Spanning some 40 miles of coastline from Berwick-Upon-Tweed to the River Coquet estuary, the Northumberland Coast is dotted with some of the United Kingdom’s most stunning spots. An officially designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the region attracts huge numbers of visitors each year, drawn here by the picturesque scenery, historic landmarks, and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure.
The Northumberland Coast is home to a large number of enticing towns and villages, some situated directly by the sea and others positioned more inland. At TravelMag.com we decided to do some research and select 12 of the most charming towns and villages set along this incomparable stretch of coastal England and nearby. You’ll find our pick below.
Boasting picture-postcard qualities, Alnmouth combines all the appeal of a seaside village with plenty of practical amenities, including several independently run restaurants and shops. The main beach has a generous stretch of golden sand and can become busy during peak months, but for respite from the crowds there’s a much more quite beach just south of the estuary. The town is also home to the oldest nine-hold links course in England as well as a small museum dedicated to Northumberland’s ferrymen.
A quintessential British fishing village, Seahouses is bookended by two golden sandy beaches at its north and south ends that attract sizeable numbers of sun-seekers during warmer climes. Away from the sandy shore, the village’s pretty harbour is an ideal spot for sitting back and watching the fishing boats pass in and out. A popular excursion from Seahouses is The Farne Islands, one of the UK’s most abundant areas for birdlife, which is a quick and easy boat ride away.
Perched on a headland at the mouth of the River Coquet, Amble has and continues to be a vibrant fishing town. Visitors can even get a taste of life as a fisherman by taking a chartered boat out to sea here, or learn how to cook freshly cooked fish at the Northumberland Seafood Centre which is located in the town centre. Other notable attractions include the 12th-century Warkworth Castle & Hermitage, which makes for a great day out with the family. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to surf, there’s also a renowned surf school in Amble offering one-off or regular lessons.
The village of Bamburgh is one of Northumberland’s most popular tourist spots thanks to its rugged coastal charm, iconic castle and exceptional walking trails. I also has a pristine beach set against a backdrop of sweeping sand dunes, with the dramatic scenery attracting surfers, dog walkers and horse riders, as well as the occasional brave soul fancying a dip in the ocean. Perched on a volcanic outcrop and surrounded by verdant countryside, Bamburgh Castle – once home to the kings of ancient Northumbria – is also a magnet for visitors
If your idea of a charming town is one packed with small, independent gift shops and boutiques, then Corbridge won’t fail to disappoint. There’s plenty of history to enjoy here too, with the former garrison town still home to remnants of buildings that stood here during ancient Roman times. Corbridge is also renowned for its annual festival which sees music, street theatre, and a beer tent take over the town for three magical days each summer.
The delightful farming hamlet of Howick is the birthplace of Earl Grey tea, having been home to the Grey family from 1319 until the death of the 5th Earl Grey in 1963. They resided at Howick Hall, which is the village’s standout attraction thanks to its spectacular formal gardens, arboretum, and Earl Grey Tearooms serving up home-cooked scones and cakes. For a more energetic activity, you can take a scenic bike ride along the National Cycle Network Route 1 and there are also several popular coastal walks nearby.
Situated at the mouth of the River tweed, close to the Scottish border, the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed boasts the notable title of England’s most northerly town. But there’s far more to the town than this geographical quirk, with several well-maintained beaches and stunning coastal scenery attracting a steady stream of visitors. Head inland and the town walls serve as an imposing reminder of its tumultuous past as a battleground between the English and Scots, while eye-catching 18th- and 19th-century architecture add to the visual appeal.
Set inland, about 10 minutes by road from the coast, the medieval market town of Alnwick hums with activity, with locals and visitors a perpetual presence along its winding cobbled streets, where they are drawn to the array of charming independent shops and eateries offering a flavour of the local retail and foodie scenes. Venture out of the centre and you’ll soon reach the stunning medieval Alnwick Castle, which eagle eyed fans of a certain fictional child wizard may recognise from the silver screen (the castle was the location for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films, for the uninitiated). Other local attractions include Alnwick Garden, offering fairytale-esque dining amid the treetops in one of the world’s largest tree houses, an acclaimed theatre, and several atmospheric inns.
Home to Northumberland’s longest promenade, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea has undergone something of a transformation in recent years, with a fully renovated village seafront, an eye-catching public sculpture, and a growing number of shops, restaurants and other amenities. The town is also a haven for bird-lovers who come to see flocks of birds descend here during migration season. For a dash of maritime culture, the Newbiggin Maritime Centre houses a fishing gallery and a historic all-weather lifeboat.
Despite the lack of a beach, the tranquil fishing village of Craster positively oozes character and charm. It is a popular starting point for several spectacular walking trails, including one that leads you to the impressive ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. The village itself boasts an attractive harbour and has also gained a reputation as something of a foodie hotspot, particularly among fish and seafood lovers, with kippers being a particularly popular local delicacy.
Water sports enthusiasts descend on Beadnell in their droves thanks to its glorious stretch of wide sandy beach, set in a picturesque horseshoe shaped bay, and impressive ocean swell that provides challenging conditions for suffers, bodyboarders and jet skiers. The only west-facing port on England’s east coast, the village is also very well sheltered, adding to its reputation for aquatic fun. Wander inland and you’ll find a sprinkling of old cottages and pretty houses, while in the summer the quaint harbour is filled with colourful boats and pleasure crafts. The village is also home to a fully restored limeworks site owned by the National Trust.
Low Newton by-the-Sea
An 18th-century fishing village, Low Newton-by-the-Sea is almost entirely owned by the National Trust and it’s easy to see why. An open ended square of cream-washed cottages looks out onto the glorious beach where kids can regularly be seen enjoying rock pooling while parents recline on the soft sand. The village is also renowned for its excellent bird watching opportunities, with a nature reserve overlooking Newton Pool home to two sturdy bird hides. In the village itself, one of the region’s finest microbreweries is adjoined to the acclaimed Ship Inn pub, where patrons can sample a range of in-house brews.