The best dog-friendly days out in Northumberland
5 minute read
Bring out your hound’s inner guard dog with a trip to Norham Castle. Near the border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, the 12th-century fortress was first built to protect Northumbria from those rampaging Celts and now the ruins of the castle are a brilliant place to explore with your dog. Perched on a grassy hill overlooking the River Tweed, this important stronghold was besieged no less than 13 times, including by Robert the Bruce, who stayed for a year. Now owned by English Heritage, dogs on leads are welcome to explore the castle ruins, and wander along the banks of the River Tweed, where you can wave hello at Scotland.
Free entry; Visit Norham Castle >
Stretching 73 miles between the Irish Sea and the North Sea, Hadrian’s Wall is one of the most important sites in British history. Now a Unesco World Heritage Site, it was built in 122AD by Hadrian, emperor of Rome, to protect England from kilted invaders from the north. The wall is dotted with the remains of ancient Roman forts – Romans loved dogs – and our four-legged friends are welcome to scoot along the Wall and around some of the hill forts. One of the highlights is Housesteads Fort, the most complete example of a Roman fort in Britain. Now owned by the National Trust (but maintained by English Heritage) the Visitor Centre at Hadrian’s Wall and Housesteads has water bowls and poo bags. And while hounds are not allowed in the museum, they are allowed to explore the remains of Housesteads Roman Fort, but only on a lead.
From £11.30 entry; Visit Hadrian’s Wall >
Berwick Barracks, Berwick-upon-Tweed
Once part of Scotland, Berwick-upon-Tweed is actually closer to Edinburgh than it is to Newcastle. It has some of the best-preserved fortified walls in Europe and you can learn more about life on the Borders at Berwick Barracks. Built in the 18th century as one of the first purpose-built barracks in England, it now features a marvellous military history museum. Good dogs on leads are welcome to explore the barracks and are even allowed inside the museum, in which the By Beat of Drum exhibition captures the feel of life as an infantryman. It’s worth doubling up and visiting Berwick-upon-Tweed Castle, just along the way, where dogs are welcome to wander around the ramparts of the medieval fortress and follow the walls around the town.
From £5.90 entry; Visit Berwick Barracks >
Warkworth Castle and Hermitage
The Northumberland Coast is dotted with castles built to protect the shores from marauding invaders – obviously a time before guard dogs were invented. Owned by the 12th Duke of Northumberland (and run by English Heritage) Warkworth Castle was the main residence of the Percy family and one of the largest and most important castles in Northumberland. Though the castle is now in ruins, the grounds contain a series of sculptures and English Heritage have created self-guided trails to explain the jagged history of the remaining walls. Dogs on leads are welcome to explore the castle grounds and wander along the banks of the River Coquet to the Hermitage, the castle’s private chapel carved out of rock.
From £10 entry (free for members of English Heritage); Visit Warkworth Castle >
Sail over to the Farne Islands
Salty sea dogs might enjoy a boat trip around the Farne Islands, the National Nature Reserve off the Northumberland Coast which is home to thousands of puffins, guillemots and Atlantic grey seals. Launching from Seahouses harbour, Golden Gate boat tours offer dog-friendly cruises around the Farne Islands (dogs sail free). It’s currently the only boat tour allowed to land on Longstone Island, the outermost island in the Farne archipelago. Visit Longstone Lighthouse, the former home of Grace Darling, the young heroine who braved storms to save several shipwreck survivors in 1838. While dogs aren’t allowed in the lighthouse, you can explore the surrounds, which are home to bird sanctuaries and colonies of Atlantic grey seals, so dogs must be kept on leads.
From £15 entry; Visit the Farne Islands >
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne
Reached only by a narrow causeway, this tiny tidal island gets cut off from the mainland twice a day, which adds a thrill to any day out. But it’s well worth timing it right and exploring this charming corner of Northumberland. When the Vikings rowed across the North Sea in their longboats and invaded England in 793AD, it was Lindisfarne that they first came across and Ivor the Boneless and his band of vicious Vikings ransacked Lindisfarne Priory. Visit the Viking Domesday Stone, an 8th-century grave marker inscribed with the battle, which is displayed in the museum at Lindisfarne Priory. Dogs on leads are welcome in the Priory and the museum, and you can recover with a pint and a pie in The Crown and Anchor, a dog-friendly pub with a gorgeous beer garden.
From £10 entry, Visit The Holy Island of Lindisfarne >