Where to Stay in Northumberland
If you’re thinking of a getaway in Northumberland, take a look at some of these fine places to stay
Northumberland is a largely rural county, so if you’re looking for peace and serenity amongst plenty of bustling market towns, quaint villages, and charming seaside neighbourhoods, this is the one for you. Northumberland is the ideal place for a relaxing break away where you can take things at your own pace - get active or take it as easy as you like. Here at Plum Guide, as we're sure you know, we know all about the best places to stay. We pride ourselves on offering the very best accommodation and advice, so we really can do it all. To make sure you have the perfect getaway, take a look at our expert guide on where to stay in Northumberland.
There’s nothing we love more than a picturesque village, and Bamburgh is one of the prettiest in Northumberland (the standard is very high here, by the way). Nestled on the coast, the village is dominated by its magnificent castle, so this is definitely one for the architects among you. Looking out over the coast for over 1,400 years, Bamburgh Castle has many lavish rooms to explore, from the King’s Hall to the Armoury Collection. Outside, you can admire the views from the ruins of St Peter’s Chapel, or discover the windmill, cannons, and archaeological digs.
As impressive as it is, the castle isn’t the only bit of history that Bamburgh has to offer, also boasting the RNLI Grace Darling Museum. This museum tells the story of Grace Darling, Britain’s greatest heroine from the Victorian era who helped rescue nine men from a tragic shipwreck in 1838. She actually won the Silver Medal for Bravery as a result of her actions, so the story is definitely one to spend time getting familiar with. Afterwards, take a long, wind-swept walk along Bamburgh Beach and see what you can find in the rockpools of Stag Rocks. If you’re brave enough, take to the waves for some surfing (we'll watch from the side). Just make sure to warm up with a hot drink at one of the many cafes lining the village’s stone-front streets.
Set in the heart of Northumberland, Alnwick is a market town surrounded by picturesque countryside (you may find a few of them around here). Dating back to 600AD, the history is obvious around every corner - with winding cobbled streets and charming old buildings contributing to an eye-catching landscape. One of the main attractions here is Alnwick Castle, and if you think it looks a little like Hogwarts, that’s because it does. It was actually used as a filming location for a handful of the Harry Potter films, so that just adds another dose of history to these famous walls. It’s also been the set for Downton Abbey and Transformers: The Last Knight (fortunately though, Michael Bay’s penchant for blowing things up hasn’t impacted the town).
Another interesting attraction close by is The Alnwick Garden, a complex of gardens with a long and rich history (that's a bit of a theme around here, isn't it). Alongside water cascades, an inventive water sculpture, and a magical treehouse restaurant, it’s also home to 4,000 different plants spread across themed gardens. If you're a literary lover, take a stroll to Barter Books - once a Victorian railway station, it’s now one of the largest antiquarian bookshops in the UK. Despite its size, Alnwick has a large schedule of events throughout the year, including a food festival, beer festival, traditional music festival, a Shrove Tuesday football match, and even a medieval jousting tournament. It's only slightly different from your usual city life...
If you’re an outdoorsy person looking for where to stay in Northumberland, Haydon Bridge is a great option. Nestled between the Northumberland National Park and the North Pennines, it's home to some of the most picturesque landscapes you'll see, with the views inspiring poets and painters over the years. The village is a good base to explore Hadrian’s Wall, whether by foot or by bike, with many people visiting to see the Roman sites and temples. Speaking of cycling, Haydon Bridge hosts the annual Haydon Hundred Cyclo-Sportive, where cyclists take on a challenging tour of the surrounding countryside. Or, you could just come for the annual beer festival instead. We won't judge.
Not feeling so active? Take a gentle walk along the northern section of the John Martin trail, and discover the places that inspired the Victorian artist. Cross the village’s eye-catching 14th-century bridge (don’t worry, it’s safe) and watch the salmon leaping in the river below. If you happen to be a clock fanatic, Mr George’s Museum of Time is a quirky little museum and repair shop, displaying a collection of old clocks and watches from as far back as the 18th century. This whole village is one fascinating step back in time.
Charming seaside villages are certainly our thing, and Alnmouth is no exception. Located within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the village boasts colourful pastel houses, a beautiful coastline, and a diverse variety of bird and wildlife species. Alnmouth’s sandy beach is a fantastic day out, with plenty of space for sunbathing (when that lovely Northumberland sunshine finally comes through). You can also choose to explore the coast on a walk via the St Oswald’s Way and North Sea Trail, or by cycling the Coast and Castles route. Keen golfers can also enjoy the coastal views while teeing off at the Alnmouth Golf Club - established back in 1869. Take a quick break at The Old School Gallery, where you can grab a coffee and admire the paintings, prints, and ceramics in the ever-changing exhibitions. Nearby is The Ferryman’s Hut, the smallest museum in Northumberland. Originally used by ferrymen transporting passengers back and forth across the River Aln, the museum tells the story of their fascinating lives.
With its impressive architecture, lush green parks, and fascinating history, Hexham is a brilliant option - it's also just a short march from Hadrian’s Wall. Close to the Northumberland National Park, you'll find areas ideal for walking, cycling, and even stargazing. How many constellations can you remember from school? In the town itself, Hexham Abbey is worth a visit for its beautiful architecture, 7th-century sculptures, and 15th-century painted wooden panels. Culture vultures will want to skip across the road to the Queen’s Hall Art Centre, which is home to two art galleries as well as a varied schedule of dance, music and drama.
If you dare, head over to Hexham Old Gaol, believed to be the oldest-purpose built prison in England. Hear stories about the executions that happened here, and see the famous Fenwick Skull. Venture into the dungeons to be restrained in the stocks, and discover the reality of life back then. Need a break after all that spooking? We don’t blame you. At the idyllic Tyne Green, you can forget your fears and relax amongst the trees on the banks of the River Tyne.
Finally, rounding off our list of where to stay in Northumberland, we have Rothbury. Nestled in the Coquet Valley, this scenic market town is known as the ‘Capital of Coquetdale’ (prestigious, we know). Surrounded by peaceful landscapes, with the River Coquet flowing through open meadows and wild moorland, it’s a paradise for walkers and cyclists alike. You’re also in a good location to venture further afield to the Simonside Hills, the Cheviot Hills, and Northumberland National Park. Once your scenic walks have concluded, be sure to visit Cragside House, once home to the inventor Lord Armstrong. The grounds will take your breath away, with man-made lakes, waterfalls, and various themed garden landscapes around every corner. Back in Rothbury, stroll down the bustling high street with its traditional independent shops, cafes, pubs, and arts and craft galleries. Be wary though - one day in town and you'll need another suitcase.