The wild coastline and countryside of Northumberland is steeped in history, from one of the finest medieval castles in the country to the National Trust’s most popular house of Cragside.
Still home to the Duke of Northumberland and his family, Alnwick Castle is a Grade I listed building and the second largest inhabited castle in England. We’ll have time to visit the superlative Alnwick Garden, set around a cascading fountain, and surrounding ‘Capability’ Brown landscape before heading to the castle for our guided tour. This explores the history of the Percy family through the eclectic array of furniture and art they collected and displayed in the impressive State Rooms of the castle.
En route to our main hotel on the second day:
The grand but unintimidating Georgian mansion that is Beningbrough Hall and Gardens is our excursion en route to our main hotel. Beningbrough is known for its famous art collection - an imaginative collaboration between the National Trust and the National Portrait Gallery in London. Outside are magnificent grounds, including a labyrinth and a working garden that supplies the Walled Garden Restaurant.
We enjoy a guided tour of Newcastle, with its inspiring heritage and acclaimed architecture. In the historical centre of the city stands the Castle Keep, one of the finest Norman stone castle keeps surviving in Britain today, while Grainger Town is home to elegant streets lined with stylish Georgian and Victorian buildings. Newcastle also boasts a redeveloped quayside where the iconic Millennium Bridge, the world’s only tilting bridge, is situated.
We then head to Cragside, the National Trust’s most popular place to visit. Once the home of Victorian inventor Lord Armstrong, this imposing house is packed to the rafters with fascinating gadgets from the era. It was also the first house in the world to be lit by hydro-electricity. As the name implies, the house is built high into the rock, above the cold, clear waters of Debdon Burn.
Lindisfarne Castle commands a spectacular position, built on a rocky crag high above the sea on Holy Island. Only accessible twice a day at low tide, this former fort was converted into an Edwardian holiday home by architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and both the military and domestic aspects of the castle are in evidence today. The castle also boasts lovely views of the coastline.
*Please note: Lindisfarne Castle is situated on a steep slope with steps and low doorways. Access to Holy Island is limited by tides therefore visiting times will vary.
We round off the day with a scenic drive, taking in the stunning vistas, rugged scenery and vast sandy beaches of the unspoilt Northumberland Heritage Coast.
En route to our overnight hotel on the return journey:
We visit Nostell Priory, an 18th-century architectural masterpiece which has been the home of the Winn family for 300 years. Set in landscaped parkland, Nostell is also home to England’s best documented collection of Chippendale furniture, designed especially for the estate. Another unique treasure is an 18th-century doll’s house. The gardens and grounds are no less spectacular, with gorgeous collections of rhododendrons, azaleas and roses exploding into colour in the warmer months.
Please note the order of excursions is subject to change
The modern Marriott Hotel Gosforth Park is surrounded by 12 acres of parkland close to Newcastle city centre. As well as well-appointed guest rooms, the hotel also offers a bar and lounge and leisure facilities including an indoor pool, gym solarium and sauna.
Our overnight hotel will be in Sheffield on day one and the Nottingham area on day six.
National Trust Members save £30
If you are a National Trust member you will save £30 on the price above.
Please select the discount on the 'Options' page when booking and enter your membership number(s) in the notes area on the same page.