Spanning 40 miles of dramatic coastline, the Northumberland Coast runs from Berwick-upon-Tweed to the estuary of the River Coquet. This designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is punctuated by sprawling Northumberland beaches and rugged cliffs. You’ll also find more than 70 castle sites that reveal its turbulent past. From its rich history and incredible wildlife to sleepy fishing villages, you’re spoilt for choices on the Northumberland Coast.
Northumberland Coastal Path
Winding along craggy headlands and windswept beaches, the Northumberland Coastal Path is one of the best nature walks in the UK. Whether you prefer to walk a section of the coastal path or take on the entire 62 miles, you’ll witness the untamed beauty of Northumberland in all its glory. If you do walk the full length of the coastal path, it can take between three and six days to complete.
The ancient village of Warkworth stands on the River Coquet and although it’s small in size it sure packs a punch. Home to a 12th century church, artisan shops, and the medieval Warkworth Castle, it’s really worth a visit. In addition, this hilltop fortress dates back more than 600 years and boasts spectacular views from its well-preserved tower walls. You can also take the ferry over to Warkworth Hermitage which is carved into a rock on the river cliff.
Made up of winding cobbled streets, enchanting gardens, and the spectacular Alnwick Castle, Alnwick has a magical aura about it. Alnwick Castle is one of the most magnificent Northumberland castles and featured as the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter films. You could easily spend the day here discovering its Norman history, exploring the courtyards, and even learning how to fly a broomstick! Within a 15 minute drive from Alnwick, you can also reach the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle.
Alnwick Garden is home to 4000 species of plants, a Poison Garden, Grand Cascade, and Japanese Taihaku cherry blossoms. The Alnwick Treehouse is a spellbinding structure nestled up high in the branches of mature lime trees. At its centre, the Treehouse Restaurant beckons you in with its roaring log fire and quirky rustic design.
Where to Stay in Alnwick
The Hog’s Head Inn
Named after the tavern in the Harry Potter films, The Hog’s Head Inn provides award-winning accommodation near to Alnwick Castle. There are plenty of places to explore close by and when you return you can look forward to good old fashioned pub grub and hospitality.
If you love quintessential villages with quaint pavement cafes and medieval history, Bamburgh is the place to be. It’s not just its quintessential charm that will tug on your heartstrings, Bamburgh Castle has a majestic presence on the Northumberland coastline. While the adults delve into the history, the kids will love the dragon hunt and exploring the castle.
Bamburgh is just a short drive from the fishing village of Seahouses, often referred to as the Gateway to the Farne Islands. Wildlife lovers should take a boat trip to these islands as they play host to more than 20 species of birds and vast colonies of seals. Serenity Farne Islands Boat Tours offer a range of trips that steer you even closer to the wildlife with whale watching and photography trips. The skippers will teach you everything about the geography, history and animals you could encounter. This is great way to spend time outdoors with the family.
Seahouses makes a great base for visiting several of Northumberland’s castles, with Dunstanburgh, Bamburgh, Chillingham, and Alnwick castles all within a 12 mile drive.
Where to Stay in Seahouses
The Bamburgh Castle Inn
The Bamburgh Castle Inn is an ideal place to stay whether you’re visiting Bamburgh or Seahouses. The restaurant overlooks the Northumberland Coast and has far-reaching views towards the Farne Islands and Lindisfarne. The seasonal menu is fabulous with a choice of fresh shellfish, game and vegetarian dishes.
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne
This mystical tidal island off the Northumberland Coast is only accessible at certain times of the day when there’s a low tide and the causeway is clear. The island is wildly beautiful with a peaceful atmosphere and has a religious history dating back to the 6th century. In 1550 Lindisfarne Castle was built on the island, which now draws visitors from all over the world. The island’s sand dunes and surrounding wildlife habitats are protected by Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve.
As well as walking up to the castle and admiring the sunsets from the island, you can explore the medieval ruins of Lindisfarne Priory. The monastery was founded by the Irish monk, St Aiden, circa 634 and you can walk in the footsteps of the monks that once resided here.
Where to Stay at The Holy Island of Lindisfarne
The Lindisfarne Inn
The Lindisfarne Inn is the closest mainland inn to Holy Island and is situated close to the causeway. Accommodation on the island books up quickly and can be hard to come by at many times throughout the year so this is the perfect option. The award-winning inn has a cosy restaurant and bar and if you have a few too many drinks, you can simply sneak upstairs to your room.