Getting Oriented

The Northeast can be divided into four distinct sections. The southernmost part of the region is County Durham, which is centered around the beautiful and historic cathedral city of the same name. Farther north, the art-loving city of Newcastle upon Tyne and its southern neighbor Gateshead straddle the region's main river, the muddy Tyne. A third area to the west of Newcastle is Hadrian's Wall country, where the remains of the famous Roman fortification snake through rugged scenery. Finally, it's up to the Far Northeast, where towering castles and misty islands punctuate the stunning, final miles of England's eastern shoreline.

  • Barnard Castle. A pretty market town home to the substantial ruins of a medieval fortification.
  • Bishop Auckland. Named for the Bishops of Durham, this small town includes a well-preserved bishops' palace.
  • Durham. A historic city set on a rocky spur, home to one of England's most spectacular cathedrals.
  • Newcastle upon Tyne. A sprawling metropolis with a lively regional arts scene and the Northeast's best nightlife.
  • Hadrian's Wall. The famous wall that once marked the northern border of the Roman Empire.
  • Hexham. This pretty town is a useful base for visiting Hadrian's Wall and the wild countryside surrounding it.
  • Greenhead. A town surrounded on all sides by Roman history, including the Housesteads Roman Fort.
  • Morpeth. A lively medieval market town and an ideal base for exploring historic Cragside and Brinkburn Priory.
  • Alnwick. A small town with some big sights, including a Harry Potter-featured castle and spectacular gardens.
  • Dunstanburgh Castle. An evocative castle tower ruin that silently stands guard over a windswept beach.
  • Bamburgh. Another stunning castle ruin on the Northumberland coast; best viewed from the Farne Islands.
  • Lindisfarne (Holy Island). This historic isle—only accessible at low tide—has a Christian history dating back to AD 635.

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