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Greentraveller's Guide to the North Pennines AONB

Posted by at 08:25 on Tuesday 01 May 2012

As part of our celebration of the best natural spaces in the UK, we've published our Greentraveller Guide to Holidays in the North Pennines featuring all the top green (and gorgeous!) places to stay, the best restaurants and cafés serving local produce, as well as a whole range of outdoor activities and attractions - from Highforce, England's largest waterfall, and the magnificent Raby Castle, to the best spots for spotting local wildlife and enjoying the unique landscapes. We've also provided plenty of info on how to travel to and around the North Pennines by public transport.

Less Carbon, More Fun!

Species-rich hay meadow in Weardale. © R. Barrett/NPAPSpecies-rich hay meadow in Weardale. © R. Barrett/NPAP

Here's a taste of what you'll find in our latest destination guide:

Where to stay

The Greenwich Room at Langley Castle HotelThe Greenwich Room at Langley Castle HotelLangley Castle Hotel: Undoubtedly one of the AONB's most luxurious retreats, this 14th century castle is nestled comfortably in the Northumbrian valley of the South Tyne, set in its own ten-acre woodland estate, and boasts 27 guest rooms, saunas and bath spas. The castle has also been awarded Silver by the GTBS.
>> Hotels & Hostels in the North Pennines 

Beckleshele Cottage: Wonderfully removed from the beaten track, high in the wild moorlands of upper Weardale, this wonderfully restored lead miners cottage boasts ground floor bedrooms that have been created from old cow byres, while the upstairs lounge offers spectacular views through the old hayloft doors. There's also a cosy patio area where you can sit and watch the world go by (not to mention the sheep, rabbits and birds).
>> Cottages in the North Pennines

Where to eat

Valentine's Restaurant: If it's luxury local produce you're after, look no further than this cosy restaurant in Barnard Castle. Established in 2000 by owner Mark Sutherland, Valentine's offers coffee and light lunches aplenty, all before the a la carte menu comes in and punters get to choose from the likes of 'Teesdale lamb cutlets' and 'Locally produced pan fried steak'. Delicious.
>> Restaurants in the North Pennines

Farmers' Markets: Fresh produce is big business in the North Pennines, and where better to pick up the freshest local food than one of the AONB's many famers' markets. With many having been assessed by the National Farmers' Retail and Markets Association (FARMA) to ensure only the highest of standards, this should be your first stop for tasty titbits. 
>> Buying local produce in the North Pennines

The magnificent High Force waterfall. © NPAP/Elizabeth PickettThe magnificent High Force waterfall. © NPAP/Elizabeth Pickett

Local attractions

High Force Waterfall: A trip to the AONB wouldn't be complete without laying eyes and ears on the dull roar and gushing torrent of England's biggest waterfall. From its origin high on the heather covered fells at the top of the North Pennines, the River Tees continues to swell and gain speed until the moment it breaks free and plunges some 21 metres into the plunge pool below. 
>> Natural Spaces in the North Pennines

Killhope Lead Mining Museum: Arguably the North Pennines' top attraction, this fully restored 19th Century lead mine offers the chance to discover first hand the life and work of the lead miners of the Pennine Dales. Perhaps most fun is the award-winning mine tour, where you'll don your hard hat and wellies and set out on a unique adventure through the tunnels. 
>> Museums in the North Pennines

Short eared owl in motion. © Brian RaffertyShort eared owl in motion. © Brian Rafferty

What to do

Walking in the North Pennines: Walking is perhaps the best way to explore the North Pennines, whether you're in the mood for a quiet stroll or a challenge against miles of open moorland and rugged hillside. Each Dale has its own varied selection of routes and trails, so there's a surprising variety of lengths and types of trail to explore, plus organised geotrails lead through some of the region's most interesting geological sites.
>> Walking in the North Pennines 

Nature watching in the North Pennines: From unique moorland, peatland and hay meadow habitats to a wide range of rare birds and animals, the AONB is packed with unique and interesting flora, fauna and wildlife just waiting to be encountered. If you really want to experience North Penniens at its best, head out with an expert as part of a guided nature watching tour.
>> Nature watching in the North Pennines 

The beautiful High Cup Nick is a great spot for walking (and sitting!)The beautiful High Cup Nick is a great spot for walking (and sitting!)

Greentraveller's Guide to the North Pennines AONB was written and researched by Greentraveller's Tom Watts in collaboration with the North Pennines AONB Partnership.

>> See all our Sustainable Destination Guides


Blogs posts categorised as 'Reviews' have been written with the support of one or more of the following: accommodation owner, activity provider, operator, equipment supplier, tourist board, protected landscape authority or other destination-focussed authority. The reviewer retains full editorial control of the work, which has been written in the reviewer's own words based on their experience of the accommodation, activity, equipment or destination.

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