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Stay in a pub in Northumberland

It was the botanist David Bellamy who dubbed the North Pennines ‘England’s Last Wilderness.’ Within this aptly-described region lies part of that vast great county, Northumberland. If you’ve never been there, you simply can’t imagine the scale of it. With its miles of open moorland, vast forests and wonderfully evocative coastline, it is one of the few regions in Britain where you can still experience a genuine sense of space and distance.

Northumberland has two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: the Northumberland Coast best known for its sweeping sandy beaches, rolling dunes, rocky promontories and isolated islands and the North Pennines.

Extending from Hadrian’s Wall to the Scottish Border, the 398-square mile Northumberland National Park offers a host of attractions and outdoor pursuits – walking and cycling being the most obvious. Among the National Park’s most famous landmarks are the Cheviots, a chain of grassy hills straddling the Scottish Border and covering 300 square miles.

Hadrian’s Wall is an obvious destination for visitors. Completed by about AD 138, the wall originally ran for 73 miles between the west and east coasts. Still regarded as a masterpiece of skill and ingenuity, Hadrian’s Wall is a vivid reminder of Northumberland’s long and blood-stained past.

Northumberland has endless visitor attractions not least: Bamburgh Castle, an ancient site completely remodeled and rebuilt; Cragside House, Gardens and Estate, near Rothbury; Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, that has a rock garden inspired by the quarry gardens of Sicily; and Alnwick Castle with its Fusiliers Museum and famous gardens with the largest treehouses in Europe.

When visiting Northumberland, no visit to the county is complete without a trip to the coast. Here you can walk for miles along empty, unspoilt beaches protected by a chain of historic fortresses and stately castles. Holy Island, better known as Lindisfarne, and the Farne Islands, a national nature reserve inhabited by puffins, guillemots and kittiwakes, are among the more famous landmarks in this part of Northumberland.