How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Alnwick and Alnmouth
Here's where to eat, sleep and explore
There are plenty of tea rooms in Alnwick, including quaint haunts like The Olive Branch and The Strawberry Lounge. Caffé Tirreno is all about Mediterranean dining, while Thai Vibe Café brings a small corner of Asia to a small corner of the North East. The Treehouse in Alnwick Garden is the place for a celebration, and a cocktail or two amongst the tree tops, while Lilburn’s is also highly regarded locally. In Alnmouth, Bistro 23 is a great café-cum-bistro. Scotts is a popular café-cum-deli with a really strong list of local options, The Red Lion has a great beer garden, and for great fish and chips head to the Hope & Anchor.
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On the cobbled streets of Alnwick’s Bailiffgate you will find The Cookie Jar, an 11-bedroomed boutique hotel with a private terrace, pretty garden and good dining in The Bistro, whilst the Bondgate Boutique offers room-only characterful accommodation. St Valery is an award-winning (dog-friendly) bed and breakfast in Alnmouth and The Whittling House is a boutique hotel also brim full of charm and character. Coquet Cottages have a range of gorgeous self-catering properties along this stretch should self-catering be more your style. For an unbeatable, bird’s eye view, the South View’s penthouse apartment is available through Northumbria Coast and Country Cottages (who also have a good selection of rentals in this neck of the woods).
In Alnwick, head to Ruby Tuesday for great gifts and homeware, Notes of Northumberland for hand-poured scented candles, The Bakehouse Gallery for gorgeous jewellery, whilst The Beehive is where to go for art and furniture and Hotspur 1364 for men’s clothing. The popular Turnbulls has a butcher’s shop in the centre and a large and fantastic Food Hall on the outskirts crammed with the best local produce, and a new homeware and gift area too.
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Famous as the stand-in for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films, Alnwick Castle is still besieged by muggles who want a taste of the magic, but there’s so much more to this historic edifice with a magical collection of paintings and much more. The Alnwick Garden is must-visit too, with its water cascade, poison garden and Adventure Golf amongst some of the most popular attractions. Rounding off the Alnwick trifecta, Barter Books is one of the country’s best known second-hand bookshops – home to thousands of books, a great little café, The Waiting Room, and when the weather’s bad, roaring log fires too. For more history try The Bailiffgate Museum and Gallery, while in Alnmouth the beach is majestic but beware of the currents.
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Around the Corner
Part of the Alnwick Estate, Hulne Park (once the hunting grounds of the Percy family) is a beautiful space for walking (but sadly no dogs allowed). The enchanting Hulne Abbey was founded in the 13th century as a Carmelite monastery, and the Abbey’s ruined remains are great for exploring. Or why not hire an electric bike from The Bike Shop and follow the (safe) track to Alnmouth, or pick up a cycle map to find your own route through the surrounding countryside? Keen golfers should visit nearby Alnmouth Golf Club better known locally as Foxton and not to be confused with the 9-hole golf club in the village (the oldest in England).