With endless riding trails, hundreds of miles of hiking and more pubs, towns, and cabins than you can poke a stick at, Northumberland, England has got your adventure needs covered. Pat’s got the lowdown on how to explore it like a Northumbrian.


Just 17,000km northwest of Sydney in the northeast of England, Northumberland is perfect for a mid-week escape or a long weekend. Ok, but seriously, the UK is a bit more than a stone’s throw away, but once you get there you won’t be left wanting.

Northumberland is right up on the border with Scotland and is the least-populated region of England. In between the idyllic country towns you’ll find rolling farmland, dramatic coast, and enough adventures to fill a lifetime.

If it’s not on your adventure bucket list then make sure you add it. If it’s already on there, bump it up a couple of spots. This place won’t disappoint.


An Adventurer’s Guide to Northumberland, photo by Pat Corden, Northumberland, Visit Britain, England, gravel biking, northumberland national park

Primo gravel riding in Northumberland National Park

Hike Until Your Legs Fall Off

Northumberland is stacked to the brim with hikes, from day walks to 100+ mile monsters.

Two of the top ones are Hadrian’s Wall Path, which follows the ancient Roman wall, and the 100km Northumberland Coast Path from Cresswell to Berwick-upon-Tweed. The great thing with most of the longer hikes in the area is that small sections can be done as day walks or you can stay in guesthouses and pubs so you don’t have to carry big packs (and can get a pub meal each night).


An Adventurer’s Guide to Northumberland, photo by Pat Corden, Northumberland, Visit Britain, England, hadrian's wall

Hiking alongside historic Hadrian’s Wall


For something more coastal, the Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle walk is a great pick. The walk is part of the Northumberland Coast Path and follows gentle hills alongside the beach up to the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. If you’ve got the time, I’d encourage you to head on to the little holiday town of Low Newton. Treat yourself to a drink at The Ship Inn, which was one of my favourite pubs from my whole time there.


An Adventurer’s Guide to Northumberland, photo by Pat Corden, Northumberland, Visit Britain, England, dunstanburgh castle

The coastal walk to Dunstanburgh Castle

Ride the Endless Road, Gravel, and Mountain Bike Routes

I’ll be honest, I’m not much of a road rider, but just driving around Northumberland I was blown away by all the beautiful (and quiet) roads. I could imagine spending hours exploring all of them.

If you’re planning on road riding then it’s really a choose-your-own-adventure. There are so many options for day rides, or towns that you could ride between to do a multi-day trip. While I was there, we rode a rail trail from Alnwick to Alnmouth which is great if you’re looking for something cruisy.

You can hire bikes, and get some route inspiration, from Pedal Power UK. They’ve got everything from road bikes and E-bikes to gravel and mountain bikes. They also offer guided tours from day trips up to 12-night cycling expeditions.


An Adventurer’s Guide to Northumberland, photo by Pat Corden, Northumberland, Visit Britain, England, bike

Touring setups reign supreme here


I’m a fan of gravel biking, and if you are too, something like the 274km Hadrian’s Cycleway or the Coast to Coast route will be calling out to you. For those feeling extra spicy, there’s also the 300-mile Coast to Coast to Coast (C2C2C) which is made by joining Hadrian’s Cycleway with the Coast to Coast. No matter what you choose, you’ll be treated to a mix of rugged coastline, stunning British countryside, and probably a couple of castles too. 

If your definition of bliss is flowy single-track, berms, and drop-offs, then Kielder Park has your name all over it. The network of red and black trails takes you up to rocky outcroppings and down into lush forests. 

For a longer mountain bike ride, check out The Sandstone Way. The almost 200km route between Hexham and Berrick-upon-Tweed links the beautiful Northumberland Coast with the inland Northumberland National Park, giving you a taste of everything.

Read more: Your Guide to Northumberland National Park

Explore the English Pubs and Towns

Northumberland is peppered with seaside and country towns, each one managing to support multiple old pubs. The real beauty here is searching out and stumbling across little towns and pubs by yourself, I will recommend one though.

If you’re in Durham, head to Durham Distillery to join a class. You can either do a cocktail-making class or a gin-making class, where you’ll come away with 1.5L of your own handmade gin. We took the cocktail-making class and learnt to make three delicious summery gin cocktails.

If you’re ever stuck for a recommendation, I found the towns were super welcoming and friendly, so I’d put money on getting a solid tip from a local.


An Adventurer’s Guide to Northumberland, photo by Pat Corden, Northumberland, Visit Britain, England, durham distillers

Adventures in gin? We humbly accept

Stay Off the Beaten Track

There are so many great places to stay in Northumberland that have real character.

The crew at Overland Adventures is a Northumberland-based team who’ll set you up with a kitted-out Land Rover Defender that has everything you need to cruise in style. With an awning, rooftop tent, and camp kitchen setup, you’ll be ready to make the most of the campsites all over Northumberland.

For a cabin stay or something more local, you can’t go past Crabtree and Crabtree. From a riverside folly to a castle watchtower, the team have handpicked homes and cottages across the Northumberland area for an authentic stay. 


An Adventurer’s Guide to Northumberland, photo by Pat Corden, Northumberland, Visit Britain, England, Wagtail, Crabtree and Crabtree, Kiedler Park

Wagtail – booked through Crabtree and Crabtree


Lastly, if you’re looking for something unique and a little bit bougie, you can’t go past the Tempus Hotel set on a 60-hectare estate. The rooms have an Alice in Wonderland vibe going on and holy smokes the bath is to die for. I think I averaged about one and a half baths a day while I was staying there.

FAQs About Northumberland

How long does it take to get to Northumberland?

A train from London will take you to Durham, a stunning town in the centre of Northumberland, in about three hours. Manchester is about two hours by train.


How do I get to Northumberland?

From Australia, your best bet would be a plane. But if you’re lucky enough to already be in England, then trains will have you sorted. They’ve got a great regional train network to get to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Durhan, or many of the smaller towns. Once you’re there you can hire a car to get around.


What’s the best time of year to visit Northumberland?

The best time of year to visit Northumberland is June-August when summer is in full swing and the weather is perfect for adventures. You’ll get summer temperatures around the 20s and can escape the Aussie winter. Other times of year are great with the wildflowers in spring, changing colours in autumn, and snowy peaks in winter, but summer is my pick.


How long do I need to explore Northumberland?

I had over a week there and still felt like I was only just scratching the surface. If you’ve only got two or three days, that’ll be enough to get a taste of the area and have some fun, but if you ask me, two weeks would be the sweet spot.


Are there crocodiles in Northumberland?

This was on the list of recommended FAQs but I guess it is an Aussie publication. Either way, I thought we’d better touch on it. For those wondering, no, there aren’t crocodiles in Northumberland (editor to fact-check). (You’re a pest Pat – Ed.)


Pat was a guest of Visit Britain and Visit Northumberland for this article so that he could try all of the experiences for himself. Check out our Editorial Standards for more info on how we approach these partnerships.