The best towns and villages to visit on the Northumberland coast

Northumberland coast at Howick

With just under 40 miles of stunning coastline to explore, Northumberland is a great place to get away for a holiday by the sea. Many of its coastal spots are lesser-known than other places across the UK, meaning often it’s very quiet and you may even get to enjoy some of the scenery all to yourself.

Along its coastline, Northumberland has a number of charming towns and villages to explore and 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, great places to eat and many of our Northumberland cottages. Here's our pick of the best places to visit in Northumberland: 

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.

Top 3 places to visit:

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.

Breathtaking views towards Bamburgh Castle

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.

Top 3 places to visit:

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.

Top 3 places to visit:

    • Farne IslandsAs we mentioned above, you can take a boat trip out to the Farne 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. 

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.

Beadnell's wide sandy beach

The waves offer decent swells, making it popular with surfers and bodyboarders, while on the sand 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.

Top 3 places to visit:

    • Anstead Dunes Nature ReserveA beautiful coastal reserve with a diversity of flora and fauna. Great for a walk. 
    • Beadnell BeachThis 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. 

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.

The view to Dunstanburgh Castle

Another popular walk is a circular route which 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.

Top 3 places to visit:

    • Dunstanburgh CastleA majestic castle ruin with incredible coastal views from the headland.
    • Howick Hall & GardensThe 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.

Alnmouth: best for sandy beaches

With its colourful cottages overlooking the coast, Alnmouth is a picturesque village which 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.

Almouth’s main beach offers plenty of space for everyone to enjoy its seaside delights, thanks to its generous stretch of golden sand. Another beach can be found 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.

Top 3 places to visit:

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.

Amble's pier and lighthouse

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.

Top 3 places to visit:

    • 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. 

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 recent 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.

Top 3 places to visit:

    • Newbiggin Maritime CentreHome to a fishing gallery, community gallery and Newbiggin's last all-weather lifeboat.
    • The Couple statueThese two five-metre bronze figures were the UK's first permanent off-shore sculptures. 
    • Newbiggin Golf Club - A friendly golf club dating back to the 19th century. 

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, the Northumberland coast is the ideal year-round destination. Our Northumberland coastal cottages are the perfect base for making memories with your loved ones in a truly special setting.

Posted by Hannah on 14th August 2019