Top Northumbrian Reads

Recommended Reading to Fire Your Wanderlust


We all know that a good book can provide a wonderful escape so if you’re in need of some inspiration to reignite your wanderlust, read on. We’ve compiled a list of great reads that will transport you to a better place (Northumberland, no less) and serve as inspiration for your next trip.




The Vera Stanhope Mysteries by Ann Cleeves 

Crime fiction doesn’t come much better than Ann Cleeves’ series featuring detective chief inspector for Northumberland & City Police, Vera Stanhope. Set in the North East of England – and now perhaps better known as the subject of the ITV televised drama series Vera – , you’ll find yourself drawn to Vera’s irascible personality as much as the slot lines themselves.


Tom Fleck by Harry Nicholson 

A wonderfully written fictional account of the weeks leading up to, during and after, the Battle of Flodden, told from the perspective of an ordinary and downtrodden farm worker, Tom Fleck. It’s a tale of passion and humanity that brings to life Britain in 1513. Tom unearths two objects that could be keys to freedom: a torque of ancient gold and a Tudor seal ring. He cannot know how these finds will determine his future.


Holy Island – A DCI Ryan Mystery by LJ Ross 

This, the first in the DCI Ryan series of novels, is set on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland, the perfect spot for homicide detective Ryan to take sabbatical leave after the death of his sister. Until a young islander is found murdered. DCI Ryan leads the investigation in a hunt for a killer that is plagued by small-town politics and pagan ritual.


Non fiction 


The Northumberland Coast by Joe Cornish 

Find yourself transported to the majestic landscapes of the Northumbrian coastline with this glorious collection of images, as captured by one of the UK’s master photographers. Accompanied by interesting narrative and tips to improve your own photographic composition and technique and you have the ideal travel inspiration read.


Northumberland Romans to Victorians by Craig Armstrong 

From the building of Hadrian’s Wall in 122AD to the first house in the world to be lit by electricity, Cragside House, Visitors’ Historic Britain: Northumberland Romans to Victorians details the many castles and monuments – their remains and grounds – and the stories they each tell. A fascinating read and an essential travel companion to set the scene behind Northumberland’s many historical remains.


Walking in Northumberland by Vivienne Crow 

An invaluable walking guide, packing in 36 short walking routes between 4 and 14 miles in Northumberland, ranging from easy ambles and gentle woodland trails to long days on the hills. Plan your next routes along the beautiful coast with its immense, empty beaches and dramatic crag-top castles or head to the remote hills of the Cheviots and Pennines. Psst we can recommend a great place to return to refuel and recharge after your walk!


The Life of Grace Darling by John Harper and John Pagan

A wonderful account of the story of heroine Grace Darling, beautifully illustrated and accompanied by photos to bring this historic tale to life. A ” must read ” if you have never heard of Grace Darling and a ” must have ” if you are already familiar with the Northumbrian heroine.


Children’s Books


The Harry Potter Collection by JK Rowling

JK Rowling’s set of seven epic novels of wizardry and magic need no introduction of course – they’ve captivated children and adults for over twenty years. However, it’s the connection to nearby Alnwick Castle that sees the books on this list – and an excuse to dust off a copy before you’re Northumberland-bound. Alnwick Castle was used as a filming location of both The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets, the site where Harry and his friends flew broomsticks and learned to play Quidditch. Visit Alnwick Castle and you too can take part in a Broomstick Training session.