The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre, “your gateway to Northumberland National Park”. We recommend a visit here to compliment your stay at Sycamore Cottage or the Glamping Pods, as you can really discover the landscape, history, natural and cultural heritage around you.
Planning your visit.
Visit The Sill in the morning, before exploring more of the local area. This is a good starting point for exploring other local attractions such as Vindolanda and walking to Sycamore Gap, along Hadrian’s Wall. Chester’s Roman Fort and Housesteds are all within ten miles of The Sill, so while you wouldn’t spend a whole day here, it is a great starting point for your Northumberland adventure.
Use postcode: NE47 7AN.
Upon arrival at the car park, your number plate is automatically scanned and payment for parking is taken at the end of your visit. The first fifteen minutes is free, then it goes up to £2 for two hours and a further £1 per hour after that. There is a maximum charge of £5 so it is a great option for parking for the day and walking from here to explore more of Hadrian’s Wall.
The Sill offers plenty to fill your morning with free to visit exhibitions, a shop selling local produce and gifts from Northumberland based businesses, toilets and café.
One of the main attractions at The Sill, is the glass rooftop terrace.
Whin Sill Grassland Roof.
This is quite an exciting part if visiting with children, but adults alike will be blown away by the stunning views provided from this viewpoint.
The roof of The Sill is covered in native species of grass and there is an accessible walkway leading up to the glass viewing point. There are signs up here offering titbits of information on how the site was developed, its sustainability and information on the flowers growing there (mostly wildflowers that can grow in different soil conditions).
Take a tour of the exhibit for a hands-on learning experience.
After you have enjoyed some time up on the roof, come inside to take a tour of the exhibition which is all free to visit.
Learn all about the local landscape in the “What is a landscape?” permanent exhibition. As well as asking thought provoking questions about how the landscape changes over time, it also links in nicely with the landscape of Northumberland and covers areas of agriculture and local traditions. You will learn a lot about the beauty of Northumberland as well as how our planet is changing and what we can do to live more sustainably.
This is very much a hands-on exhibit and is suitable for all ages. Make sure you “have a go” at creating your own landscape using sand and state of the art technology. It is strangely mesmerising and fascinating at the same time.
We recommend checking The Sill’s website ( https://www.thesill.org.uk/ ) in case there happens to be a temporary exhibition during your visit. These change from time to time and might help determine when you plan to visit.
Grab a bite to eat.
The café, which is light and airy, offers a range of hot and cold drinks as well as light lunches and an all-day breakfast. The homemade cheese scones and sausage rolls are particularly delicious.
Kids lunchboxes are available at a cost of £4.95 and you have a choice of four items, or you may opt for a sandwich and soup for just £3.95.
The whole menu is inspired by ingredients and products from the National Park.
Either fill up here on the all-day breakfast or simply grab a coffee and cake before heading out for the rest of your day exploring this glorious part of Northumberland, which is steeped in history.
Before you leave…
Whether you are a fan of gift shops or not, we recommend having a little look around the gift shop at The Sill, which is packed with gift ideas from local businesses across Northumberland. You may like to take a souvenir home from your visit?
Overall, The Sill is a great starting point when exploring the National Park and Hadrian’s Wall. You will probably spend around an hour here, perhaps slightly longer if you are eating in the café.
Discover more about The Sill here The Sill • Northumberland National Park