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Discover Fascinating Stories on Our Coastline at these Castles and Museums

Castles and Museums Lindisfarne
Places to go
August 2023
Reading time 5 Minutes

From seaside museums and brooding ruined castles to vital coastal defences, discover the fascinating stories from along our coast

There's so much to see and learn across the coast from Bamburgh to Bridlington.
Dunstanburgh Castle

Dunstanburgh Castle
Once one of the largest and grandest fortifications in northern England, Dunstanburgh Castle was built by Earl Thomas of Lancaster between 1313 and 1322, taking advantage of the site’s natural defences. The castle, with its great twin-towered keep, was the focus of fierce fighting during the Wars of the Roses, and now provides dramatic views along the coastline from inside the curtain wall. Some believe that the ghost of a 16th-century knight still haunts the castle ruin, and there’s a ghost walk to follow if you’re feeling brave enough.
Craster, Alnwick NE66 3TT
01665 576231

The Lindisfarne Centre, Priory & Castle
The perfect starting point for your visit to Holy Island, at The Lindisfarne Centre visitors can learn all about the history and heritage of the island through a series of installations, exhibitions and interactive displays that explore everything from Viking attacks to more peaceful community life, as well as how the monks produced the world famous Lindisfarne Gospels. Head to the ruined Priory to understand more of the island’s 1,400-year history, and wander around the island’s iconic castle, designed by Edwin Lutyens as an unusual Edwardian holiday home with a Gertrude Jekyll-designed garden.
Holy Island TD15 2SD
01289 389004 

Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle captivates thousands of visitors from across the globe with its incredible history and dramatic views every year. From Anglo Saxon royal palace to the ‘perfect castle’ as envisioned by Victorian inventor and industrialist Lord Armstrong, there are more than 3,000 years of history waiting to be discovered. Until November, visitors are invited to step into the real Last Kingdom of Bebbanburg and see a selection of costumes and props from key characters used in the hit Netflix series The Last Kingdom, including Uhtred’s costume, shield and sword.
Bamburgh NE69 7DF
01668 214208 

Read More: Everything You'll Want to Do in Bamburgh, Seahouses and Embleton

RNLI Grace Darling Museum
Grace Darling is perhaps Victorian England’s greatest heroine – she risked her life to rescue nine survivors from the wrecked SS Forfarshire on 7th September 1838, and if that’s not the epitome of bravery, then what is? This museum celebrates her life and the rescue which made her a national but reluctant celebrity, and once you’ve learned all about her feat you can cross the road to see The Monument to Grace Darling, in the churchyard of St Aidan’s Church.
Radcliffe Road, Bamburgh NE69 7AE
01668 214910

Woodhorn Museum
This former colliery is now a popular visitor attraction, welcoming thousands of people each year. Alongside an ever-changing arts and event programme, visitors can see the most powerful winding engine in the region and the ventilation fan which survived the German bombing of 1941. Don’t miss the moving sculpture in the Cutter Building which is made up of 98 birds (moulded from miners’ gloves) which represent the lives lost at the colliery.
Queen Elizabeth II Country Park, Ashington NE63 9YF
01670 624455

Read More: Discover Sunderland's Iconic Roker Lighthouse and How You Can Take a Tour

Newbiggin Maritime Centre

Newbiggin Maritime Centre
The gateway to Northumberland’s coastline, Newbiggin Maritime Centre invites visitors to discover what life was like in an historic fishing village. It’s also home to the Mary Joicey (Newbiggin’s last all-weather lifeboat) and the Girl Anne fishing coble. Refuel in the 65-seat Breakwater Café, where you can also see paintings by Ron Todd on display this July.
Church Point, Newbiggin NE64 6DB
01670 811951

Arbeia, South Shields Roman Fort
Discover what life was like in Roman Britain in this reconstruction of the fort that defended the coast and the sea route to Hadrian’s Wall. Explore the full-scale reconstructed Roman buildings including the West Gate, Commanding Officer’s house and a soldier’s barrack block, and join the variety of events and displays including gladiator battles, falconry displays and Roman re-enactments.
Roman Fort, Baring Street, South Shields NE33 2BB
0191 277 1409

Heugh Battery Museum 
The only First World War battlefield in the UK, Heugh Battery Museum commemorates the Bombardment of Hartlepool in December 1914. Visitors can see a collection of military artefacts and artillery pieces from throughout history, and throughout summer there’s medieval re-enactments plus, from 6th–9th July this year, it’s a great place from which to see the Tall Ships arrive and depart Hartlepool.
Moor Terrace, Headland, Hartlepool TS24 0PS
01429 270746

Zetland Lifeboat Museum and Redcar Heritage Centre
The Zetland is the oldest surviving lifeboat in the world and saved more than 500 lives from the Redcar coast. Having only been removed twice from the present boathouse since 1907, the Zetland has been lovingly cared for and is still intact for visitors to see and learn about Redcar’s maritime history.
60 Esplanade, Redcar TS10 3AH
07788 855910

Seaton Delaval Hall
One of architect Sir John Vanbrugh’s smallest designs has big stories to tell, full of theatricality, drama and mischief. Once home to the Delaval family, the story of the hall’s survival has been a dramatic one – it still bears the scars of the fierce fire which almost condemned it to ruin 200 years ago. Visitors can learn all about the family and the hall’s history through the series of portraits and the playful and creative installations, including an upside down room and See & Be Seen, a giant reflective mirrored sphere in the Central Hall.
The Avenue, Seaton Sluice NE26 4QR
0191 237 9100

National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool
Travel back in time to an authentic 18th century quayside, where costumed guides will teach you all about life at sea. Hear the firing of the cannon and musket and experience the fighting ships exhibit. The museum is also home to the oldest warship afloat in Europe, the HMS Trincomalee.
Jackson Dock, Maritime Avenue, Hartlepool TS24 0XZ
01429 860077

Read More: Fun Ways to Spend Time With Your Family Across Yorkshire

Eden Camp

Eden Camp
Slightly inland from Filey, but definitely worth the journey, Eden Camp is a must-visit. There’s nowhere else quite like it. In the grounds of an original World War Two prisoner of war camp, weave through the huts and experience the sights, sounds and smells of life on the home front and the front line. It offers you a fascinating insight into our history. Their Living History Weekend on 26th and 27th August means visitors can learn all about the history, from uniforms, military equipment, memorabilia and vehicles to fashion and rationing, and there’ll be talks, demonstrations and live music. Plus, their new play area will be open for the children to let off some steam.
Malton YO17 6RT
01653 697777

Captain Cook Memorial Museum
This 17th century house in the heart of Whitby is where the young James Cook lodged as he served his seaman’s apprenticeship when not at sea. For 10 years, Cook explored the unknown waters of the Pacific, South Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, and this museum details collections annotating his achievements. There are various workshops and exhibitions taking place here throughout the summer.
Grape Lane, Whitby YO22 4BA
01947 601900

Rotunda Museum
The Rotunda Museum is one of the world’s first purpose-built museums. Here visitors will learn about dinosaur footprints and fossils, see 11,000-year-old artefacts from the Star Carr Collection, and be introduced to creatures which once called Yorkshire home in the Ancient Seas Gallery.
Vernon Road, Scarborough YO11 2PS
01723 353665 

Read More: Explore Filey and Bridlington for a Fun Weekend at the Coast

Whitby Abbey
Whitby Abbey has been inspiring visitors for nearly 1,500 years. Here you’ll hear the stories of saints, poets and even Bram Stoker’s Dracula as you explore the gothic ruins after climbing the 199 steps. You can spend hours here within the revamped museum and roaming the open grounds but don’t forget your camera. Don’t miss the outdoor performances of Dracula here from 22nd July to 28th August.
Abbey Lane, Whitby YO22 4JT
01947 603568

RAF Holmpton: Visit the Bunker
A decommissioned and fully restored RAF bunker near Withernsea, RAF Holmpton promises a totally unique day out. The bunker was built in the 1950s as an early warning radar station for nuclear war. After taking the stairs down you’ll follow a 120-metre tunnel before exploring the various rooms, some of which have displays showing what life was like underground, and charting the history of the bunker. Plus, veterans give up their free time to meet visitors and share their experiences of serving in this once top secret site.
Rysome Lane, Holmpton, Withernsea HU19 2RG
01964 775069

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