According to legend, the monks of Lindisfarne discovered Durham after following a cow that led them to a site high on a hill. This was to be the resting place of St Cuthbert and it wasn’t long before the sound of masons’ hammers and chisels rang out over the countryside. Towers of stone rose in the sky, forming a fine Romanesque cathedral that became a beacon for religious pilgrimage.
Day 1. Relax, get to know your fellow travellers and enjoy the ride up the countrys spine to the northern most county of Northumberland, where a warm welcome and comfortable accommodation awaits at the Best Western Derwent Manor Hotel ***
Day 2. Bill Bryson called Durham the perfect little city with the best cathedral on planet Earth, and we travel over the Durham Dales to visit its winding cobbled streets and prominent peninsular, crowned by the medieval castle and cathedral. Walter Scott once remarked that Durham was half church of God, half castle gainst the Scot and its importance as a strategic stronghold soon becomes evident, with the River Wear carving a partial moat around the city centre. Theres time to discover the city yourself with plenty of activities on offer including riverside walks, artisan boutiques, museums, galleries and botanical gardens to explore.
Day 3. Windsor of the North is todays destination and Alnwick Castle with its magnificent gardens looms large on the horizon. This popular film location featured in Harry Potter (2001), Cate Blanchetts Elizabeth (1998) and more recently in Downton Abbey (2014/15). The Duke of Northumberlands home has been in the Percy family for seven hundred
years and once belonged to the child-knight Harry Hotspur, a major character in Shakespeares Henry IV Part One. Alnwick Gardens are set in a serene and spectacular landscape, sculpted by Capability Brown, and cultivated by Lady Northumberland to offer contemporary pleasure gardens, designed for every season. With spring coming to an end, now is the ideal time to visit.
Day 4. The Living Museum of the North at Beamish shows how life was for ordinary people in the northeast through Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian times. From the foundation of the industrial period, visitors can explore the birth of railways at Pockerley and see how the horse-powered whim gin once hauled coal and men out of the mines. The 1900s town features early cars, motorbikes and cycles, while the residents of Ravensworth Terrace tell terrifying tales of dentistry before the comfort of local anaesthetics.
With trams and buses transporting visitors between settings including a colliery and farm, its hard to find a better way to spend the day up north.
Day 5. Hadrians Wall once marked the northern frontier of a mighty empire and today we visit the Roman site of Corbridge, formerly a bustling town and supply base where soldiers and civilians could stock up on food and provisions. Now its a time-capsule of Roman history, featuring the Corbridge hoard of trinkets and Roman armour, one of the most significant collections of Roman artefacts in the UK. We also visit the market town of Hexham.
Day 6. Coach home to the West Country and surrounding area.
Entrance to Alnwick Castle and Gardens.
Entrance to Beamish Open Air Museum.
Visit to the market town of Hexham.
Visit to Durham and Corbridge.
Excursions as detailed.
5 nights hotel stay on half board.
This hotel enjoys a delightful rural location on the outskirts of Consett, nestled amongst 20 acres of Northumberland countryside and overlooking Derwent Valley.
Theres a gym, a spa pool and a jacuzzi. Guest rooms are spacious and have hospitality trays as standard, as well as free Wi-Fi.
The hotel has a lift.
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