Celebrating what’s Great about Northumberland

Great Northumberland is now officially open! With 56 days of arts, culture, heritage events, exhibitions and live performances there's something for everyone. This eight-week extranganza features events across the county and closes on 1 Sept in Berwick.

To find out more or to sign up for exclusive deals and offers go to www.greatnorthumberland.co.uk 

Love Northumberland

From Capability Brown to stargazing, we've picked some facts about Great Northumberland which we hope will rouse your curiosity and inspire your next holiday or short-break.

Northumberland's unique breed of cattle are rarer than giant pandas

Chillingham Wild CattleFound at Chillingham Park near Alnwick, Chillingham Wild Cattle are true survivors. 

This unique herd of wild cattle are believed to be the sole descendants of herds that once roamed the forests of ancient Britain. It is thought they have been living at Chillingham for more than 700 years. 

The cattle are natural clones. Not only are they genetically identical to each other, each one has received identical genes from its sire and its dam which is a unique phenomenon among wild living animals. 

The fierce winter of 1947 almost wiped them out entirely, reducing the herd to just 13. Thanks to the conservation efforts of a specially formed association, the herd now boasts approximately 100 animals - the total world population. 

Chilllingham Wild Cattle are completely untamed. In their lifetime, these remarkable beasts are never touched by human hands, and they are not not even treated by a vet. Their lives are kept completely natural and wild.

As a result, they can be dangerous and visitors are only able to see the cattle when accompanied by the warden.

Earl Grey tea originated in Northumberland

Not only famed for grand architecture and landscapes, Northumberland is also the birth place of many notable figures of British history. 

The most prominent figure is the British Prime Minister, Charles 2nd Earl Grey. He came from a long established seat at Howick Hall, Gardens & Arboretum.

For some, Earl Grey is known for being Prime Minister during the passing of the Great Reform Bill of 1832. For most, he is better known for the eponymous tea, Earl Grey tea. This was blended at the request of his wife Lady Grey, using the addition of bergamot oil to offset the strong taste of lime in the local water.

Six miles east of Alnwick, you can visit the spectaular gardens of Howick Hall which feature exotic plants grown from seeds collected annually around the world. 

Northumberland officially has the largest protected area of night skies in Europe

Sycamore Gap credit Cain ScrimgeourIn 2013, a section of Northumberland was awarded Gold-tier International Dark Sky status. This means the sky above Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water & Forest Park was officially recognised as Europe’s largest area of protected night skies.

Thanks to minimal light pollution and great conservation efforts, Northumberland proudly offers some of the best stargazing experiences and clearest night skies in England. With the naked eye, you'll see roughly 2,000 stars shining bright like diamonds on inky black skies and easily trace the fuzzy arc of the Milky Way.

The sky over the protected landscape of the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is also a fantastic window into the aurora borealis, aptly nicknamed the Northern Lights. This breath-taking natural phenomenon is usually saved for a trip to Norway, Iceland or the Arctic Circle - not any more! 

Top tip: the autumn and winter months are the best time for stargazing, as the colder temperature creates clearer, darker skies. Discover our suggestions for a great autumn and winter stargazing break at NlandStars 

Northumberland was once the largest kingdom in the British Isles

Over a thousand years before Northumberland was affectionately known as ‘the last hidden kingdom’, it was known as the Kingdom of Northumbria. 

Following three centuries of Roman occupation until the early fifth century, small kingdoms such as Bernicia and Deira emerged. They combined to become Northumbria and, by approximately 700AD, Northumbria was the largest and most powerful kingdom in the land. 

It stretched from the Firth of Forth in Scotland to the River Humber (hence ‘north-Humber-land’).

Capability Brown was born in Northumberland

Capability Brown landscape at Alnwick CastleThe informal gardens of landscape gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown are famed throughout the UK, but what many do not know is he was born in the little hamlet of Kirkharle in the heart of Northumberland.

He lived there until his early 20s, and it is now widely believed to be where a young Capability found his inspiration as the sweeping rural Northumbrian countryside is very similar to his renowned naturalistic style.

In honour of this British icon, head to Alnwick to see Brown’s work at Alnwick Castle and then marvel at the modern design of nearby Alnwick Garden

Be sure to include trips to other great Northumbrian gardens such as those found at Wallington and Belsay Hall.

All of this information and more can be found on Visit Northumberland

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  • Campaign: Great Northumberland Events for 2018
Forgotten Garden Adventure Golf
Family event
Once Upon a time in The Alnwick Garden there was a huge shudder and the ground began to move and shake. They called upon ‘the fairest of them all’ to find a solution to the moving ground, but ...
Larraine Duquemin art exhibition
Arts and Crafts
An exhibition of paintings in the Breakwater Cafe ...
Manor Walks’ Santa’s Grotto
Family event
Taking time out of their busy festive schedule, Santa and his little helpers will be meeting and greeting children at Manor Walks Cramlington this festive season to find out what’s at the top of ...
Christmas at Mary Ann Rogers Gallery
Arts and Crafts
Step in, enjoy a warm welcome with complimentary mulled wine and home-made mince pies and browse the paintings of one of the UK's most popular artists. Famous for her strutting cockerels, bouncing ho ...
Wooler Famers' Market and Christmas lights switch on
Family event
Wooler is holding its Christmas Farmers' Market and Christmas lights switch on on Sunday Dec 2. The market runs from noon-3pm in the bus station off the High St. Then there's a free family Christmas f ...
Coal Forest art trail opens at Woodhorn Museum
Coal Forest sees magical art installations pop up throughout Woodhorn Museum and its colliery heritage buildings from Saturday 27 October 2018 – Monday 22 April 2019. Accompanied by a six-month ...
The Alnwick Garden Trust: The Philanthropy that Built The Alnwick Garden
A small exhibition will be displayed in the Atrium at The Alnwick Garden to celebrate the contributions from the people who have made The Alnwick Garden possible, from The Duchess of Northumberland to ...
Manor Walks’ Christmas Light Switch On
Family event
Manor Walks Cramlington is inviting families to a fun filled festive day, to celebrate its Christmas light switch on featuring Britain’s Got Talent winner, Lost Voice Guy, and hosted by the love ...
Lunch with Santa at Alnwick Castle
Family event
Enjoy a delicious Christmas lunch and meet Santa before he starts his Christmas rush. ...
Slate Nature
Arts and Crafts
West Woodburn
Visit our Riverside Studio for unique handmade gifts, for the home & garden, made from reclaimed slate. Slate Christmas trees, bird boxes, bird feeders, plant pots and more. All products can be pe ...
The Alnwick Garden Light Show
Family event
The Alnwick Garden has been transformed into a festive delight for the family. Whilst meandering through The Garden at night, enjoy the Christmas lights to truly get you in the Christmas spirit. ...
Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom: The Old School Gallery | Alnmouth
By The Sea ‘I started early, took my dog And visited the sea’ From By the Sea. Emily Dickinson Mick Manning and Brita Granström have been living together with their four children on t ...
Jack and the Beanstalk
Family event
Seaton Delaval
Our hero Jack, his mother Dame Trott and his brother Simon haven’t a bean to their name! Their friendly cow Daisy has gone dry and worse still the village is being destroyed by the evil giant Bl ...
Alnwick Christmas Lights 2018
Family event
A variety of events take place in and around the Market Place, where the Lights are switched on at 7pm.The lights will be switched on by the Duchess of Northumberland. ...
Andrew Gray Exhibition - The Old School Gallery | Alnmouth
Born and bred Northumbrian landscape photographer with a difference! Combining the love of history and mythology, creating abstract and impressionist works using a camera as if it were a brush. Andy ...
Langley Castle Hotel Children Santa Party
Family event
Come and enjoy some festive family fun at our Santa Party on Sunday 16th December 2018.   This year Santa is taking some time out of his busy schedule to come and visit us at Langley Castle befo ...
Rob Newton at The Old School Gallery.
NEW EXHIBITION - ROBERT NEWTON * COMMENCING 19TH OCTOBER @ THE OLD SCHOOL GALLERY, ALNMOUTH Born 1964, Robert had a career in engineering before pursuing his artistic talent. He studied Fine Art at Su ...
Meet professional MasterChef winner Gary Maclean
Food Event
Come along and meet professional MasterChef winner Gary Maclean. Gary will be holding a book signing for his new book ‘Gary Maclean’s Kitchen Essentials’ as well as food tastings and ...
Christmas Belles
Family event
Summon the spirit of Christmas past with these charming Christmas Belles. Our joyous duo shimmer scarlet with waving gold ribbons and ring out yuletide chimes of good cheer with syncopated hand ch ...
Ellingham Hall Christmas Fair 2018
Family event
Our annual Family Christmas Fair’ is a festive day out for all the family. Visit a range of stalls offering gifts, crafts, foodie treats and Christmas goodies. ...
The Snow Lion at The Alnwick Garden
Family event
Returning this year from the Forsets of Eternal Snow is the giant, white snow lion ...
Northumberland Theatre Company: The Little Maid who danced to every mood (children's show)
Shows & Displays
Hear about the impact philanthropy has had on Northumberland Theatre Company and then enjoy a performance of ‘The Little Girl Who Danced To Every Mood’. We follow our heroine on her journe ...
Christmas Printmaking & Craft Workshops at Bamburgh Castle
Arts and Crafts
Festive creativity in the magnificent setting of Bamburgh Castle. Thursday 6th December 10am – 2.30pm Spend a lovely festive day learning how to use mono-printing techniques to create beautiful ...
Northumberland County Zoo - Christmas Owl events
Family event
"This Festive season, the Christmas owls have returned to collect your Letters to Santa and fly them up to the North Pole! The fun starts off with a visit to the Christmas Grotto where children wil ...
The Grand Lantern Parade
Family event
"If you have never been before, this is a magical live music, light and movement spectacular. ...
Pipe Dreams Exhibition
Arts and Crafts
A photographic installation of subtly coloured urban streets and figures showing the frailty of our existence by Rolf Wojciechowski. OPEN EVENING Saturday 10th November 6 - 8pm with free food and nibb ...
The Alnwick Garden Christmas Light show
Outdoor Event
Come and join us after dark this Christmas to see our fantastic Christmas light show, new for 2018 ...
Jane Kell at The Old School Gallery | Alnmouth
Jane Kell started painting in 2010 and is essentially untrained although both her parents are painters and she admits that growing up she must have absorbed something more than just the smell of turps ...
Christmas Fayre
Arts and Crafts
The annual Christmas Fayre, featuring an amazing array of goods for sale - handmade knitting, bric-a-brac, Christmas cards, books, home baking, as well as tea/coffee and homemade cream scones. There a ...
Winter Wonderland Birds
Family event
These magical giant birds with their stunning fanned tails are illuminated for a winter wonderland spectacular as a living example of the song lyric from the Twelve Days of Christmas ‘Two Callin ...
Haltwhistle Spring Walking Festival 2019
Outdoor Event
A ten day festival with 25 guided walks. Haltwhistle is at the heart of the festival, but walks are in a wide area around about, including the Northumberland National Park, the North Pennines AONB and ...
A Christmas Soirée at Charlton Hall
Music & Dance
Celebrate the festive season in style this December at Charlton Hall. Enjoy a sparkling drinks reception, a delicious 3 course dinner then party the night away with a live DJ set in our magical glass ...
Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centres Christmas Fayre
Family event
The whole centre is transformed ready to welcome Santa before he leaves mid afternoon with Merlin pulling his special Christmas Carriage. ...
Northumberland Pride Charity Christmas concert
Music & Dance
Join us for the very first Northumberland Pride Christmas Concert (by candlelight). ...
Christmas Belles
Family event
Summon the spirit of Christmas past with the Christmas Belles on stilts. ...
Enchanted Belsay
Family event
Step into a magical fairy-tale world this December and follow our themed Alice in Wonderland trail through our famous Himalayan quarry gardens and wooded grounds. ...
Bamburgh Christmas lights
Shows & Displays
Bamburgh's Annual switch on of the Christmas lights will take place on the 24th of November 2018- commencing with a service at St Aidan's Church. ...
Xmas Birdwatching Books,gifts and Art Sale
Wildlife events
Birdersmarket, the Internet birdwatching resource and marketplace will be present at Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre on Sunday 9th December with a range of xmas gifts for birdwatching enthusiasts. ...
Ashington Christmas Light Switch-On
Family event
A fun family event is planned to run from 1pm till 7pm on the main section of Station Road. The event will include musical performances from Swing Singer Paul Skerritt as well as Bothal Primary Choir ...
Alan O'Cain art exhibition
Arts and Crafts
An exhibition of paintings by Alan O'Cain ...
Hexham Christmas Market and Abbey Fair
Outdoor Event
Come along and visit 70 stalls and shop for gorgeous gifts, unique arts and crafts, fabulous food and of course a warming glass of mulled wine.   ...
Whitehouse Farm Santa Experience 2018
Family event
Join us this Festive Season to make some lasting memories with your family, the Santa Experience is our Premium Christmas Event and will add a touch of Magic to Christmas 2018. ...

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