A Slow Weekend in Northumberland
One of the big goals that I set myself for 2019 was to spend more time exploring the UK. I’m lucky enough to live slap bang in the middle of the country, and there are so many beauty spots on our doorstep that I’ve been dying to explore. Plus, given that one of my other goals was to spend more time outdoors, it felt like a win win to commit to some countryside trips.
6 months in and I feel like I’m doing pretty well. I’ve visited new places, like the Peak District and Skye, and taken trips back to some of my favourite staycation destinations, like the Lake District. And this weekend Sam and I headed to Northumberland for a weekend of beaches, book shops and beautiful views with our family.
I’ll admit that I knew very little about Northumberland before we arrived. Unlike the popular coastal areas in North Wales and Cornwall, Northumberland seems to have escaped the tourist hype, and as a result, I didn’t really know what to expect. Thankfully my brother-in-law and his girlfriend had visited a couple of times and assured us that it was a place well worth visiting.
And I’m so glad they did, as Northumberland has stolen a little bit of my heart. The whole region is stunning - think gorgeous white sandy beaches, lush green countryside, and cute chocolate box villages galore. And despite visiting in June, on a weekend when there were plenty of events happening in the area, nowhere was too crowded and we never struggled to park.
We visited for three nights and rented a cute cottage in Chatton via Airbnb, which was the perfect base for a slow weekend in Northumberland. Our only aim for the trip was to spend as much time as possible in the fresh air, and with the weather forecast (mostly) playing ball, we certainly managed it.
Here are some of the spots we fell in love with - I’d definitely recommend putting them on your list if you’re heading to Northumberland for a holiday or weekend away…
A Slow Weekend in Northumberland
Barter Books, Alnwick
Long time readers of the blog won’t be surprised that the first place we visited in Northumberland was a book shop. I love finding bookshops on my travels, and Barter Books in Alnwick is a pretty special one! Set in the old Victorian railway station, this second hand bookstore oozes character and charm - think giant armchairs for cosying up in, a cafe serving delicious cake, and model trains whizzing around above your head.
Craster is a little fishing village, and is the perfect location for a walk along the coast. Start at the car park and walk along the headland to Dunstanburgh castle and back again, before rewarding yourself with a pint with a view at The Jolly Fisherman pub. You can also sample some of the famous local kippers that are smoked in the village.
I’m gonna start with a bold claim - I think the beach at Bamburgh is one of the most beautiful that I’ve visited here in the UK. The sand was soft and white, the sea was so clear and blue, and the dunes made me feel like I was in Cape Cod. There’s also a pretty epic castle here if that’s your jam, and plenty of perfect picnic spots.
This is another gorgeous beach spot that’s well worth a visit. There’s a pretty harbour and a small town filled with trendy cafes and independent shops, and it’s a good starting point for some coastal walks too.
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne
Holy Island is a pretty special place as you can only get across the causeway when the tide is out. We headed across on Sunday morning and spent a couple of hours looking at the castle and priory, and enjoying a yummy breakfast at Pilgrims Coffee. I’d love to go back one day and see what the island is like when the tide comes in.
We visited Newton-by-the-sea on recommendation from a friend who grew up in the North East, and it turned out to be one of our favourite spots. There’s a beautiful beach (are you sensing a theme yet?) and we loved visiting The Ship Inn, a brilliant pub and brewery that makes beer from the local water. Plus, if you fancy some fish and chips, The Joiners Arms has got you covered.
Have you ever visited Northumberland before?