Our 5 Favourite Winter Walks in Northumberland

5th January 2024

Northumberland is a glorious haven of incredible landscapes, perfect for exploring by foot at any time of year. During the winter months, the scenery becomes serene and frost-glazed, creating a magnificent feast for the eyes and peaceful pathways where you can clear your mind and soak up the beauty. If you’re planning a winter retreat to Northumberland, we’ve put together some of our favourite nearby walks to help you decide on your next adventure. Keep reading to find out more…

 

 

Top 5 Winter Walks in Northumberland

 

1) Amble to Warkworth

(Image Source: Visit Northumberland)

Walking in Northumberland doesn’t have to mean waterproofs and hiking boots! If an easy walk with plenty to see and do is your style, then start with a stroll from Amble to Warkworth. You can begin at Amble Harbour Village, heading north out of the town. Most of the route runs along Beale Bank (A1068) which can be busy, but the path is set back from the road by a wide grass verge, and you’ll be too busy admiring the Coquet Estuary to notice. You’ll be able to explore the charming town and the spectacular Warkworth Castle, before walking back or hopping on the X18 bus.

A great pub to visit at the end of this route is the Masons Arms Warkworth, where you’ll find a scrumptious menu of food and plenty of refreshing drinks to indulge in!

Distance from Village Farm Cottages: 20-minute drive

 

2) Cragside

(Image Source: National Trust)

Cragside House, Gardens and Estate is a true feast for the eyes, whatever the season. You’ll find lush greens in spring, a vibrant rainbow of colours in summer, and ruby reds and golden yellows in autumn. Each season has its moment. During wintertime, the grandeur and scale of the coniferous forest really comes to the fore, with trees of remarkable stature towering above you.

The name of Cragside’s original owner, Lord William Armstrong, is well known, but lesser known is the fact that his wife actually designed much of the landscape! Fuelled by a love of horticulture and botany, Lady Margaret Armstrong created a series of outdoor ‘rooms’ including the Pinetum and the Formal Garden. A leisurely stroll around The Armstrong Trail will allow you to take in most of the dramatic scenery at Cragside, including the magical Tumbleton Lake.

If you’re feeling peckish, pay a visit to Cragside’s Tea Room, which serves all sorts of hot and cold food including delicious jacket potatoes, hearty pastries, and light lunch bites.

Distance from Village Farm Cottages: 25-minute drive

 

3) Heatherslaw to Etal

(Image Source: Visit Northumberland)

Walking the path between Heatherslaw and Etal is a fantastic way to soak up the sights of the Ford and Etal Estates, where history lives and breathes. The route begins at Heatherslaw Light Railway car park and ends at a peaceful spot in Etal on the banks of the River Till, where you can usually spot local fishermen. Along the way, the route takes you past Tillside Cricket Club pitch (one of the prettiest in Northumberland) and the impressive ruins of Etal Castle. To return to Heatherslaw, simply retrace your steps!

If you need to put your feet up and refuel for the rest of the walk, you’ll find a warm welcome at The Black Bull, Northumberland’s only thatched pub!

Distance from Village Farm Cottages: 40-minute drive

 

4) Wallington

(Image Source: Visit Northumberland)

You’re sure to be delighted by a visit to Wallington this winter, where a historical house meets rolling hills, woodlands, and a magnificent walled garden. There are miles of footpaths and trails within the grounds of Wallington House and Gardens, but one of our favourites is the route along the banks of the River Wansbeck. Beginning in the courtyard, the route follows both natural and surfaced footpaths, so it’s the perfect stroll for any season. You’ll be met with natural beauties including magnificent oak trees near the garden pond.

If you fancy a bite to eat while you’re there, you can visit the Clocktower Cafe which boasts a wonderful menu of hot and cold food and drinks, as well as delicious National Trust scones!

Distance from Village Farm Cottages: 40-minute drive

 

5) Simonside Hills

(Image Source: Northumberland National Park)

With a plethora of routes to choose from, the Simonside Hills near Rothbury are a staple for keen walkers. There are trails to suit all abilities, including the Simonside Family Walk which is perfect for the whole family. This circular trail is easy to follow and takes you through the forest where you’ll be met with some truly awe-inspiring views of the Coquet Valley and Cheviot Hills. It’s easy to see why it’s so beloved by Northumberland walkers - however, it can be slippery in winter, so be sure to take care and watch your step. On the route, a short detour to Little Church Rock is sure to be a winner with younger members of the family. Here you’ll find cup marks in stone, which are thought to have been man-made over 4,000 years ago!

After you’ve finished the route, hop back in the car and journey towards the picturesque town of Rothbury, where you’ll find some delicious pub grub at Newcastle House.

Distance from Village Farm Cottages: 40-minute drive

 

 

Wonderful Winter Stays at Village Farm Cottages

Why not complete your perfect Northumbrian getaway by choosing to stay at Village Farm Cottages? We have a range of luxurious accommodation to suit any number of guests from two to 12, where you can settle down for warm, cosy nights following exciting days of outdoor adventure. During your stay with us, you’ll have free access to our state-of-the-art leisure facilities including our spa, sauna, swimming pool and gym. Conveniently located between Alnmouth and Alnwick within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on Northumberland’s coast, you couldn’t ask for a better place to stay. Book your winter walking holiday in Northumberland with Village Farm Cottages today!