New York Times includes Northumberland on its annual list of destinations to visit

It was once marketed as ‘The Secret Kingdom’ but the cat is now well and truly out of the bag.

Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 2:01 pm
An aurora over Holy Island. Picture: Jane Coltman

It features at number four in the ‘52 Places for a Changed World’ list of places around the globe where travellers can be part of the solution.

The listing features a picture of Bamburgh Castle and highlights the county’s dark skies, pristine beaches and the 1,900 year-old anniversary of Hadrian’s Wall.

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Andrew Fox, chairman of Visit Northumberland, said: "We were delighted, but not at all surprised, to see that Northumberland has made it to number 4 in New York Times ’52 places for a changed world’.

"Previously referred to by many as The Secret Kingdom, Northumberland is now being recognised throughout the world for its dark skies, pristine beaches and dramatic landscapes where you can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

"2022 is an exciting time with Hadrian’s Wall 1900, a celebration of 1900 years since the building of Hadrian’s Wall.

"In addition, the spectacular Lindisfarne Gospels will return to our neighbours in Newcastle in September, with events throughout Northumberland to celebrate its return."

The travel team at the New York Times focused the list on ‘spots where visitors can be part of the solution to problems like over-tourism and climate change’.

They note that with the pandemic hitting its third calendar year, global travel is more possible, but it remains difficult and fraught with uncertainty.

Beyond the pandemic, they say there is a profound shift underway in the world’s understanding of climate change and the swiftness and degree to which we are already seeing its effects.

‘Wildfires, floods, dangerous storms, rising water levels and temperatures: all remind us how fragile our world really is,” writes the newspaper’s travel editor Amy Virshup.

Its entry on Northumberland, by AnneLise Sorensen, notes: "Britain’s diverse coastline, from the cliffs of Dover to the boardwalks of Brighton, will soon have a unifying element: the 2,800-mile England Coast Path.

"Developed in part by the governmental organisation Natural England, the path aims to increase public access to the coast while also restoring landscapes, improving community connection and promoting sustainable travel.

"Trail segments that have opened include a 44-mile stretch in the northeast, from the River Tyne to the Northumberland coast, which is the epitome of rugged England: misty dunes, rocky headlands, wild beaches.

"At night, look up. The Northumberland International Dark Sky Park has some of the lowest light pollution in the country and features one of the largest areas of protected night sky in Europe.

"Gaze at galaxies sprayed across the sky at Kielder Observatory, and then venture to the ancient past as Hadrian’s Wall is celebrating its 1,900th anniversary with a yearlong festival.”

Prior to the pandemic, figures in the Northumberland STEAM report showed county’s visitor economy was continuing to grow year on year. It welcomed 10.68 million visitors in 2019. They spent a total of £1.047 billion.

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