“The last English frontier”, that’s how I saw Northumberland described yesterday, in an article about tourism, which has just exploded throughout the region, over recent years. Frankly, I can’t understand why it’s taken so long for people to realise what a fantastic part of the world Northumberland really is.

With more castles than any other region in England, the county is steeped in history and is carpeted in a huge variety of natural beauty, which isn’t surpassed anywhere on these shores.

It made me think about what it is that has made Northumberland so popular and why it’s all happened so relatively recently. Here are some views on other reasons a trip to Northumberland should be right at the top of anyone’s list;

 

Lights, Camera Action… it’s a movie set!

Over the years Northumberland has become a hot spot for TV and Movie producers to film everything from historic drama’s such as, Downton Abbey, to documentaries such as ‘Tales from Northumberland’ with Robson Green.

But it’s thespian legacy isn’t actually all that recent, way back in the early 1970’s Disney chose Alnwick Castle as a location for its movie ‘The Spaceman and King Arthur’. Alnwick Castle has also assumed the role of ‘Hogwarts School for Witchcraft’ in one of the biggest movie franchises of all time, Harry Potter.

In 1991, the blockbuster Robin Hood featuring Kevin Costner featured Hadrian’s Wall in some of its most iconic scenes. And more recently, TV shows such as Vera and Jonathan Strange and many more have used Northumberland as a set for their contemporary dramas.

 

It has a rich and violent history

As well as having more castles than any other county it’s turbulent past means it has more recognised battle sites too. Northumberland has provided the back drop to savage wars between Anglicans and Celtic natives and has seen Norman lords built castles to suppress rebellions and defend against the occupation of the Scots.

Before any of this of course, the region played host to Romans who built roads, settlements and garrisons to defend ‘Roman Britain’

 

Alnwick Castle

Castles, castles and more castles

Northumberland is quite literally littered with castles, more than 70 in fact. From ruins such as those in Dunstanburgh, to Castles which are still occupied today, such as Alnwick. 

Each has its own story to tell and its own part to play in the history of the region and in many cases our country.

Bamburgh for example was once the capital of England and is fully restored today and towers some 150ft above the sea. Fallen masonary from  its ‘taking’ during the War of Roses, is evidence of it being the first in England to be taken using gunpowder.

 

It has all the countryside you’ll ever need

The county boasts everything from dense, lush forests such as Thrunton Woods, to many miles of baron moorland and everything in between. It can cater for almost any taste and has recently become home to many walking festivals as people seek to take in the stunning views and vistas which can be enjoyed throughout the county.

 

Northumberland Beach The Beaches are ‘outstanding’

 Designated as an area of ‘outstanding natural beauty’ the Northumberland coastline covers  over 100 miles between  the Estuary  of the River Coquet, north to Berwick Upon Tweed  and features over 30 miles of beaches.

 These vary from; fine white sandy beaches and  include vast beautiful  unspoiled areas.  Many small villages and hamlets like stretch the  length of the countryside and offer great  company and an opportunity to rest, eat and  absorb some of the local culture, such as;  Beadnell, Farne Islands, Lindisfarne, Seahouses  and Alnmouth.

 

 The Fishing is gooood!

With over 100 miles of coastline, sea fishing is both popular and good! There is also a long history of river fishing with some of the most well-known rivers in the country such as, The River Tweed, a renowned Salmon river. The Tweed is also only river in the country where an Environment Agency rod licence isn’t required for angling (Although local permits are).

 The one thing that rarely gets a mention in formal reviews of the region is it’s culture and its people. The people of Northumberland are some of the most welcoming and warm hosts you could wish to meet. Our county is packed with real ‘characters’ and engaging with them and the region is a real treat.

So, if you haven’t visited Northumberland, what are  you waiting for? And if you live here… when was the last time you got out to appreciate some of the unique and special aspects of our surroundings that are on your doorstep?