Things to do
These are just some of the activities you can enjoy in the North Pennines AONB, Northumberland, Cumbria and Co Durham
The North Pennines is perfect for both road cycling and mountain biking. The Coast to Coast and Border Reivers routes are just two of many challenging and rewarding road routes, and there are road biking challenges every year, such as the Haydon 100. There are maps available here. Specialist mountain bike trails can be found throughout the North Pennines, but check out these wonderful packhorse routes.
In 2015, the Chatterbox Cafe in St John’s Chapel pioneered a new road cycling challenge called the Roof of England Sportive. More than 300 cyclists took part, raising thousands for charity and highlighting the amazing cycling opportunities of Upper Weardale. This will be an annual event.
The North Pennines is home to many sections of the famous Pennine Way, which has celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015. The annual North Pennines Walking Festival takes its inspiration from the stunning landscape of this AONB, offering guided walks across nine days in Cumbria, Co Durham and Northumberland covering topics such as history, wildlife and photography.
There are many walking groups in the North Pennines, including one at Haltwhistle, which also organises two annual walking festivals and is now in its 14th year. Entirely run by volunteers, anyone can join the group itself on a Wednesday morning, either for long or short walks at no charge. All walks have a leader and have been fully checked out beforehand.
There are many opportunities to fish in England’s most spectacular AONB, whether you are a beginner or experienced angler.
The North Pennines is a dream location for motorcyclists, with its sweeping roads through remote, exhilarating landscapes. Whether you want to ride alone, travel in a group or take a motorcycle tour, exploring the North Pennines by bike will be an unforgettable experience. Pennine Country Cottages are biker-friendly.
The North Pennines offers something for everyone, every day. Explore our mining, railway and industrial heritage at venues such as the Killhope Lead Mining Museum, Beamish Open Air Museum or the railway museums in Darlington and Shildon. See outstanding art, ceramic and furniture collections at the Bowes Museum, the Laing Art Gallery or Tullie House Museum. Learn about our Roman past at Hadrian’s Wall and the outstanding Roman Army Museum, and see ongoing excavations at Vindolanda Roman Fort. Enjoy full-scale steam railway journeys on the South Tynedale Railway, Weardale Railway or the famous Carlisle to Settle line. Visit monumental and beautiful buildings like Durham Cathedral and Castle, Bishop Auckland Town Hall, Langley Castle and Raby Castle. See wonderful gardens at Eggleston Hall or The Station Garden at Langley. And for natural highlights, check out Hamsterley Forest, High Force and the Geltsdale RSPB nature reserve.