With its gargantuan castles, unpopulated beaches and cosy fishing villages, the Northumbrian coast is one of Britain’s most beautiful places. But centuries ago, it was one of the most bloody and brutal. Invasions, battles and conquests were the language of the land as everyone from the Vikings to the Normans fought it out for control of the area. One of the region’s most iconic castles is Bamburgh, where the red sandstone walls conceal more than 2,000 years of history. While you’re here, you can trace the castle’s timeline by following the stories of the people who lived here. You’ll learn about William the Conqueror, Henry III and the Armstrong family, who restored the fort in the 19th century. If you’re a bit of a film fan, you can also visit the locations of several Hollywood blockbusters. Ivanhoe with Elizabeth Taylor, El Cid with Charlton Heston and Elizabeth with Cate Blanchet were all filmed here.
Unveil nine centuries’ worth of history during a visit to Durham Cathedral. Like Hadrian’s Wall and The Angel Of The North, this is one of north-east England’s most famous icons. Building began in 1093 and was completed within a whirlwind 40 years. Today, it’s the only cathedral in England to have held on to all of its Norman craftsmanship. You’ll be shown around the building by the cathedral’s guides. They’ll tell you about the shrine of St Cuthbert, which was the reason the cathedral was built, and they’ll explain about the Benadictine monastic community that once called this place home. Once the tour is over, we’ll take you on the scenic route back to Newcastle so you can catch a glimpse of Durham Castle. The fort was built in 1072, and is one of the largest Norman castles in the country.
At the height of its power, the Roman Empire ruled over 6.5 million square kilometres of the earth. But it couldn’t conquer Scotland. And on this trip you’ll see the lengths the Romans went to to protect themselves from the barbarian hordes in the north of Britain. We’ll take you to Hadrian’s Wall, which was built in 122 AD as the first line of defence between the Roman Empire in England and the unconquerable people of Scotland. You’ll get to stop at Heddon on the Wall, where you can see the longest visible section of the brick structure. Looking out over the crumbling rocks, it’s still possible to imagine the garrisons and infantry that were stationed here – at one stage more than 10,000 soldiers were responsible for protecting the structure. We’ll also take you to Chesters Fort, which is one of the best-preserved Roman cavalry forts in the UK. Among the ruins, here you can see the remains of a bath house.
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