Earlier this year, we revealed which were your favourite Northumberland beaches, as voted by you. In a subsequent Facebook competition, we also asked you to name your favourite Northumberland place. It was a close-run contest, with not much difference in the vote between the places in the top three spots, but the overall winner was atmospheric Holy Island with its medieval castle, Lindisfarne.
Here’s the top five, as voted by you, and why they are your favourites.
Holy Island and Lindisfarne Castle
Holy Island, only accessible from the Northumberland mainland at low tide, is known as a place of pilgrimage, marking the end of the St Cuthbert’s Way walk. And it is this spirituality that draws many of you to this island and its 16th century Lindisfarne Castle, which can be viewed from the mainland on a clear day. One voter called it ‘my spiritual home’ while another said ‘something draws me there every time’. Others enjoyed the thrill of its causeway, ensuring you return home before the tide comes in, the opportunities for photography and its natural landscape; both ‘beautiful and atmospheric’. Whether you agree with the winning choice or not, it is clear that this is one unique place to visit.
The combination of a wide, open beach and a stunning castle ensured Bamburgh wasn’t far from the top of our list. Taking long walks on the uncrowded the beach with the castle as your back drop was an all-time favourite with one voter calling it ‘a fantastic retreat away from the madness that is life’.
Alnwick’s castle, gardens and quirky station book shop, Barter Books, were three prominent reasons why this market town, home to the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, was the place you liked to visit when in Northumberland. The Alnwick Garden, a complex of formal gardens, water features, a bamboo maze and a treehouse restaurant accessed via a wooden walkway and rope bridges, coupled with the adjacent castle with its state rooms and Harry Potter connection make it a must-do destination on any Northumberland holidaymakers’ list.
From most places in the fishing village of Craster you can either see the sea or Dunstanburgh Castle. Add in the fact that it is also home to two of the region’s best places to eat – The Jolly Fisherman and The Craster Fish Restaurant – and you have the perfect combination of coast, castle, a walk and some excellent food all in one place. As one voter said; ‘Absolutely love a coastal walk at Craster followed by some delicious food in one of the cafes or pubs’. You also loved it for its ‘wonderful crab sandwiches and views’ and the ‘fantastic view of Dunstanburgh Castle’.
Seahouses is Northumberland’s most typical seaside village – fish and chips, a great beach, rockpooling, mini golf, amusements and boat trips. It is the gateway to The Farne Islands where you can see seabirds, including puffins who come to have their babies here, seals and occasionally dolphins. But it was the ‘happy childhood memories’ that it evoked and the ‘great fish and chips’ that caused many of you to vote for it.
Other favourite Northumberland places that you voted for but didn’t quite make the top 5 were:
- Cragside House in Rothbury. A National Trust property which was the first home in the UK to be lit with hydroelectricity.
- Beadnell. A coastal village between Seahouses and Craster with a wide crescent bay and many watersports activities.
- Kielder Water and Forest Park. Home to Europe’s largest manmade lake and England’s largest forest.
- Alnmouth. A picturesque coastal village with colourful houses and a beach accessed through the golf course!
- Warkworth. For its medieval castle, boating on the River Coquet and its dune-backed beach.
- Newton by the Sea. A small coastal village with a sandy beach, excellent pub and views to the south of Dunstanburgh Castle.
- Hadrian’s Wall. The north-west frontier of the Roman army for nearly 300 years during Roman rule in Britain and now a World Heritage Site.
- Druridge Bay. A seven-mile stretch of beach, backed by dunes.
- Amble. A bustling town with a harbour shopping village, marina and boat trips out to Coquet Island.
- Berwick upon Tweed. Northumberland’s most northerly town close to the Scottish border. Spectacular bridges and Elizabethan town walls. A favourite holiday destination of painter Lowry.
- Embleton. A small coastal village, just north of Craster, with a white sandy beach and excellent views of Dunstanburgh Castle.