Northumberland is a land full of history – there is no shortage of fascinating historical sights to see and discover. From the sweeping vistas and Roman historical sites atop Hadrian’s Wall to the beautiful Holy Island of Lindisfarne, only accessible when the tides are out, there is enough to keep you occupied for days.
One of the most iconic castles in the UK, Alnwick Castle is full of history – but there’s more than a little big of magic within those imposing stone walls. Scenes from the Harry Potter films were filmed at Alnwick Castle, including key Quidditch scenes! Today, visitors can enjoy everything from broomstick training to an interactive dragon quest – but in case Harry Potter doesn’t light your (dragon) fire, grown-up visitors might enjoy touring the locations where some of the biggest episodes of Downton Abbey were filmed.
If you’re here for the history, you’re in luck – the castle dates back to medieval times, and having served as the ancestral home of the Percy family for generations, there’s plenty of fascinating characters to learn about as you tour the castle. Marvel at the stunning State Rooms, and even venture down to the Lost Cellars to discover hidden mysteries of the castle…
Alnwick Castle and Gardens are just an hour’s drive from Slaley Hall
This fascinating museum and dig site is one of Europe's most important Roman archaeological sites. With immersive exhibits and unparalleled artefacts and accounts of Roman life, at Vindolanda you can experience Roman Britain, Hadrian's Wall and history coming to life before your very eyes all in one space.
Vindolanda is close to Hexham, and just a 40 minute drive from Slaley Hall
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne
Unlike anywhere else, Lindisfarne – or Holy Island, as it’s known – feels like another world. The island is cut off twice a day from the coast by tides, but when the tide is out you can enjoy a beautiful drive across the Holy Island Causeway, or even walk across – but be careful and always check safe crossing times!
From the quaint village with gift shops and a fantastic farm shop selling authentic honey mead, you’ll discover the ruins of the Priory, birthplace of the Lindisfarne Gospels, and ransacked by Viking raiders in the 8th century. Follow the trail up to Lindisfarne castle for a beautiful walk, keeping an eye our for rare seabirds and even grey seals in the water!
Lindisfarne is around an hour and half from Slaley Hall by car – make sure you check the tide tables for safe crossing times!
Chesters Roman Fort
Just half an hour from Slaley Hall, Chesters Roman Fort is the most complete Roman fort in Britain – here you can literally wander around the ruins of baths and steam rooms, and get a real sense of walking through history.
With frequent events and activities for adults and children alike, Chesters is a great day out on Hadrian’s Wall. Browse the recently updated Clayton Museum to discover a myriad of Roman finds, or pick up a trail sheet from the front desk and get ready for a Roman adventure.
Once you’ve inspired your inner archaeologist, pack a picnic to eat by the river and run wild amongst the ruins. During the school holidays, enjoy loads of fun family activities, from re-enactments to creative crafting.
Chesters Fort is 30 minutes from Slaley Hall by car
Hexham Old Gaol
Conveniently close to Slaley Hall, Hexham Old Gaol is – surprise! – England’s oldest goal. A great repository of Northumbrian history and culture, with lots about the Border Laws and Reivers. And if you dare, descend into the dungeons or try the stocks!
Hexham is the nearest town to Slaley Hall, just 20 minutes away
Revered in its time as the wonder of its age, Cragside’s picturesque exterior hides many secrets. This incredible Victorian stately home was the home of William Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong, an inventor and engineer. Cragside was the first house in the world to be lit using hydroelectric power, and the house is packed with gadgets and gizmos – lots of which still work!
Around the house are winding gardens, with one of the largest rock gardens in Europe and even a labyrinth, a network of paths and tunnels cut out of a vast area of forest. Don’t leave your walking boots and binoculars - Armstrong planted over seven million trees in the gardens, which makes it an ideal spot to see birds and if you’re very lucky, one of the few remaining red squirrel colonies in England.
Cragside is an hour away from Slaley Hall by car
HISTORICAL BREAKS AT SLALEY HALL
If you’re a history buff looking for a hotel where you can stay in absolute comfort while exploring the rich historical sights of Northumberland, Slaley Hall is perfect for you.