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Northumberland Season - Visiting in March

Good Afternoon,
We are planning a trip to England for March 10th-March 20th. I was intending to spend a few days exploring the Northumberland region, specifically because we were interested in the castles and Hadrian's wall.

I just realized that Alnwick will still be closed during our visit for Winter. Does most of Northumberland become pretty quiet in the winter season? I had my heart set on Alnwick and if we can't visit, I am thinking about scrapping the rest of Northumberland entirely, and saving it for a return trip when we plan to spend a few weeks in Scotland. I just don't want us to waste time in an area that won't have much open or things to do. I am also curious about the weather at that time of year as well, so if anyone has experience with March in Northumberland, I would appreciate your thoughts on that.

Thanks!

Posted by
1286 posts

Tourist season normally kicks in at Easter .
As to weather could be 65 could be snowy
It's very common for snow first week in April in the north " lambing snows" does not tend to be persistantly cold though ,plenty of warmth in the sun by them

Happy to plug Wild Northumbrian as a special place to stay and the excellent lectures up at Kielder Observatory

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks Richard,

If you're there before Easter can you expect that most shops, restaurants, sites and services are not open yet?

Posted by
2553 posts

Shops and restaurants will be open. The county doesn’t close down. For example, Cragside is open in March and Bamburgh Castle is open at weekends. But if there are specific places you intend visiting check opening times.

It’s a big (by English standards), sparsely populated county and much of it is comparatively quiet even in summer.

As for the weather who knows. Sunny skies, the odd blustery shower, it won't be warm but there are plenty of swimmers and surfers out all year round making the most of the beautiful coastline.

Posted by
6113 posts

Alnwick isn’t closed. About 8,000 people live in Alnwick, so shops and cafes will be open. Alnwick Castle is closed until late March.

That side of the country tends to be cooler but drier than the west.

Some of the attractions may have limited openings in March - this applies to the whole of the U.K., not just Alnwick. For example, Dunstanburgh Castle only opens on the weekend in March. Bamburgh Castle is open every day.

The excellent National Trust property Cragside is open daily in March. You could spend hours here - it’s one of my favourite NT properties. Holy Island is a must when in the area.

Housesteads Fort (NT) and Hadrian’s Wall are fully accessible in March.

I have been to Northumberland numerous times and spent weeks here, but I have yet to go into Alnwick Castle. I have parked in their car park. There’s so much more to see in the area.

Posted by
1982 posts

I regularly used to visit Northumberland in January and shops, restaurants etc were open. Alnwick Castle may be shut but the wonderful Alnwick Castle gardens will be open. One of the great advantages of visiting in March is the leaves won't have come out and you really begin to appreciate the structure of the garden rather than just seeing the flowers.

The ruined Warkworth Castle is close to Alnwick and is open. I've just checked the website of Bamburgh Castle and that is open daily after 12th February.

Cragside, near Rothbury is also open then. This is an amazing place, owned by a very wealthy Victorian industrialist and was the first place to be lit by electric light and had all sorts of 'mod cons' . It has been described as the house where modern living began. The grounds are very good too. Allow a full day here and link it with a visit to Rothbury which is a lovely old fashioned place.

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne can be reached by tidal causeway (check crossing times before visiting and DON't attempt to try and cross outside these times. The sea comes in really quickly and foolish motorists regularly get stuck and surrounded by salt water... Depending on what day you visit, the castle and ruined priory are open. One advantage of visiting in MArch is that it is likely to be less busy than later in the year.

https://holyislandcrossingtimes.northumberland.gov.uk/Default.aspx?dt=0322

Hadrians's Wall and associated sites are open including Vindolanda .

Definitely go for it and regard it as a taster visit Northumberland repays visiting many times and you never get bored by it.

Posted by
1826 posts

We visited everything mentioned by the other posters (except Cragside) when we spent several days in Northumberland a few years ago. I wouldn't delay going just because the castle is not open. It was our least favorite of all of the sites we visited. We really enjoyed visiting the gardens and seeing the exterior of the castle, but the tour of the interior was more like a visit to a stately home. The tour guide spent most of the time gushing over the ancestral portraits and the numerous sets of porcelain. The ruined castles, Hadrian's Wall, and Lindisfarne were far more interesting.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks Everyone,

This is very helpful. I am glad to know that there will still be plenty of sights to tour and places to visit! I also appreciate the feedback that the castle grounds and gardens will still be open. That's obviously a big draw, and may make this still worth a stop!

Posted by
921 posts

The television series, Vera, is filmed in Northumberland. There is always beautiful scenery as well as a great mystery. I believe that one of the locations in the series was set in Alnwick.