Many of the towns and villages in this part of Britain have been voted amongst the best and most picturesque in which to live.
Forget packed commuter trains, gridlocked roads, endless surburbia, and selling your soul to get on the property ladder.
Northumberland, Newcastle-Gateshead and the Scottish Borders is an area of big skies, even bigger views, long sandy beaches, rolling hills, open moorland, low crime levels, affordable housing, open roads, good transport links, fun shopping, superb cuisine, luxury hotels, thousands of years of history and character aplenty.
Cobbled pavements, historic stone houses, winding lanes and secret gardens and parkland set in stunning countryside abound.
But Northumberland and the Borders is no romantic chocolate box fantasy. It lives very much in the real world. Arts and crafts shops, contemporary boutiques and family-run independent retailers sit side-by-side with the big high street names in bustling town and village centres like Berwick, Hexham, Alnwick, Morpeth, Kelso, Hawick, Peebles and Jedburgh with their cobbled streets and bustling alleyways.
The best local produce and arts and crafts are showcased at regular farmers’ markets and fairs across the region, while there is a wealth of entertainment on offer to suit all tastes from touring stage shows to blockbuster films at The Maltings in Berwick, Queen’s Hall in Hexham and Playhouse in Alnwick.
Award-winning gastro pubs like the Barrasford Arms at Barrasford and The Fathers Inn at Hedley on the Hill, offer fantastic locally produced food and real ale alongside a warm welcome – whatever the weather and time of year.
And the area’s restaurants are among the best in the UK. Bouchon in Hexham offers a little bit of France in a corner of the TyneValley. Its simple food won it the title of the nation’s best French restaurant in Gordon Ramsay’s F Word in 2009 and other accolades have followed.
Alnwick’s Treehouse presents a unique and magical locally inspired dining experience high up in the treetops at Alnwick Garden, while the market town is also home to Blackmore’s boutique hotel and restaurant.
There is also a great selection of ethnic restaurants or head to the coast for some of the finest fish and chips you will ever taste in picturesque locations like Seahouses, Amble and eyemouth or try the internationally famous Craster kippers.
There are equally impressive hotels and bed and breakfasts from medieval castles to stunning manor houses, former stately homes and luxury town centre boutique establishments.
Many, like Slalely Hall, Close House, Linden Hall and Matfen also boast challenging golf courses set in fabulous countryside, alongside top class gyms and relaxing spas offering the latest indulgent treatments.
Northumberland and the Borders offers plenty for the outdoor and adventure enthusiast. Extensive walking and cycling routes criss-cross the area ranging from challenging long distance trails to more leisurely paths through wildlife rich coast and countryside.
Indeed, there are wildlife and bird watching opportunities aplenty along with horse riding, water sports, fishing, coasteering, diving, paintballing, quad biking, ballooning, flying, gliding, rock climbing and much, much more.
Northumberland, Newcastle-Gateshead and the Scottish Borders is much more than just a place to live and visit. It’s a place where you can truly feel alive.
No wonder locals call it ‘God’s own country.’