Northumbria Tour of England's Wild Land

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Total Trip:

11 Days
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Countries Visited:

England
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Places Visited:

London, Newcastle, Maften Hall, Durham, Durham Cathedral, Laing Art Gallery, Bywell, Hexham, Hadrian's Wall, Langley Castle, Alnwick, Edlingham, Cragside, Warkworth

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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departure.
Northumbria is a land of complexity and contradiction, a strikingly remote region that hides history within its dramatically rugged landscape. Journeying into the exquisite aesthetic unravels various snippets of Western history: Roman walls, monastic foundations, imposing Norman castles, and a patchwork of England's exported architectural styles. Discover all this unseen grandeur on this 11-day Northumbria tour, sleeping in castles, wandering remote trails, and getting lost in fascinating history.

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Customizable Itinerary

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Day 1 - 2

London – Exploring the Famous Capital

A vacation to England doesn't seem real without a couple of days in the famous capital. The city hides hundreds of attractions beneath the famous facade of Big Ben. After landing in London, there are so many directions an itinerary could take; regal history in Henry VIII palaces, Jurassic skeletons guarding museum entrances, art galleries from the chic to the kitsch, and then the landmarks that hang over the River Thames. Two days is ample time to immerse yourself in the fame while also discovering one or two of the unusual attractions rolling across the city. You'll be greeted at the airport upon your arrival and transferred to a five-star hotel in the heart of Mayfair, Central London. Your driver and guide will help plan an individualized itinerary that covers your interests in the capital. Click here to learn more about the top England travel companies whom we partner with, and see how they can customize your dream England vacation to your particular interests and desires.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 3

Newcastle – Monuments of Romanesque Europe in Quaint Durham

On a first-class train service, you travel north, zipping past the flat pastures of the south, through the industrial cities of the Midlands, and into the expansive realm of England's far north. Landscapes change, and there's already a sense of space and serenity. It's just three hours to Newcastle, where you're greeted by a local guide and accompanied to Maften Hall, a 19th-century country mansion that's on the list of England's heritage buildings. This is your hotel for the next two nights, a sublime take on Northumbria's Victorian luxury that's been updated with a decadent spa and modern restaurant.

After lunch and tea in the hotel's drawing room, you travel to nearby Durham. Spires dominate the hill above the city, drawing you into Europe's preeminent Gothic building, a fabulously vaulted cathedral that's now a World Heritage site. Its glories date to the Roman Empire and your guide illustrates how different eras are etched into the faded stone. Durham Castle is equally imposing, another UNESCO site that introduces the wealth of attractions found in Northumbria. Unlike the castles and cathedrals found around London, these sites stand unopposed, standing as sentinels to the past in a remote outpost of the country. Exploring the quaint central streets of Durham also imbues the atmosphere of this land. Slow the pace, take your time, and savor the social ambiance of the North. After returning to Maften Hall, the evening is at your leisure.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

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Day 4

Newcastle – A Fascinating Day Trip Along the Tyne

Newcastle always excels in surprise. Post-industrial regeneration winds along the quayside, blurring into the remains of the industrial revolution along the River Tyne. Gothic revival architecture stands unbowed, housing independent libraries and the city's dedication to the boutique. Exploring the Laing Art Gallery, you're immersed in a surreal world of swirling colors and phantasmal expressions of wilderness, each of John Martin's 19th-century paintings an ode to the landscapes you'll discover over the next few days. As you explore the fine buildings found down Victorian streets, you gain insight into the wealth of the city and the complexities of this region's past. The tour is finished by the middle of the afternoon, and you can enjoy the wonderful surroundings of Maften Hall to complete the day.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

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Transfer

included

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Breakfast

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Day 5

Hexham to Langley Castle – Along Hadrian's Wall to Delightful Villages

Hadrian's Wall is filled with subtle colors. The stone has been sun-bleached over the centuries; each block a slightly different hue from its neighbor. Wandering along the wall connects a spectacular stretch of Roman remnants and wild panoramas, taking you along the very northern frontier of the Empire. While the wall is low, its historical significance is high, symbolizing how even the Romans struggled to get Northumbria under control. Traveling to the wall begins your exploration of the county's forgotten villages. Hexham is centered around an abbey and church that reveal the wealth of the 13th century. Bywell is equally hypnotic, the tea rooms offering views onto a Saxon tower and a series of archaic homesteads. Between the villages, there's little; just the roving grassy hills of the north in all their glory.

After wandering along Hadrian's Wall to Housesteads, you visit Vindolanda, a Roman town that's being excavated from beneath the ground and reveals a whole army of finds from the times of war. Then onwards to the thick fortifications of Langley Castle. The building resembles a child's fairytale imagination, all square blocks and turrets that appear as imposing as they do enchanting. Wander beneath the gargantuan carved doorway and you spend the next two nights within the 14th-century tower house walls. Recently converted into a hotel, Langley offers opulent accommodation in a quintessentially Northumbrian setting; this is more the land of castles than the land of country houses.

What's Included:

included

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Day 6

Langley Castle – The Castles and Churches of Northumbria

Castles and churches stand unopposed on the Northumbria landscape. While the rest of England has evolved into an urban setting, this remote outpost continues to resemble a portrait from the medieval era. The Dukes of Northumberland resided at Alnwick Castle, and their thirst for wealth is exposed by a stunning collection of paintings. Tiny Edlingham feels like a ghost town, everything dwarfed by the Norman church and 12th-century hall house. Moving through the centuries, you also discover Cragside, a celebration of Victorian tastes and the counterpoint to formidable fortresses. At every turn, there's a sense of the county's past, a narrative of warring tribes, plundering leaders, and markers of power. After a day of exploring, enjoy a second night at your deluxe castle.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

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Tour

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Breakfast

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Day 7

Warkworth to Newton-by-the-Sea – Submerged in Sublime Northumbria Landscapes

This frontier land often doesn't look like the preconception of England; it's all too raw and primitive to be associated with the Queen. And that's the appeal. From medieval churches to majestic undulations and dry stone walls, Northumbria is a distinctive land yet to be fully explored by tourism. As the vacation develops, you journey along some of England's finest country lanes, weaving across the redolent pastures to Warkworth. A 15th-century palace dominates the village, evoking the times of another Duke who came and went with the ongoing Northumbria battle for power. At Belsay Hall, you wander through vast woodland gardens to a Grecian-style castle with its own unique marker of flair.

Now onwards towards the coast, where the cliffs roll as ruggedly as the waves that crash against the shore. With a salty breeze in your hair, there are few more remote places in the whole of England. Breathe in the silence, watch the odd sheep herd as it meanders over the horizon, and feel the coastline's power of escapism. For the final four nights, you're staying at Newton Hall's country house, a remote getaway hidden by deliberately uncut gardens. You're just a short walk from the beach, and there's a real medieval flair to the surrounding décor.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

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included

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Day 8

Newton-by-the-Sea – Along the Dramatic Northumbria Coastline

The Northumbria coastline provides a day at leisure, enabling you to escape into the serenity and bask in the hinterlands of England. Various coastal walks take you along the cliffs to castles and rocky promontories, and the scent of fish and chips arrives when you approach a village. Some might say that this is a land that time forgot, a landscape that refused to be rushed into the third millennia. Others would argue that it's a landscape that time must remember, because how long will it be before these escapist destinations have disappeared from the world?

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 9

Newton-by-the-Sea to Berwick-upon-Tweed – Castle Ruins and Wildest Northumbria

Tracing the curving of history, you spend the day traveling north along the coast, exploring the finest collection of castles and ramparts anywhere in Britain. England meets Scotland and fierce ramparts protect the border town of Berwick, one that's changed hands multiple times over the centuries. At Norham Castle, you delve into the tales of James IV, the King of Scotland that invaded England and lay siege to Henry VIII's realm. Even though these are the fiercest and more domineering fortresses you'll see in the country, they all have a history of takeover. As always, your guide provides the evocative tales, revealing the battles of the borders that fill this region with relics.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 10

Newton-by-the-Sea – Private Boat Charter to Deserted Islands

On a private boat charter, you sail into the North Sea, landing at the remote Farne Islands, where ancient priories and monastic ruins are almost the only sign of human life. These expanses of stone reveal early Christian life in England. Yet they're not completely deserted. Seals bask on the rocky beaches, puffins swoop above the island, and arctic terns arrive with the chilling currents. Seabirds dive bomb into the waters and emerge with slithers of silver, while nesting couples protect eggs on windswept cliffs. The wildlife and landscape are reminiscent of the more famous islands to the far north of Scotland, except the Farne Islands are accessible in just over an hour from the coast. You spend most of the day on Inner Farne, the largest of the islands, but also take excursions to the tiny islands of birdlife that disappear when high tide comes around. Returning to Newton Hall, enjoy a farewell dinner with your guide, a medieval-style banquet that befits the tastes of the region.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Breakfast

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Day 11

Newton-by-the-Sea to Newcastle – Departure

A journey through the wild comes to its conclusion as you weave through the countryside to Newcastle Railway Station. The high-speed East Coast train line takes you back to London in less than three hours, where you're greeted and transferred to the airport for your departure flight.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Sleep in two exquisite castles, domineering expanses of stone that reveal the grandeur and style of Northumbria's aesthetic
  • Wander along Hadrian's Wall to discover fascinating Roman remnants along the very northern edge of the Empire
  • Take a private boat charter to the deserted islands of the North Sea, places that reveal unusual history and rare wildlife
  • Explore some of England's finest ancient architecture, like Durham Cathedral, the churches of Bywell, medieval fortresses, and Norman relics
  • Lose yourself on the rugged coastline of Northumbria, enjoying a handful of England's finest beaches and hiking trails
  • Appreciate the silence and natural splendor of the Northumbria countryside, every angle a postcard of wild England
  • Indulge in the opulence of stately homes and all the luxurious touches England is world-renowned for
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Detailed Description

Northumbria is a wild and rugged land. The Romans couldn't control it, and their immense Hadrian's Wall cuts across the county. Monastic realms and medieval churches emerged, yet stand abandoned. The Crown never quite kept it under control, epitomized by the abundance of domineering castles scattered across the undulating hills.  This is an evocative buffer-zone, a landscape of enthralling scenery that marks England from Scotland. It's an immediate escape, a journey into a version of rural England that's never been truly tamed. Every angle is worthy of a postcard, a patchwork wilderness demarcated by dry stone walls and wandering sheep. On this Northumbria tour, dramatic coastlines are found behind the horizon, intimately revealing England's best beaches while remote villages seem to come straight from a medieval fairytale.

Northumbria remains a destination that's delightfully untouched by tourism. Few people make it this far north. The alluring landscape also hides quainter charms. Castles have been converted to provide opulent accommodation in the heart of a green land. Remote cottages enable you to get away into another realm. Classic country estates showcase English hospitality while the architecture offers an inspiring journey through two millennia of styles. You'll discover Roman relics, Norman castles, clan villages, Victorian estates, towering odes to the industrial revolution, and various reminders of the medieval era. All of this remains blissfully off the beaten track. If Northumbria were next to London, then perhaps the attractions would be overrun, and some of the charms would have been lost. But when you travel to Northumbria, you have it all to yourself.

Spend the first two nights in London before traveling north to Newcastle and Maften Hall, a magnificent stately home on the outskirts of the city. From here, you're in the ideal location to compare the industrial heritage of Newcastle with the Romanesque charms of Durham, arguably England's loveliest city. In the following days, you explore the vast stretches of wilderness across the county's interior, venturing to Hadrian's Wall, remote 7th-century villages, and spectacular memoirs to the Norman conquest. Staying at a commanding castle continues the impression of Northumbria's complex history.

Next, you explore the untamed coastline, taking day trips from a remote cliffside cottage. Many of England's finest beaches are found along here, mostly hidden beneath precipitous rocks or swept by mysterious dunes. On a private yacht charter, you cruise out to the Farne Islands, where ancient remains mark islands of primitive beauty and wildlife. They're not tropical. But they're seductive in their presentation of nature's power. You'll also visit England's most complete castle ramparts and admire the sheer abundance of fortresses that line the border with Scotland. This off-the-beaten-track destination isn't the first place people think of when traveling to England. But it's a destination that's quick to pull you into its spell. Expect space, silence, a relaxed rhythm, and attractions untouched by the foreign world.

Click here to learn more about the various England vacations we offer, and see how you can best customize your dream England itinerary. 

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Starting Price

$3845 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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What's Included

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.

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