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Northumberland Coastland

Ancient Castles, Sandy beaches and Harry Potter

 

Northumberland Coast near Craster

Northumberland Coast north of Craster © 2011Moira McCrossan

 

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Comprehensive information on Northumberland is available is available from the official Visit Northumberland Tourism website


 

 Northumberland in the north east of England is much less crowded than the more popular Lake District in the West but has plenty of attractions worth visiting and as many good outdoors adventures and experiences. It’s also a great destination for a get away from it all holiday, an ideal place to visit with a group of friends or with grandchildren.

The castle in the historic market town of Alnwick has been home to the Percys’ Earls and Dukes of Northumberland since 1309 but younger visitors can tell it’s really Hogwarts School from the Harry Potter Movies.  The castle also features in the Kevin Costner Movie, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.  The gardens are worth a visit in their own right and the amazing Tree House Restaurant is a truly awesome dining experience. It’s particularly good in the run up to Christmas when there is a light show in the garden and a festive menu.

Alnwick Castle Gardens Light Show

Light Show in Alnwick Castle Gardens © 2011 Moira McCrossan

Alnwick’s former railway station is home to Barter Books once described as ‘The British Library of second-hand bookshops’. It’s certainly one of the biggest in the country and a seriously dangerous place for booklovers lacking willpower. It’s full of soft seats where visitors can sit and read and the old station buffet is now a tea room.  

 

North of Alnwick, Bamburgh’s Castle dominates the coast from its perch on top of a basalt crag.  In the village churchyard is the grave and memorial to the Lighthouse Keepers daughter, Grace Darling, a Victorian heroine who rescued the crew of a stricken vessel off the Farne Islands.   Her story is told in the Grace Darling Museum opposite the church.

A few miles further up the coast a tidal causeway links Holy Island to the mainland. St Aidan founded a monastery here in 635 CE and this is where the Lindesfarne Gospels, a famous illuminated text, was produced. Most of the island is in the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve and it’s very popular with nature enthusiasts, bird watchers and walkers.

There's a small castle nthat is open to the public. It was restored by the English architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. The celebrated gardener, Gertrude Jekyll laid out the small garden to the north. Don’t leave without sampling some Lindisfarne Mead.

South of Banburgh the coast is a delight of dunes, sandy beaches and the occasional, picturesque village. Craster is rightly famed for its kippers, still produced there in an ancient smokehouse. An excellent circular walk from the village car park crosses open farmland then loops back onto the coast to pass the rugged ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle before returning to Craster where the Jolly Fisherman pub provides a warm welcome with it’s roaring fire and home cooked meals.

Dunstanburgh Castle

Dunstanburgh Castle Walk © 2011 Moira McCrossan

Another circular walk north from the pub along the coastal path provides the opportunity to explore some Iron Age settlements.


 

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