A brief guide to the towns and villages of Northumbria
Quiet village with pleasant old buildings, at the mouth of the River Aln where extensive dunes and sands stretch along Alnmouth Bay. 18th century granaries, some converted to dwellings, still stand.
Ancient and historic market town, entered through the Hotspur Tower, an original gate in the town walls. The medieval castle, the second biggest in England and still the seat of the Dukes of Northumberland, was restored from ruin in the 18th century.
Village with a spectacular red sandstone castle standing 150 feet above the sea. On the village green the magnificent Norman church stands opposite a museum containing mementoes of the heroine Grace Darling.
High above the Tees, a thriving market town with a busy market square. Bernard Baliol's 12th century castle (now ruins) stands nearby. The Bowes Museum, housed in a grand 19th century French chateau, holds fine paintings and furniture. Nearby are some magnificent buildings.
Charming fishing village on Beadnell Bay. Seashore lime kilns (National Trust), dating from the 18th century, recall busier days as a coal and lime port and a pub is built on to a medieval pele tower which survives from days of the border wars.
Small market town on the old coaching road, close to the coast, the Scottish border and the northeast flank of the Cheviots. Built mostly in stone and very peaceful now that the A1 has by-passed the town, Belford makes an ideal centre for excursions to the moors and coast.
Set in the beautiful valley of the North Tyne close to the Kielder Forest, Kielder Water and lonely moorland below the Cheviots. The church has an ancient stone wagon roof fortified in the 18th century with buttresses.
Busy market town on the bank of the River Wear. The Bishop's Palace, a castellated Norman manor house altered in the 18th century, stands in beautiful gardens. Entered from the market square by a handsome 18th century gatehouse, the park is a peaceful retreat of trees and streams.
Beautiful medieval village rebuilt in the 18th century with stone from its ruined abbey, for lead miners working on the surrounding wild moors. The village is approached over a stone bridge across the Derwent or, from the north, through the ancient gatehouse.
Forestry village in Redesdale Forest on the A68. Catcleugh Reservoir is nearby, the Pennine Way runs through the village, and there is a forest toll road to Kielder Water.
Village on the edge of the North Pennines on the A68, one of the main routes from England to Scotland.
Rural hamlet with mainline station. Preston Tower, a border pele tower, is nearby.
Small village, 3 miles south-east of Prudhoe. Ruined Prudhoe Castle stands on a wooded hillside overlooking the River Tyne.
Small town on the River Tyne. Close by are extensive remains of the Roman military town Corstopitum, with a museum housing important discoveries from excavations. The town itself is attractive with shady trees, a 17th century bridge and interesting old buildings, notably a 14th century vicarage.
Village with remains of Norman castle, 3 miles north-west of Barnard Castle. Home of Cotherstone cheese.
Largest town in County Durham, standing on the River Skerne and home of the earliest passenger railway which first ran to Stockton in 1825, now the home of a railway museum. Originally a prosperous market town occupying the site of an Anglo-Saxon settlement, it still holds an open market.
Ancient city with its Norman castle and cathedral, now a World Heritage site, set on a bluff high over the Wear. A market and university town and regional centre, spreading beyond the market-place on both banks of the river.
Old quarrying village on the limestone slopes of Weardale. The rich Frosterley marble, black when polished, graces the fonts and columns of many local churches, including Durham Cathedral.
Small market town with interesting 12th century church, old inns and blacksmith's smithy. North of the town are several important sites and interpretation centres of Hadrian's Wall. Ideal centre for archaeology, outdoor activities or touring holidays.
Small village near Bedburn Beck, at the edge of the North Pennines. Just westward lies moorland country of Hamsterley Common and the beautiful Hamsterley Forest with picnic areas and nature trails.
Village overlooking Hadrian's Wall near its eastern limit, at the edge of an industrial area spreading into Tyneside. The church, first built by the Normans, was originally constructed of stone from the Wall.
Still an idyllic retreat, a tiny island and fishing village and cradle of northern Christianity. It is approached from the mainland at low water by a causeway. The clifftop castle (National Trust) was restored by Sir Edwin Lutyens.
Small stone town of hillside terraces overlooking the river, developed by the London Lead Company in the 18th century. Five miles up-river is the spectacular 70 foot waterfall, High Force.
Hamlet 4 miles south of Cornhill on Tweed by banks of Bowmont Water.
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Commercial and cultural centre of the North East, with a large indoor shopping centre, Quayside market, museums and theatres which offer an annual 6-week season by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Norman castle keep, medieval alleys, old Guildhall.
Attractive hamlet at the south end of Beadnell Bay with a sandy beach and splendid view of Dunstanburgh Castle. In a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Low Newton, part of the village, is now owned by the National Trust.
Quiet village on the north bank of the River Tyne, linked to the village of Ovingham which has a 17th century packhorse bridge and was the birthplace of the famous artist and engraver Thomas Bewick.
Old market town on the River Coquet near the Simonside Hills. It makes an ideal centre for walking and fishing or for exploring this beautiful area from the coast to the Cheviots. Cragside House and Gardens (National Trust) are open to the public.
Set on fine cliffs just north of the Cleveland Hills, a gracious Victorian resort with later developments and wide, firm sands. A handsome Jacobean mansion at Marske can be reached along the sands.
Small, modern resort developed around a 19th century herring port. Just offshore, and reached by boat from here, are the rocky Farne Islands (National Trust) where there is an important bird reserve. The bird observatory occupies a medieval pele tower.
Ancient market town, a centre for hunting and steeplechasing, with a racecourse nearby. Handsome 18th century buildings include the town council's former Georgian mansion and the rectory. The church, with its magnificent spire, has 17th century woodcarvings by a local craftsman.
At the mouth of the Tyne, a shipbuilding and industrial centre developed around a 19th century coalport and occupying the site of an important Roman fort and granary port. The town's museum has mementoes of the earliest self-righting lifeboat, built here in 1789.
Old market town, "Capital of Weardale", set amid moorland hills and former lead-mining country of the North Pennines. In the market square opposite the church is a mock medieval castle. Close to the town is a cave where important Bronze Age finds were made.
Pretty rural village in the Tyne Valley in an area of good agricultural land. Bywell Hall, the home of Lord Allendale, is nearby, as well as Cherryburn, the birthplace of Thomas Bewick, where a museum dedicated to the life and works of this famous local engraver can be found.
On Budle Bay just north of Bamburgh, in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This area is a favourite place for bird-watchers.
Small hamlet on the River Rede in rolling moorland country.
Traditional seaside resort with long beaches of sand and rock and many pools to explore. St Mary's lighthouse is open to the public.
Attractive village overlooking the valley of the River Tees. Interesting early English church and a manor house which once belonged to the powerful Neville family.
Hillside village rising from the river to its Norman church and triangular green. From here can be seen across the river the 15th century castle. Set in woodland by a stream it makes a romantic sight and its grounds provide secluded spots for campers and caravanners.
Gateway to the moors of Upper Weardale, a small town set at the confluence of the Wear and Waskerley Beck. The moors abound in old lead-workings and quarries; on Waskerley Beck, Tunstall Reservoir is the haunt of bird-watchers. Well placed for exploring the fells and dales.