Britain

KING OF THE CASTLES

For escapees from the more crowded corners of this little island, one word encapsulates the allure of Northumberland above any other: space. From the rolling moors and deep wooded valleys of Northumberland National Park to the rugged cliffs and endless beaches of the coast, this is England at its most remote and elemental.

England’s most sparsely populated county is a tranquil getaway today but etched across this ancient landscape are reminders of a turbulent past. Dozens of enigmatic Iron Age hillforts pepper the slopes of the Cheviot Hills, while a string of magnificent coastal castles testify to centuries of violent clashes between England and Scotland. It was on Northumbrian shores, too, that Viking hordes first set foot on English soil.

Above all, there are the atmospheric remnants of Hadrian’s Wall, the monumental fortification that snakes almost 80 miles from coast to coast and once formed the Roman Empire’s northwestern frontier. Following in the footsteps of the Roman soldiers that patrolled this remote outpost offers a fascinating glimpse into life in Roman Britain.

There are dozens of Wall sites to explore but none occupy a more

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