The lowdown on some of Northumberland’s best destinations for a four-day Easter staycation
A finalist in Channel 4’s Village of the Year competition, Bamburgh has a lot to offer for such a small place. After all, how many villages can say they have an iconic castle and a wide sandy beach that stretches into the distance. Bamburgh Castle dominates the skyline here, whichever way you enter the village, and has some exceptional views of the coast from its ramparts. The beach is backed by dunes – recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest – which provide many adventures, exploring their twists and turns, and sandy hills, before you reach the shore. Head into the village and explore the variety of dining options available along the main street. From seafood to sausages there are restaurants, gastro pubs and cafes to suit differing tastes and serving an excellent standard of cuisine. Be sure to also pop into the Grace Darling Museum to read about this plucky Victorian heroine who risked her life to save nine of the shipwrecked Forfarshire crew in 1838.
Stay at: Bamburgh Six or Skyfall
Craster is a traditional fishing village with a twist. It is also home to the romantic ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, and subsequently one of the best coastal walks in the UK. Situated on the headland between the rocky shoreline of the Craster coast and the white sands of neighbouring Embleton Bay, the dark outline of Dunstanburgh provides a beautiful contrast to the colour rich sky at both sunrise and sunset. A gastro pub with a sea view, a smokery producing the famous Craster kippers with a seafood restaurant attached and an art gallery selling the owner artist’s seascapes, ensures Craster and Embleton remain an ever-popular destination.
Stay at: The Lodge@Shirewater
Characterised by its crescent-shaped bay, Beadnell is one of the smaller villages along the Northumberland coast, but packs the biggest punch when it comes to watersports. Here you can try your hand at anything from stand-up paddleboarding to land yachting. Diving is also popular with the wreck of the Somali, a merchant ship bombed in 1941, on the seabed at Beadnell Point. Take the coastal path south to Newton by the Sea and you’ll come up close with Little Tern nesting birds at Long Nanny – a nationally important breeding site. Recent newcomers to Beadnell’s dining scene include a café/bistro and a pop-up pizza garden in the hamlet of Swinhoe, which have greatly expanded its choices for visitors.
Stay at: Driftwood, Seasalt or The Lantern House
Newton by the Sea is concentrated around two distinctly different areas – High Newton and Low Newton, but both offer a quieter, less crowded destination to some of the other Northumberland villages. Country lanes, fields and woodland can be found at High Newton along with a gastro pub for that perfect stop-off when exploring this area by foot. Low Newton in contrast is almost entirely owned by The National Trust and is one of the few places where you’ll find a pub with a beer garden directly at the edge of the beach. With views to the south of Embleton Bay and Dunstanburgh Castle, this is one serene spot.
Stay at: Garden Cottage, The Forge or The Smithy – all situated at a converted farm steading, Tughall Steads.
A fusion of seaside fun and some of the best island adventures to be had in the UK, Seahouses is the place to go for ice cream, fish and chips, a sandy beach, rockpooling, and to take a boat trip out to The Farne Islands. From its working fishing harbour, there are wonderful panoramic views of the islands and Bamburgh Castle and Holy Island to the north. Here you can pick up one of a number of tours out to the islands to see grey seals, seabirds and occasionally dolphins. One of the larger villages on this coastline, Seahouses has a number of shops for provisions as well as souvenirs, an excellent pizzeria, a bistro, some Indian restaurants and a traditional real ale pub. It is also the location of the superb private leisure club, to which our guests become members for the duration of their stay (small entry fee applies).