Berwick and Holy Island
This short stretch of the north Northumberland coast should not be underestimated. From the deserted white-sand beaches just south of Berwick, to the incredible history which pervades this part of our coast, there’s so much to explore here
In Berwick itself, The Walls Bed & Breakfast is a stylish and welcoming townhouse on the town’s Edwardian walls, with stunning views over the mouth of the River Tweed. Enjoy a delicious home-cooked breakfast before you head out to explore the historic town and its surrounds. Just three miles south, perched on the cliffs near Cocklawburn beach, the cosy Seahouse Cottage is within easy reach of dog-friendly walks and cycling tracks along the coast and has a private walled yard, perfect for barbecues in the summer, as well as beautiful views south to Holy Island and Bamburgh Castle. The Black Bull Inn in Lowick has 10 luxury bedrooms, all named after local valleys, rivers, hills and castles – a nod to the fact that this is a perfect base from which to explore Northumberland. On Holy Island itself, Castlekirk North is one of a pair of charming cottages with panoramic views over the castle and the beach a mere 300 yards away.
You haven’t completed your trip to Berwick without exploring its 14th century town walls, where you can discover more about Berwick’s turbulent history or follow the Lowry Trail (Lowry was a frequent visitor to Berwick), so put on your walking boots and enjoy the three-hour walking route as you follow in the footsteps of the great painter, and don’t miss the Berwick Museum & Art Gallery for intriguing exhibitions, modern art and lots of interactive family fun. Need to refuel? Head to the popular Queens Head for a some good food in a relaxed atmosphere, Audela for contemporary British dishes made with fresh, seasonal produce, or Pizzaiolo for fabulous stone-baked pizza. Once a cart shed, The Barn at Beal is now home to a coffee shop, restaurant, bar and camp site, with fabulous views across to Holy Island.
Cross the tidal causeway (be sure to check the safe crossing times first) and you’ll find yourself in another world – the island is packed with history ripe for exploration. The now-ruined Priory was the centre of the Christian world in Anglo Saxon times, and the birthplace of the Lindisfarne Gospels. The 16th century castle, much altered by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1901, and the Gertrude Jekyll-designed gardens are also well worth exploring as is the current Limelight installation – an imaginative journey through the castle using light, video and sound, which all add to the drama of the place. Today, the island is the end of the St Cuthbert’s Way walking route, and is also home to plenty of fascinating wildlife and rare plants, as well as the impressive 19th century lime kilns – some of the best preserved in the UK. Take a pit stop at Pilgrims Coffee House to enjoy coffee roasted on site, and on a sunny day the beer garden at The Crown & Anchor, with its great views over the harbour, castle and priory, is unbeatable.