We were asked by nPower to come up with a list of ideas and places to visit in Northumberland this Summer to keep your family entertained without spending a fortune. After a lot of deliberation, I love our final list and will certainly make it our mission to try and tick everything from it this year.
1 - Get stranded on Holy IslandHoly Island really has a special magic all of it's own. The island is cut off from the mainland twice per day (check here for crossing and tide times) and being able to explore the beaches, coves and wildlife when you aren't surrounded by other tourists is just wonderful.
2 - Pretend you're a Roman and walk Hadrian's WallA lot of Hadrian's Wall is free to access. Why not take your children on their own Roman expedition this Summer and enjoy the views as you walk by the wall and forts. Make sure you stop at the gorgeous Sycamore gap for a picnic too.
3 - Trade your old books for new at Barter BooksBarter Books in Alnwick is the perfect place to visit on rainy day. One of the largest second hand bookshops in Britain, children can take their old books to the counter and 'barter' them for store credit which they can spend in the lovely children's section. Look out for the model railway above your heads.
4 - Visit Chain Bridge Honey FarmChain Bridge Honey Farm is one of Berwick's hidden gems. Take a look around the free visitor centre and learn all about bees and how they make honey. There is even an observation hive where you can watch worker bees in action. Outside you will find a selection of vintage vehicles to explore and a unique double decker bus cafe should you wish to stop for some honey-flavoured cake.
5 - Climb the 'Lady of the North'Northumberlandia or the 'Lady of the North' is a free-to-visit 45 acre community park with over 4 miles of pathways weaving around a unique giant sculpture of a lady's body. If you climb to the very top you will be rewarded with views of the nearby open mine and spectacular surrounding countryside.
6 - Explore Northumberland's mining past at WoodhornWoodhorn Museum is free to visit (although you do need to pay to park) and is a fascinating way to learn about Northumberland's mining heritage - you can walk through a 'mock mine', experience what life was like in the miner's strikes of the 80's and visit original colliery buildings and local exhibitions. There are sometimes free special events too. Check website for details.
7 - Go sculpture huntingNorthumberland is home to lots of free outdoor sculptures - you just need to go out and find them! Why not take your sketch book and take the time to draw every sculpture you find? The giant spoon of Cramlington and 'the couple' in Newbiggin can start you off.
8 - Get lost in the Minotaur Maze at Kielder
Kielder is home to it's very own minotaur maze which is free to enter. Located next to the Castle Visitor centre and the (also free) Salmon Centre, children will love getting lost and then guiding the adults to safety.