So many things to do…
In Northumberland you’ll find one of the most beautiful coastlines in the country, with 30 miles of un-spoilt beaches and more castles than any other county in England.
You’ll find Northumberland Heritage Coast, one of two areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the County and Northumerland’s National Park.
There are wild hills, rugged coast lines, tranquil fishing villages, haunted castles, magnificent country homes, nature reserves, endless wildlife, herds of wild cattle & wild goats, Islands, high rocky cliffs, caves, sweeping sandy beaches, excellent pubs, crabs, kippers, ice cream and fish n chips!
In Northumberland you’ve one of only 18 Dark Sky Parks in the world. Even in Craster the stars are magnificent on a clear night.
Northumberland’s mighty castles are a testimony to the county’s turbulent and bloody past. Viking Raiders plundered this coast and the Scottish and English battled over the border regions for centuries. The often weak authority of the Crown in these parts lead to the rise of the Border Reivers, families on both sides of the border who raided and fought each other. For four hundred years murder, kidnapping and rustling were rife. Their legacy is a region steeped in a rich and dramatic history.
There is so much to do here that we can’t possibly list all of it, so we’ve listed some of the very best and also recommend that you take a look at the excellent Vist Nortumbria web site.
Just a few suggestions:
Only a 1 mile walk north up the Coast and run by the National Trust, this was once one of the mightiest fortresses in the region. The castle was built in the 14th Century by Earl Thomas of Lancaster, who was later executed by Edward 11 following his failed rebellion. John Of Guant, (one of the wealthiest men in history) strengthened the castle, but fierce fighting during two sieges by Yorkist forces during the Wars of the Roses, left the castle ruined and it fell into decay.
Ancestral seat of Earl Grey, the former British Prime Minister and creator of Earl Grey Tea. There is a beautiful circular walk from Craster, which takes you to the hall, or it’s just 5 minutes by car. There is a tea room, gardens, walks in the grounds and an arboretum with over 10,500 species of trees and shrubs.
Dunstanbrugh Castle Golf Course
Situated in Embleton (the next village up the coast) this popular links course has fabulous sea & castle views while you are playing.
Alnwick Castle & Gardens
One of the regions most popular tourist attractions and home to the Duke of Northumberland, is only 8 miles away. The Castle was the setting for the original Hogwarts in the Harry potter films as well as the original series of Blackadder and even Downton Abbey’s 2014 Christmas edition. The Castle features a Downton Abbey Exhibition
Home of the Puffin and Northumberland’s grey seal colony, as well as thousands of other sea birds.These Islands are definitely worth a visit. Boat trips to the Islands, which are run by the National trust leave from Seahouses, which is just a few minutes drive up the Coast.
Also Know as Holy Island this tranquil Island was populated by Monks in 635AD. The Monks were later forced to flee from Viking raids but later founded Lindisfarne Priory on the Island. Linsifarne Castle is also well worth a visit and the Island is surrounded by dunes, saltmarshes and mud flats that are home to an abundant variety of wildlife. Lindisfarne can be reached twice a day along a causeway that can only be crossed at low tide, so please check the crossing times before you set off.
Villages & Beaches along the Coast:-
With 30 miles of beaches you are a little spoilt for choice but here are some of our favorites:-
Embelton Bay, 2 miles walk. Embleton village 3 miles
Either a short drive by car or a 1.5 mile walk up the coast. You’ll find over 1.5 miles of almost deserted white sands and beautiful sand dunes. At Embelton village you’ll find pubs, a small shop, petrol station and Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Course
Low Newton and High Newton by-the-Sea.
On the rocky outcrop between Embleton bay and Beadnell Bay you’ll find the tiny villages of Low Newton and High Newton… and two fantastic pubs! The ship at Low Newton and the Joiners Arms at High Newton are well worth the walk from Craster, which according to the Guardian, is one of the top ten walks in the country. The circular walk is around 7 miles but after lunch at the pub you might just jump in a taxi!
This the next village past Embelton, with pubs, fish and chip shop and a very pretty small harbour, oh and miles of beautiful beaches of course.
Seahouses, 10 miles
A couple of miles north of Beadnell you’ll find Seahouses, home of the famous Farne Island Boat Trips. Seahouses is one of the largest towns on the coast with plenty to do from shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. To amusement arcades and crazy golf.
The busy working harbour is the largest in the area with tourist boat trips, diving and fishing trips. The Bambrugh Castle Hotel is a great place to sit outside and enjoy a pint and a bite to east whilst overlooking the harbour. The Ship Inn next door is also a great pub to vist.
The beach between Seahouses and Bambrugh is one of the the most stunning in the region (which is saying something) with wide golden sands, huge dunes and the imposing Bambrugh Castle dominating the landscape.
Bambrugh Castle, Village and Beaches, 14 miles
Possibly one of the most iconic images of the north East is the spectacular Bambrugh Castle. This ancient stronghold dominates the coastline. You can visit the castle or walk on the stunning beaches surrounding it. The village has shops, cafés and pubs as well as The Grace Darling Musem and possibly one of the most picturesque cricket pitches in the country.
As you head north from Bambrugh you reach Budle Bay, famous for it’s population of wading and migrating birds.
Ross Sand Beach 18 miles
This is probably our favourite beach on the Northumberland Coast. The beach is quite difficult to get to as there is no parking anywhere near it (which is why it is usually very quiet). You will need to park at Ross and walk for a mile and a half past the nature reserve to reach the beach. Once you are there you’ll enjoy stunning views of Lindisfarne Castle to the North and Bambrugh Castle to the South. The massive triangular pillar wich looks like something from ancient Greece is there to help ships navigate.
Lindisfarne may look temptingly close at low tide but don’t attempt to walk to the island, quick sands and fast tides make this walk extremely hazardous without an expert guide.
Ross sands also attracts naturists so you might wish to bear that in mind before exploring the dunes to the north end of the beach.
Walkworth Castle 11 miles
To the South of Craster you’ll find the Village of Walkworth with its magnificent Castle. Once home to the Dukes of Northumberland and the famous Harry Hotspur, the castle was twice besieged (unsuccessfully) by the Scotts. A visit to the castle makes a great day out for the family. The village is also worth exploring with it’s charming cafes, gift shops and country pubs.
Action and Adventure:-
If you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous you’ll find sbseiling, surfing, kite surfing, kayaking, mountain biking and coasteering
If you like sea fishing you’ll love it here. You can fish from Craster Harbour or off Cullernose point or any of the many rocky outcrops up the Coast. You can also book cod or mackerel fishing trips out of Craster or Seahouses. The shorter trips are good for kids and the fresh fish tastes fantastic!
Northumberland is one of the most beautiful and sparsely populated counties in England. Just a few miles inland from Craster, at the wild northern tip of the Pennines you’ll find the Cheviot Hills (approx 20 miles), with ancient hill forts, hidden valleys and some fantastic will walking. There is even a herd of wild mountain goats!
Cragside 19 miles
This stunning home of Victorian industrialist Lord Armstong, was the first in the world to be powered by hydroelectricity. Lord Armstong’s genius for landscaping created a spectacular home and gardens with the largest rock garden in Europe. When Lady Armstong wanted a cottage by the sea, he bought her Bambrugh Castle!
Cragside is open to visitors and is operated by the National Trust.
Reputed to be one of Britain’s most haunted buildings Chillingham Castle is a remarkable place. This was the base camp for Edward 1st’s defeat of William Wallace who had burned women and children alive in a local Abbey a year before. Gardens were designed by Capability Brown and the Castle has featured on numerous TV shows.
The Torture Camber is a favourite attraction and apparently the ghost tours (which have to be booked separately) are so scary they are strictly for over 16s only.
A separate attraction at Chillingham Castle is the Chilligham Herd. These are the only wild cattle in the world, the last survivors of the herds that once roamed the forests of Britain. These impressive animals are potentially very dangerous and visitors must be accompanied by a warden. Tickets for both the castle and herd can be purchased together at a discount.
“Up here there are miles and miles of beaches, over half the coast line is beach and for the most part they are stunningly beautiful and almost totally deserted and on a very crowded island like Great Britain, that’s incredibly special”
Charlie Luxton, from Channel 4’s Homes by the Sea