The nearby market town of Rothbury is the capital of the region known as Coquetdale. Nestled at the foot of the Simonside Hills and on the outskirts of the Northumberland National Park, there are plenty of shops, pubs and eateries to visit as well as walks and picnic spots on the banks of the River Coquet. Cragside House and Gardens, the home built by the great Victorian industrialist, Lord Armstrong in a National Trust property open to the public just outside the village. Dotted throughout the hills that surround Rothbury are signs of human habitation way back to stone age times. From hillforts at Westhills to rock art known as Cup & Ring Marks at Lordenshaws
Morpeth is a bustling market town a short drive away and whilst it boasts a range of larger shops, it has not lost its market town charm. It is situated on a historically strategic crossing of the River Wansbeck and grew in importance as a village after the Norman Conquest. You can hire a row boat for a lazy drift on the river or while away the time exploring the delightfully ornate Carlisle Park before returning to serious retail therapy. Suffragette Emily Davison who died when she fell under the King’s horse during the 1913 Epson Derby is buried in the small churchyard and there is a statue to commemorate her in the park.
A short journey east brings you to the historic market town of Alnwick. With its imposing castle and world-renowned gardens. It is a busy place complete with all the shops, pubs and restaurants you could wish for, as well as plenty of quirky nooks and crannies to explore. For the bibliophile, a visit to one of Europe’s largest bookshops, Barter Books, will be a delight. Located in the old railway station, don’t believe anyone if they tell you they are simply going to “pop-in” for a few minutes! If you fancy a wander through a Duke & Duchesses garden (for free!), Hulne Park, is a real hidden gem.
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