Pronounced ‘Annick’, Alnwick is a historic market town full of lovely stone cottages within the town in which to book a self-catering holiday. Alnwick is nicely placed for exploring the Northumberland coast from Newcastle to the south and the Scottish border at Berwick on Tweed in the north. It is a town of many historic buildings and ruins, best known for its massive Medieval castle that sits within grounds more recently landscaped by Capability Brown. The Castle, (the finest in England according to many experts) is open to the public and well worth a visit. While staying in the town, don’t miss the spectacular Alnwick Garden with its heavily scented walkways, fountains and secret gardens.

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Visits should be made to the Bakehouse Gallery with local artists' exhibitions of sculpture, glasswork and jewellery, to name but three, and to the Barter Books Shop, to be found in the old railway station. This contains one of the largest stock of second-hand books in the country, and also entertains with a model train track running along the top of the bookcases. There's a cafe too, with a real coal fire in the winter. Heaven! And for some bracing exercise, walk the beautiful beach nearby at Alnmouth, or tak in a round at the Alnmouth Golf Club where visitors are welcome..

From medieval architecture to Victorian engineering: If you prefer the sound of water in steam form, a visit to the Aln Valley Railway will appeal. Opened in 2014, the line will eventually reach the mainline at Alnmouth. While on the theme of heritage railways, the Victorian Railway Station is now home to Barter Books, one of the biggest second hand bookshops in England.

Find the Cheviot Hills, good for walking, in a countryside with no distracting theme parks. Bamburgh Castle and Lindisfarne, just north of Alnwick, should also be on your holiday bucket list.

The Northumberland Coastline around Alnwick offers more than 20 stunning miles of dunes, sweeping golden sands and the occasional outcrop of rocks. Scattered along the coast are attractive small villages such as Warkworth (another castle) Amble (lovely harbour), and Alnmouth where lies the oldest golf links in the UK. Further along lies the fishing village of Craster (excellent smoked salmon and kippers) and finally, another castle at Dunstanburgh. Inland the hills and valleys of Coquetdale and the Simonside Hills offer a treasure trove of scenic walks for ramblers.