Morpeth is a market town in central Northumberland, England. It is located approximately 17 miles north (half an hours drive away) of the city of Newcastle Upon Tyne. Entry routes are by road - the A1 intersects the town. There is also a railway station in Morpeth - the line is the main London-Edinburgh route but not all trains will stop in Morpeth so check before booking/boarding.
I live in Bedlington which is a couple of miles away from Morpeth and I have spent my whole life visiting Morpeth and the surrounding areas. Today, Morpeth is fast becoming what we locals call a 'tourist town' and I have interacted with many foreign visitors in the area recently. The town seems to be particularly popular with Americans and some of them are en route to 'Harry Potter' land or Alnwick Castle which is further north in the region! Morpeth, however, really captures the Northumbrian spirit and is a place I'd recommend making a special visit to if you are in the area.
Morpeth's main street is an 'L' shape and sees big name stores alongside repected local shops. On the roadside there are well known stores like Boots, Borothy Perkins, Superdrug, Marks and Spencer Simply Food and Burton. There are also many charity shops including an excellent Oxfam store which as well as used clothing and household items also sells Oxfam branded items including fairtrade chocolate, jewellry and coffee. Other stores include Rutherfords, an upmarket clothing and household goods store. Applebys is a fantastic local bookstore which has so many different books that you could spend hours going through the shelves! Helpful staff and a children's entertainment area also make it a lovely place to visit. There is currently a make-over of an indoor arcade shopping area underway. Shops that will soon be moving to town include Laura Ashley and The Body Shop.
Many stores were affected by the flooding of the River Wansbeck in late 2008 and are yet to re-open. These empty shops are mostly located near the bridge over the river at the town's entrance.
The grand Town Hall, located near the mini-roundabout in the central shopping street, is now a tourist information and gift shop. The shop offers items which were crafted locally and there are some beautiful rustic gifts available to buy.
A fantastic shop not to missed is The Cheese Shop. This is located near the old clock tower and town hall. It is a small shop which sells many varieties of local cheese. The smell is extremely strong when you enter so be warned! They are a very popular shop and even royalty has got cheese from here! They also sell honey products produced at the local Chainbridge Honey Farm. Whilst some way out of the Morpeth area I'd also recommend visiting this honey farm at Horncliffe, Northumberland, where you can see a real beehive in action. Their website details the advantages of visting the farm:
http://www.thecheeseshopmorpeth.co.uk also provides information about the cheese shop.
See the following website for information on the new retail area in Morpeth:
Places to eat and drink in Morpeth are plentiful. On the front street there are a couple of pubs with mock Tudor design facades. Newer coffee shops include Costa Coffee. I'd recommend seeking out a cafe like The Chantry Tearooms where you can get a quaint English tea!
Other attractions in Morpeth include Carlisle Park. Only recently opened to the public this is a beautifully tended woodland and garden area on the edge of the main town. You can walk by the river and enjoy the abundant wildlife in the area which includes red squirrels. I have also spotted a few rare birds here. It is a fantastical place and both adults and children will be entertained.
There is a more child-centric park located over the footbridge across the Wansbeck river. Go towards the river from the town hall, cross the bridge and turn right past the tennis courts. This large park will entertain kids for hours and you can also stroll by the river to feed the semi-tame ducks! Opposite the park is Morpeth Swimming Baths which has a small pool and is a great place for kids to mellow out!
Whitehouse Farm Centre is a visitors farm just three miles south west of Morpeth. It is a fantastic place to take children and my neices absolutely love coming here so much that they have their birthday parties here! The 40 acre farm looks after a host of farmyard animals as well as more exotic creatures. It is very much a hands on experience and kids can get muddy and hairy! Check the website for opening times but current entry price is: Adults £6.95
Children (2-16) £5.95. Food, drink and toilet facilities are on site. Visit the official website for more information at:
National Trust properties in the area include Cragside and Wallington Hall, with the latter being closest to Morpeth. The drive there is down a windy but scenic country road. Wallington has some beautiful features including stunning antique household features, a Pre-Raphaelite painting (staff will explain the siginficance of all paintings if you ask) and gorgeous gardens in a relaxing countryside environment. The staff here are very knowledgeable and are so nice. They bring the exhibits and features to life with their stories.
Visit the National Trust website at:
Overall I'd say Morpeth is the perfect place to have a break. The many attractions in the town and the surrounding area are bound to please the whole family!