Our recommendations of where to visit on a mid-week break in Northumberland.
With 30 miles of coast, 70 castles sites and numerous islands, you’d be hard-pressed to see everything in Northumberland in one visit. Here we’ve compiled what we think any first-time visitor should experience on a four-day trip to Northumberland.
Where to stay
From spacious houses with gardens and sea views to gorgeous, hidden-away boltholes, we have something that will suit you whatever your party size. For family, group, couples and pet friendly holiday cottages, check out all our Retreats here.
A trip to Northumberland should not end without a trip to the beach. Head to Bamburgh Beach on the first day and blow the work fatigue out of your system. This white sandy beach is one of Northumberland’s best and often features as one of the UK’s favourites due to the 12th century castle that overlooks it, the views of The Farne Islands and Holy Island in the distance and its amazing sand dunes. From this location, you can also spend time at Bamburgh Castle or browsing the village shops. Stop at The Potted Lobster for lunch, known for its excellent seafood.
After lunch, drive five minutes south to Seahouses. A fun fishing village with an ice cream parlour, fish and chip restaurants and amusements, but also the gateway to The Farne Islands. Boat trips run from the harbour throughout the day and some companies also offer sunset cruises. As well as spotting seabirds, grey seals and even dolphins, you will get some great shots of Bamburgh Castle. End the day with a bag of chips down on Seahouses beach.
Time to visit one of Northumberland’s main tourist attractions – The Alnwick Garden. Revived and redesigned completely by the Duchess of Northumberland, it could have come straight out of a story book. Appealing to all ages, you can easily spend a day here getting lost in the bamboo maze, attempting to keep the children from getting soaked in the water features, finding out about poisonous plants and their folklore – did you know it is said that rosemary in the garden denotes a house where the women rules! – and taking some time out in the rose garden or the cherry orchard. But for us, it’s The Treehouse restaurant which is an experience not to be missed purely for its setting. Dine among the branches of the world’s largest treehouses and afterwards walk around its wobbly rope bridges.
In the evening, keep things simple with wood-fired pizza straight from a pop-up shipping container in Swinhoe, Beadnell at Box Restaurant. Choose to dine in or out, but either way you can enjoy some fantastic sunsets over the coast. They also do takeaway if you just fancy putting your feet up at your Retreat.
Holy Island is not a place to toy with. Many a visitor have fallen foul of the incoming tide on its causeway because they did not come prepared with the knowledge of the safe crossing times. But do not let the fear of being stuck put you off visiting this mesmerising island. If being on Bamburgh Beach on day 1 didn’t relieve all your stresses, then after a morning at Holy Island you will feel positively zen. Peace and tranquillity pervade this island. Don’t leave without taking in Lindisfarne Castle and the upturned boat sheds.
Go off the beaten track in the afternoon at Ross, walking across the farmland and dunes to Ross Back Sands beach. Northumberland’s answer to the Caribbean, it is a stunning location with views of Holy Island in the distance and hardly a soul in sight.
After a busy day, tonight would be a good time to have a dinner party experience back at your Retreat from one of our recommended chefs.
Finish off your four-day holiday with a walk from Embleton Bay along the beach and around the headland to Newton where you can have a light lunch at The Ship Inn. Walk back through the dunes, stopping at the bird hide to take in the wildlife and to capture some shots of Dunstanburgh Castle. This 18th century castle is also fabulous from the Craster side so you can either hop back in the car and drive to this fishing village famous for its kippers or carry on walking south.
We couldn’t end this itinerary without including Craster, but as with all holidays there needs to be a bit of a ‘go with the flow’ attitude so we’d recommend you do as you please on this last day or simply mix up our four-day itinerary as it suits you.