We all know it’s the little things in life that make you appreciate what you have. A leisurely walk on a sunny day, a great meal at your favourite little restaurant. Northumberland has some of the finest walks in the country, along with some magnificent businesses offering a delicious array of local food and drink.

Nland Food Trail CoverNorthumberland County Council & Active Northumberland have launched a new information leaflet which combines both elements. ‘A Taste of South East and Mid Northumberland’ provides a comprehensive guide to delicious local food and drink and includes suggestions for nearby walks and trails.

This pocket-sized leaflet is guaranteed to help you find the perfect day or evening out in South East and Mid-Northumberland. A good, healthy walk enjoying our beautiful scenery, followed by a tasty Northumbrian treat at a local venue. Perfect.

The businesses listed in the leaflet either sell local produce in their shop or serve local food and drinks in their establishment, including The Alnwick Garden Treehouse RestaurantSt Mary’s Inn at Stannington, the Northumberland Arms in Felton and many more.

Walking trails listed on the leaflet include details of walks in Plessey Woods, Northumberlandia, Holywell Dene, Cragside and many more. Don’t forget, you can also join one of Active Northumberland’s free, guided health-walks based around South East and North Northumberland.

Pick up a copy of this leaflet from your nearest Tourist Information Centre.

For more inspiration, check out our Taste of Northumberland and Walking pages.

“A strange wind is blowing through The Alnwick Garden, bringing with it a band of fairy tale characters and an exciting quest. Beauty is in trouble, the Wicked Queen intends to poison her. Are you brave enough to join the fairy tale adventure and save Beauty?”

When we heard about this, we knew we had just the girl for the job: Isabella, Princess of Northumberland (and daughter of a VisitNlander). We caught up with her after she successfully completed the quest to find out more. Don’t worry, we’ve removed all the clues!

VisitNland: Do you remember going to The Alnwick Garden to save Beauty?

Princess Isabella: Yeah, it was fun!

VN: Do you remember dressing up?

PI: I was Little Red Riding Hood, but I wish I could have been the new Cinderella.

Little Red Riding Hood aka Princess Isabella

VN: What bits do you remember?

PI: The magic ***

VN: Why was it magic?

PI: It went twinkle, twinkle.

VN: Where did we go?

PI: The Ornamental Garden – it was square, like an oblong [great use of shapes learned at Northumbrian Princess School!] We saw the Wicked Queen!

The Ornamental Garden

VN: Why was she wicked?

PI: She was wearing black ugly clothes, which weren’t pretty, and she had a serious face.

VN: Did you speak to her?

PI: She asked if I wanted an apple, I said “no, it’s poisonous!”

VN: Did she help find any clues?

PI: Yes, she was nice. She helped find the mice, they were blind! But she marched away really fast, I couldn’t keep up with her!

The Wicked Queen

VN: Who else did you see by the big wall?

PI: Humpty Dumpty… he’d fallen off.

VN: What else did you have to do?

PI: Find *** along the wiggly path [Cherry Orchard] and had letters which spelled ***

VN: Where did we finish the quest?

PI: In the Queen’s Cottage, it had lots of mirrors. One made you look funny, and one made you look normal. One made a word to solve the quest – I guessed it right!

VN: But Mammy told you put the wrong one…

PI: Yeah, I should have listened to you, Daddy! Then we went to the crafty cottage and the Poison Garden and it rained. The end!

The Poison Garden gates

Find out more about A Garden of Fairytales then brave the quest yourself!

It has long been known that for hundreds of years Northumberland was the setting for some of the most terrible Anglo-Scots conflict. North Northumberland in particular seems to have suffered the worst, becoming something akin to the Alsace-Lorraine of the British Isles with the land switching from English to Scottish territory and back again several times over.

This wealth of history now makes for a fascinating day out, no more so than at the Ford and Etal estates near Cornhill-on-Tweed. They encompass the scene of the most brutal clash of all.  In 1513, at a shallow valley near the village of Branxton, English troops and the army of King James IV of Scotland met for what is now known as the Battle of Flodden.

credit: Clive Hallam-Baker


In a recent blog post by the Hip Horticulturist, Northumberland was named as one of the top five beautiful places to visit in the UK. Proving yet again that it’s a truly amazing place to visit, packed with breath-taking beauty which is appreciated worldwide.

And with summer finally upon us, it’s a great time to organise an adventurous getaway. Where else can you discover incredible heritage, diverse wildlife, romantic beaches, accomplishing walks, and stunning landscapes that just never end?

If you’re a fan of the countryside, Northumberland will be your dreamland with its ancient meadows, dramatic hills and tranquil views. Not forgetting iconic castles just waiting to be explored and hidden villages tucked away for you to discover. You never know what lovely little place you may find…

As the weather gets warmer, take full advantage of the beautiful gardens that Northumberland has to offer. Each garden has its own unique atmosphere. Kirkharle was the birthplace of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and the natural, relaxed style is a taste of what he would later be renowned for; Howick Hall Gardens and Arboretum is staggering in the amount and variation of plants from around the globe. The Alnwick Gardens is one of the most modern gardens in Northumberland due to its wonderful combination of spaces. The unique gardens were created to fulfil all the senses with over 4,000 plant varieties and different quirky themes and play.

Howick Hall Gardens and Arboretum – credit Val Corbitt

Have fun in the sun with more than 30 miles of beaches and islands to enjoy! Explore the hidden caves and take in the stunning views of the designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Northumberland coast is simply spectacular. Come along and enjoy some of the best fish and chips you will ever try in one of the jolly seaside villages whilst you sip on a tasty local ale. Thanks to the humble kipper, Craster and Seahouses are a must for fish and seafood lovers.

End your day with an evening enjoying the exceptional International Dark Sky Park. When the lights go off, Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water & Forest Park together become Europe’s largest area of protected night sky. It’s simply one of the most magical places to visit in England as you gaze into at least 2,000 stars at once, breathing in the unspoilt sky. There’s nothing quite like it.

Kielder Stars – credit Andrew Pinkington

Whether you’re an explorer, a relaxer, a foodie or a little bit of everything, Northumberland is the place of choice.

Visit the homepage to find out more information on what to do, and where to stay and go in Northumberland.

So far in Travel Candy’s long weekend in Northumberland, she has visited the Farne Islands and Alnwick Castle. From “becoming a kid again” on the boat trip out to the Farnes to being left “weak at the knees” through Alnwick’s mix of beauty, grace and real-world magic, it looks like Travel Candy’s love for Northumberland isn’t going anywhere!

Let’s join her for the final day of her trip, and a visit to the iconic Holy Island of Lindisfarne…

An aerial perspective of Holy Island and causeway – credit Northumberland Coast AONB