Coastal walks in Northumberland

Coastal, Walking, The Great British Outdoors

Posted by Kate W on 10th September 2020

With these wonderful coastal walks in Northumberland to choose from, you'll soon find a fantastic footpath to suit you and your travel buddies so you can start planning your next break to this northern county. With your Northumberland Coast Path official guidebook in hand and a steaming flask of tea in the other, you’re well set for a day of exploration and adventure along this region’s impressive coastline. 

Soak up remarkable panoramas and set foot on expansive beaches, and you might even spot one of Northumberland’s magnificent castles along the way. From peaceful nature reserves with wildlife hiding around every corner to historic towns hosting a wealth of architecture, there's no end of sights to see as you walk Northumberland's coastline. Take a look through our holiday cottage collection to find Northumberland coastal path accommodation where you can set up base before heading out to explore this phenomenal coast, or continue reading to discover our top ten coastal walks in Northumberland.

Coastal cottages in Northumberland

1. Walk from Beadnell to Low Newton

This walking route is also a popular Northumberland coastal cycle path so you can choose to stride out through this spectacular landscape on two feet or speed along on two wheels! If you decide to follow this walk from Beadnell to Low Newton, ensure you take a camera or your phone for those remarkable views over Beadnell Bay and the picturesque scenery of the Newton Pool Nature Reserve.

Begin at Beadnell Harbour where you can see fishing boats bobbing about on the water; just try not to get distracted by the beautiful beach as there are some lovely sand dunes that you might want to explore! Luckily, the first part of this coast path takes you along the 2-mile sandy beach before you reach Newton Pool Nature Reserve, where small lakes provide habitat for birdlife. The Low Newton pub, The Ship Inn, is a great place to finish your morning or afternoon stroll.

Distance: 4 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Facilities: Pubs, cafes and toilets in Beadnell, while Low Newton has one traditional pub with public toilets tucked away behind it. Both villages have a sandy beach.

Good to know: Seals can sometimes be spotted at Newton Pool Nature Reserve basking at the far end of the rocks so keep an eye out for these beautiful mammals.

Stay nearby: Quarry Bank, Beadnell | sleeps 4 and 2 dogs

2. Cresswell to Warkworth Walk

Also known as the Cresswell to Amble Walk with the quaint village of Warkworth and the bustling town of Amble set right next to each other, you can follow this beautiful Cresswell to Warkworth route past stunning Northumberland coastal scenery, safe in the knowledge that you’ll soon find a cosy pub or café to unwind in at the end of the route.

Make the most of this combination beach and town walk which will take you along the spectacular, wide, sandy beach of Druridge Bay which stretches for an incredible 7 miles along this eastern coastline.

Distance: 13 miles

Difficulty: Moderate – the first 7 miles takes place on a sandy beach which may be tricky for anyone with limited mobility or using a wheelchair.

Facilities: There’s a café and car park in Cresswell, and Warkworth is home to more facilities including places to eat, a car park, toilets, golf courses and even an art gallery!

Good to know: Within Druridge Bay Country Park, you’ll find there’s a series of smaller nature reserves home to birdlife including swans and the rare Golden Eye Snipe.

Stay nearby: Dunes View Cottage, Druridge Bay | sleeps 4 and 1 dog

3. Craster to Seahouses Walk

This grand route leads you past one of Northumberland’s great treasures, the crumbling ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, a 14th-century fortification that’s cared for by English Heritage. It sits on a remote headland so feel free to add a detour on to your walk and trek out along the headland to this impressive structure.

Head to the Quarry Car Park and Dunstanburgh Castle Car Park for Craster parking, pop by the Visitor Information Centre if you’re considering a visit to the castle, and perhaps pick up a snack at one of the eateries in this delightful fishing village before you strike out along this exquisite stretch of the Northumberland Coast Path.

Distance: 10 miles

Difficulty: Easy/moderate – it’s a well-trodden path but there are still a few stony, rocky areas to contend with.

Facilities: The small fishing village of Craster offers up a tourist information centre, a couple of pubs, a gift shop, beach and accessible toilets. Seahouses is a large village and well-equipped for visitors with shops, cafes and pubs, a wonderful harbour and even a few attractions like a riding stable and the opportunity for boat trips.  

Good to know: There are lots of other popular walks in this area to take advantage of including the Craster to Howick Circular Walk and the Craster to Low Newton Walk.

Stay nearby: Toms Hideout, Craster | sleeps 5 and 1 dog

4. Bamburgh Castle to Budle Bay

While we’re talking castles, make sure you follow this section of the Northumberland Coast Path for what many consider to be the county’s top and most magnificent of them all: Bamburgh Castle. This short and sweet Northumberland circular walk has views of the popular Farne Islands and you’re likely to spot lots of birdlife during your walk. If you’re staying in this area, you might even take a boat trip over to the Farne Islands to spot the puffins – you’re most likely to see them between April and July, the puffin breeding season.

Along this coastal walk, you’ll pass by Bamburgh Moor and Budle Point, as well as having the chance to enjoy views over to Lindisfarne Castle and Holy Island. On your return journey, you’ll be walking through tranquil farmland before winding up back in Bamburgh. When you reach this endpoint of your walk, it’s time to visit the splendid ancient castle.

Distance: 5 miles

Difficulty: Easy/moderate

Facilities: Bamburgh hosts a couple of car parks, pubs, an RNLI Grace Darling Museum, and of course the spectacular Bamburgh Castle with its own tea room. Budle Bay is a nature reserve and the hamlet of Budle actually has few facilities although there are places to eat in the surrounding villages, within a mile.

Good to know: It’s a great spot for birdwatching with pink-footed and greylag geese, wigeons, grey plovers and bar-tailed godwits to see throughout the year.

Stay nearby: Pepperclose Cottage, Bamburgh | sleeps 2

5. Holy Island North Beaches and Castle Walk

There are a few wonderful Northumberland coastal walks to choose from in and around Holy Island, but we’ve chosen the Holy Island North Beaches and Castle Walk to include on our list as it covers the best bits of this enchanting destination. There are a couple of shorter 1-mile walking routes too that are just as lovely and worth a look if you’d rather enjoy a tranquil seaside stroll over a coastal hike.

While traversing this circular walk, you’ll see the rolling sand dunes of The Links and three sandy beaches in the north that are often missed by day-trippers, and you can visit Lindisfarne Castle, Castle Point and the castle lime kilns along this walking route. There are a couple of cafes and pubs where you can enjoy a well-deserved meal after tackling this somewhat challenging route.

Distance: 5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate/challenging  

Facilities: There’s an accessible car park and toilets on the island, and a post office and village store too. There are two pubs on the island, The Ship and The Crown & Anchor, as well as a bar at the hotel.

Good to know: Areas around the dunes can be boggy and wet from seawater while marram grass and pirri-pirri burr plants that grow around the dunes are spiky, so come prepared with good walking shoes if you decide to explore this walking route less travelled.

Stay nearby: Britannia House, Holy Island | sleeps 6 and 1 dog

6. Hauxley Nature Reserve

Escape for a morning’s walk in Northumberland around this serene nature reserve on the coast and take in far-reaching coastal views while being surrounded by wildlife. This habitat is particularly important for birds, both migrating and native, that includes the tree sparrow, reed bunting, bullfinch, coot, moorhen and curlew – they regularly see 140 bird species in a year.

The Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre is a great spot to get information or a cup of tea, and there’s a rubbing disc trail on-site which children and families can enjoy following. Red squirrels, stoats and otters can all be found throughout the landscape. There’s a fully accessible trail too so anyone can enjoy this natural space, and six bird hides for keen birdwatchers to see what they can spot.

Distance: Around 3 miles to take in the entire reserve, but there are shorter options on offer too.

Difficulty: Easy – there’s a fully accessible trail that everyone can enjoy.

Facilities: Visitor centre, café, bird hides, shop, picnic area, accessible toilets, baby changing facilities, outdoor play area and Wi-Fi.

Good to know: This is one of the few walks where dogs are not allowed so as not to disturb the wildlife that make their home here.

Stay nearby: Beachcombers Retreat, Low Hauxley | sleeps 6 and 3 dogs

7. Berwick-upon-Tweed Elizabethan Walls Route

If you or a member of your party are a wheelchair user then a trip to beautiful Berwick-upon-Tweed may be in order. It’s an ancient coastal town with a variety of sights to see but the Elizabethan Wall that loops around the settlement is a fantastic place to start. This impressive wall was built by Edward I after the First War of Scottish Independence and is still remarkably intact.

Follow the easily accessible tarmacked surfaces and you’ll pass by a number of bastions/fortifications, the 15th-century Church of the Holy Trinity, and Coxton’s Tower. During your trails, you’ll walk alongside the River Tweed, perfect for picturesque scenery, arriving at the river quay before a short stroll/wheel leads you back to Cumberland Bastion where the route begins and ends.

Distance: 1 mile

Difficulty: Easy – wheelchair-friendly and accessible for anyone with limited mobility.

Facilities: This bustling town is full of great amenities including shops and places to dine out, parkland and a theatre.

Good to know: Head to the Main Guard Museum to hear more and get insights into the history of the town and its ancient wall.

Stay nearby: Starling Cottage, Spittal | sleeps 4 and 2 dogs

8. St Mary's Lighthouse Walk

With the charming Seaton Burn flowing to one side of you and coastal views on the other, this circular walk to St Mary’s Lighthouse is constantly offering beautiful scenery to take in as you explore. If you have children with you, try investigating the many rock pools as you pass through St Mary's Nature Reserve and see what creatures from the deep you can find in them.

Birds swoop overhead in this wildlife-rich destination so you may see anything from kestrels to seabirds and, of course, the jewel of this walking route, St Mary’s Lighthouse which is a stunning white structure set on the tiny St Mary’s Island. Climb the 137 steps to the top if you still have energy to spare! A short causeway stretches between the mainland to this island so you can visit during your journey; just make sure you keep a close eye on the tide.

Distance: 4 miles

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Facilities: There are a couple of car parks and public toilets on the reserve, and more facilities can be found in the local village of Hartley.

Good to know: At the beginning of your walk from St Mary's Nature Reserve, look out for a pond (left of the main path) which is known to be home to a large colony of frogs – they’re most active during springtime and a fun creature for children to spot on the walk.

Stay nearby: Eastfield Lodge, Morpeth | sleeps 4 and 1 dog

9. Walk around Embleton

The golden sands of Embleton Bay offer a breathtaking setting for a beach walk in Northumberland with serene coastal views to admire, fresh salty air to breathe in and the chance to cool your feet with a paddle in the sea while you explore this route.

Pass by a WW2 pillbox and climb through gorse and rocky outcrops until you see the wind-battered ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle during your Embleton Bay day out. This fortress is taken care of by English Heritage and the twin-towered keep is a real highlight of this magnificent old structure. Return to the village of Embleton through rolling fields and tranquil farmland where a couple of traditional welcoming pubs offer warmth and shelter.

Distance: 5.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Facilities: Embleton is home to a couple of pubs and shops so you can settle down for a well-deserved hot meal or pick up supplies and retire to your holiday cottage to relax.

Good to know: It’s a fairly open landscape with little shelter from the elements so bring along waterproofs and good walking shoes, and any other useful gear for the season in which you plan to visit.

Stay nearby: Whinstone Cottage, Embleton | sleeps 3 and 2 dogs

10. St Oswald’s Way

All in all, St Oswald’s Way is an immense long-distance walking route and if you truly want to conquer it, you will need to plan a good few days of walking to cover the entire stretch. It’s a fantastic trail though and well worth a hike!

You’ll begin inland at Heavenfield right by Hadrian’s Wall, a serene inland location and peaceful place for a UK getaway, before striding towards the coast where you’ll finally see the sea at Warkworth. From here, you’ll continue north, passing through many if not all of the exquisite routes we’ve mentioned in this guide before arriving at beautiful Holy Island. If you truly want to discover inland Northumberland and conquer the Northumberland coast, this impressive path is the way to do it.

Distance: 97 miles

Difficulty: Challenging

Facilities: A range of pubs, cafes, information centres and other facilities can be found in towns and villages along the way, so plan your route accordingly.

Good to knowThe path is named after St Oswald who was king of Northumbria during the 7th century, and the route winds past a few places associated with him and his reign.

Stay nearby: 1 Coquet Lodge, Warkworth | sleeps 4 and 2 dogs – this charming stone cottage is in a central location right where the St Oswald’s Way meets the coast, but we have far more wonderful holiday cottages scattered along the route for you to choose from too!

Map of coastal walks in Northumberland

Further inspiration

Stay with us in Northumberland 

Take a look through our cottages to find your perfect Northumberland Coastal Path accommodation for your retreat to this impressive region, whether that’s with the family, a big group of friends or just you and your partner on a romantic getaway. Soak up far-reaching views, get close to nature and stretch your legs on wonderful walks during your holiday cottage break to Northumberland.

Start browsing our coastal collection today and plan a walking holiday everyone will love.

Coastal cottages in Northumberland

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.