England: Northern lights

Alnwick Castle is known to all Harry Potter fans as Hogwarts. Photo / Supplied
Alnwick Castle is known to all Harry Potter fans as Hogwarts. Photo / Supplied

Northeast England is a haven of tranquil, eco-friendly tourist attractions. Here are some of the highlights.

North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Durham

One of the most pristine and unspoilt parts of England, the North Pennines offers stunning landscapes of wild moorlands, rolling meadows, flowing rivers and heather peatlands. Watch the local animal life frolicking in the woods or visit one of the picturesque stone villages nestled in the valleys. Be inspired by the landscape that has been the muse for many of Britain's artists and writers. The North Pennines is also a Unesco European and Global Geopark, which is only awarded to areas with world-class geology.

Kielder Water and Forest Park, Northumberland

Voted the most tranquil place in North East England, Kielder Water and Forest Park is the perfect place to rejuvenate, refresh and recharge. Home to northern Europe's largest man-made lake and England's largest forest, the park spreads across 43km of pine forest, heather moorland and shoreline.

Nature lovers can enjoy everything from stargazing and birdwatching to water sports and cycling. Kielder Water and Forest Park is also one of the greenest environments in the country, committed to working to reduce waste by reusing materials.

Alnwick Castle and Garden, Northumberland

Best known for appearing as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies, this magnificent medieval castle is the perfect place for relaxed sightseeing. Take in the beautiful architecture, decadent state rooms and fine art before taking a stroll through the landscaped Alnwick Garden. Enjoy the serenity of the largest water feature of its kind in the country, the Grand Cascade, or take time out to smell the roses. The garden is also home to one of the world's largest tree houses, where visitors can explore walkways in the sky or enjoy a delicious meal in the treetop restaurant.

Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland

Britain's greatest Roman monument, Hadrian's Wall, runs for more than 250km from coast to coast across North East England. Breathe in the fresh countryside air as you explore the stunning landscape of this World Heritage Site on foot or bike at your own pace, or with an experienced guide. Discover some of the 14 major Roman sites, forts, museums and countless milecastles and turrets throughout the landmark. Hadrian's Wall is an unforgettable experience for visitors with a passion for history and the great outdoors.

Angel of the North, Newcastle, Gateshead

The 208-tonne Angel of the North is an awe-inspiring figure that towers over the A1 dual carriageway at Gateshead. Known as "Gateshead's Winged Wonder" the Angel of the North is Britain's largest sculpture and stands at more than five storeys high with wings spanning 54m wide - almost the same as a jumbo jet. The sculpture has lasted for more than 100 years and can withstand winds of more than 160km/h. Designed to create a link between the earth and the Tyneside skyline, the Angel of the North is sure to make any visitor feel closer to heaven.

Nature's World, Middlesbrough

Nature's World is a thriving visitor attraction that aims to provide information, ideas and inspiration for living in harmony with nature and improving the environment. By using sustainable practices, such as renewable energy and recycling, Nature's World has created a 10ha peaceful rural haven on the edge of Middlesbrough.

A typical visit may include a Minibeast Safari, a trip to the Education Hall, a stroll through the River Tees Trail or a tour of Future World 2020 to take a look at the future of our planet.

Blue Reef Aquarium, Tyne and Wear

Discover the fantastic creatures of our seas and oceans at Blue Reef Aquarium. During your visit, you'll come face to face with everything from giant crabs and lobsters to seahorses and tropical sharks. You'll also get a chance to find out more about these creatures' lives in more than 40 naturally recreated displays. Blue Reef is one of Britain's leading aquariums with a commitment to providing education about the marine environment in a fun and interactive way. A visit to the Blue Reef Aquarium is a great way to spend the day with the whole family.

WHERE TO STAY

The Hytte, Northumberland: The Hytte (pronounced hutta) is a Norwegian-inspired, traditional timber lodge in Northumberland leading the way in using recycled and natural products, and minimising energy use. This Green Tourism Business Scheme Gold Award winner is the perfect home stay for eco-friendly travellers.

Northumbrian Wigwam Village, Northumberland: For a back-to-nature experience, look no further than the Northumbrian
Wigwam Village
. The village is home to 12 wooden wigwams, four canvas tipis and three canvas yurts. From nature walks, camp fires and star gazing, the Northumbrian Wigwam Village offers a fun and comfortable alternative to traditional camping holidays.

Hunting Hall, Northumberland: The recent North East England Sustainable Tourism Award winner, Hunting Hall is a small, traditional family farm set in the beautiful countryside of North Northumberland. Guests can join in on the working farm, and stay in the New Cottage fitted out with the latest environmentally friendly technology. The Fuffins, also on the property, is a beautiful Georgian Cottage with French doors leading to a garden of wide views across the peaceful countryside.

For further information on North East England, visit
visitnortheastengland.co.nz

- Herald on Sunday

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