Northumberland travelSeptember 26th, 2006
Being a large county with a low population and dramatic hilly countryside means that care and planning are required when using public transport in Northumberland. Northumberland County Council does produce a useful leaflet that helps a lot with bus services but Traveline remains the best authority. Train services are provided in the county by LNER, Virgin Trains and Northern Rail but it is the bus network that really allows travel to its many sights. What follows are a series of pointers as regards getting to these.
After experiencing Northumberland’s glorious coastline last January, I fancy the idea of a return. Arriva and Travelsure operate useful services that allow you to get to such sights as Holy Island, Bamburgh Castle, Dunstanburgh Castle and the villages like Alnmouth that dot the coast. Trains serve Berwick-upon-Tweed and Alnmouth to boot. Historic Alnwick, some miles inland, is also well served with buses.
Exploring Northumberland’s national park, one of the least visited of the bunch, remains an aspiration of mine. Given the distance from Macclesfield, a day trip is a tricky proposition but having engineering works on the train line between Edinburgh and Newcastle-upon-Tyne like on next Saturday and Sunday (with journey times doubled as a result) makes it even trickier. Nevertheless, a journey to Hexham via Carlisle remains a viable possibility with a ride on bus service thereafter. Overnight coaches might help but spending a weekend in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Hexham or Newcastle is an altogether more comfortable proposition, allowing for Friday night travel and a long Sunday journey home (a minor perturbation if enough time is allowed). A stay in Berwick would mean that I could then pop over and back from Wooler from there on services 267 and 464 and enjoy a day in the Cheviots. Weather permitting, that remains a possibility for the coming weekend. Otherwise, basing myself in Newcastle could get me to Rothbury, Kielder and Bellingham.