Thursday, 17 May 2012

Cottage Holidays in Northumberland

At the opposite corner of England to Cornwall lies a county where the coast is no less dramatic, the beaches are golden, and there seems to be a dramatic castle around every turn in the coastal path. But the English are predisposed to head south for holidays, so Northumberland remains quiet and unspoilt even in the height of summer.

Although many people are aware of Holy Island, Bamburgh Castle and the Farne Islands (where seals bask in their thousands) there is an unknown Northumbria inland. So spectacular is the scenery here that it is one of our designated National Parks, and the market towns of Hexham and Morpeth rank highly on the "UK's most desirable places to live" surveys. At Alnwick, the Duchess of Nothumberland has spent millions restoring gardens and creating the ultimate fantasy - a whimsical tree house with an open fire. It's a restaurant, so an ideal place to amaze your children at lunch time, or leave them behind and share a romantic dinner.

Newcastle is in Lonely Planet's Top Ten cities in the world to have a night out, while by day you can choose between the abundance of shopping and Newcastle United's "cathedral on the hill", St James' Park.

An East coast county, Northumberland tends to be dry, but the winds can come in cold across the North Sea, so warm clothes should go in the suitcase, regardless of the time of year. Other than that, there is nothing to worry about. The local warmth and hospitality is legendary, and the few who have discovered the area tend to return.

CottageWorld currently lists over 200 holiday cottages in Northumbria. And for those hardcore southerners who believe everything up north is "grim", this video may help to change your mind . . .

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