Our best places to stay in Northumberland

Coastal, Rural, Destinations

Posted by Hannah on 28th March 2022

Northumberland coast at Howick

With just under 40 miles of stunning coastline to explore, as well as bustling market towns further inland, Northumberland is a great place to get away for a holiday.

From castles to nature reserves, there's a wealth of places to go and things to do all along the Northumberland coast and in its national park, as well as delights to discover in the quaint towns and villages. 

Northumberland has a number of charming towns and villages to base your holiday from, each with something different to offer. You’ll find everything you need here to truly make the most of your break, from a variety of attractions to beautiful beaches. Head to historic Alnmouth, explore beautiful Bamburgh or wander the many cafes of Hexham on your adventures to this remote and extraordinary corner of the UK. 

All Northumberland cottages


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The best places to stay on the Northumberland coast

Berwick-upon-Tweed

Berwick-upon-Tweed: best for history

The most northerly town in England, Berwick-upon-Tweed offers plenty of coastal scenery close by, with a number of beaches including Berwick-upon-Tweed Beach, Fisherman’s Haven and Cocklawburn Beach. Berwick-upon-Tweed Beach leads on to the Berwickshire Coastal Path, which you can follow over the border to Scotland.

Its proximity to Scotland means that it is also steeped in history relating to the border wars that took place between England and Scotland for hundreds of years. Away from the coast, there’s Berwick Castle, the Elizabethan Walls and much more which stand today as a testament to this history.

Head to the Berwick-upon-Tweed Barracks and Main Guard to soak up the history, hop aboard a Berwick Boat Trip to see the local marine life for yourself, or visit The Maltings performing arts centre for an evening out during your holiday to Berwick-upon-Tweed. 

Highlights

Berwick-upon-Tweed cottages


Bamburgh

Bamburgh: best for unforgettable views

Located within the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Bamburgh’s coast is ruggedly beautiful, with Bamburgh Beach being a beautiful place to take a dip in the sea. Backed by sweeping sand dunes, this lovely beach not only attracts swimmers and sunbathers, but also surfers, dog walkers and horse riders too.

Bamburgh also has a spectacular castle of its own, which sits on a rocky outcrop overlooking the beach and the surrounding coastline, which only adds to the impressiveness of this gorgeous part of Northumberland.

An epic fortress with over 200 years of history, this mighty castle is a stunning place to visit while you take in the coastal panoramas. It towers 150 feet above the shore, so you can gaze down on the world from atop the walls of this Northumberland treasure. 

Highlights

Bamburgh cottages


Seahouses

Seahouses: best for wildlife

Seahouses is an attractive fishing village, and a place where you can sit back and watch the fishing boats pass in and out of the harbour. Backed by sand dunes, Seahouses enjoys two beautiful beaches to the north and south, with the north being the most popular – an enormous expanse of golden sands, backed by views towards Bamburgh Castle.

It’s also well-known for being the gateway to the Farne Islands, one of the UK’s most important birdlife havens. They’re home to a variety of birds, including puffins, guillemots and terns, as well as colonies of Atlantic grey seals.

Ensure you take a boat trip to the Farne Islands to see the unique and impressive range of wildlife that make the most of this coastal habitat, or stride out on a seaside walk to see what birds you can spot flitting about overhead or playing in the waters of Northumberland's coast. 

Highlights

    • Farne Islands - take a boat trip out to these islands to get up close and personal with the resident wildlife
    • Slate Hall Riding Centre - enjoy a beach ride along the stunning coastline with this riding school 
    • Seahouses Beach - dog friendly and family friendly, this golden stretch of beach is a total crowd-pleaser

Seahouses cottages


Beadnell

Beadnell: best for water sports

Set at the end of a glorious stretch of sandy beach, Beadnell has become well established as a water sports destination. With the village harbour found to the north of Beadnell Bay, the beach then stretches on for miles, backed by sand dunes, offering plenty of space for all kinds of activities.

The waves offer decent swells, making it popular with surfers and bodyboarders, while the wide and long beach is perfect for kitesurfing and windsurfing. From the harbour, jet skis can be launched, and there is also a sailing club which has been established for 40 years.

Take a dip in the water and enjoy a sea swim or grab the board and catch a wave at this water sports haven. When you're done, there are a couple of delightful cafes where you can sip a much-needed warming mug of cocoa. 

Highlights

    • Anstead Dunes Nature Reserve - a beautiful coastal reserve with a diversity of flora and fauna, great for a walk 
    • Beadnell Beach - this horseshoe-shaped bay forms a natural sheltered harbour, perfect for a family day out
    • The Craster Arms - a 16th-century pub with a designated dog-friendly area

Beadnell cottages


Craster

Craster: best for walks

Although the village of Craster lacks a beach, it’s home to a stunning rocky coastline which sets the scene for a number of spectacular walks. One of the best-loved routes follows a stretch of the Northumberland Coast Path towards the nearby ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. From here you can continue onwards along Embleton Bay for as long as you like.

Another popular walk is a circular route that takes you south past some of the county’s most breathtaking coastline to Howick Hall and Gardens, where you can take a break from the coastal views to soak up the vibrant sights of the landscaped gardens.

There are many quaint country lanes leading inland too if you fancy an adventure into rural Northumberland during your seaside holiday. Make sure you pack the walking boots for some breathtaking rambles across the wild and beautiful Northumberland landscape. 

Highlights

    • Dunstanburgh Castle - a majestic castle ruin with incredible coastal views from the headland
    • Howick Hall & Gardens - the ancestral seat of the Earls Grey, who the famous tea is named after
    • L. Robson and Sons - experience a true taste of Northumberland with a visit to this traditional smokehouse

Craster cottages


Alnmouth

Alnmouth: best for sandy beaches

With its colourful cottages overlooking the coast, Alnmouth is a picturesque village that resembles something from a postcard. It’s a great place to base yourself for a coastal holiday, not least because it has a variety of eateries, shops and amenities, but also because of the fabulous sandy beaches it has to offer.

Alnmouth's main beach provides plenty of space for everyone to enjoy its seaside delights, thanks to its generous stretch of golden sand. Another beach can be found just south of the estuary – it’s not as easy to access, but much more secluded, and you’ll share the beach with just a few others who are also in on the secret.

Build sandcastles and picnic on these sandy shores, or collect shells and curious keepsakes washed up on Northumberland's beautiful shoreline on a beach day out - great for families, friends or couples discovering this region together. 

Highlights

Alnmouth cottages


Amble

Amble: best for harbourside living

Located on a headland at the mouth of the River Coquet, Amble is a thriving coastal town with excellent surrounding views of the Northumbrian coastline. As it’s still a successful fishing town, much of life in Amble revolves around this industry. There’s the chance to take a chartered fishing boat out to sea, or if you’d rather just sample the catches, they can all be found at the Northumberland Seafood Centre, home to markets, stalls, cooking demonstrations and more.

Harbourside, you’ll also find the Harbour Village, a lovely development home to 15 retailers, selling everything from local food and drink to handmade crafts and jewellery.

Browse for special mementoes and gifts for loved ones in these independently-owned boutiques before stopping at a cafe by the harbour where you can share lunch over views of a sparkling sea. 

Highlights

    • Warkworth Castle & Hermitage - towering above the River Coquet, this 12th-century castle is great for some family fun
    • Northside Surf - based in Amble, this Northumberland surf school offers an action-packed way to take in the incredible coastline
    • Harbour Village - visit the 15 'retail pods' for a special gift or sample some locally caught seafood

Amble cottages


Newbiggin-by-the-Sea

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea: best for a classic seaside holiday

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea is found in the south-east of the county and is home to Northumberland’s longest promenade, where nature lovers flock to during the autumn and the spring to watch the migratory birds. The village seafront has undergone renovation, and now all are free to enjoy the golden sands, which were once eroding, as well as the impressive sculpture by Sean Henry, The Couple.

Now the village is enjoying a new lease of life, and while it still remains a largely quiet place, there are a growing number of shops, places to eat and events to enjoy, as well as the Newbiggin Maritime Centre and the UK’s oldest operational lifeboat station.

A perfect family-friendly town to head to, with something for everyone to enjoy, you'll get to experience a fun-packed getaway to this coastal destination. Bucket and spade days turn into nights of stargazing from the shores at this beauty spot. 

Highlights

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea cottages


Low Newton-By-The-Sea

Low Newton: best for an attractive coastal village

Low Newton-By-The-Sea, to give it its full name, is considered by many to be the most beautiful village of all Northumberland’s coastal destinations.

With the National Trust owning nearly all of the village, it’s easy to see that it’s a place that takes pride in its appearance, with the cream-painted cottages that look out onto the sandy curve of beach looking like something from a postcard.

There’s enough to keep you occupied too. With walks (such as the walk to Craster which takes in Dunstanburgh Castle), wildlife watching at the Newton Pool Bird Reserve, and water sports, including kite surfing, winding surfing and just plain old surfing on offer.

Highlights

  • The Ship Inn – a pub with a great view, this inn has been running since the 1700s and will serve you up exquisite food and drink
  • Newton Pool Bird Reserve – spot a variety of wildlife including red-backed shrikes, yellow-browed warblers, red-breasted flycatchers and greenish and barred warblers
  • Water sports at the beach – quieter than nearby Beadnell Bay, yet you can still hire equipment at Boards and Bikes, a local surf and cycling company

Low Newton cottages


The best places to stay inland in Northumberland

A man and his dog on the Simonside Hills

Rothbury: best for dog owners

A trip to Rothbury with your four-legged best pal is likely to elevate any experience you have in this wonderful county. There are plenty of dog-friendly points of interest in the region, but we’ve chosen Rothbury as the place to be for dog owners.

This is largely due to its proximity to the vibrant sweeping landscape of the Simonside Hills. With easy-to-follow trails and very few stiles to cross, the hay meadows and wildflower fields of Simonside provide a great space for stretching furry legs.

Add to this the riverside walks, the dog-friendly pubs and cafes, and nearby Thrunton Wood, and you’ve got yourself a day (or two) out that will please everyone on two legs and four.

Highlights

  • Riverside walks – the River Coquet runs through the Coquet Valley towards Rothbury, offering serene bankside walks
  • Simonside Hills – colourful heather and vivid wildflowers spread across the long sandstone ridge of these beautiful hills
  • Thrunton Wood – enchanting woodland full of hidden trails that open up onto breathtaking views of the Cheviot Hills

Rothbury cottages


Beautiful Hexham at dusk

Hexham: best for foodies

You’re going to need to eat whilst on holiday, so why not do it in style? A trip to Hexham not only covers the bases of fascinating archaeology and rich history, but also of hearty homecooked meals which cover the deep regional food culture found here as well as international cuisine.

There is a variety of places to eat at this Northumberland destination, with more than 30 cafes spread across the town centre, as well as numerous high-quality pubs and restaurants. Many of these eateries source their ingredients from Hexham’s weekly markets in the Grade II-listed Shambles, and you can too when eating at your holiday home.

Once you’ve had your fill, you’re only a short drive from Sycamore Gap, a perfect place to walk off that delicious lunch and grab a photo of this iconic spot.

Highlights

  • The Beaumont – somewhat of a local’s secret (until now anyway!), this open-plan restaurant/lounge/bar offers intriguing dishes coupled with impeccable service
  • Bouchon Bistrot – this award-winning French bistro offers flavoursome cuisine that won’t break the bank
  • Sycamore Gap – this award-winning tree, the most photographed spot in the national park, stands in a dip in Hadrian’s Wall and was used in the 1991 blockbuster Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Hexham cottages


Alnwick Castle

Alnwick: best for book and art-lovers

For all the bibliophiles out there, Alnwick is one of the best places to visit in Northumberland. It’s a well-known haunt for lovers of rare and second-hand books, with the likes of Barter Books becoming a mecca for book-lovers in the area. Said shop is one of the biggest second-hand bookstores in the country and is housed in an old Victorian railway station. If newer books are more your thing, then you must head to The Accidental Bookshop which specialises in new titles and even puts on events for book lovers in Northumberland.

Lovers of the Harry Potter series of books who have gone on to love the film franchise will recognise that Alnwick Castle was used as the filming location for Hogwarts. Potterheads won’t want to miss out on this.

For lovers of art, Alnwick Gallery is a must and if you want an art fix whilst remaining outside, visit The Alnwick Garden where the interactive water installations will dazzle young and old.

Highlights

  • Barter Books – grab a book and have a read by the open fire whilst the kids play in the children’s room and then treat them to an ice cream in the parlour afterwards
  • Alnwick Castle – Harry Potter may have learned his trade here, but you too could pick up skills with castle construction workshops, cooperative siege artillery events and medieval alchemist displays to name just a few of the things going on
  • Alnwick Gallery - be inspired and find the artist within you as you take in the colour and texture of the beautiful pieces within these walls

Alnwick cottages


Kielder Forest and the reservoir

Kielder: best for families

Kielder is one of those small, unassuming Northumberland villages that have so much more to offer than you would expect at first glance. Not only will you find the Kielder Water and Forest Park here (which will please any enthusiastic walkers and cyclists in your family), but it’s also home to England’s largest forest and the biggest man-made lake in Northern Europe (local legend says that there’s a whole hidden village under the reservoir)!

Kielder Forest has a Gruffalo Trail, perfect for younger members of the family and if you head to Kielder Castle, there’s a Minotaur Maze you can try and escape. There are plenty of nature reserves and play parks in the area too.

Northumberland is a great county for dark skies and if you have slightly older kids who can stay up a bit later, treat them to a trip to the Kielder Observatory to stargaze in one of the largest dark sky reserves in the world.

Highlights

  • Landal Kielder Waterside – this activity centre has so much to offer: crowbows, Segways, hover karts, paddleboarding, tomahawk throwing, canoeing and more
  • Kielder Observatory – perfect for anyone who has an interest in astronomy or even those who just love beauty in simplicity
  • Kielder Water & Forest Park – with so much wildlife to see here and endless walking and cycle trails, every member of the family will leave satisfied

Kielder cottages


Carlisle Park in Morpeth

Morpeth: best for adult groups

If you’re looking for places to stay in Northumberland as a group of adults, then Morpeth is not a bad place to start. To begin with, there’s Go Ape in Matfen where you can take on the Treetop Challenge or even try something a little different with axe throwing.

For the sporty members of the group, there’s the parkland course at Morpeth Golf Club, which is one of Northumberland’s premier golfing venues. And for the sillier fellows of the pack, why not poke a little fun and take on the pirates at Sparrow Island CrazyPutt Adventure Golf?

For those who like to spend their time at a slower pace, visit Carlisle Park on the banks of the River Wansbeck, or head to the farmers’ market or street food market and pick up some food for the evening or some gifts for your friends.

Highlights

  • Carlisle Park – enjoy the William Turner Garden, the ancient woodland and the aviary, or get active on the tennis courts, bowling greens and skate park
  • Go Ape – challenge yourself in an area of unrivalled beauty and leave a little braver than you were before
  • Morpeth Golf Club – designed by six-time open champion Harry Vardon, this is a great course for all abilities

Morpeth cottages


Corbridge

Corbridge: best for shopping

There are lots of great places in Northumberland for shopping, you really are spoiled for choice. Whether you are looking for the latest fashion, arts and crafts to keep you busy, gifts for friends back home or perhaps a piece of jewellery for that special someone, you’ll find it all in Corbridge.

You may want to see what wares are being sold in the historic outdoor markets or maybe department stores are more your cup of tea. Whatever you fancy, there's something for everyone to browse.

And when you're done with retail therapy, Corbridge is a great place to take in a little history. There's so much Roman heritage for you to explore, so why not grab a taste of Roman life inside the newly refurbished museum or visit the Corbridge Roman Town by the World Heritage Site of Hadrian's Wall?

Highlights

  • Jessie Juniper – featuring smaller and newer brands not readily available on the high street, this shop has beautiful clothing as well as bags, scarves and jewellery
  • Corbridge Garden Room – a family-run business full of quirky gifts, homeware and garden accessories
  • Craft Works Gallery – this Grade II-listed building is a former blacksmiths’ forge and sells arts, crafts and gifts

Corbridge cottages


Wooler

Wooler: best for feeling off-grid

Wooler is a great place for getting away from it all in an amazing countryside setting, but it also has a little market town buzz for those who still want to feel connected to society.

It’s a walker’s paradise with Northumberland National Park just a stone’s throw away and the Cheviot Hills within sight too. Usually, you wouldn’t want your holiday to end in ruins, but you can make an exception this time with so many castles nearby.

If you want to get even more remote, head the short distance to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, a mysterious tidal island that becomes accessible when the tide recedes. Visit the ancient priory and forget all your worries.

Highlights

  • Cheviot Hills – with wildlife, waterfalls and walkings trails, you’re in for a treat
  • St Cuthbert’s Way – a long-distance route linking the Scottish Borders to Lindisfarne
  • Glendale Festival - this free festival in the summer brings some welcome vibrancy to the area with live music and family entertainment

Wooler cottages


Map of the best towns and villages to visit in Northumberland

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Book a self-catering stay in Northumberland

Whether you're looking for tranquil walks along golden sands, fancy exploring historical attractions or you're seeking a family day out by the seaside or in the woods, Northumberland is the ideal year-round destination. Our Northumberland cottages are the perfect base for making memories with your loved ones in a truly special setting.

Northumberland 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.