Get outdoors and beat the winter blues with a Northumberland break this February half term. We’ve compiled some of the best experiences to enjoy at this time of year to add a little brightness to the school holiday.
1. Be the ‘King’ or ‘Queen’ of the castle
Let history come to life at Bamburgh Castle – a majestic fortress overlooking Bamburgh beach and the coast which has its origins in Anglo-Saxon times. Stand by the cannons positioned over the ramparts and imagine what it would have been like to be under siege. Explore the 14 rooms from the King’s Hall where balls and banquets took place to the huge castle kitchen with its three fireplaces. Also worth checking out are the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle at Craster, Lindisfarne Castle at Holy Island and Warkworth Castle, which are all open at this time of year.
2. Take to the water
Northumberland has some amazing beaches and the best time to surf on them is in the winter months when the coastline is battered with swell (great waves to the non surfers among us). Northside Surf offers surfing or stand-up paddle boarding tuition for individuals or groups all year round. Wetsuits and equipment are provided and included in the prices, as are hats and boots in colder weather. Coastal Retreats guests also receive 10% off so there’s no excuse no to hit the waves.
3. Sealife adventure
Head down to Seahouses harbour and book a boat trip out to The Farne Islands, a group of between 15-20 islands depending on the tide, where you can see numerous seabirds, a large grey seal colony and possibly a glimpse of the first puffins to arrive.
4. Discover Alnwick
Alnwick has something for all likes and ages. Alnwick Castle is closed at this time of year but other top indoor sights include Barter Books, a second hand book store in a former railway station, where you can get lost amongst the written word, eat cake and drink coffee. From fact to fiction, children’s literature to crime novels, you can easily spend an hour of two of your time here. If the weather is good, The Alnwick Garden with its bamboo maze, spectacular water features and Treehouse restaurant surrounded by rope bridges is one not to miss. It is advisable to book the Treehouse in advance as it gets very busy especially during school holidays. Even though the castle, often called the ‘Windsor of the North’, will be closed, head to the bridge over the River Aln where you can get some excellent photographs of this famous building with its fabulous stone lions.