Countyfile: Northumberland - Follow the historic trails of the Vikings and Romans
Kate Simon is the Travel Correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. She was Travel Editor of The Independent on Sunday from 2005 to 2011. Kate is also the co-founder of Little Black Book Creative (www.lbbcreative.co.uk), which offers editorial services, media relations consultancy and travel-writing training.
Sunday 12 August 2012
It's the last chance to see a Viking battle at Lindisfarne Priory today (01289 389200; www.english-heritage.org.uk; admission £6.50). "The Vikings Return: Viking Raiders" will aim to recreate the atmosphere of AD793 when Lindisfarne was the scene of the first assaults on the north-east coast of England by these marauders. Rather less combative entertainment is also on offer at this specially reconstructed Viking encampment. See the armour they wore and weapons they used, and there's also a replica of a Viking longship to admire.
More history is brought to life at Housesteads Roman fort on Hadrian's Wall (01434 344363; www.hadrians-wall.org; admission £5), which has opened a museum. Take a look at the new exhibition, which uses film and 3D models to reveal what it was like at this outpost of empire for the 800 Roman soldiers who lived here.
Some rather unusual garden statues will be on display in the exquisite setting of the Alnwick Garden (01665 511350; alnwickgarden.com; admission £12) this summer, when it hosts its first Human Sculpture Festival from 23 to 28 August. The gardens will double as a living exhibition space for STILL, a showcase of human statue work and other static live art created in partnership with Newcastle-based circus and street arts company Let's Circus. Look out for The Alnwick Butterfly, a visual interpretation of the insect's evolution from cocoon to flight.
Alnwick's association with the Harry Potter movies provides the inevitable inspiration for the name of a new local hotel, the Hog's Head Inn (01665 606576; hogsheadinnalnwick.co.uk; doubles from £80 per night), which opened last month with 53 contemporary-style rooms, a bar and restaurant.
Check out, too, the luxury accommodation set on the banks of a fishing lake at Redewater Lakeside Lodges (01434 270036; redewaterlakeside lodges.co.uk; from £620 for a three-night break). Stay at one of these log cabins and you'll be treated to a private sauna and outdoor hot tub with views of the surrounding countryside.
If you like your food local and seasonal, head for the Berwick Food Festival (01289 388541; berwickslowfood.co.uk; admission £2) on 8 and 9 September. This celebration of Slow Food – Berwick-upon-Tweed is one of the few UK towns with Cittaslow status – will champion produce and traditional recipes from the region. Added diversions include jazz music, foodie films and an animal farm featuring rare breeds.
For more information, go to visitnorthumberland.co.uk.
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