Northumberland is serviced by two railways: the East Coast Main Line, passing through Newcastle and Edinburgh, and the Hadrian’s Wall Line serving the route through Newcastle, Hexham, and Carlisle. The latter is one of the most scenic railways in the country and is popular with those wishing to stop off for a jaunt along the UNESCO-recognised Hadrian’s Wall.
The newly formed government-owned London North Eastern Railway (LNER) provides trains to Northumberland from London in the south and Edinburgh in the north, while CrossCountry runs towards Sheffield, Birmingham, and the southwest. Northern Rail provides a local service across the county, as well as the commuter route to and from Newcastle and various destinations.
The top 5 places to see in Northumberland
The 'Toon', as its affectionately termed by its proud locals, is Northumberland’s capital city and principal transport hub with a large, modern central station. It’s renowned for its exciting city centre, which is a vibrant cultural melting pot by day and home to a vibrant bar and club scene by night. The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and the independent Tyneside Cinema are artsy hotspots, while the iconic Free Trade Inn is the ultimate backdrop for a true Geordie pint, with views out towards the Tyne Bridge.
A sweet coastal town beloved for generations, Bamburgh is one of Northumberland’s most popular destinations. It’s located midway between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Alnwick, with its nearest station just 4.4 miles away in Chathill, where direct trains are available to and from Newcastle. Many flock to this charming village to admire the imposing Bamburgh Castle, once home to the Kings of Northumbria. Alternatively, visitors can take a boat out to the nearby Farne Islands, which are inhabited by puffins, seals, and a whole host of other unique wildlife.
Train travellers access Alnwick from the nearby station of Alnmouth, which serves the surrounding areas and is around a 13-minute drive away from Alnwick Castle, the pinnacle attraction of this pleasing market town in the north of Northumberland. The castle was constructed in the 11th-century following the Norman Conquest and has since inspired such scenes as those captured in the Harry Potter films. Its commanding exterior and lavishly furnished staterooms are sensationally juxtaposed with the contemporary aspects of Alnwick Garden, the perfect setting for a summer’s day picnicking with friends or family.
Making the list due to its popularity with history lovers, the otherworldly market town of Hexham is capable of immersing you in a bygone era. A few miles from Hadrian’s Wall, the town’s ‘must-sees’ include Hexham Abbey, an eerie but beautiful pillar of early Christianity, and Tyne Green Park, which offers stunning scenery for a cycle or stroll by the river.
England's northernmost town, Berwick-upon-Tweed is often a changing station for commuters. However, Berwick-upon-Tweed is well worth a visit, as it’s a diverse and interesting town in its own right. Its main attractions are the ruins of Berwick Castle, which was founded by Scottish King David I in the 12th-century, and the historical museum at Berwick Barracks, which showcases the life of British infantryman.
London to Northumberland in under three hours
With plenty of services going from London to Newcastle in as little as 2h 50m, trains to Northumberland are incredibly convenient vs travel by air or road. LNER operates direct trains from the capital to Newcastle and onwards, departing from King’s Cross, a major rail hub in the London borough of Camden. Trains to Newcastle typically stop by York and Darlington and occasionally by other towns heading north, such as Peterborough, Doncaster, and Durham. From Newcastle, it's possible to take connecting trains to many of Northumberland’s smaller towns, such as Alnmouth and Morpeth. Westbound services from Newcastle are run by CrossCountry and Hadrian’s Wall Country Line.
Northumberland train stations
Travelling to and within Northumberland by train is cost-effective and practical, but also provides the opportunity to admire the county’s impressive pièces de résistance from the train window before you even arrive at your destination. Take in the rugged and natural landscapes of Northumberland National Park or gaze out to the deep blue and golden hues of the country’s striking coastline. Here are all the stations in Northumberland: