Linda Tuttiett is chief executive at Hadrian’s Wall Heritage. Culture, travel and tourism have been the central tenets of her life. She has been fortunate to spend much of her life experiencing Britain’s inspirational heritage, culture and landscapes and promoting those internationally and within Britain. At VisitBritain Linda was responsible for several international markets over many years: Ireland, markets of Asia Pacific and North America. Linda says working in these markets really helps you understand what appeals to visitors from abroad and how to sell it to them. She worked on the Governments Foot and Mouth Recovery team for international markets when based in Ireland in 2001 and brought the first Bollywood Film Award ceremony to Britain in 1993 – to inspire more Indian film makers to film in Britain.
Briefly outline what your business/organisation is: I’ve been the chief executive of the organisation which looks after every aspect of one of Britain’s most iconic world heritage sites – Hadrian’s Wall. The Hadrian’s Wall Trust has its key vision to care and protect the amazing archaeological remains of Hadrian’s Wall whilst aiming to realise its full economic potential for communities in Northumberland, Cumbria and Tyneside. We are responsible for the marketing and communications of the Wall which help ensure that our management of visitors encourages the safest possible visitation of the Site, many more people to stay longer with us and have a much deeper experience of many aspects of the World Heritage Site. We create inward investment and resources to assist businesses in the Hadrian’s Wall Corridor, and most importantly we are trying to build engagement and audiences through the arts and education and learning. All of these things are required by UNESCO through the implementation of the Management Plan for Hadrian’s Wall.
How long have you lived/worked/visited in Northumberland?: My grandparents were Irvings and Musgraves from Hawick and the Eden Valley near Carlisle – real Reivers. I was born in Carlisle and have lived in the North East for the last seven years. I’ve been working in Northumberland, near Hexham for the last five years – it’s an absolute dream for me to be able to work with our greatest world heritage site and hopefully bring economic benefit to our local communities.
What is it about the county that appeals to you?: The ancient heritage from iron age rock carvings to Anglo Saxon churches and of course, our amazing Roman heritage. Today I was on Inner Farne photographing day old tiny Arctic tern chicks and watching puffins with mouths full of sandeels being attacked by gulls – the view back to Bamburgh and Lindisfarne as the sun broke through was breathtaking – no wonder the Vikings thought they’d reached heaven . . .
What’s your favourite Northumberland/Borders beauty spot?: It has to be the view from Housesteads – you feel you are on top of the world.
The list of places to visit is endless. But some are more special than others. A trip to Northumberland/the Borders wouldn’t be complete without . . . : A trip to Hexham to visit the Abbey with its amazing crypt built out of stones for Hadrian’s Wall, the great market and a visit to the Old Gaol which tells the Reivers story. Not to visit Vindolanda and see Britain’s greatest treasure – the Vindolanda writing tablets in the fabulous new museum there would be a sin.
Why is locally produced Northumbrian/Borders food the best?: It’s just so fresh and tasty with more and more choice as time goes on. It’s fantastic to see so many hotels and B&Bs using local produce. We know that’s what our visitors are looking for – it makes a holiday in Northumberland and the Borders unforgettable.
Do you have a preferred place to eat out in the county and why?: The Jolly Fisherman at Craster for the crab soup and great presentation of fresh food.
Northumbrians and people from The Scottish Borders are renowned for the warm welcome they offer holidaymakers and day trippers alike. What do you think is the secret ingredient for this friendliness?: Genuine human empathy and interest.
Coast or country, and specifically which part?: Northumberland landscapes are hard to improve upon; the rest of the country is beginning to appreciate that it’s a place to lift your spirits, breathe deeply and feel that the world is at peace. I particularly love aspects of Hadrian’s Wall Country – the Roman’s chose the prominent windsill for the line of the Wall – it’s easy to understand why. The Northumberland National Park is one of the country’s most stunning landscapes – full of hidden history and ecological rarities. There’s no place more uplifting.
Your favourite market town and why?: Hexham has everything you could ever need. It’s got a brilliant farmer’s market for local food, history in abundance, and has sustained me for the last five years. We bring lots of our international visitors to Hexham – they love the restaurants and pubs – bits of real life and great local people they appreciate.
Your favourite historical site?: You know the answer to this one ! At one time 15% of the entire Roman army of the whole Empire was based on Hadrian’s Wall. It was critical to the Romans over hundreds of years – it’s critical to our future economy too.
And the best road to take a leisurely and scenic drive along?: I am extremely fond of the A68 driving south from Edinburgh through the Borders into Northumberland. The views are spectacular. The high numbers of speed cameras force you to appreciate the views, villages, towns, history and landscapes you pass through.
What would be your perfect day out in Northumberland?: This has to be about our history, borders, Reivers and Romans. Start at Smailholm Castle in the Borders for a great understanding of the life of Reivers families. South to Carter Bar for the views. Into the National Park for sheer ancient inspiration, head for Coquetdale and peace, lunch in Otterburn, on to Corsenside Norman Church, afternoon tea at Simonside then down to the Wall for a great welcome – the hostelries there meet so many home and international visitors you can’t fail to have a good time. Much of our history in a day.
Category: Northumberland Best Kept Secrets