Northumberland: The UK’s Last Hidden Gem?

Northumberland is known as the ‘last hidden gem in the UK’ and a county with a wild Spirit thanks to the vast array of iconic historical buildings and rugged scenery.

Over a quarter of the county is the protected landscape of the Northumberland National Park and this vast landscape is a huge adventure playground, with rock climbing and mountain biking to saddling up on a bike or horse just a few of your options.

In fact, Conde Nast Traveller magazine voted Northumberland National Park one of the top five national parks in the world. It was the only park in England to achieve this accolade.

Stretching from the lofty Cheviot Hills near the Scottish Border to the World Heritage Site Hadrian’s Wall in the south, Northumberland National Park is one of the least populated of the UK’s national parks.

A cyclist taking a rest in Coquetdale
A cyclist taking a rest in Coquetdale (photo credit: Northumberland National Park).

The sky above Northumberland National Park is currently the largest area of protected night sky in Europe. Not only are you guaranteed to witness the vastness of the galaxies and awe-inspiring constellations, there is also a chance to see the Aurora Borealis which is usually reserved for trips to the Arctic Circle. Best of all, this is a year-round activity: the summer is better suited for views of the Milky Way, comets and celestial events such as shooting stars and meteor showers.

But time in Northumberland doesn’t all have to be about physical activity. Less populated means more tranquil. Take a wander around one of the many castles and stately homes or enjoy beautiful gardens.

Where to stay?

A couple of nights in Matfen Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa might do the trick. A magnificent country house hotel nestled in the Tyne Valley just outside of Northumberland National Park, it offers the ideal opportunity for relaxation. Dining in the AA Rosette restaurant The Library is a just reward after a day unleashing your wild side in the Northumbrian countryside. Under 20 miles from Newcastle City Centre and Newcastle Airport, it is easily accessible by road, rail or air.

Matfen Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa
Matfen Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa.

Earlier this month saw it awarded Gold in VisitEngland’s ‘Large Hotel of the Year’ category. With every acquired award and piece of praise, it looks like this hidden gem won’t be hidden for much longer.

You can get more information about Northumberland at

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