We love Northumberland. We have been several times in the past and decided to go again on the second May Bank Holiday weekend.

Setting off on Friday after work we arrived in Alnwick at around 9 pm. We stayed at the Alnwick Youth Hostel. Perfectly located, it was a comfortable place to stay in addition to being good value for money. We managed to get a family room with en-suite bathroom. Cedric loved sleeping on a bunk bed, which was a bit of adventure for him. We also met some very nice people there.

Day 1 – The Farne Islands

The main attraction to Northumberland this time was a visit to the Farne Islands. We woke up early as we had to be in Seahouses by 8:45 am to check-in and catch the boat. Seahouses is about half an hour from Alnwick. 

puffin with spread wings on the Farne Islands in Northumberland

I highly recommend a trip to the Farne Island. It was a truly amazing experience to see and hear thousands of sea birds in one place as well as seals lounging on the rocks. Read about our visit to the Farne Island in the post below. 


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seabirds on the Farne Islands in Northumberland

Day 2 – Holy Island of Lindisfarne

Another day, another island! On Sunday we visited the Holy Island of Lindisfarne which was about 40 minutes drive from our hostel in Alnwick. We were so lucky with the weather. It was sunny but very very windy. Be prepared if you go.

We visited the Lindisfarne Castle (National Trust), Lindisfarne Priory (English Heritage) and a nice modern coffee shop called the Pilgrim Coffee. We also bumped into our friends from London whom we haven’t seen for a year or so. The world is so small! 🙂 


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Holy Island of Lindisfarne in Northumberland

Day 3 – The Barter Books Bookshop and Wallington 

Finally, on our last day in Northumberland, we decided to go out for breakfast on Monday and headed to the cafe at Barter Books. Barter Books bookshop is a must when you are in or around Alnwick (Also, Alnwick Castle is worth a visit but unfortunately we didn’t have time for a visit this time).

Barter Books

I didn’t know much about this bookshop apart that it is a great place. Great place? It’s AMAZING! 

Barter Books is one of the largest secondhand bookshops in Britain and the home of the famous Keep Calm and Carry On poster

Original Keep Calm and Carry On poster

If you like books, then this is the place for you. Renovated from an old railway station, this book shop can be visited by people of any age, and families with young children and everyone will enjoy a short visit, or longer, in this unique and pleasant setting.

We had a delicious breakfast at its Station Buffet. 

Breakfast at the Barter Books in Northumberland

Our son particularly liked the trains puffing their way above the bookshelves in the sales counter area as well as the children’s area. There are plenty of comfy chairs which you can sink into and read for as long as you like. Did I mention open fires in winter? 

Barter Books library in Northumberland

And then there are the books, rows and rows of them, all second hand, and some rare and first editions dotted around. If you are in the Alnwick area, then a visit is a must. Don’t miss it!

Barter Books bookshop library


On the way back home to Sheffield, we had decided to make a last stop at the National Trust’s Wallington. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any red squirrels but spent some time in the fine country house, their fabulous playground, walked the grounds and had lunch in their cafe. 

Wallington in Northumberland


Wallington house interior

What an action-packed weekend! We thoroughly enjoyed it and will keep it in our memories. 

Have you been to Northumberland? What is your favourite place? Please comment below.