarkies shop opposite the church? And the beautiful lights.

numberplease Fri 17-Jan-14 00:02:04

Tegan, we haven`t been to Lady Waterford Hall, but we did go on the little steam train from Heatherslaw Mill? to Etal last time were were up there, the castle is interesting, although there isn`t an awful lot of it left. I did know the story of the name Seahouses. The very first time we went up there we stayed at the Schooner Inn, a bit shabby in the pub, but lovely bedrooms, one of the old spit and sawdust type pubs, but a very friendly atmosphere. Alas, it`s all changed now, it`s been modernised into a place with entertainment now, and no B & B. And we`ve tried all the fish and chip cafes, our favourite is Neptune.

gillybob Fri 17-Jan-14 08:35:20

Yes Tegan The Old Ship has a massive collection of fishing memorabilia as well as lots of other sea related bits n bobs (some look look like instruments of torture) and some amazing old photographs of the boats and their skippers. We have been there for new year for the last few years now. It was very wet and windy this year and New Year's Day was like a scene from the Wizard of Oz, I really thought we would get blown away! The Old Ship have a collection box in the corner of the bar that goes towards paying for the Christmas lights and tree in the village. It is always a good display. I find the beach walk really therapeutic actually. I layer up so I am toastie warm and set off down the side of the cliffs at Seahouses. I am forever scratching in the sand for treasure so we just take our time and the reward is eventually seeing the castle on your left. A nice break for lunch in Bamburgh and then a slightly more paced walk back. I love the back streets the best. We did a guided walk from North Sunderland (many of my ancestors are in that grave yard) many years ago through Seahouses village and back in a circle. Many most of the cottages are sadly now holiday homes and the locals cannot afford to compete with the prices they sell for. We will no doubt be back at February half term for a few days. smile