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Green Travel Guide to the North Pennines
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Words by Florence Fortnam. Photos by Diana Jarvis.
Artwork for Green Traveller's Guides by Tina Smith and Mark Edwards.

The North Pennines is one of England's most special places, an unspoilt landscape with a rich history and vibrant natural beauty. It is a place of significant cultural heritage; JMW Turner painted here and W H Auden, Phillip Larkin and Dickens drew inspiration from this stunning landscape. It is a place of rare and beautiful wildlife, home to 80% of England's Black grouse and important arctic-alpine flowers.

The communities of the North Pennines care for and celebrate the landscape. Much of the land here is managed through environmental stewardship schemes, making space for nature and supporting farmers for their role in looking after the land and its wildlife. There are some excellent local products available too, from food to fleece and original arts and crafts.

The area is an ideal destination for visitors who want to explore this wild and beautiful countryside, with outdoor activity opportunities for people of all abilities. The attractions of the North Pennines allow visitors to travel back in time to the hey day of lead mining, or to discover stately homes and renowned art collections. There are also thousands of miles of footpaths and open country for you to use to experience our breathtaking landscapes.

Our accommodation providers are champions of sustainability, and many of them are members of the Green Tourism Business Scheme. Their pride in their environmental achievements is matched only by their love of their locality and their desire to help you enjoy your stay in the North Pennines.

What Green Traveller's Writers discovered in the North Peninnes

A stunning landscape of open heather moorland, vibrant hay meadows, dramatic dales and traditional villages, the North Pennies Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a wonderful rural place to visit all year round. From walking and cycling, to exploring the region’s unique and rare ecosystems, this European and Global Geopark offers a range of natural and cultural attractions, exhilarating outdoor activities and family days out. Those coming to enjoy the great outdoors will be greeted with a variety of wonderful places to stay, including luxury castle hotels and rural campsites, as well as delicious local food.


Stay, Eat, See & Do

Our pick of places across the North Pennines

Google Map Key:
Click on the coloured icons for more information about each listing
Green = Places to stay; Blue = Places to eat; Yellow = Attractions; Purple = Activities

Click on the square brackets top right of map to reveal expanded map

  • The North Pennines AONB contains around 40% of the UK's upland hay meadows

  • Around 36% of the AONB is designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest

  • The North Pennines spans three counties - Northumberland, County Durham and Cumbria

  • In 2003 the AONB was awarded European Geopark Status in recognition of its world-class geology

  • The 122km Wheels to the Wild Cycle Route is specially designed to help visitors discover the AONB's landscapes and geology

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