Take a hike through the Cheviot Hills, sample the fresh seafood at Craster, or catch the surf in Tynemouth Bay; whatever you choose, you’re never far from the region’s eclectic mixture of warm hospitality and solitude.Gemma Hall, author of Slow Travel Northumberland
Lovers of Slow travel need look no further than Northumberland, a region that you can savour at your own pace. Whether it’s a short break or a fully fledged holiday in England’s northeast, opportunity abounds for lovers of castles, moorland, industrial history, Roman architecture and sandy beaches – and that’s just the beginning.
Many arrive in Northumberland hoping to explore picturesque stretches of Hadrian’s Wall or the religious history of Lindisfarne, but end up staying for the other things they find: vast swathes of raw upland and coastal scenery beneath some of the most star-filled skies in all of the UK. Take a hike through the Cheviot Hills, sample the fresh seafood at Craster, or catch the surf in Tynemouth Bay; whatever you choose, you’re never far from the region’s eclectic mixture of warm hospitality and solitude.
And if you’re a city-slicker looking for something livelier than pristine woodland and gorgeous coastline, Newcastle and Gateshead offer a cultural scene that has been thriving under the watchful gaze of The Angel of the North since the 1990s, now sitting comfortably among the best in Europe.
Sample the buzzing nightlife, art galleries and theatres, or just meander between the Georgian architecture as you listen to the cries from St James’s Park on match day – just be sure you’re wearing black and white!
Where to go in Northumberland
Bradt on Britain – our Slow Travel approach
This series evolved, slowly, from a Bradt editorial meeting when we started to explore ideas for guides to our favourite country – Great Britain. We wanted to get away from the usual ‘top sights’ formula and encourage our authors to bring out the nuances and local differences that make up a sense of place – such things as food, building styles, nature, geology, or local people and what makes them tick. Our aim was to create a series that celebrates the present, focusing on sustainable tourism, rather than taking a nostalgic wallow in the past.
So without our realising it at the time, we had defined ‘Slow Travel’, or at least our concept of it. For the beauty of the Slow movement is that there is no fixed definition; we adapt the philosophy to fit our individual needs and aspirations. Thus Carl Honoré, author of In Praise of Slow, writes: ‘The Slow Movement is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. It’s not about doing everything at a snail’s pace, it’s about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savouring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting.’ And travel.
So take time to explore. Don’t rush it, get to know an area – and the people who live there – and you’ll be as delighted as the authors by what you find.
Though popular with families, hikers, birdwatchers and watersports enthusiasts, Northumberland’s coastline is wonderfully unspoilt and crowd free.
The culture hub of the North East offers a wealth of attractions.
When it comes to walks, Northumberland has almost too much on offer.
Cycling is an ideal method of slow travel and the UK has fantastic potential for exploration on two wheels.