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Beaches, Castles & Kippers: Hiking the Northumberland Coast

It’s not called an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' for nothing! The Northumberland Coast Path hugs the dramatic coastline of north east England, offering wonderful scenery and history along the way. Be prepared for treats such as castles, kippers, pretty fishing villages, and an abundance of wildlife.

Begin on the Beach

The tiny, unassuming village of Cresswell is the official start of the trail, where the path begins directly on the beach. A great start to your walking holiday, as you'll be met with wide open spaces for miles around and plenty of fresh air.

Cresswell - the start of the Northumberland Coast Path

A Kingdom of Castles

The Kingdom of Northumbria was historically a battleground between Scotland and England, the legacy being some of the most impressive castles in the country. Coming into view towards the end of your first stage is the impressive Warkworth Castle which dominates the village. Dating back to the mid 12th century, there is much to see in and around the remarkable ruins, and this dramatic landmark towers over the village and leads down to quaint shops and cosy cafes.

At the bottom of the village, the trail takes you over the river by crossing the old bridge and once again you’ll be heading for the shoreline towards Craster. 

Warkworth Castle, Northumberland

Fantastic Fishing Villages

Craster is a quaint little fishing village where you'll find L. Robson & Sons - a unique, family-run business selling legendary kippers! They still use the original smokehouses to cure their tasty fish.

Craster Kippers

As you depart Craster you'll be faced with the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle - another impressive landmark.

Onwards to Seahouses, with its busy harbour full of character and colour. Should you choose to have a rest day here, we highly recommend visiting the Farne Islands. You can take a boat trip from Seahouses and take in the fascinating bird colonies, and amazing historical tales of the brave Grace Darling and the Christian associations with the Northumbrian Saints.

Boat to Farne Islands, Northumberland

Brilliant Bamburgh

You're in for a treat as the stretch from Seahouses to Belford takes in Bamburgh Castle - an absolute showstopper! With its fascinating history, this imposing structure towers over the quaint village and beautiful, sandy beach. 

Bamburgh Castle

Views to Holy Island

From Belford, the route heads inland towards Fenwick, at which point you'll enjoy remarkable views back towards Bamburgh Castle and the Farne Islands.

If time allows, add a rest day in Fenwick to allow you to visit The Holy Island of Lindisfarne. The island is only crossable during low tide, and you could have the unusual experience of walking along the sands known as the Pilgrim’s Path.

Pilgrim's Path to Lindisfarne / Holy Island

The Finish Line

It’s not quite over yet, as you begin your final stage towards Berwick-upon-Tweed. This peaceful town is a far cry from Berwick's turbulent past - captured or sacked 13 times before finally falling into English hands in 1482. Berwick’s great Elizabethan walls were built to keep invading Scots from entering the town, and these walls offer spectacular views across the River Tweed estuary and Berwick’s three bridges, including the iconic Royal Border Bridge, built by Robert Stevenson and one of the finest bridges of its kind in the world. 

Artist L.S. Lowry was a regular visitor to Berwick and you can walk in his footsteps on The Lowry Trail

Amanda on the Northumberland Coast Path

I highly recommend the Northumberland Coast Path for three main reasons: beautiful unspoilt beaches, commanding castles along the way, and the much valued fishing villages, sustaining the livelihoods of many for years to come.

Amanda MacDonald
P.S. The Northumberland Coast Path stretches for 64 miles (103 km) and can be comfortably walked over 6 days. To extend your walk, you could venture across the border into Scotland by continuing onto the Berwickshire Coastal Path or St Cuthbert's Way
 

Bamburgh Castle

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