If you and your group are planning to visit Northumberland, the beautiful coastal town of Bamburgh is one place that should definitely be high on your itinerary to explore. Thousands of people visit here every year in part due to the famous castle, and also to enjoy the stunning coastlines of sweeping beaches, rolling dunes and high rocky cliffs, and fabulous walking trails.
There is something to do for all groups here in what is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The undoubted highlight and major draw is Bamburgh Castle, a place full of history, mystery and intrigue and once home to the kings of ancient Northumbria. It is without doubt one of Northumberland's - if not also one of the UK's - most iconic buildings, sitting majestically on a rocky outcrop leaning towards the North Sea, with a huge square Norman keep dominating the coastal sand dunes and glorious stretch of beach below. The views along the coast in either direction and across to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne are quite stunning and need to be viewed first hand to appreciate their beauty. Bamburgh Castle has been Royal stronghold dating as far back to 547 AD and in its time has seen its fair share of action, having welcomed royal guests and English kings, one of whom - Edward IV - destroyed it in the Wars of the Roses.
With the Castle in a perilous state, it was then restored at some considerable cost in late Victorian times by the first Lord Armstrong, a famed industrialist. That restoration essentially saved the Castle from ruin, and today that investment continues to pay for itself for it still provides an ancestral home to the Armstrong family to this very day.
As well as the splendour of Bamburgh and its Castle, there is plenty to do in the surrounding area for groups visiting Northumberland.
There are plenty of towns and villages to visit in Northumberland. Saunter along the bustling harbour of the colourful fishing village of Seahouses and browse an Aladdin's Cave of shops in this popular seaside holiday resort. Board a Billy Shiel or Serenity boat trip bound for the Farne Islands from Seahouses Harbour to enjoy one of the UK's top wildlife experiences where around 150,000 seabirds can be seen during the breeding season.
Just 30 minutes from Bamburgh is Alnwick, once a forgotten, derelict plot, The Alnwick Garden is now one of the world's most ambitious contemporary gardens. It has a wonderful combination of themed garden spaces, quirky features and play areas. One such area is The Poison Garden, where specialist guides take visitors on a journey of discovery, elaborating on the dangerous and sinister side of plants. Feast your eyes on Europe's largest wooden Treehouse, comprising of a first-class restaurant, café and wobbly bridges to boot. Stare in wonder at one of the largest water features of its kind - The Grand Cascade - with captivating half hourly water displays. Themed gardens such as The Rose Garden, with over 300 David Austin rose bushes resulting in thousands of blooms and pergolas that are adorned with honeysuckle and clematis, and The Ornamental Garden, with one of the largest collections of European plants in the UK, designed as a series of small 'rooms', beautifully framed by hedges, trees and shrubs.
As you would expect, The Garden evolves through the seasons. Spring, sees The Garden come to life, and no more so than The Cherry Orchard, with the largest collection of Tai haku cherry blossom trees in the world; summer provides an aesthetic majesty of colour and fragrance, throughout the site; autumn introduces a transition from warm to cold weather with gold and rust coloured leaves; and winter is accompanied by our Christmas Market, a Skating Rink, Festive Lunches, Afternoon Teas, and the 'real' Father Christmas!
Or why not take a trip to the historic and atmospheric Holy Island of Lindisfarne. In 635AD Saint Aidan came from Iona and chose to found his monastery here. Lindisfarne Priory was the home of St Cuthbert and the birthplace of a true national treasure. Still a place of pilgrimage, Holy Island has a national reputation as a wildlife haven and is home to a national nature reserve. Standing on a rocky outcrop overlooking the island is Lindisfarne Castle, a small fortress first built in 1550 which today is looked after by the National Trust.