Planning a drive up the Northumberland Coast in the UK

Planning a drive up the Northumberland Coast in the UK

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!

Seaton Delaval Hall

Seaton Delaval Hall

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!


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.


View from Sea Houses - planning a drive up the northumberland coast

A view of the North Sea from 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.

seahouses view of the sea

It was a beautiful but windy day!

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).

Seahouses harbour

Seahouses harbour


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.

Bamburgh Castle Northumberland

Bamburgh Castle

To say Bamburgh was busy that day is an understatement and we struggled to park so moved onto our next destination – Lindisfarne/Holy Island.

the story of Grace darling

the story of Grace Darling

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.


waiting to cross!

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.

Holy Island

some beautiful cottages

Lindisfarne Castle

Lindisfarne castle

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.)

mead from Lindisfarne

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.

warkworth castle

Warkworth Castle

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.


  • 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 weeks  hours 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!


Scenic drives in England - A drive up the Northumberland coast

A drive up the Northumberland coast

Planning a drive up the Northumberland coast


  1. Marj Turnbull Smith
    July 3, 2016 / 2:11 pm

    I took 24 Swiss people last year back to my home county and they were so enthralled by everything they saw. We did get the opportunity to go out to the Farne islands and it was the highlight of their visit. Highly recommended.

    • July 3, 2016 / 6:04 pm

      Yes I think it is a great trip to the Farne Islands. We will definitely try to do it next time we are in Northumberland.

  2. Pauline Patterson
    August 22, 2016 / 9:20 pm

    We too managed to take a ferry to the Farne islands in the middle of Puffin season (June 2016) it was the absolute highlight of a fantastic 7 day holiday in Northumberland. Beware the Arctic Turns which attack you as you arrive on the island. Their nests and young line the walkway! Wear a hat. The puffins are charming creatures, but we were surprised to see them being attacked by gulls for their sand eels which they were carrying to their young.
    If you are a National Trust member your entry on the island is free.

    • September 8, 2016 / 2:48 pm

      Thanks Pauline for the tips – sounds like a great trip to make. We will definitely try and visit to Farne Islands on our next visit to Northumberland. I really would love to see the puffins!

  3. January 25, 2018 / 8:30 am

    Really some exciting stuffs!!!I love the pictures and the clarity of the article

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