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Northumberland – the most sparsely populated county in England

Northumberland is the most northerly county in England, which borders Scotland and has a North Sea coastline. The county is also the most sparsely populated county in England.

Due to its location, Northumberland has witnessed many battles between England and Scotland since Roman times, and it is perhaps not surprising that there are more castles in this county than any other in England.

The Scottish Royal Family briefly held the Earldom of Northumberland during the middle of the 12th century and early part of the 13th century, and it is perhaps this historic connection, as well as Northumberland’s closeness to Scotland, that has produced a culture (and language) that is very similar in many ways.

With such a low population, many of the historic areas have been relatively untouched and this has proven to be an attraction to tourists, in addition to the county’s scenic beauty.

Reasons to visit Northumberland

Some of the many attractions in Northumberland are the Cheviot Hills which can be found on the border of the county with Scotland. The Cheviot is the highest of these hills at 2,674 feet and the location is the site of a battle between English and Scottish forces in The Ballad of Chevy Chase. Incidentally, the American comedian “Chevy Chase” was named “Chevy” from this event (by his grandmother) and is a descendant of the Scottish Clan Douglas.

Others places of interest include Coquet Island (bird reserve), Cragside (country house), the ruins of the 14th century Dunstanburgh Castle, Hadrian’s Wall, Hexham Abbey, Kielder Water (a large artificial reservoir), Lindisfarne (also known as Holy Island), North Pennines and Northumberland National Park.

Entertainment and Dining in Northumberland

Most tourists visit Northumberland for the scenery and historic attractions, which is just as well, because the nightlife has its limitations. There are of course some nice pubs and you can find restaurants like the Louis Steakhouse in Alnwick and The Maltings Kitchen in Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Accommodation in Northumberland

There are Guest Houses and B&Bs, and some camping areas. Hotels include the Best Western Beaumont Hotel in Hexham, the Centre of Britain Hotel in Haltwhistle and Matfen Hall in Matfen.