northumberland purple heather on a mountain
northumberland purple heather on a mountain

Northumberland - Northumberland National Park

Explore the northern-most National Park in England

Covering an area of more than 410 square miles between the Scottish border in the north to just south of Hadrian’s Wall UNESCO World Heritage site, Northumberland is the least populated of all of the UK’s 15 National Parks.

Northumberland is blessed with an irresistible combination of stunning scenery, fascinating historical sites, and unforgettable adventures, ranging from the lush, green valleys and forests in the west to the unspoiled, dune-lined beaches in the east.

On a visit here, you can spend your time doing everything from mountain biking to surfing, or do nothing at all. With Northumberland's wide ranage of activities and attractions, you can kayak along the coastline, storm a castle, reconnect with nature, or discover hidden gardens.

At Holy Island, you can walk in the steps of saints, skim stones along 30 miles of undeveloped beaches, travel back 2,000 years along Hadrian's Wall, meet the local seals and puffins at the Farne Islands, and sleep under a starry sky in the International Dark Sky Park.

Why not investigate the magnificent fortresses, stay in a haunted castle with ghostly grounds, or explore a ruined medieval castle in the array of enchanting castle? Northumberland has over 70 castle sites for you to explore, ranging from majestic fortresses that tower over towns to once-grand, romantic ruins. They are scattered along the coastline, perched on rugged islands, and tucked away in the heart of cobblestoned market towns, all of which bear the scars of a turbulent past.

Hadrian's Wall, one of the first traces of the county's history dating back to ancient Rome, is a must-see for any visit to this National Park. The wall, which is still standing strong today, is a remarkable feat of engineering, and has several Roman forts along the way.

In December 2013, the International Dark Sky Association conferred Dark Sky Park status on an area including Northumberland National Park; it is the largest protected Dark Sky Park in Europe. Dark Sky viewing platforms can be found across the National Park including Walltown and Cawfields on Hadrian’s Wall.

The variety of landscapes mean that almost a third of the park (32,758 hectares) is made up of priority habitats, which are recognised for their national and international environmental importance and wildlife, while 10,000 hectares are sites of special scientific interest.

Not surprisingly, walking is the top activity for visitors, with 72% of the park classed as open access land and there are more than 1,140km of public rights of way. Hugely popular are walks around Hadrian’s Wall and in the stunning scenery and solitude of the Cheviot Hills. With everything from waterfalls to woodland, you can’t fail to find the most beautiful backdrop to your adventures in the countryside.