Explore northeast England's diverse history and culture as you travel from medieval towns to remote coastal trails. Visit industrial Newcastle, discover Roman history along Hadrian's Wall and see medieval Tynemouth Castle. Continue your trip to see the impressive Durham Cathedral, 16th-century Lindisfarne, and the wild seascape of the Farne Islands.

Highlights

  • See Alnwick Castle, the setting for the Harry Potter films
  • Explore the wild and rugged coastline and marine wildlife at Farne Islands
  • Discover  England's iconic castles, including Tynemouth, Lindisfarne and Bamburgh
  • Learn about life in Roman times on excavations along Hadrian's Wall

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Newcastle Day One Newcastle Upon Tyne
Day 2 Newcastle Cultural Day Newcastle Upon Tyne
Day 3 Hadrian's Wall Day Tour Hexham
Day 4 Tynemouth Newcastle Upon Tyne
Day 5 Durham City Durham
Day 6 Alnwick Castle Alnwick
Day 7 Earl Grey's House Alnwick
Day 8 Bamburgh and Lindisfarne Bamburgh
Day 9 Farne Islands and Dunstanburgh Bamburgh

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Newcastle Day One

View across the River Tyne towards Newcastle upon Tyne
View across the River Tyne towards Newcastle upon Tyne 

Welcome to Newcastle Upon Tyne, the regional capital of northeast England. Originally a Roman fort, Newcastle has grown to become one of the major cities of the industrial revolution. Go on a walking tour of the city to see the historic highlights. Stops include the 11th-century Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas and Newcastle's Castle, which was built in 1080 by one of William the Conqueror's sons. 

 Spend the evening strolling around the city or head out for a show. Plays at the Theater Royal, musical performances at the Sage Gateshead, and comedy at the Stand Comedy Club are all popular local options. 

Day 2: Newcastle Cultural Day

Sage Gateshead concert hall on Newcastle Gateshead Quayside
Sage Gateshead concert hall on Newcastle Gateshead Quayside

Start your day at the Laing Art Gallery, which was founded by Newcastle alcohol proprietor Alexander Laing in 1901. It houses a large collection of British watercolors, silver, and ceramics, as well as local art and crafts. It's also home to a collection of 18th- and 19th-century artworks, including pieces by John Martin, Paul Gauguin, and William Holman-Hunt’s pre-Raphaelite masterpiece Isabella and the Pot of Basil. 

Break for lunch at the Sage Gateshead, an international venue for music and home base for the Royal Northern Symphonic Orchestra. 

After lunch, visit the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, housed in a  2,600 square meter former industrial flour mill. The center aims to create relevant and environmentally significant art and is a locally and internationally recognized leader in contemporary art. 

Catch another show at night—other options include the Tyneside Cinema and the Folk Orchestra. 

Day 3: Hadrian's Wall Day Tour

Hadrian's Wall near sunset at Walltown
Hadrian's Wall near sunset at Walltown

Spend the day exploring one of ancient Britain's most popular tourist destinations—Hadrian's Wall, which spans the country from west to east and was built by the Romans starting the 2nd century CE. Start at Steel Rig and walk the 2.5 miles (4 km) the Roman fort of Housesteads, the most complete remaining Roman fort. During the Roman period, this fort was called Vercovicium and was later fortified by Germanic troops from Belgium and the Netherlands.

Stop for lunch at a local brewery, then continue to Vindolanda, a Roman supply base which has been extensively excavated to provide insight into life on the wall. History buffs will love exploring the research station, and country walks along the wall are a popular afternoon activity. 

Please be advised that the terrain of the wall is steep and uneven, and the weather can be unpredictable. Waterproof clothing and sturdy shoes are required for comfort and accessibility. 

Day 4: Tynemouth

Tynemouth priory and castle
Tynemouth Priory and Castle

Spend the day in Tynemouth, a small seaside town in northeast England. Visit the Tynemouth Castle and Priory to learn about its dramatic history as a Roman fort, Norman castle, and finally as fortifications against Nazis during World War II. 

In the afternoon take a walk along the beach and enjoy fish and chips at one of the many seaside restaurants. Tynemouth is a great place for souvenir shopping and sightseeing in the town's historic downtown area. 

Adventurous visitors who want to brave the cold water will enjoy one of the best locations in the northeast for surfing. 

Day 5: Durham City

Durham Cathedral in autumn
Durham Cathedral in autumn 

Spend the morning touring the town of Durham, and the Durham Cathedral, one of the British Isles' most beautiful. The cathedral was built on the burial site of St. Cuthbert, England's most important saint from the 8th to the 12th centuries, and was the largest church at the time it was built—larger even than the Pope's medieval St. Peter's in Rome.

Break for lunch, then continue to see the Open Treasures, a museum of items collected by the Cathedral and Durham Bishops over the last thousand years. Nearby the cathedral, the Museum of Archaeology also houses an extensive collection of northeast history and is a must-see. 

Day 6: Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle and the River Aln
Alnwick Castle and the River Aln

Visit the historically significant Alnwick Castle and the nearby town of Alnwick. The castle has been on the border with conflict for 600 years thanks to its location on the border between Scotland and England, and the imposing medieval walls bear testament to its history. These days its the home to the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, and enjoys a new legacy with its film appearances—most famously in Happy Potter, as well as Downton Abbey and Transformers: The Last Night. 

Tour the staterooms, the world-famous poison garden, the immaculately manicured gardens, and the many rooms and halls. Young and young at heart will love the Harry Potter-themed activities available, including broomstick lessons and potion classes. 

After touring the castle enjoy lunch in a treehouse restaurant and dine inside a restaurant built inside a tree—a unique local experience. Afterward, explore the town of Alnwick and catch up on souvenir shopping. 

Day 7: Earl Grey's House

Howick Hall with yellow daffodils in the foreground
Howick Hall with yellow daffodils in the foreground

Today is a relaxing day—you will have time to tour a stately English home, relax in the sprawling gardens, and go shopping in nearby Alnwick. Visit Hawick Hall, the family home of Charles the 2nd Earl Grey, who was the Prime Minister of Britain from 1830-1834. Learn about his legacy and the tea named after him in the half-day tour of the property and hall. 

Day 8: Bamburgh and Lindisfarne

Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle

Today you will visit the castles of Bamburgh and Lindisfarne. The fortress of the Kingdom of Northumbria Bamburgh was the center of the largest kingdom of England during the 7th and 8th centuries and was developed in the middle ages to protect against Scottish attack. Though it was ruined during the English Civil War, the castle was restored in the 19th century to its original size. 

Visit St. Aiden's Church in Bamburgh Village to see foundations and fabrics dating back to early Christian missions to Northumbria. 

In the afternoon explore 16th-century Lindisfarne, located on Holy Island and separated from the mainland by closely-monitored tides. Read the posting about tidal times to avoid being stranded on the causeway as you travel to and from the island. Lindisfarne is famous in part for being one of the first locations in the United Kingdom to be attacked by the Vikings and is often called the cradle of English Christianity due to the importance of its monastery during the Dark Ages. 

Day 9: Farne Islands and Dunstanburgh

Farne Island Boat Tour
Farne Island Boat Tour

Travel from Bamburgh to Seahouses, a village on England's northeast coast.  Take a boat trip around the Farne Islands to see marine wildlife such as puffins, dolphins, seals, and porpoises. For the adventurous, an option to scuba dive to see the animals up close can be arranged.  

After lunch, continue to travel south to Craster, then take a beautiful cliffside stroll to Dunstanburgh Castle, one of the largest surviving medieval castles. Return to Bamburgh for dinner. 

Map

Map of Northeast England - 9 Days
Map of Northeast England - 9 Days