The NLand250 is a 250 mile road trip around the heart of Northumberland, and what better way to take in the journey than in one of Overland Adventures Land Rover Campers. The NLand250 takes you through some of the most stunning landscapes Northumberland has to offer. It mix’s rolling hills, stunning valleys, dark skies and an unforgettable coastline as well as taking you through some truly medieval Northumberland villages dating back to 600AD.
Throughout the journey there are plenty of places to camp and we would advise that you take between 3-4 days to maximise your adventure. Pay particular attention to the coastline which has won many awards and has featured in Lonely Planets ‘Epic Drives of the World’! For the most up to date info on where you can camp visit Northumberland National Park’s official website.
The best place to start your road trip is to head to Rothbury. The journey to Rothbury will give you an immediate sense of what the Northumberland 250 has to offer. A stop on route in Morpeth might be a good place to stock up on supplies. Rothbury is a typical Northumberland town, larger than some and a must see is the National Trust’s Craigside House. Created by Lord William and Lady Margaret Armstrong it was Britain’s first Original smarthome and was the first house in the world to be lit by electricity. Anyone with a passion for engineering and innovation this is a must visit and its grounds are truly remarkable.
There are some fantastic walks to be had on the Simonside Hills, a stones throw away from Rothbury. One of my favourite local walks is the circular route around Simonside Hills.
Leaving Rothbury your journey takes you through some gorgeous scenery and here you will visit the first of many breath-taking castles, “Alnwick Castle”, home to the powerful Percy family. More recently famous for its Harry Potter connection, Alnwick Castle can be a day out in itself if you purchase a combo ticket which also takes in the famous Alnwick Gardens.
The next part of your journey is one of the highlights, “The Northumberland Coastline” a truly scenic explosion of history, with a landscape that gives a sense of exceptional wilderness and white beaches that stretch for miles with very few people around. Heading to Craster you also need to visit Newton By the Sea, one of my all time favourite spots. From here you can walk along the beach to Dunstanburgh Castle then call into The Ship Inn for a well earned pint from their micro brewery and feast on some of the local produce.
Bamburgh Castle is your next stop which in my eyes is one of the most stunning castles in Europe. A picnic with the castle as your backdrop is pretty spectacular and its quaint village is quite stunning. You need to check out the local butchers if you like pies, the best!
There are number of campsites along or quite close to the coast to choose from.
Before heading further up the coast a trip to the Farne Islands is recommended, famous for its wide array of animals, Puffins, Eider Ducks, Guillemots, Porpoises and Razorbills. If you catch it at the right time of year you’ll see grey Seals and their 1000’s of pups. Its becoming quite common to also see pods of Dolphins and if you’re really lucky a Mink Whale.
From there the Northumberland 250 takes you up to Holy Island of Lindisfarne. The sunrise across the causeway is particularly stunning (check out our video) make sure you check the tide times for crossings: your Land Rover Defender has a snorkel but its not that good! This tiny island has quite a history from its 12th century Priory to its famous Holy Island Mead made by the monks.
Continue up the coast to Berwick where it’s a good place to pick up fresh supplies and head inland across the Cheviots through some gorgeous rolling valleys to Kielder Forest and Water. Experience the Kielder Forest Drive, one of the highest roads in Britain stretching 12 miles in length, this is where your Land Rover Defender is truly at home. Kielder is famous for its international Dark Park and its Observatory as well as being host to the UK largest man made lake. It also has the largest mountain bike park in Northumberland so well worth a visit. Top tip, have some midge repellent at the ready.
The Cheviots is the epi-centre for walking and mountain biking, it has some amazing walks and most of the time the only living things you come across are sheep and cattle and the scenery is quite stunning.
From here head across to Hadrian’s Wall, one of the most famous historical landmarks in the UK. Built by the romans in 120 AD. There are still some original stretches of Hadrian’s wall to look at and which you can walk along side, one particular favourite is the “Sycamore Gap Tree” voted England’s tree of the year by the Woodland Trust. Again there are a number of campsites located close to the wall if you’re considering spending a night here.
The Northumberland 250 now starts taking you back East, through the quaint village of Allenheads and through the stunning North Pennines to Blanchland. This historical picturesque village is close to my heart having spent many a weekend walking and wild camping on the Moors. The Lord Crewe Arms is a must for a drink and some food, dating back to 1165, it began its life as a guest house to the newly formed Blanchland Abbey. Food is truly outstanding and you must check out its Priest Hole, if you can find it! There is some fantastic walking to be had around here.
Your next stop is Corbridge which is close to Hexham, originally a busy Roman town, here you will find a lovely array of gift shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants, a small medieval village and one of the finest villages in Northumberland. The Angel pub does one of the best Sunday lunches around it truly is a beautiful village.
Your final stop is Otterburn, famous for its battles with the Scottish and English armies. The scenery changes to more open rolling and raw countryside where you can imagine the Border Rievers raiding the local villages and farms.
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