It is perhaps the undulating coastline of vast sandy beaches, sparkling waters and dramatic views which marks Northumberland out as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Heritage Coast.

The beaches here are breathtaking whatever the season, so get ready to feel the sand between your toes with our guide to the area’s best beaches.

Best for Dune Sledging

Bamburgh Beach

The adventure begins at Bamburgh before you even reach the beach. Navigate a route through the impressive dunes, remembering to spend some time sledging up and down the big drops, before revelling at the vast expanse of shoreline as your feet touch the beach.

Rarely crowded, enjoy the space, the dramatic views of the Castle and Holy Island to the north.

Best for Activities

Beadnell Beach and Alnmouth

Close to the village, Beadnell beach is a hub of activity. Enjoy windsurfing, water ski-ing, canoeing and sailing from its shores. If you are brave enough, explore the murky depths off the coast which is home to some excellent wreck diving.

Alnmouth Beach is accessed through the golf course so you’ll have to watch out for amateur golfers who may shank the odd ball when driving through. As well as enjoying a spot of golf on the beach front, you can walk around the shops and the estuary on the south side of the village.

Best Secret Hideaway

Low Newton Beach

The attractive village of Low Newton is almost completely National Trust owned and is home to The Ship Inn where you can sample some seafood delights for lunch before sloping off to the beach. There you will find Football Cove where you can while away the afternoon in solitude.

Best for a Beach BBQ

Seahouses Beach

This great family beach has all the advantages of the town on its doorstep – essential if you have little ones who are hungry or need the toilet. Soak up the views of the Farne Islands while eating Fish and Chips on the beach or enjoy a walk up the coast to Bamburgh and back before settling down for a sunset barbeque. There is a fabulous spot on the rocks next to the war time ammunitions hut where you can stoke up the fire and watch the sun go down.

Best for Walking

Cheswick Beach

One of the biggest beaches on this stretch of coast, Cheswick is backed by dunes and spattered with black rocks. You can see past Berwick to the Border on a clear day and take in views of Holy Island to the south.

Best for Wildlife

Embleton Bay

Embleton Bay is rich in history, piracy and wildlife. Bluebells and cowslips bloom among the dune and it is a haven for birds. The rugged and eerily majestic remains of Dunstanburgh Castle shroud the southern tip of the beach, while the northern part is home to the ‘Vanishing Rock’. This rock bears the name of a Scottish pirate who was killed in a sea battle with the English in 1511.

Best for Solitude

Ross Back Sands and Sugar Sands

The 1.5 mile walk from the parking area to this beach through the nature reserve is one of the reasons why Ross Back Sands is so deserted. For those who make the journey, they will be rewarded by the pleasure in having this sandy haven to themselves, even on a Bank Holiday. The quietness of the beach also makes it a popular spot with naturists – you have been warned!

Sugar Sands is a secluded beach between Boulmer and Howick. It’s a trek to get there but is well-worth the walk. Alternatively, you can drive down to the dunes via Longhoughton along a path through Low Stead Farm (there’s an honesty box for the parking fee at the gate here).

Equally great beaches, but slightly further south than our Coastal Retreats properties, are Warkworth Beach and Druridge Bay. They are both definitely worth exploring on your way home.

Related blog: Northumberland's top 10 beaches, as rated by you