Car-free holidays in NorthumberlandNorthumberland
From the beautiful borderlands around Berwick upon Tweed to the less explored industrial heritage around Blyth, Northumberland is packed with cracking destinations for a car-free break: seaside castles and colonies of seals, gardens, museums and miles of dune-backed beaches. With a railway line along the coast, regular bus services, and year-round boat trips, there's no need to drive. Or head inland to the medieval treasures of Hexham with its ancient abbey and bus connections to Hadrian's Wall.
Getting to Northumberland and getting around
Arrive by train and explore by bus, bike or on foot.
How to get to Northumberland: Fast trains up the East Coast of England mean it’s quicker to go by rail than car. And it’s beautiful too. The railway passes through the Northumberland Coast AONB and the line was recently voted England’s most scenic rail route. Trains stop regularly at Alnmouth and Berwick-upon-Tweed and you can book tickets fee-free through Railsmartr. The best way to reach Blyth is by express bus from Newcastle (see below). For Hexham, take the train from Newcastle.
How to get around Northumberland:
- By bus: There are surprisingly good bus services to most of the places you might want to visit. Bus X18 from Newcastle to Alnwick and beyond is particularly useful with family tickets and lots to see. See our suggestions below for more details. Arriva buses sell day tickets for the whole region that let you travel from Berwick to Carlisle to Scarborough.
- Walking: The Northumberland Coast Path is a wonderful way to see the coastline close up. Or you can follow Hadrian’s Wall Path across the Northumberland National Park, riding the AD122 bus to get there.
- Cycling: There are great opportunities for cyclists too, like the Coast and Castles long-distance route.
- Tickets to ride: Arriva buses offer several different rover tickets for different areas. Some of the best value are Discover North Northumberland tickets, valid for one day, three days or a whole week.
- If you’re starting from Newcastle, check out the Explorer North East ticket, which gives you unlimited travel on lots of different buses, plus the Tyne and Wear metro and the Shields ferry.
- Best of all, your bus ticket then gives you discounted entry into a range of top local attractions, from Alnwick Castle to the Farne Island landing fees.
Where to base yourself for a car-free Northumberland holiday
With castles and gardens, long sandy beaches and wildlife-rich islands you’ll be spoilt for choice. Scroll down for more details about stunning staycations in each of these Northumberland towns.
- Make Alnmouth your base and you’re perfectly placed for buses to craggy castles, the atmospheric priory on Holy Island and boat trips to the Farne Islands with their huge colonies of seals and seabirds.
- Stay in Berwick-upon Tweed and you can reach lots of the sights around Alnmouth, but are also close to the Scottish border and can get buses to the sandy beaches at Eyemouth, Floors Castle at Kelso, the fishing village at St Ebbs and more.
- From Blyth, you can reach some different attractions like the Woodhorn Museum in what was once the world’s biggest mining village or the National Trust mansion at Seaton Deleval with its intriguing gardens and history.
- Medieval Hexham makes a great base for exploring Hadrian’s Wall and has a beautiful old abbey at its heart.
Keep reading for more about memorable car-free holidays in each of these places.