Northumberland vs Cornwall: What Makes This Northern County So Special

  • By Matfen Hall
  • September 01, 2021
  • Uncategorised

September’s here. Children have gone back to school, for many, the summer holiday period is over – and after a busy season in Cornwall, their council is now urging tourists to stay away from the popular holiday destination. There is no doubt that Cornwall is stunning. Complete with turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, cliff top walks and pretty villages lining the coast, it offers it all – that is, until you head up north to picturesque, largely untouched and entirely authentic, Northumberland.

After all, who needs the south west when you can explore beaches that reach to vanishing point, beautifully battered castles, and quaint local market towns that have yet to convert their fishing barns into tourist cottages and surrender their local butchers in favour of overpriced gift shops? What’s more, there’s little difference in the distance by car from London to both regions, taking just under 5 hours to get to Cornwall, and even less time (a little over 3 hours, to be precise) to get to our incredible northern region.

While the reasons to visit Northumberland are limitless, in this article, we share just a few key reasons why a break at our grand estate in the heart of this historic region this September should be higher up your list of must-see places to visit than the south west alternative.

Space above and below eye level

As England’s northernmost county, our stunning region is proudly recognised as the least populated in the country – with approximately 64 people per square kilometre, compared with 5,101 in London – meaning that those who visit are able to relax into its tranquil surroundings, without fear of being interrupted by the noise of other visitors admiring the very same views. In times where space is precious, this means more freedom to safely roam the breathtaking countryside or sit peacefully on a beach admiring the castles to your left and small villages on your right.

In addition to space and plentiful sights to see on the ground, Northumberland, like Cornwall, boasts dark sky status, meaning there are many opportunities to fill your time with star gazing in the evening following your day of adventure.

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 budding 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 following an evening of magnificent dining in our Emerald Restaurant.


While Cornwall’s picture-perfect beaches are filled with sand castle makers, surfers and picnickers galore, Northumberland’s 30-mile long coastline benefits from an abundance of untouched space to be discovered and enjoyed.

The best thing about Northumberland’s beaches is that there are a lot of them; from dune-backed Druridge Bay and the National Trust-owned curve of Low Newton with its nature reserve and Conde Nast Traveller recommended pub, to the soft-pink glowing sands of Bamburgh and (less easy to reach, but all the better for it) the wilder stretches of Ross and Goswick. With luck, your only company here will be oystercatchers and seagulls diving into the sea at distance.


The first thing you’ll notice as you draw your curtains in one of our Luxury Rooms in the morning is the vastness that extends past your window, across our 300-acre parkland, and into the unrivalled countryside beyond. Tranquility, glacial valleys and buxom hills characterise much of Northumberland and, with our National Park being widely recognised as the most sparsely populated of any national park in the UK, this is a place you can feel truly alone and experience the closest thing to wilderness compared with any other destination in England.

The deeper you venture into our countryside surroundings, the higher your chances are of walking all day uninterrupted by any one else or encountering rare wildlife. Similarly, for those looking for adventure during your North East break in our heather-covered hillsides, there are plenty opportunities to lose yourself in activities whilst mountain biking through moorlands, taking part in water sports in Europe’s largest man-made reservoir, or walking parts of the 73-mile long Hadrian’s Wall.

Historic importance

As a country steeped in history at every turn, there’s no surprise that you’ll find 20 or so castles to visit along the Cornish coast. This figure certainly seems rather impressive until you discover that Northumberland boasts 70 castle sites and, at its beating heart, is home to one of the UK’s greatest landmarks, the world-famous Hadrian’s Wall (a part of which is situated just 2 miles from our grand estate).

From ancient ruins to breathtaking castles, Northumberland has a rich, intriguing and incomparable heritage that is well worth exploring during your stay with us. At the top of the list, Hadrian’s Wall joins the likes of Yellowstone National Park and the Great Barrier Reef as a UNESCO World Heritage Site that deserves to be admired and adored, while evidence of Border Reivers remain scattered around the country waiting to be discovered.

While the temperature in the south might always be a couple of degrees warmer than our Northern home, the atmosphere in our grand bar and dining areas along with the welcome you’ll receive from the friendly locals is enough to warm you up aplenty. If it’s sun you’re after, look to Europe, if you’re keen on crowds, think of Cornwall – but, if beauty, authenticity and relaxation suit your idea of holiday perfection, we welcome you to Northumberland.

Look forward to magnificent and book your Northumberland break at Matfen Hall, today.

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