Sparsely populated and home to England's largest forest and countless empty beaches, Northumberland is a walker's paradise. With a startling quality of heather, moors, hills and coastline, it's often hard to know where to begin, particularly if you're only stopping for a few days. We've listed a few of our favourite routes for this very reason, so it's time to stop deliberating and get your boots on.
A circular coastal walk from Alnmouth
The circular coastal walk from Alnmouth is quick, easy and perfect for families © Dave Head, Shutterstock
This is a fairly easy family route with expansive sea views, beach walking and rockpools. A pint and hearty lunch await at the Red Lion after the two-mile excursion.
Round-island walk of Lindisfarne
The round-island walk of Lindisfarne takes only a couple of hours © Philip Bird, Shutterstock
It takes a couple of hours to complete this circular trail, which is a beautiful walk with constant views of the sea, and culminates in the priory and castle. As for the route, you hardly need a map; just a sense of the shape of the island and the location of the village and castle in relation to the dunes and causeway.
Two valleys hike via The Cheviot
For the ambitious, the two valleys hike can be completed in a day © Dave Head, Shutterstock
Unless you’re really fit, you’ll want to take two days to complete this strenuous circular route from Harthope Valley over The Cheviot to College Valley. Practicalities aside, this has to be one of the best long hikes in the area. It takes in two of the finest Cheviot valleys and provides many stupendous views of the endlessly folding Cheviot range, where solitude and hardiness reign.
Steel Rigg: a classic Hadrian’s Wall walk
For those wishing to see the best scenery around Hadrian's Wall, Steel Rigg is an absolute classic © duchy, Shutterstock
This well-trodden circular walk takes in some of the most photographed scenery in Hadrian’s Wall country and gives you two perspectives of the Wall: from the Whin Sill looking north across farmland into ‘barbarian’ country, and from below the crags gazing up at the Wall ribboned along the edge of the spectacular escarpment. If you extend the route to Winshield Crags on your return, you’ll also experience one of the most breathtaking views in the whole of the region, from Cumbria to the east coast.
The South Tyne Trail by bicycle or on foot: Haltwhistle to Alston
The South Tyne Trail is ideal for both walkers and cyclists © Phil Champion, Wikimedia Commons
The mixed-use waymarked South Tyne Trail is an ideal way to discover the valley and some of the best river, woodland and hill country in the North Pennines. For the most part it follows the railway path and as the route continues south, walkers stay close to the riverside while cyclists take a quiet hilly lane via Leadgate.
Hoping to find out more about Northumberland? Why not take a look at our comprehensive travel guide: