Three Villages to Visit on the Northumberland Coast for a Perfect Day Out
Make the most of the coast with these amazing places
Bamburgh is a pretty, bustling village where the iconic castle is visible at every turn, and the vast sandy beach is a must visit. The village itself has plenty of interest too, from welcoming pubs and bistros to historic attractions. North of Bamburgh is the expanse of Budle Bay, popular with kite surfers and bird watchers, while heading south you’ll find Seahouses. This is Northumberland’s most traditional seaside resort, with penny arcades, boat trips from the harbour and plenty of proper fish ’n’ chip shops.
Heading south again, stop at Beadnell for fresh, beach-café eats at Bait at Beadnell, or carry onwards for a cold pint overlooking the village green and beach at The Ship at Low Newton. After that, next stop is Embleton, where the village is a short stroll from the stunning sweep of Embleton Bay, overlooked by the dramatic ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. Stunningly beautiful, this beach is one of Northumberland’s true gems.
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In recent years, the pick of the accommodation in this area has been of the self-catering variety, but lately some pub-cum-hotels have really upped their game with new offerings. In Bamburgh, the Grade II-listed Lord Crewe has just reopened following an extensive refurbishment, and has seven luxurious, individually designed bedrooms, each offering something different. In Beadnell meanwhile, Beadnell Towers has 18 boutique-style bedrooms, four of which are dog friendly. If you do want somewhere you can make your own, Northumbrian Coast & Country Cottages have some great options in this area, including the charming Fisherman’s Cottage in Beadnell – a cosy two-bedroom, two bathroom cottage with sea views and its own patio and summerhouse. In High Newton, the all-new Garden Cabins on Newton Hall’s Estate are flooded by natural light. With crisp white linen, comfy beds, outdoor decking and private hot tubs and/or fire pits these dog-friendly cabins (with a great pub next door) are perfect for up to six guests. In Embleton, there’s the Dunstanburgh Castle Hotel, with 18 ensuite bedrooms, a traditional bar and beer garden.
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Bamburgh is something of a foodie hotspot these days, and a weekend here wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the butchers (R Carter & Son) for supplies for a cracking breakfast (on Friday and Saturday nights, the butchers is home to takeaway pop-up BAM Burger, serving a Northumbrian take on classic American burgers). Exploring Bamburgh’s handful of brilliant hotel-cumpubs is its own reward – don’t miss the The Lord Crewe, where the brand new menus are packed with luxurious seafood (there are dog-friendly dining areas here if needed). Book ahead to guarantee a table at The Potted Lobster – a brilliant bistro specialising in local seafood – or head to the walled garden to pick up fabulous gelato from the Pilgrims Gelato scoop shop. On the road out of Bamburgh (heading towards Seahouses), stop at Creel & Reel’s seafood trailer for fabulous fish and seafood from local suppliers, cooked to order.
Obvious though it is, don’t overlook a visit to Bamburgh Castle, where you can discover incredible history, dramatic views and a collection of unique treasures. In the village, the RNLI Grace Darling Museum commemorates the life of Victorian Britain’s most well-known heroine – from her childhood and life in the lighthouse to the rescue of survivors from SS Forfarshire.
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Seahouses is the place to go for a fun family day out – work up an appetite at the amusement arcade before taking your pick of the fish ’n’ chip shops or grabbing a table with views over the harbour at The Olde Ship Inn. Check out the cave of wonders that is the Farne Gift Shop, pop into Independent Food & Drink for supplies from great local producers, then enjoy a round of crazy golf at The Bunker before grabbing an ice cream from Coxons to round things off.
Between the village of Embleton and the beach lies Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Course, a traditional links course with a friendly clubhouse (serving delicious freshly-cooked chips). The ruins of the castle itself, which has been perched on the headland since the 14th century, are spectacular – as are the views of the waves from its lofty position. In the village there are a couple of decent pubs and a village shop where you can grab a few supplies to take to the beach.
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On the road from Embleton to Craster, make sure you save time to call in at Eleanor’s Byre. In the car park here you’ll find the excellent Embers, serving up quality wood-fired pizzas from a converted container (check their Instagram or Facebook updates for opening hours). In Eleanor’s Byre itself, browse an unusually good, high-quality range of homewares, gifts, quirky finds and one-offs, and choose from a small selection of great coffee and more-ish cakes while you’re pondering your purchases.
On the road to Craster, call in at the Stable Yard for light lunches, gifts and a selection of plants, then head into the village to browse original artwork at The Mick Oxley Gallery, pick up some famous ‘Craster kippers’ from L Robson & Son, and work up an appetite with a walk south to Rumbling Kern and Cullernose Point. After which, you’ll feel like you’ve really earned a crab sandwich in The Jolly Fisherman’s beer garden overlooking the harbour.
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Seahouses harbour is your starting point for a trip to the Farne Islands, which are home to one of the most exciting and diverse seabird colonies in the UK (including huge numbers of puffins). Various trips are available, depending on how much time you have and whether you’re interested in landings, photography or simply taking in the wonderful wildlife (as well as the seabirds, the islands are home to a large colony of grey seals), so take some time to plan your perfect trip. There are 28 islands managed by the National Trust (although a number of them are submerged each high tide), and you’re only allowed to land on two of them from specially-licensed boats.