Ford and Etal Railway, Northumberland
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Visitor Attractions Links
Here are some website resources that you may find of interest or that might assist you in planning your self-catering cottage holiday in Northumberland.
- Donkey Sanctuary - Scottish Borders
Animal lovers won't be able to resist visiting these 64 lucky donkeys who have fallen on their feet! Keeping them company are a Clydesdale horse, a selection of bristly pigs and three llamas. Open on Saturdays and Sundays from 2-3pm, you can meet the donkeys and help feed them. Free entry, donations requested.
- Alnwick Garden
Thanks to the Duchess of Northumberland this is now one of the most visited gardens in England. There's so much to explore at The Alnwick Garden, including acres of fascinating plants, water sculptures, the infamous Poison Garden, and one of the world's largest wooden tree houses. Alnwick Castle, home to the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland is available under a separate ticket.
- Art Gallery - Fenwick Gallery, Warkworth
Located in the beautiful village of Warkworth, Fenwick Gallery has a wide range of contemporary art, prints, ceramics and jewellery.
- Art Gallery - Mick Oxley, Craster
Mick Oxley's gallery exhibits a range of his original contemporary artworks, limited edition prints and cards. Sea and sky feature prominently.
- Art Gallery - The Baltic - Gateshead
Housed in a landmark industrial building with a fantastic viewing area over Newcastle, this amazing space has constantly changing exhibitions of contemporary visual art. There's also a cafe, restaurant and quirky shop. Free entry. It is located alongside the iconic Sage Centre for Music, also well worth a visit.
- Barter Books - Alnwick
Taking up almost the whole of Alnwick old railway station and retaining all of its victorian charm right down the the open fire in the original waiting room, this fascinating space is one of the largest second hand bookshops in Britain. Brilliant on a rainy day, you can browse to your heart's content and then enjoy a coffee in front of the fire.
- Castles - Dunstanburgh Castle, Eng Heritage
These dramatic, iconic ruins jut out on an exposed headland into the North Sea. You can easily imagine life in the 1300s when these huge towers and ramparts were built. There is no road, just the wonderful walk along the low, grassy cliffs from Craster (afterwards you will probably enjoy a drink and a crab sandwich in the Jolly Fisherman pub). Nb the approach is over National Trust property (no NT cards needed). The ruins are managed by English Heritage. On the website type in Dunstanburgh Castle in the search box top right.
- Castles - Alnwick Castle
A separate attraction from the Garden, Alnwick Castle is the seat of the Duke of Northumberland. It has been used as a location for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. Lavish state rooms including a stunning library and recently reburbished dining room are made all the more interesting because this really is a home, not a museum. Beautiful grounds are carpeted with bulbs in the Spring. About a 20 minute drives from the cottages.
- Castles - Berwick Castle, Ramparts/Barracks
It is little known that Berwick has the best preserved town bastion defences in the UK, dating back to elizabethan times and beyond. The entire circuit can be walked. On the website type in Berwick upon Tweed in the search box top right.
- Castles - Bamburgh Castle
Perched high on a rocky outcrop which gives it its dramatic silhouette, Bamburgh Castle has been built over a period of 1,000 years. There are plenty of rooms to visit on the 45 acre site and it maintains a traditional old castle atmosphere complete with suits of armour.
- Castles - Chillingham Castle and Wild Cattle
There is something for everyone in this eccentrically restored castle which is complete with torture chamber and dungeons, italian gardens and tea rooms. A separate tour takes in the ancient and famous herd of wild cattle.
- Castles - Etal Castle (Ford and Etal Estate)
A short and scenic drive brings you to the wonderful 6,000 acre rural estate of Ford and Etal where you can enjoy a full day out. Attractions across the two villages include a steam railway, heatherslaw mill and bakery, Northumberland's only thatched pub, tea rooms, Etal Castle and Lady Waterford Hall.
- Castles - Floors Castle
Floors Castle, home of the 10th Duke of Roxburghe, is the largest inhabited castle in Scotland. You can visit the castle, grounds, walled garden, enjoy river and woodland walks and have a coffee or meal in one of the cafes.
- Castles - Lindisfarne Castle, (National Trust)
Converted into a private home by Edward Lutyens in 1903, it is possible to visit the interiors. Outside there is a charming walled garden designed by Gertrude Lutyens. There is a gift shop and family events run throughout the year. On the website type in Lindisfarne Priory on the search box, top right.
- Chainbridge Honey Farm
Everything you ever needed to know about honey - and more! Honey, furniture polish, candles and skin products are all for sale from this interesting family run business. See a live bee colony and finish off your trip off with a visit to the cafe that's located in an old red Routemaster bus! Just a short drive away. Free entry.
- Cinema and Theatre - Alnwick
Alnwick's Playhouse is a local arts centre offering both theatre and cinema.
- Cinema and Theatre - Berwick
Nearby Berwick has an excellent theatre / cinema in The Maltings.
In the heart of Hadrian's Wall Country, the thriving and picturesque little town of Corbridge is definitely worth a visit. There's a roman camp, scenic river walks and a great selection of galleries, tea shops, pubs, gift shops and independently owned shops of every kind - a rare find in today's world. Don't forget to visit our favourite clothes shop, Katie Kerr, at 22 Hill Street.
It's an easy scenic 90 minute drive, or alternatively the train from Berwick brings you into Waverly Station at the heart of Edinburgh City centre. Step in to another world when you enter the romantic scottish architecture that this georgian capital city centre offers. There's always a huge choice of festivals and exhibitions, the shops in George Street are a pleasure (Jo Malone, LK Bennett, The White Company....) and it's always fun to have lunch on the top floor of Harvey Nicks! George Street and Harvey Nichols are just a five minute walk from the station.
- Farming Attraction - The Fenton Centre
A short drive away is The Fenton Centre. Based on a working farm you'll find an exhibition centre focusing on the farmed environment plus an audio trail, farm shop, adventure play area and cafe.
- Grace Darling Museum - Bamburgh
On 7th September 1838, aged 22, Grace Darling famously rowed out in a storm to save survivors of the shipwrecked SS Forfarshire. Find out about her life in the Grace Darling Museum in Bamburgh. Just a short drive from the cottages.
- Hadrian's Wall
Long stretches of the wall are still visible at many points (with awe inspiring views) and there are many visitor sites to choose from.
- Holy Island
A visit to Holy Island is an absolute must when you stay with us.
Enjoy the excitement of crossing the causeway (always check the tides first!), discover the history of the islands - the founding of the priory in 635, the story of St. Cuthbert, the Lindisfarne Gospels and Viking raids on the island. Visit Lindisfarne Castle (run by the National Trust), the Priory (run by English Heritage) and Lindisfarne Heritage Centre to see a facsimile of the gospels.
Explore the rocky shore and the dunes, enjoy the birdlife and of course stop off for a cup of tea or a drop of something stronger in the various hostelries!
This weblink has a useful list of up to date events on the island.
- Holy Island causeway crossing times
Crossing the causeway to Holy Island always sends a little tingle of excitement down the spine, but please, always check the crossing times carefully before you go!
- Howick Hall Gardens
In the Grey family since 1319 (yes, including Earl Grey of tasty tea fame!) Howick Hall is one of the UK's best coastal gardens with lovely walks, a bog garden, an arboretum and interesting planting all year round. It's our best local snowdrop walk and one of the places where you can see red squirrels. The Earl Grey Tea House is a civilised spot for a cup of the nation's favourite drink.
- Kirkharle Courtyard
Kirkharle Courtyard is an attractive cluster of northumbrian stone buildings in a pretty setting offering an eclectic range of arts and crafts shops. There is a coffee house and restaurant on site.
- Lindisfarne Gospels and Vikings exhibition
Lindisfarne's ancient history is chronicled at the Lindisfarne Centre where you'll find interactive exhibitions on the Lindisfarne Gospels (started in 698AD), the violent arrival of the Vikings in 793AD and other aspects of the island's history.
- Lindisfarne Priory - English Heritage
St Cuthbert was originally buried here and the famous, illuminated Lindisfarne Gospels were created here. Today these iconic and ancient monastic ruins make a great spot for a picnic. There's also a shop and visitor centre and English Heritage events run throughout the summer. .
- National Trust - Wallington
Wallington Hall is a beautiful house, it's still worth a visit in winter when the house is closed as the shop and cafe stay open and the the circular walk in the grounds takes you past lily ponds, through woods (with a wildlife hide where you can usually see red squirrels), along the river and up past the lovely walled garden with a hot house conservatory. The lawn is great for picnics in summer and there is a children's playground in the woods and a farm shop on site.
- Red Squirrels - Howick Hall Gardens
There is a large colony of red squirrels in the woods, so keep your eyes peeled!
- Red Squirrels - Wallington
One of the easiest places to see red squirrels in Northumberland is at the bird hide in the gorgeous grounds of Wallington House, owned by the National Trust.
Redesdale is the area in the heart of Northumberland with country pubs, villages and great walking. The wildredesdale website gives you a good oversight of everything there is to explore.
- Restaurant/cafe - Barn at Beal
Barely a five/ten minute drive from us, these beautifully converted farm buildings with views over to Holy Island now house a lovely coffee shop and a comfortably furnished restaurant which serves good food using plenty of locally sourced fish and meats. There's also a gift shop and useful, free visitor centre.
A lively little fishing harbour and starting point for the famous boat trips to the Farnes. Plus traditional seasidey gift shops, pubs and some great fish and chips! This website has good listings of everything in the area.
- Stately Homes - Floors Castle
45 minutes away. Still a family home, the magnificent 18th century Floors Castle just over the border in Kelso, is steeped in history and has a beautiful walled garden with adventure playground, woodland walks, a restaurant and cafe.
- Stately Homes - Mellerstain
Just over 30 miunutes away. The jewel of stately homes in the scottish borders (on the scottish side of the border!).
- Stately Homes - Paxton House
30/40 minutes from us. Built in 1757, Paxton House is one of the finest examples of palladian architecture in Scotland.
- The Northumberland Coast
The Northumberland Coast AONB is among the finest landscapes in the country.
It was designated in 1958 and covers 39 miles of coast from Berwick to the Coquet estuary. Within this stretch of coastline is some of the most dramatic coastal scenery in Europe and we are delighted to be located within it.
The area is best known for its sweeping sandy beaches, rolling dunes, rocky cliffs and isolated islands. Amidst this striking landscape is the evidence of an area steeped in history, covering 7000 years of human activity. A host of conservation sites, including two National Nature Reserves, testify to the great variety of wildlife and habitats also found in the AONB.
- The Sage Centre for Music - Gateshead
The fabulous Sage Gateshead is a stunning building housing some of the finest acoustic performing spaces in the UK and Europe. It runs a local, national and international concert programme throughout the year. There's also a cafe and brasserie. Free entry to concourse/cafe area with panoramic views over Newcastle. Check the listings to see what's on whilst you are in the area. The car park is at rooftop height just behind the Sage. A little over an hour's drive from the cottages, or take the train from Berwick to Newcastle, it's then a 5 minute taxi ride across the river. Kill two birds with one stone and also visit The Baltic art centre which is a minute's walk away along the quayside.