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May Half Term in Northumbria – Our Guide to What’s On

Written by Northumbria Byways on

The May half term holidays are just round the corner, and naturally there are a whole host of events being planned around Northumbria for you and the family to enjoy. With the Spring weather really excelling itself at the moment, there couldn’t be a better time to visit the region. If you’re thinking of spending the May half term in Northumbria, we’ve put together this guide to all the things to see and do to help you unpack the various possibilities. If you see anything that inspires you, you can find our great selection of holiday cottages in Northumbria here, and book your self-catered break now.

Amble Puffin Festival

Head to the Friendliest Port for the Amble Puffin Festival – which runs on the first weekend of the holidays (also a bank holiday), from Saturday 26th-Monday 28th May. Celebrating the local puffins at Coquet Island, this is the best time of year to see them as they prepare to take care of their newly hatched pufflings. With a craft fair, guided nature walks, bird watching, watersports, live music, local history talks, photo exhibitions and more, there are activities to interest all ages. Take a boat cruise from Amble harbour to see the colony of over 20,000 puffins on the RSPB nature reserve of Coquet Island, as well as the many other native wildlife like grey seals, kittiwakes, sandwich terns, arctic terns, common terns, and the UK’s sole colony of roseate terns.

Go Medieval at Lindisfarne Priory

Any time you cross the dramatic causeway to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne you’re following in the footsteps of ancient monks who first set up the priory over a thousand years ago – but this May half-term you can step back in time in a more tangible way, with the Knights Hospitaller living history group setting up camp at the priory over the bank holiday weekend (26th-28th May). Get hands on and have a go at archery, see what they’ve got cooking on the campfire, have a look round the tent where they sleep, and have a chat as they go about their daily tasks – see how you think you’d have fared in medieval England!

The Alnwick Joust and Fighting Knights

Witness exciting medieval spectacle at Alnwick Castle over May half term, with two thrilling events sure to get pulses racing. The Alnwick Joust, running from Saturday 26th-Tuesday 29th May, is your chance to see one of medieval Alnwick’s most hair-raising spectacles, as armoured knights from across the land do battle in a 15th century jousting tournament.

With full combat on horseback, this is a genuinely exciting event for all the family. On 30th and 31st May, you can also see the Fighting Knights of Alnwick, as two fully armoured knights invoke the ancient right of Trial by Combat. Using years of historical combat experience, and fighting styles taken from original 15th century manuscripts, this is a breathtakingly enjoyable but accurate portrayal of battlefield and chivalrous combat.

Live Like a Roman and Archaeological Discovery at Hadrian’s Wall

Head to two of the most complete sites at Hadrian’s Wall this May half term, for two distinct immersive historical experiences. At the newly refurbished Birdoswald Roman Fort, you can Live Like a Roman over the first weekend of the holidays, exploring the Roman settlement where you can sniff out what’s cooking on the camp fire, or examine authentic armour up close. There is have-a-go script making, and talks about life at the fort in the Roman era throughout the day. Throughout the holidays at Chesters Roman Fort you can unearth some of Northumbria’s hidden secrets with a day of Archaeological Discovery, led by two Victorian time travellers – who helped discover Roman remains and ancient artefacts in the days of John Clayton.

Animal Encounters and Horse Trials at Belsay Hall

Throughout the half term holidays, ZooLab animal rangers will be at Belsay Hall for a week of exciting Animal Encounters. ZooLab are the UK’s number one animal handling experience, and there are some amazing animals to be seen, including snakes, scorpions, tarantulas and more – get up close and personal and see how they move, how they feel and what makes them so special. The final weekend of the holidays offers an animal encounter of an entirely different kind, as the Belsay Horse Trials get underway. With over 500 professional and amateur competitors taking part in dressage, showjumping and cross country events, this is a thrilling top class weekend of Eventing.

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