A visit to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne should be included in every visitor’s programme. It’s about 16 miles away by road. Don’t forget that it is indeed a true island at high water, twice in every 24 hours: IT IS ESSENTIAL TO CHECK TIDE TIMES WHEN PLANNING THE VISIT – SEE THE LOCAL PRESS OR THE NOTICE BOARD OUTSIDE THE COASTGUARD STATION ON SEAFIELD ROAD or click here. There is the alternative of taking a sea cruise from Seahouses harbour, landing on the island for a couple of hours. Features not to be missed include the fantastic castle and its Gertrude Jekyll garden; the Heritage Centre; the ancient Benedictine Priory; the Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin; a commercial winery; a summer-time maize maze; and gift shops.
Bamburgh is regarded by some as a mere striding-walk away along the sands from Seahouses. The castle was a near-winner in the BBC 2007 “Nation’s Favourite View” series. The rock and its castle have a geological and archaeological history that is being investigated on an on-going basis from year to year. Although sections of the castle are inhabited in the ordinary(?) way, public access is restricted during the winter months. Car parking at other times is available on the castle mound, or at its foot at any time. Further along the road, just past the village’s central green, is the RNLI’s Grace Darling Museum: it was completely re-built and modernised, re-opening in 2008.
Alnwick boasts the ultra-modern Harry Potter Hogwarts Academy in the guise of ancient Alnwick Castle. Adjoining that, a world-renowned attraction in its own right, is the Alnwick Gardens complex. The plural is appropriate since many contrasting features are included, not the least of which is the world’s largest treehouse – where you can dine if you wish.
Less than an hour inland, despite the twisty country lane routes, are the wild and magnificent Cheviots – known as Hills despite their qualification as full-blown mountains reaching up to 815 metres, 2,674 feet. They are included within the Northumberland National Park. As such there are many means of access including free car parks at appropriate spots; networks of walking routes of varying difficulty to hilltops and waterfalls; and modest valley roads smooth enough for mobility scooter use. Guides and maps are available at any local Tourist Information Office.
There are many other visits to be made, including –
- Cragside is an hour or so away over near Rothbury. The mansion, gardens and estate with woods and lakes are owned by the National Trust.
- Much closer to home, a coastal walk south from Embleton or north from Craster takes in the dramatic ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle.
- Budle Bay is a vast mud-flat beloved of all kinds of waders and ornithologists. Closest contact is at Waren Mill, a couple of miles beyond Bamburgh.
Yet more ideas and details are available from Tourist Information Centres.