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Ford and Etal

Northumberland – The frontier of England

Other posts by  |  August 17, 2012 | 0 Comments
Berwick upon Tweed

The town of Berwick is on the border between Northumberland and the Scottish Borders

Northumberland is a county of stark and wild beauty, rich in both English and Scottish traditions. Situated on the hinterlands of England, Northumberland is bordered to the north by the Scottish Borders and has a North Sea coastline, most of which is classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The county offers a range of very cheap holidays that will deliver more ‘bang for your buck’ than most destinations in the British Isles.

Being so very close to Scotland, the traditions of both countries have become entwined over the years to develop a unique and colourful culture in Northumberland. The brash and bold personality of the Scots manifests itself in Northumberland’s “rapper sword” dance, in which five performers employ great agility, fitness and bravery to co-ordinate dances with swords of flexible steel. The Northumbrian Smallpipe is an instrument played nowhere else in the world and is always brought out at the town festival. The country has a great history in ballads and bards, the minstrels that we are so familiar with from television and literature were singing ‘Border Ballads’ in the King’s Court and were allegedly all Northerners themselves. The culture of Northumberland spills over into great (free) celebration in field and fen, providing families with an exciting and cheap day out inside this strange and wonderful country.

One of Northumberland’s chief attractions in recent times has been the Berwick Upon Tweed Film & Media Arts Festival, taking place through the month of September. Cinemas and theatres show classic and revolutionary films, presentations take place in the street by actors and dramatists and the whole town lights up in a celebration to the art of cinema and film. The festival takes place all over the town from the high street to the old town hall prison cells. The culture doesn’t end when the festival is over for the night, the accommodation available in Berwick is largely cottages and old hotels filled with history and wonder.

For those of you wanting to escape the trappings of inland Northumberland, you have but to drive east to be confronted with the wild, natural beauty of the North Sea coastline. Grey seals laze on the Farne Islands just off Bamburgh’s expansive sands, overlooked by its elegant castle. Northumberland boasts a 64 mile coastal walk for those of fleet foot, through stunning and often remote landscapes. One can feel alone and at peace gazing out to sea, and then when feeling the chill; walk slightly inland and be presented with one of the quaint towns and villages which pepper this gorgeous stretch of coast. Northumberland is truly the holiday for every household.

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Category: Features

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