Excursion One - Alnwick Castle & Garden
Still home to the Duke of Northumberland and his family, Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England. We enjoy a guided tour of the superlative Alnwick Garden, set around a cascading fountain, and surrounding ‘Capability’ Brown landscape before heading to the castle. Here our guided tour explores the history of the Percy family through the eclectic array of furniture and art they collected and displayed in the impressive State Rooms. Alnwick also featured in the hugely popular TV series Downton Abbey.
Excursion Two - Newcastle & Cragside
We enjoy a guided tour of Newcastle, with its inspiring heritage and acclaimed architecture. In the historical centre of the city stands the Castle Keep, one of the finest Norman stone castle keeps surviving in Britain today, while Grainger Town is home to elegant streets lined with stylish Georgian and Victorian buildings. Newcastle also boasts a redeveloped quayside where the iconic Millennium Bridge, the world’s only tilting bridge, is situated.
We then head to Cragside, built high into the rock above the clear waters of Debdon Burn. Once the home of Victorian inventor Lord Armstrong, this imposing house is packed to the rafters with fascinating gadgets from the era. It was also the first house in the world to be lit by hydro-electricity and in 2014, a fully-working Archimedes Screw was installed, once again producing enough energy to light the house.
Excursion Three - Holy Island & Northumberland Heritage Coast
We start with a visit to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, lying just a few miles off the Northumberland coast. Only accessible twice a day at low tide, this beautiful unspoilt island is where Christianity first took hold in Britain. We pay a visit to Lindisfarne Priory and museum and follow in the footsteps of the ancient monks who built their priory here nearly 1,400 years ago. The field adjacent to Lindisfarne Castle, the Gertrude Jekyll Edwardian garden and the Lime Kilns are well worth visiting and we recommend sampling the world famous Lindisfarne Mead, a unique fortified wine made on the island and known by many as ‘the nectar of the gods’.
We round off the day with a scenic drive, taking in the stunning vistas, rugged scenery and vast sandy beaches of the unspoilt Northumberland Heritage Coast.