Magical Northumbria – Castles, Conquest and Cathedrals

Magical Northumbria is a private tour which takes us to many places far away from London. A region even richer in history with some of the most impressive castles, magnificent cathedrals and picturesque ruins. This is often thought to be the most beautiful, romantic and fought over part of the British Isles. I has inspired The Last Kingdom and Vikings as well as Game of Thrones. For over a decade it has also been the back drop to the popular detective show, Vera.

Days 1 and 2 – Sherwood Forest, Bettys and York

Day 1 of the Magical Northumbria Tour will be spent travelling up from either your London hotel or Heathrow Airport. We will go by private car to North East England, perhaps stopping at historic Sherwood Forest. Then on our way north to the famous Betty’s tea rooms in the picturesque Yorkshire town of Harrogate.

Day 2 will be sent at York or Jorvik as it was to the Vikings over a thousand years ago.  Here we will explore the narrow medieval streets of the Shambles, see the Clifford Tower and perhaps visit the Jorvik Centre or York Dungeons before going to York Minster, one of the finest cathedrals in the world.   York, of course, has plenty of other history. From the Romans to highwayman Dick Turpin and the legendary Guy Fawkes. We still remember Guy Fawkes who came so close to blowing up the King and Parliament.

The Shambles and York Minster in Magical Northumbria
At the end of The Shambles stands York Minster.

Day 3 – Yorkshire Moors and Whitby then on to Durham

Day 3 sees us driving through the wild but beautiful Yorkshire Moors to the small coastal town of Whitby.  Whitby is a maze of beautiful narrow alleys and shops the criss-cross the streets around the old harbour where once Captain Cook spent his time.  The town is dominated by the ruins of Whitby Abbey, which overshadow everything from its standpoint on the top of the cliffs by the north sea.  Whitby is also the place to visit for all fans of the undead. Famously Count Dracula came to England at Whitby in the Brahm Stoker classic novel.

Whitby Abbey
Your tour guide standing atop of the 199 steps leading to Whitby Abbey.

Following some Fish and Chips, we will continue northwards to the picturesque city of Durham.  Durham is siituated on the steep banks of the River Wear. It has overseen many an invasion force from the Romans to the Vikings to the Normans and Scots.  These days things are more peaceful. We can enjoy the grounds of the famous university, castle and world heritage site of Durham Cathedral where amongst others the Venerable Bede is interred as he has been for well over 1,000 years.

Day 4 – Northumbria – Bamburgh Castle and Holy Island

Day 4 and we cross the River Tyne and head into Northumbria. The ancient kingdom that once ruled much of Britain from Edinburgh down to the English Midlands.  Northumbria’s coastal district isn’t just a haven for wildlife but also for those of us who like to get away from it all whilst enjoying all the history this ancient kingdom has to offer.  The opportunities here are countless. Some places not to be missed include the magnificent Bamburgh Castle with undoubtedly the most picturesque setting in the world. Once rumoured to be the home of Sir Lancelot, of King Arthur fame.

Bamburgh Castle in Magical Northumbria
Bamburgh Castle

One of the unmissable components of Magical Northumbria is our next destination. We will drive across the seabed to visit the Holy Island of Lindisfarne to see the magical isle that was once home to the pioneering Christian monks of Northumbria before one morning in 793 when the world was changed forever with the first ever Viking attack.  The Abbey remains ruined to this day, but Lindisfarne is also home to a quaint town, beautiful old church and an iconic castle.

The ruins of Holy Island in Magical Northumbria
The ruins of Holy Island – Lindisfarne, 1400 years after the first Viking raids.

Day 5 Alnwick Castle and Hadrians (Roman) Wall

Day 5 and we head to one of the most impressive castles still in private hands, Alnwick Castle.  Famously used as the location for Harry Potters’ Hogwarts, the frequent destination for the family from Downton Abbey and the cult 80’s TV show, Robin of Sherwood, Alnwick Castle is still owned by the aristocratic Percy family and their wonderful home and treasures are on show for us all to see.

Hadrians Wall in Magical Northumbria
Hadrians Wall on the Whin Sill at “The gap with no name and Housesteads Crags – – 1018994” by Oliver Dixon. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

In the afternoon, we will head through the Kielder Forest, the largest man-made forest and associated lake in Europe until we reach Hadrians Wall.  Established by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, the wall crosses northern England from the Irish Sea in the west, across Cumbria, Northumbria and all the way to the imaginatively named Wallsend in the east.  It separated the barbarians for Scotland and much of Northumbria to the north from the Roman Empire in England and mainland Europe.  Here we will visit Housesteads, one of the best-preserved sections of the Roman wall and see what life was like for the soldiers posted here and the locals under their rule.   We can also see the sycamore tree in which Kevin Costner spent the night sleeping under in Robin Hood- Prince of Thieves.

Day 6 – Back to London through the Lake District

Finally, on day six we will return to London driving through the edge of the Lake District and stopping off en-route to either Eyam Plague Village, Chatsworth House or Hardwick Hall before returning to London at the end of the day.

Inside Chatsworth House
Inside Chatsworth House

An optional day is available before returning to London to spend in the Lake District. Here we will visit the beautiful towns of Keswick and Cockermouth, home of the writer and poet William Wordsworth. There is also the chance to explore this uniquely beautiful landscape of this corner of NorthWest England.

Friars Crag
The view from Friars Crag over Derwent Water with Catbells in the distance.

How to book Magical Northumbria

Departure Time:7.30am
City Location: London – York – Whitby – Durham – Northumbria – Lake District / Chatsworth – London
Duration of Tour: 5 days
(Approximate times as all tours are bespoke)

Adult Prices per person excluding accomodation and entry fees (child prices available upon request).

1 Adult = £3,000

2 Adults = £2,500

3 Adults = £2,000

4 Adults = £1,600

For more information or to make a booking, please email

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