Northumbria is famous for some of Britain’s most iconic features of history, the great Roman legacy of Hadrian’s Wall and the Holy Island Lindisfarne, which spread the Christian gospel far and wide. Now it is also famous for a new landmark, The Sill; the UK’s National Landscape Discovery Centre.
The Sill is the newest visitor attraction in Northumberland National Park, which itself is known for clean air, fresh water and dark skies. It is intended to inspire people to explore the landscape, history, culture and heritage of this largely rural county, bordering Scotland, and showcase local crafts and produce. The Sill houses a landscape exhibition, rural businesses, a world class Youth Hostel, education and event areas and a café serving locally produced food.
This remarkable centre is in the village of Once Brewed, possibly – or possibly not – so named after thirsty soldiers arriving on the eve of the 1464 Battle of Hexham were unimpressed by the local beer and demanded it be brewed again.
Hadrian’s Wall stretches coast to coast across the north from Wallsend, Newcastle upon Tyne in the east to Bowness on Solway on the west. An 84 mile National Trail follows its line across fields, moorland and the cities of Newcastle and Carlisle, providing walkers with their favourite exercise and a few history lessons to go along with it. The National Trust owns part of this engineering miracle which was ordered by Emperor Hadrian in AD 122 as a defence against invasion from the north.
People who enjoy Britain’s seafaring heritage will undoubtedly enjoy the busy port of Blyth, where the harbour has been transformed by vibrant new development and a prime location from which to watch the ships come in and explore local attractions such as the Victorian High Light Lighthouse, the beaches of Tynemouth and Whitley Bay, Blyth Battery military and local heritage museum with First and Second World War coastal defence buildings.
Another fascinating place to visit is a massive art work, a land sculpture in the shape of a naked woman, called Northumberlandia, the Lady of the North, in a community park near Cramlington.