Chances are that if you haven’t watched the long-running series, Vera, you have at least heard about it. Characterised by her mac and rainhat, the TV drama about Detective Vera Stanhope was adapted from crime writer Ann Cleeves’s novels of the same name. Such is the popularity of the programme, that you can now take guided tours of its filming locations. But if you want to experience the land that inspired Ann Cleeves and the TV series for yourselves, from the rocky Farne Islands to the port of Amble, then here’s the lowdown on some of the best Northumberland locations where Vera was filmed.
1. Farne Islands and Craster
Natural Selection – Series 7, episode 1
This episode about a suspicious death on the remote and inaccessible island of ‘Ternstone’ was mainly filmed on the nature-rich Inner Farne, one of the Farne Islands, accessible from the harbour at Seahouses. St Cuthbert spent the latter part of his life on this island and died here in 687AD. In the programme you get to see the island close-up after Vera takes a boat out to investigate the murder. Those who know Northumberland well will spot that some of the filming was undertaken at Craster harbour when she takes a boat out to the Farnes. Boats no longer leave this harbour for the Farnes, but Craster is a wonderful village synonymous with the Craster kipper and the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle.
Nearby Coastal Retreats: Craster Retreat and Harbour Master’s House both have their five minutes of fame in the episode as they both overlook Craster harbour. For the Farne Islands any of our Seahouses cottages are perfect but Salt Air, and The Beach Pad all have far-reaching views of the Farnes.
Cuckoo – Series 9, episode 2
A young lad is found dead in the coastal town of ‘Peyton’, which is actually the bustling town of Amble at the southern end of the Northumberland coast. Amble is an up and coming town with some excellent seafood restaurants, a unique harbour village shopping experience and a new development of apartments overlooking the marina. It is the marina, and the apartments, which Vera calls ‘swanky flats’, that appear in the show as well as Coquet Island and Warkworth Castle. The Fish Shack, a fish and seafood restaurant owned by the Boathouse Food Group, was also converted into a greasy spoon café for the episode.
Nearby Coastal Retreats: If you want to see Amble then you definitely have to stay in one of those ‘swanky flats’ and thankfully our Quayside Retreat is one of them. This two-bedroom apartment has an open plan living area with panoramic views of the coast, and a balcony to dine al fresco if the weather is good.
3. Holy Island and Lindisfarne
Holy Island features in many of the Vera episodes as we see the detective drive her blue Land Rover across its causeway, which can be cut off by the tides at certain times of the day. It is also the location for her home, which was left to her by her father. The remoteness of Holy Island is a perfect setting for Vera’s house as her character is quite a loner, enjoying the peace and quiet of the landscape.
Nearby Coastal Retreats: Any of our Bamburgh cottages are ideally placed for a trip to Holy Island. On a clear day you can also see it in the distance from the stretch of coastline from Bamburgh going north.
4. St Cuthbert’s Cave
Tuesday’s Child, Series 6, episode 2
St Cuthbert’s Cave in Belford is an overhanging outcrop of sandstone rock, locally known as Cuddy’s Cave, and where it is said that the monks of Lindisfarne Priory brought St Cuthbert’s body to rest following Viking raids on Holy Island. In the episode, Tuesday’s Child, the cave is the spot where a teenager is found dead, wrapped in bin bags. The cave can be seen on the St Cuthbert’s Way walk – a 62.5 mile route from the Scottish Borders to Holy Island following in the footsteps of the 7th Century saint – and has fantastic views of the Cheviot Hills and the Northumberland coast.
Nearby Coastal Retreats: Nestled in the grounds of the Grade II listed Hetton Hall, near Chatton, Rosebud is ideally placed for walking one or two sections of St Cuthbert’s Way. From Hetton you can pick up the trail that leads to the National Trust woods near to St Cuthbert’s Cave.
(Vera images: ITV)