Northumberland County

Northumberland County

Northumberland County is a natural paradise thanks to the unspoiled beauty of this expansive region. Experience the pure beauty of nature when you hike trails in places like Northumberland County Forest. The sparkling beaches found along the shorelines of Lake Ontario is another stunning highlight of this region.

In addition to its idyllic attractions, Northumberland County offers an abundant of educational and unique cultural experiences. Learn about the Mississauga Ojibways’ culture and traditions in Alderville First Nation and explore architecture, early settlements and significant historic sites in the region.

To learn more about all there is to see and do here, scroll down or visit the region's tourism website.

Where is Northumberland County?

Bordered by Lake Ontario to its south and Rice Lake to its north, Northumberland County is an hour and a half drive away from Toronto and about three hours from Ottawa.

While driving is the best way to explore the rolling hills of Northumberland, the county is accessible by various forms of transport, including the Via Rail train system and by boat in the numerous waterways. The local bus system is a great option for getting around. 

Things to Know About Visiting Northumberland County

Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’re already on your trip to Northumberland County, you'll appreciate what the locals recommend around the city.

Where to snap a great Instagram pic

No matter the season, the views atop the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge are simply breathtaking. Access the bridge via Ferris Provincial Park or from downtown Campbellford.

Favourite local beach

The beach in Cobourg or the beach in Presqu'ile Provincial Park? That's a tough one. You might as well plan to visit both and decide for yourself.

Great fishing spot

Whether it's for salmon on the Ganaraska River, walleye on the Trent River or trout on Rice Lake, Northumberland boasts many great spots for angling. Hastings, where the eastern end of Rice Lake and the Trent River meet, was named Best Fishing Town in Canada by World Fishing Network. 

Where to get a great cup of coffee

Lola's Cafe on Main Street in Brighton is a must-stop. Pair a cup of coffee with the best cupcakes, brownies and cinnamon buns around.

Great lookout spot

Head to the Woodland Trails in Fenella and take a scenic hike to Lookout Mountain. The views of the Northumberland County Forest and beyond are spectacular.

Little-known fact

The Capitol Theatre in Port Hope opened in 1930 and is one of Canada's few remaining 'atmospheric theatres', this example modelled after a Nordic Castle Courtyard, complete with twinkling stars in a blue evening sky. Sit back and enjoy the setting along with the great live theatre on stage.

Northumberland County Neighbourhoods & Districts

Northumberland County consists of seven municipalities, which are unique and distinct in their own ways. The town of Cobourg and municipality of Port Hope are more popular among travellers, while those looking to dive deeply into nature can head straight for trails and into the forests.

These are the seven municipalities of Northumberland County:

Town of Cobourg

An architectural and cultural hub in the region, Cobourg has exciting activities to offer visitors.

Municipality of Port Hope

Located on the shore of Lake Ontario, Port Hope is also the basecamp for a number of trails around the County.

Municipality of Trent Hills

The Trent River snakes through this area and through the town of Campbellford in the northeast corner of Northumberland County. 

Municipality of Brighton

Brighton is located on the shore of Lake Ontario and it’s a particularly great spot for bird watching, as it falls on the route of migration.

Township of Hamilton

Hamilton is defined by the bodies of water in and around it. Rice Lake is also located here, making it the centre for fisheries and fishing activities. 

Township of Alnwick/Haldimand

The Alderville First Nation, the Alderville Black Oak Savanna Ecology centre and Ste Anne’s Spa near Grafton are highlights in this township.

Township of Cramahe

You can find Colborne village here, as well as several other idyllic villages and hamlets — an ideal place to explore the rural side of Northumberland County.

Things to Do in Northumberland County

Northumberland County has meticulously well-maintained and endless trails that are also accessible in winter, perfect for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.

If you’re travelling with a group of cyclists or bird watchers, you would find ample opportunities to explore your passion. Explore rewarding and beautiful cycling trails in the Ganaraska Forest, along the Greenbelt Route or on the Rice Lake Ramble. You can also take the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail, which showcases the natural beauty of Northumberland County’s shoreline.

From Rice Lake to Lake Ontario, this region is home to some of Ontario’s most diverse fishing opportunities.

Popular beaches in Northumberland County include Lion’s Park Beach in Campbellford, Cobourg Beach (home to the annual Sandcastle Festival), Port Hope Beach and the sandy shores of Presqu’ile Provincial Park. Pair water adventures with the beach visit and go kayaking, canoeing or stand up paddle boarding.
If you are looking for a truly unique experience to learn more about one of Canada’s Indigenous communities, visit Alderville First Nation, where you can get a slice of the history and culture of the Mississauga Ojibways. Here, opt for a heritage tour and consider shopping to support local artists who create unique handicrafts.

If you want to experience the architectural heritage of Northumberland County, Cobourg and Port Hope are destinations for your must-visit list. Cobourg’s Victoria Hall is a landmark 19th century building, or you can go see old farm houses along the countryside for a more immersive rural experience in Northumberland County. You can also go see the Roseneath Carousel, which is among oldest merry-go-rounds in North America. One of the quirkiest landmarks in Northumberland is the Big Apple, a country market and roadside attraction in Colborne.

Last updated: August 22, 2023

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