10 of Northumberland's historic highlights you can take in this summer

Northumberland’s turbulent past, when it was the scene of fiercely fought battles between England and Scotland, means it has more castles than any other county.

Friday, 9th August 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Friday, 9th August 2019, 11:45 am
Each year Bamburgh Castle thrills, enthralls and captivates many thousands of visitors from across the globe with its incredible history, dramatic views and treasure-trove collection of unique pieces which tell the story of Bamburgh’s many reincarnations over the centuries, from Anglo Saxon Royal palace to Victorian inventor and industrialist The First Lord Armstrong’s vision of a perfect castle.

There are more than 70 castle sites from romantic ruins like Dunstanburgh Castle and Berwick Castle to the splendour of Bamburgh Castle and Alnwick Castle.

Then there are the likes of Hadrian’s Wall, Lindisfarne Priory and Cragside. Really, visitors to Northumberland are spoilt for choice!

Special events are being held at a number of them over the summer – or just enjoy the wonder of them in your own time. Take a look at some of the highlights….

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Hadrian’s Wall Stretching 73 miles from coast to coast, Hadrian’s Wall was built to guard the wild north-west frontier of the Roman Empire. Today you can explore the Wall’s rich history and its dramatic landscape at over 20 English Heritage sites. Celebrate the release of Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans in cinemas by going on a quest at Chesters Roman Fort and Birdoswald Roman Fort (weekends only to Aug 4) to find out about Britannia’s gory past. Explore the site to find the question boards and answer all ten to claim your reward.
Be king or queen for the day in this mighty Northumberland fortress crowning the hilltop above the River Coquet. Enjoy a day out and see how the powerful Dukes of Northumberland, the Percy family lived. Explore the floors and rooms in the magnificent cross-shaped keep which was once home to 'Harry Hotspur', immortalised as a rebel lord by Shakespeare, and bane of Scottish raiders. See spectacular river and coastal views from the castle walls. The medieval myths and legends season is held on August 13-14, August 20-21 and August 28-29.
Cross the dramatic causeway to reach the island of Lindisfarne. Follow in the footsteps of the ancient monks who built their priory here nearly 1,400 years ago, and explore the wild coastal beauty of Holy Island. Visit the museum and find out about a grisly Viking raid, the cult of St Cuthbert, and the beautiful medieval manuscript: the Lindisfarne Gospels. Please note that the causeway floods at high tide so it is very important to check the tide times before crossing. Opening times can vary at short notice due to tidal restrictions.
The remains of a medieval castle crucial to Anglo-Scottish warfare, superseded by the most complete and breathtakingly impressive bastioned town defences in England, mainly Elizabethan but updated in the 17th and 18th centuries. Surrounding the whole historic town, their entire circuit can be walked. Nearby are the 18th century barracks and, via a riverside path, the ruins of the 12th century Berwick Castle.
Woodhorn brings to life Northumberland’s proud mining heritage, alongside an ever-changing contemporary arts and event programme – making it a fun and cultural day out. On Sunday, July 21 there is a chance to meet a host of science fiction characters ranging from Daleks to Doctors, Jedis to Jawas and many more! This event is organised by a team of dedicated volunteers raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Support and Woodhorn Charitable Trust.
Cragside was light-years ahead of its time. The home of hydroelectricity, Lord and Lady Armstrong used their wealth, art and science in an ingenious way. What began as a modest country retreat quickly became one of the most technologically advanced homes of the Victorian age. With acres of land and over 40 miles of footpaths to explore up hills, around lakes, through woodland and gardens you'll definitely be spoilt for choice.
The castle was built at a time when relations between King Edward II and his most powerful baron, Earl Thomas of Lancaster, had become openly hostile. Lancaster began the fortress in 1313, and the latest archaeological research indicates that he built it on a far grander scale than was originally recognised. Unfortunately the earl failed to reach Dunstanburgh when his rebellion was defeated, and was taken and executed in 1322. Thereafter the castle passed eventually to John of Gaunt, who strengthened it against the Scots by converting the great twin towered gatehouse into a keep. The focus of fierce fighting during the Wars of the Roses, it was twice besieged and captured by Yorkist forces, but subsequently fell into decay. There are superb walks to Dunstanburgh from Craster and Embleton. www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/dunstanburgh-castle/