We spoke with Jen Rea, Inbound Tourism Manager at Visit North East England, here she shares her top places in the North East that are off the beaten track. How many have you visited so far?
The North East of England is fast becoming one of UK’s most popular tourist destinations. In fact, Hadrian’s Wall recently made Lonely Planet’s top 5 UK attractions, and a bid to grow North East tourism by £4 billion has recently been launched.
While many know how fabulous Alnwick Castle, Beamish, and Hadrian’s Wall are to visit, the North East of England also has plenty of hidden gems just waiting to be explored…
The Marsden Grotto
The Marsden Grotto has had a colourful and varied history, starting from when it was first blasted into the coastal cliff with dynamite in the late 1700s.
After playing an important role in the smuggling operations of the time, it was finally transformed into an inn in the 19th century. Today, it is a bar, café, restaurant, and accommodation all in one, but the charming bare rock walls and irregular shaped rooms are a constant reminder than you are, in fact, inside a cave. So, even just grabbing a quick bite to eat here is a unique and unforgettable experience.
If you follow a short footpath on the fringes of Kielder Forest and Northumberland National Park you can find Hindhope Linn, a small waterfall set in an enchanting little woodland dell.
Quiet and cut off from the world, it’s the perfect place to take some impressive pictures or relax and have a picnic surrounded by trees and the sound of cascading water. It really is magical!
Binchester Roman Fort
The North East is home to countless sites that can tell you about the Roman settlers of Britain, but the Binchester Roman Fort in County Durham is exceptionally well-preserved and features not one but two Roman bathhouses. Here, you have the incredible opportunity to learn about Roman soldiers while standing where they stood nearly 2000 years ago.
World-famous landmark Alnwick Castle brings a lot to the town, and as one of the most popular tourist hot spots, you don’t want to miss it out on your trip around Northumberland. But Alnwick is also home to a more remote castle closer to the coast.
Dunstanburgh castle was built by a rebellious Earl in the early 1300s to intimidate King Edward II, so it’s impressively scaled, and was the site of many bloody battles during the Wars of the Roses. Today, it’s tranquil and relaxing tourism spot that’s perfect for scenic photographs.
It’s quite striking seeing a farmyard in the city centre, but the Ouseburn Farm is a thriving and popular farm in the heart of Newcastle. It was set up in 1976 by a family who wanted their children to have access to nature, grow food and care for animals. Now, the farm is a registered charity and it gives everyone in the city the chance to join in.
These are just some of the hidden gems dotted around the North East that showcase the stunning geography, history, and culture of the region. Whether you’re a tourist or lived here your whole life, there’s bound to be somewhere new for you to discover in the North East of England.