10 of the best beaches in Northumberland

Beaches, Coastal

Posted by Clare Willcocks on 11th August 2020

northumberland beaches

Northumberland is blessed with a fantastic array of beaches, many of which are unspoilt and free from crowds, even in the height of summer. With the Northumberland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty stretching along a vast section of the coast, you can expect to see some of the most stunning beachscapes in the UK.

Amongst the Northumberland beaches are huge golden expanses, perfect for sandcastle building; charming seafronts with ice-creams galore; and secret spots where adventure and rock pool hunts are the order of the day.

Castles line the coast, the majestic Farne Islands rise from the North Sea, and an abundance of wildlife adds interest to beach days which are far from ordinary in this beautiful part of the UK. Read on to discover our pick of the best beaches in Northumberland or take a look at our self-catering cottages for the perfect beach break.

Northumberland coastal cottages


Berwick-upon-Tweed Beach

Some of the best beaches in Northumberland are concentrated around the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed. North of the river mouth, just shy of the border with Scotland, is one of our favourites, known as ‘Little Beach’. With a red-and-white striped lighthouse at one end and views of Holy Island, not to mention the crystal-clear water, it’s a top choice for families and photographers alike. If you’re feeling energetic, you can head off on the Berwickshire Coast Path towards Scotland which can be accessed from the beaches of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Dogs: Welcome all year round.

Lifeguard: No

Local information: Car park near the end of the pier or at the north of the beach; town facilities include shops, pubs, restaurants; railway station approx. 1 mile from the beach; public toilets.

Stay nearby: Seaview Cottage, Spittal | Sleeps 7 + 1 dog


Image credit: Instagram @joejoehandmade

Coves Haven, Holy Island

This remote beach is often overlooked by visitors to Holy Island, who would only see Harbour Beach on their way to see Lindisfarne Castle. It is one of the most remote Holy Island beaches, backed by towering sand dunes and sheltered by cliffs at one end. At low tide, the exposed rocks harbour interesting rock pools – a great spot for adventurous families.

Dogs: Welcome all year round.

Lifeguard: No.

Local information: Remote beach, no facilities. Holy Island is accessed via a tidal causeway which is cut off twice daily.

Stay nearby: Britannia House, Holy Island | Sleeps 6 + 1 dog


Ross Back Sands Beach

One of the best beaches in Northumberland if you’re looking for peace and solitude, Ross Back Sands is reached via a 1-mile walk from the nearest car park. The distance puts off anyone except those willing to put in a little effort, but the reward unquestionably outweighs the inconvenience.

Being off the beaten track, the beach is stunningly untouched – a vast expanse of sand with views out towards Holy Island and across to Bamburgh Castle. It’s a safe haven for seals, which you might be lucky enough to spot as you wander along the shoreline. Be mindful that there are occasionally naturists around, or perhaps the freedom this secluded haven gives may inspire you to join them!

Dogs: Welcome all year round.

Lifeguard: No.

Local information: No local amenities.

Stay nearby: The Glasshouse, Bamburgh | Sleeps 6


Bamburgh Castle Beach

A swathe of golden sand, overlooked by the magnificent Bamburgh Castle and backed by sand dunes, Bamburgh Castle Beach is definitely among one of the most photogenic Northumberland beaches on our list. There’s plenty of room for games and sand sculpting; you could even take inspiration from the 12th-century castle itself!

The beach’s beauty is evident, even in the heart of winter; gaze out from the beach across to the Inner Farne Islands and take a stroll northward to Stag Rocks and the rock pools which sit below the small lighthouse. Bamburgh beach also attracts surfers as it is one of the more reliable surfing beaches in Northumberland.

Dogs: Welcome all year round.

Lifeguard: No.

Local information: Large public car park; limited on-street parking; dog bins provided.

Stay nearby: Pepperclose Cottage, Bamburgh | Sleeps 4


Seahouses Beaches

Flanked by Beadnell and Bamburgh, Seahouses is an enduringly popular seaside town and the jumping-off point for visiting the Farne Islands to see the puffins and grey seal colony. It has two main beaches: the long expanse of St. Aidan’s Dunes which connects to Bamburgh Beach, and a smaller beach to the south, both of which are family favourites. The beaches benefit from being within reach of the fabulous amenities of Seahouses; it’s just a short stroll to pick up fish and chips to tuck into back on the beach.

Dogs: Welcome all year round.

Lifeguard: No.

Local information: Village amenities nearby; public car parks.

Stay nearby: Watchman’s Cove, Seahouses | Sleeps 6 + 1 dog


Beadnell Bay Beach

Beadnell Bay boasts an epic horseshoe of golden sand – a haven for water sports enthusiasts who come to enjoy surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, sailing and scuba diving among other exhilarating pursuits. The village of Beadnell at the north end of the bay is well set up for visitors, with a tiny harbour in which bob a cluster of fishing boats, overlooked by some beautiful 18th-century lime kilns.

The village is home to a sailing club, and a popular jaunt is out to the Farne Islands. If you prefer to keep your feet firmly on solid ground, there’s a scenic walk from Beadnell along the sand dunes to Low Newton for a pub lunch.

Dogs: Welcome all year round. Must be on a lead or at heel during bird breeding season.

Lifeguard: No.

Local information: Car park on outskirts of village (slipway access to beach); public toilets; village amenities.

Stay nearby: Sanctuary Cottage, Beadnell | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs


Embleton Bay

A beach that seems to go on forever, Embleton Bay is broad and sandy, watched over by the proud ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. Hugging the arc of the beach is Dunstanburgh Castle Gold Club and set a little way inland is the village of Embleton. The absence of a built-up seafront makes the beach all the more special.

A short walk to the beach filters out the crowds, and wildlife thrives within the unspoilt habitats of the low dunes. It’s a lovely, safe beach for families, with the added interest of rock pools at low tide. If it’s not bucket and spade weather, a long walk north along the beach to the village of Low Newton is a pleasant way to while away a couple of hours, with the promise of a welcoming 18th-century pub at the end.

Dogs: Welcome all year round.

Lifeguard: No.

Local information: Village amenities in Embleton and Low Newton.

Stay nearby: Beach Retreat, Low Newton by the Sea | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs


Craster – Rumbling Kern Beach

Celebrated for its popular smoked delicacy, the kipper, Craster also has a small sandy beach cradled by the harbour. However, it’s the secret beach of Rumbling Kern which has secured Craster a place in our list of the best beaches in Northumberland. Echoes of its dark, whisky smuggling past emanate from the unusual inland facing cliffs which shelter the beach and add to its allure.

The beach lies to the south of Craster and is overlooked by The Bathing House which once belonged to Earl Grey as part of the Howick Hall Estate. There’s a certain magic about this beach, with cliffs and rock pools to explore. The beach gets its distinctive name from the sound the waves make when they come rumbling through a hole in the rocks at high tide.

Dogs: Welcome all year round.

Lifeguard: No.

Local information: Small parking area with a path towards The Bathing House and beach; no amenities.

Stay nearby: The Bothy – Longhoughton, Nr. Craster | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog


Alnmouth Beach

The picturesque village of Alnmouth with its cheerful red roofed houses makes a wonderful base for a day at the beach. In the summer, it’s a great beach for families to pitch up and enjoy games and sandcastle building, while in the winter a wander along the beach, village and around Alnmouth Estuary is a lovely way to enjoy this section of the Northumberland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s a regular sight to see horses galloping along the beach.

Incorporate a visit to the beach as a pitstop along the Castles Cycle Route or stop by when walking the St Oswald’s Way or North Sea Trail, all of which pass through this scenic corner of Northumberland.

Dogs: Welcome all year round.

Lifeguard: No.

Local information: Beach car park; public toilets; pubs and village amenities.

Stay nearby: Tidal Sands Apartment, Alnmouth | Sleeps 6 + 1 dog


Druridge Bay

7 miles of unspoilt beach trace the edge of the coast from Amble in the north towards Cresswell in the south. At the Amble end, the lively Harbour Village development is packed with delights to distract you from the beach, with seafood, arts, crafts and gifts available from boutique ‘huts’ laid out along the marina. Don’t spend too much time in the village though; head off to one of the beach car parks for a walk along the sand or an adventure in one of the nature reserves which lay behind the dunes.

Midway along the beach, just over the dunes is scenic Ladyburn Lake, which has a pleasant circular walk incorporating a long row of stepping stones which are sure to entertain the youngsters in your group!

Dogs: Welcome all year round.

Lifeguard: No.

Local information: Town amenities within a short drive.

Stay nearby: Dunes View Cottage, Druridge Bay | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog


Newbiggin-by-the-Sea

With a name which sounds like it’s been lifted straight from a children’s book, it’s not surprising that this beach is a firm family favourite. In 2007, 500,000 tonnes of sand were deposited here from Skegness in order to revamp the beach, and now, with ramps onto the sand, it’s a fantastic accessible beach.

A breakwater protects the sand and is topped with a sculpture of two people gazing out to sea, known as The Couple. Ornithologists enjoy visiting to witness the North Sea seabird passage in the autumn and spring, while other nature enthusiasts can spot dolphins, whales, seals and otters if they are lucky. Rock pools are revealed at low tide, providing a great distraction for inquisitive children.

Dogs: Banned from the section from the breakwater at Church point to the beach access at Sidney Crescent between 1st May – 30th September. The west end of the bay is dog-friendly year round.

Lifeguard: No.

Local information: Public car parks; town amenities.

Stay nearby: Marine House, Northumberland | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs


Northumberland's best beaches on a map


Stay with us on the Northumberland coast

It’s a beach day every day on holiday on the Northumberland Coast! Pack your bucket and spade, or wear in your walking boots and get set for a memory-making adventure discovering the county’s beautiful coast for yourself. Whether you’re searching for a getaway for two, a dog-friendly holiday or a family break, your perfect cottage awaits…

Northumberland coastal cottages


Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.