While just a short distance away from vibrant Newcastle Upon Tyne, our unique setting is far from busy city life. Rich in heritage, atmosphere, and space, we proudly stand in the heart of Northumberland – offering visitors a perfect pathway to experience stunning coastlines, captivating castles, and charming countryside.
CHESTERS ROMAN FORT
A picture-perfect piece of history located on Hadrian’s Wall, Chesters Roman Fort is widely recognised as the best-preserved Roman cavalry fort in Britain. For those curious to learn about what life might have been like 2,000 years ago, this astonishing landmark is the place to go. Discover what would have been the officers’ quarters, explore the original, well-preserved baths and steam room, along with a number of astonishing Roman objects and inscriptions at the Clayton Museum.
Located just a mile away from Hadrian’s Wall and dating back to the third century, Vindolanda remains one of Europe’s most fascinating and important archeological sites. Showcasing a snapshot of Roman life, the impressive remains include; the headquarters building, the fort walls, the Commanding Officer’s house, granaries and barracks, in addition to extensive remains of a settlement which comprises houses, shops, a tavern and bath house.
Built 2,000 years ago and now recognised as a globally-renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hadrian’s Wall stretches 73 miles coast-to-coast and dominates the wild and beautiful Northumberland landscape. Whether you choose to visit this astonishing landmark during a walking expedition, on a journey of historical interest, or simply just to see it, there’s no doubt you’ll leave feeling impressed and eager to return. Built by a force of 15,000 men in under six years with a view to guard the wild, north-west frontier of the Roman Empire, it’s as astounding today for its required vision as it is for its skilled engineering. Consisting of milecastles, barracks, ramparts and forts against a dramatic backdrop, Hadrian’s Wall is a unique, must-see monument based just a few short miles from Matfen Hall.
Proudly standing as one of the earliest seats of Christianity in England, the site of Hexham Abbey comprises 1,300 years of dramatic history in the beautiful Northumberland market town of Hexham. Today, it’s home to a wealth of artefacts that are able to be enjoyed by the public, with a number of fascinating exhibits and hands-on experiences to enjoy for the whole family.
HEXHAM OLD GAOL
Experience what life was like for prisoners in the 1300s as you step into the oldest purpose-built prison in England. Located in the heart of Hexham, Hexham Old Gaol stood as a prison for nearly 500 years. Pay a visit if you dare and descend into the dungeon, learn about the Reivers family history, try the stocks, and imagine what a prisoner’s fate would look like while awaiting trial in nearby Moothall.
Set in the secluded Northumberland woodland, Aydon Castle is over 900 years old and acts as one of the finest, unaltered examples of a 13th century manor house. A hidden gem located a mere stone’s throw away from Hadrian’s Wall, this perfect picnic spot will provide you and your family with the perfect day out.
Distance from Matfen Hall: approx 5 miles
Set on a wooded hillside overlooking the picturesque River Tyne below, this fairytale castle was built as part of a series of Norman castles after the Norman conquest in 1066 and was occupied for over 9 centuries. Having withstood two sieges during the 1170s – making it the only Northumberland castle to completely resist the Scottish forces – this impressive, long-lived fortress is one not to be missed during your Northumberland adventure.
KIELDER WATER & FOREST PARK
Hidden away in one of the most remote corners of the country, Kielder is home to England’s largest forest area and the biggest man-made lake in Northern Europe. A playground for adventurers, cyclists, walkers, water-sports enthusiasts and more, this beautiful area provides the perfect balance for those looking for a moment of tranquillity in nature, alongside the promise of having plenty of activities to do to keep you busy.
Hidden away in the heart of Kielder Water and Forest Park sits arguably one of the most remarkable places to visit in the UK. Situated in the largest gold tier-protected dark sky park in the whole of Europe, Kielder Observatory offers sky gazing opportunities like no other. Providing astronomers with a permanent facility in the heart of Northumberland, the Observatory is a brilliant place for people of all different ages to come and explore.
A hub for rural economy, a base for education, and a celebration of the Northumberland landscape, The Sill is a National Landscape Discovery Centre in Northumberland National Park. Built to inspire visitors of all ages to explore the history, culture, landscape and heritage that our beautiful region of Northumberland offers, The Sill features exhibitions, learning and event spaces, a local food café, a world-class Youth Hostel, rooftop walk, and a shop specialising in local crafts and produce.
BLACK MIDDENS BASTLE HOUSE
Unique to Northumberland and the Scottish Borders, Bastle Houses are important relics which bear witness to a time when Northumberland was a lawless land. Located in an isolated spot on the north side of the Tarset Valley, Black Middens Bastle House is the starting point of a fantastic, historic walking route that takes visitors past a number of examples of the valley’s fortified farmhouses, built to protect people and valuable livestock from robbery and violence during the time of border reivers.
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE
One of the friendliest and most iconic cities in Britain, Newcastle upon Tyne offers visitors a whole host of different cultural experiences to enjoy. From museums and art galleries to theatres and sporting arenas, this city will inspire you with a whole range of things to admire and attractions to keep you busy during your day visit. Admire Grey’s Monument (erected in homage to Earl Grey – the very man who also has a tea named after him), stroll over the Tyne Bridge, walk along the quayside, spend a day at Europe’s largest shopping and leisure centre – Metro Centre – and more.
Surrounded by rolling countryside and beautiful stone cottages, the handsome market town of Corbridge is one of the most picturesque places to visit in Northumberland. Stay in the heart of the town and explore vintage-inspired cafes, traditional country pubs, fantastic family bakeries and quaint book shops. Or, choose to wander towards the riverside trail and enjoy stunning views of the impressive seven-arched bridge spanning the River Tyne.
HOLY ISLAND OF LINDISFARNE
Prepare to be impressed as you journey across the causeway to the beautiful Holy Island of Lindisfarne. Cut off from the mainland twice a day by the fast-moving tide and internationally famous for both its medieval religious heritage and its more recent picturesque 16th century castle, this beautiful island boasts mesmerising history, incredible views across to Bamburgh Castle, and brilliant coffee and cake spots to enjoy during your day visit.
FORD & ETAL
Referred to locally as the hidden gems in Northumberland, the Ford and Etal Estates are set in the valley of the River Till, just a few miles inland from Holy Island and Bamburgh. While you’re there, visit the ruined Etal Castle, walk across the world-famous Flodden Battlefield, wander down the beautiful main street and try not to be tempted by the array of local cafe spots and Northumberland’s only thatched-roof pub. For the perfect family day out, ride a steam train, stroke a heavy horse, learn how the power of water is harnessed to produce flour, or discover a Victorian schoolroom.
Bring the iron age to life with a visit to Yeavering Bell – Northumberland’s largest iron age hillfort on the very edge of the Cheviot Hills. Climb to the top and look out onto spectacular views of the rolling Cheviots in one direction, and the beautiful North Sea in the other. What’s more, if you’re lucky, you might be able to catch a glimpse of the elusive herd of wild goats that still graze the area, thought to have been brought over to Britain in the Neolithic times.
ST. OSWALD’S CHURCH AT HEAVENFIELD
While the present St. Oswald’s Church dates from 1817, this beautiful building’s impressive history goes back far beyond this. Having replaced a medieval church which, in turn, sat on the presumed site of the 7th century church commemorating the site of the Battle of Heavenfield where, this tranquil hilltop church marks one of the most important sites in early northern Christianity. It’s also widely believed that the church site, or its locality, sits on top of an early monastery, founded by the same King Oswald who permitted the establishment of Lindisfarne monastery a year or two later – making it an impressive and important landmark to visit for those keen to explore Northumberland’s deep history.
Set in the magnificent Redesdale Valley, the small village of Otterburn sits as home to a medieval castle manor and the historical Otterburn Mill. Vibrant and picturesque, this quiet village has a violent history set against the peaceful landscape of the Redesdale Valley. With animals and birds thriving in the nearby Otterburn Ranges – an area that covers nearly a quarter of Northumberland National Park – a trip to this beautiful village and unspoilt landscape shouldn’t be missed during your trip to Northumberland.
One of Northumberland’s most famous and most photographed landmarks, Sycamore Gap sits in a dramatic dip along a stretch of Hadrian’s Wall. Located next to Roman Milecastle 39 (otherwise known as Castle Nick due to its position in a nick in the hillside), to get to this beautiful tree you’ll enjoy a wonderful walk along Hadrian’s Wall with stunning views across Northumberland’s rolling countryside.
ALLEN BANKS AND STAWARD GORGE
The largest area of ancient woodland surrounding a steep-sided gorge of the River Allen, Allen Banks and Staward Gorge comprises miles of waymarked paths and wonderful scenery and is the perfect place to go for a walk. Enjoy the enchanting woodland, watch the wildlife surrounding you and listen to the peaceful trickling sound of the River Allen.