Monthly Archives: January 2012

Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island

From harvesting apples and making cider to wild camping and fixing the fells, the National Trust has over 280 working holidays that provide the opportunity to get outdoors, have fun and play a part in conserving the nation’s heritage.

With prices starting from just £75 including all food and accommodation, there are weekend breaks or week long holidays available across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Plus for the first time a small selection of overseas holidays are now available.

Marianne Wanstall Head of Holidays explains their everlasting appeal,

“National Trust working holidays, which celebrate their 45 anniversary this year, not only ensure that the National Trust’s special places remain open, relevant and accessible, but they also provide amazing opportunities to get onto the land, to learn new skills, to meet new people and to engage with nature and the historic places cared for by the Trust.”


Touch the planets at Kielder Observatory

Parents can thank their lucky stars for one of Northumberland’s top visitor attractions has developed a cure for half-term boredom that’s out of this world.

By popular demand, Kielder Observatory in Kielder Water & Forest Park will host a series of star gazing events specifically aimed at space obsessed youngsters with an interest in the night sky.

The award winning facility hosts a year round programme of astronomy events but to get the best of the darkest night skies in England, the events usually take place from 8pm till late. During school holidays, including February half term Friday 10 to Friday 17, there will be additional events aimed at families that start from 5pm.


Deadwater Fell

Deadwater Fell

Hardy trail builders are going up in the world to build the longest competition downhill mountain bike route of its kind in England.

Wielding shovels and pitch forks and armed with gritty determination in the face of winter weather, mountain bike fans expect to have the two mile trail built by October in spectacular 62,000 hectare (155,000 acre) Kielder Water & Forest Park.

Downhill mountain biking is not for the faint hearted, involving a rapid descent against the clock and fiendishly complicated technical sections.


Did you see tonight’s episode of Great British Railway Journeys hosted by Michael Portillo? It was the second episode to feature the beautiful countryside of Northumberland. Michael continued his journey south-west along the Newcastle to Carlisle line.

Featured on the programme was Hadrian’s Wall, which was once patrolled by soldiers from all corners of the Roman Empire. Michael also visited Vindolanda Roman Fort which is an important archaeological site, giving us a fantastic insight into what Roman life in Northumberland actually was like. He also visited the beautiful town of Haltwhistle to discover the historical significance of the railway and the take in the beautiful Northumberland countryside scenery.

You can watch the episode again on the BBC iplayer.

Hope you saw our beautiful county on Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys on 23rd January.

Michael visited the historic walled town of Berwick-upon-Tweed and the magnificent Royal Berwick Border bridge. He continued to Alnwick via Alnmouth railway station to visit Barter Books, which was previously Alnwick’s railway station; and stay at The White Swan hotel to visit the first class dining room from the Olympic, the Titanic’s sister ship. He concluded his Northumberland visit by travelling further south to Morpeth station to visit Woodhorn Museum near Ashington and marvel at the artwork produced by the Pitmen Painters.

We’d love to hear what you thought of the episode. Please leave your comments below.

You can plan your railway trip to Northumberland with cheap railway travel on the official visitor website for Northumberland.

You can watch the episode of Great British Railway Journeys featuring Northumberland on the BBC iplayer.