Thinking of visiting the North-East of England? Are you planning a drive up the Northumberland Coast?
I was born in Northumberland and spent the first 13 years of my life living on the Northumberland coast. At the age of 30 I moved back spending 2 and a half years there before moving away once again. I must admit I have visited infrequently since I left (visiting family mainly) but it is a beautiful part of the world and an area my husband had not spent much time. We therefore decided during our week’s holiday at the end of May to spend some time exploring the coast. Hence we started planning a drive up the Northumberland coast!
If you are planning a drive up this beautiful coastline read on!
Background – Seaton Dalaval
I was brought up in Seaton Delaval – the site of Seaton Delaval Hall (the home of the Delaval family) which is a Grade 1 listed country house and is now owned by the National Trust. It was designed by architect Sir John Vanbrugh in the 1720s. I grew up hearing tales of the white lady who haunted the house and of the rich family who had once owned the house. I have decided that the house and its history deserve a post all their own!
THE COASTAL SCENIC DRIVE
39 miles of the coastline of Northumberland were designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1958. The Northumberland Coastal route will take you along this stunning area and through beautiful towns and villages.
From Seaton Delaval we headed north and our schedule was to visit Alnwick (see the Barter Books post all about the best second hand bookshop in the world!!) and then follow the 35 mile coastal drive route from Alnmouth to Lindisfarne (I was brought up knowing it as Holy Island so I find it strange when people call it Lindisfarne!)
The drive is beautiful and if the weather is good I can guarantee you will have a lovely day out.
We joined the coastal route which is well signposted at Alnmouth (5 miles east of Alnwick). You then pass through Boulmer, Craster, Embleton and Beadnall – all lovely little villages – before arriving in Seahouses.
Seahouses is a town where I spend many happy summer days out as a child with my Dad and brother. There are arcades and amusements and gift shops and fish and chip shops and a great little harbour to look around.
It is where you can catch a boat to the Farne Islands (we had hoped to do this but the weather was a bit too treacherous on the day we visited to do this). Take a look at the National Trust website for more information about visiting the Farne Islands!
There are plenty of companies offering this trip and the opportunity to see a wide range of bird species. (Puffins are enough to make me want to go and of course a lot of seals.) This is something I really would like to do so we will keep an eye out for a possible couple of days to get up there to do it. If you have done this trip I would love some feedback (comments below).
After Seahouses we continued up the coast to Bamburgh. You will see the famous Bamburgh Castle long before you arrive in Bamburgh itself. It is a magnificent structure and is still inhabited.
For the latest opening times and entry costs check out the official website.
To say Bamburgh was busy that day is an understatement and we struggled to park so moved onto our next destination – Lindisfarne/Holy Island.
If you do manage to get parked in the village there is the new Grace Darling Museum to visit as well as lovely tea rooms and restaurants.
We had checked the –TIDES – you must do this before visiting as the island can only be accessed during low tides.
We arrived about 10 minutes before the designated safe time but the sea had receded enough for people to reach the island over the 3 mile causeway. I would recommend that you take extreme care when crossing. Make notes of the safe times as apparently the lifeboats get called out regularly for stranded motorists. The tide comes in extremely quickly.
Once across the causeway you have to park (and pay) and then walk into the village itself to reach the castle and priory.
The priory itself is the ruins of the original home of the famous Lindisfarne Gospels and the initial burial place of St Cuthbert. (now reburied in Durham Cathedral) It was founded in 635 AD by St Cuthbert but eventually abandoned in 875AD due to increasingly frequent raids by the Vikings.
The castle was built in the 1500s and is now owned by the National Trust.
We had a lovely walk around and I purchased a bottle of Lindisfarne Wild Peach Liqueur from the gift shop. ( I wish I had bought 2 as it disappeared rather rapidly!)
Lindisfarne Mead is a unique alcoholic fortified wine that is manufactured on the Island. The liqueurs are also manufactured on the island. As well as the wild peach there are lots of other flavours to purchase if you are over 18. (Strawberry, Cherry, Damson etc.)
We then drove back down the coastal route on our way back to Seaton Delaval. We could have spent much longer exploring the coast and hope to return to do this at some point.
There is also the Northumberland coastal path. This is a 64 mile stretch of the International North Sea Trail if you would rather walk along the coastline.
FACTS AND FIGURES TO HELP PLAN YOUR TRIP
- The scenic coastal route runs between Alnmouth and Lindisfarne (Holy Island)
- It is a 35 mile trip
- You will pass through a number of villages and towns- Boulmer, Craster, Embleton, Seahouses, Bamburgh and then on to Lindisfarne.
- Consider a detour to Alnwick to Barter Books – if you like books you may need a few
weekshours there at least!!
- Keep an eye out for castles along the way!
- Make sure to check the tides for Lindisfarne before you set off!
- Make sure to wear a hat if you are going to the Farne Islands (seagulls dive bomb!)
Book your accommodation along the Northumberland coast here!
PIN FOR LATER – PLANNING A DRIVE UP THE NORTHUMBERLAND COAST
Planning a drive up the Northumberland coast