A blog post by Phil
Last week saw the return to our screens of Tales from Northumberland with Robson Green (ITV1 8.00pm), a series which sees actor Robson Green return to his home turf tonight to lead viewers through a unique part of Britain that remains close to his heart. With this in mind, I thought I’d share my own thoughts on Northumberland and why I think that it is such a fantastic place to visit.
I’ll start with a bit of a confession. I’m not a native Northumbrian. I spent my early years in the suburbs of South Tyneside and, despite it being almost on my doorstep; Northumberland wasn’t a place I knew a great deal about. I associated it with farms and coal mines and strange accents and unpronounceable place names like Ulgham, Bellingham and Wark (pronounced Uffham, Bellinjum and Walk). I had an awareness that there was a big county up here, with open countryside, castles and a coastline; but it wasn’t until I moved up here in 2005 that I began to appreciate just how diverse and fascinating a place it actually is. It may sound like a cliché (and I try to avoid clichés like the plague), but there really is something here for everyone.
There are all sorts of landscapes to take in, from the mountainous Cheviots to the forest of Kielder to the stunning 30 miles of beaches including the beautiful Druridge Bay. There are historic market towns such as Alnwick, Berwick, Rothbury, Hexham and Morpeth to visit. There are thousands of years of history encapsulated in features such as Hadrian’s Wall, Alnwick Castle (used as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films) and Bamburgh Castle, the venue for our own wedding in 2012. Some of the darkest skies in the country at Kielder Observatory, or coastal nature reserves at like the Farne Islands, Coquet Island and (of course) Druridge Bay.
So whether you’re a cyclist or a stargazer, windsurfer or walker, whether you want an adventure or a relaxing escape, whether you’re a biologist or historian or if you just want a nice pint and some home cooked food in an old fashioned country pub there’s plenty of good reasons to come to Northumberland.
I couldn’t even begin to list everything that there is to see and do in Northumberland in one blog, much as Robson Green couldn’t fit everything into one programme (or even series), so I’ll spend the next few weeks sharing my thoughts and experiences to help you all to realise that Northumberland is somewhere that you really must visit.