The magnificent and dramatic coastal setting of this completely restored medieval castle, perched high on a bluff overlooking the North Sea in Northumberland, has attracted the eyes of many a film director, and Bamburgh Castle is a “film star” several times over. The museum housed within is a treasure trove of local history, with collections of military artefacts, paintings, china, and furniture.
The empty and unspoiled beaches below the castle are perfect for long bracing walks. There is ample car parking, and a tearoom and gift shop are available. The castle is licensed to perform civil wedding ceremonies. Admission for adults is £3.50, children & concs £2.50. The castle is not easily reached by public transportRelated to:
- Historical Travel
Bamburgh is one of my most favourite places to visit. It is the ancient capital of Northumbria and is steeped with history. The village is dominated by Bamburgh Castle which stands on an ancient rocky outcrop overlooking miles of beautiful sandy beach and and boasts stunning views over to the Farne Islands. Bamburgh is also the last resting place of the most famous heroine Grace Darling the daughter of the keeper of longstone lighthouse on the Farne Islands who on the stormy night of 7th September 1838 along with her father rowed a boat through the howling gale and lashing rain to the scene of the wreck of the Forfarshire,a a steamship bound for Dundee with 39 passengers, which had been swept onto the rocks of Big Harcar, one of the outer Farnes. Grace and her father succeeded in rescuing nine passengers. The people of the village are very friendly and welcoming. There is a variety of accomodation to be found in the village, hotels, bed and breakfast and self catering, guesthouses. There is also Caravan and camping facilities to be found nearby.
Seahouses is a busy seaside resort and is situated on a superb stretch of Northumberland coastline and linking Beadnell with Bamburgh to the North. Seahouses is an attractive fishing village. From March through to September regular boat trips run from the harbour and take you to Britain’s most important bird sanctuary where a variety of species including puffins, terns, kittiwakes and razorbills make their home. Visitors are usually treated to a sighting of the Atlantic Grey Seals who live in these waters. We went on Golden Gate boat trip which took us to Longstone Lighthouse which is exclusive to the Golden Gate. Click here to see a list of the different boat trips the Golden Gate does, you can also take a trip on the Aqua-Trax if you enjoy the thrill of speed.
Holy Island is linked to the mainland by a causeway. The tide sweeps in twice a day from the north sea, so make sure you check the times that it is safe to cross before you make the journey there to avoid being dissapointed. I only got to spend about half and hour on the island before it was dark and we had to make our way back before being cut off by the tide, so hopefully next time I will be able to write more about it.
Long before any of the buildings you see here today were constructed, a famous Anglo Saxon monastery stood on this site. Its greatest saint,Cuthbert was buried in its timber church in 687.
His body was later taken to Durham Cathedral.but the place of his burial was never forgotten.
The ruined church in front of you was built out of reverence for that holy spot.
The reconstruction drawing shows the west front when newly completed,around 1150.
It was reproduced on a smaller scale the twin towered facades of comtemperary great churches and provided an imposing entrance for pilgrims.
The arch of the doorway,boldly projecting from the facade is decorated with Norman chevron ornament.
The upper parts were reconstructed in the fourteenth century and provided with cross-shaped loops to defend the church against attack during the Scots wars.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
Farne Islands Boat Trip
The Farne Island boat trips run from the fishing village of Seahouses and lie two to three miles off the Northumberland coast midway between the village and the magnificant Castle of Bamburgh. I will always have wonderful memories of the day I went on the boat trip as it was a birthday present from some very special friends of mine and a day I really enjoyed. There is a choice of boat trips and the one we went on was aboard the boat called the Golden Gate which took us to Longstone Island made latterly famous by Grace Darling daughter of the Lighthouse Keeper who rescued nine survivors from the paddle steamer 'Forfarshire' which ran aground on Big Harcar's Rock during a violent storm on the 7th September 1838. The lighthouse was manned for 164 years before automation was introduced in 1990. We had a guided tour of the lighthouse with commentry telling the history of the lighthouse and its workings. On the return trip we passed Inner Farne and Staple Islands which I will do another time on a different boat trip. Another highlight was seeing the seals but rough seas prevented us from getting too close. The trip took approximatley two hours.
MV Golden Gate does four sailings per day 10.30am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm, 4.30pm
Times - dependent on tides, weather and sea conditions.
Landings usually on Staple Island in the mornings and Inner Farne in the afternoons during breeding season, on other boat trips..Golden Gate always does the Longstone and is the only boat to do a guided tour of the lighthouse interior.
Centrepiece of a Dream.
Alnwick Garden was a place I had wanted to visit since seeing the TV pogramme about the project. It was the dream of the Duchess of Nothumberland. Her efforts and and those of the engineers involved were well worth pursuing. The project began in 1996 and the garden was opened in october 2002
The garden is a place of magnificent borders and fountains.The centrepiece of the garden is the The Grand Cascade which is the largest water feature of its kind in the UK. The cascade is made of local stone and uses recycled water that is held underground.
We were lucky enough to see the duchess in the garden the day we visited and she seemed a very warm and friendly person.
End of the Pennine way.
The Border Hotel, Kirk Yetholm is, some say, the end of the Pennine Way. I suppose it could be either depending on which way you are going. We managed the whole journey in just one day! We were in a car of course. The other picture is on my Derbyshire page.
Gateshead Millenium Bridge.
The first opening bridge to be built across the River Tyne for more than 100 years. The bridge has attracted plenty of attention because of its unique design. It tilts to let river traffic through.
The Bridge was opened to the public on Monday, 17 September 2001.
It is a magnificent feat of engineering.
Reached only by a causeway at low tide you will need to check the Tide Timetables before your visit.
The priory was originally a monastery which was founded in the 7th century by St Aidan. Nothing remains of the monastery as It was destroyed byt he Vikings in 793. It was 400 years before Lindisfarne was re-established as a Benedictine Priory The "rainbow arch" over the nave of the Priory still stands today and the visitor centre explains how the monks once lived there.
Warkworth is arguably one of the prettiest towns in the county, with its attractive (but steep) main street leading up to an impressive castle, and the lovely waters of the River Coquet making an almost complete loop around both town and castle.
There has been a settlement here for at least 1,300 years and it is easy to see why. The castle hill commands extensive views of sea and countryside, and the river forms a natural moat at its base. The castle itself dates back to the 12th century but the buildings seen today include later ones from various restorations in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is managed and maintained by English Heritage, and you can go inside for a fee of £5.00 (adult price current in April 2013, concessions £4.50, children £3.00). It is a while though since we have done so – something for our next visit to Warkworth perhaps.
From the foot of the castle hill you can follow a footpath along the Coquet to the bottom of the village where you will find the Norman church of St. Lawrence. Beyond this the main road bends to cross the river. It does so via a modern bridge but alongside that is a medieval one which still retains its old gatehouse. Pedestrians can still walk out on to this bridge to enjoy the tranquil views of river and village beyond.
There are several B&Bs on the main street and small hotels, and although I have never stayed in any of them I am sure Warkworth would make a great base for a Northumbrian holiday.
I have written about the town’s attractions in a little more detail on a small separate Warkworth page.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
Beautiful island, reached by a causeway across treacherous sands. Visit the ruins of Lindisfarne Priory, begun in 635 and both peaceful and evocative. Walk around the island coastline....choose your time to be away from the crowds or, even better, stay overnight so you can experience the peace of the island when the tide is in and the mainland cut off. Try the mead ( a drink made from honey)....originally made by the monks, and still produced on the island. Just make sure you allow enough time to drive off the island before the tide comes in ....many have been caught (that's why there are refuges placed along the road!).Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel
The small town of Rothbury is one of my favourites in Northumberland. Its setting in the lovely Coquet valley is hard to beat, and the wide main street with its expanses of village green makes a good backdrop for a stroll. There’s not a huge amount to see, but that’s part of its charm. Its few shops range from the truly old-fashioned, that you might have thought had disappeared from even the most remote of English towns some years ago, to several high-quality butchers and a couple of more tourist-orientated gift shops. There are plenty of pit-stops along the way, whether your taste is for afternoon tea, a pint of real ale or a substantial lunch (I can recommend the Sunday roast served in the Newcastle Hotel, where even the so-called “small” portion is enough to satisfy all but the hungriest!)
If the name rings a bell, you may have heard of Rothbury on the news in 2010. The town achieved a brief and unwanted spell of notoriety when gunman Roald Moat holed up here when on the run from police, following a number of shootings in Newcastle. The footballer Paul Gascoigne put in an appearance, keen to mediate in the stand-off between Moat and police, and bearing gifts of chicken and a fishing rod! Eventually the episode ended with the shooting dead of Moat, and after a few more days of journalists’ attention Rothbury was able to return to the somnolence it prefers.
A better reason to come here would be for music. There is an annual festival which is very well-regarded on the English folk circuit. A friend of ours sometimes plays but we have not yet managed to get to the festival ourselves. However we have several times enjoyed another of Rothbury’s musical traditions, the New Years Day pipers. On January 1st each year this group of musicians does the rounds of Rothbury’s pubs, playing for a while in each and of course enjoying the landlord’s hospitality. Visitors to the town on that day can join them in this musical pub crawl, or simply settle in their favourite bar and wait for the music to come to them.
Rothbury would make a great base for a holiday in Northumberland. There are a number of B&Bs in the town itself, as well as in more rural properties in the area. And there are several of the county’s best attractions within very easy reach, including magnificent Cragside.
Belsay Hall and Gardens
An excellent place to visit. Something for everyone.
Set amongst terraced gardens is the Hall, built in 1807. The design was to replicate a classical Greek Temple in a modern country house. This is obvious from the columns built in to the hall.This now sits strangely forlornly empty.
Further away, in the grounds of the hall is the renovated ruin of the 14th c.medieval Tower House, known as "the Castle". Later, in 1614, a Jacobean manorhouse was added. The castle has been nicely preserved to form a centrepiece . This is linked to the Hall by an amazingly beautiful sunken quarry garden, complete with alleyways and passageways created from the stone being quarried to build the hall. A hauntingly lovely place with many wonderful and exotic plants on display.
I remember you could actually get on to the roof of the castle, which was exciting! We were disappointed with the hall, being empty although the size of the rooms was impressive. Actually, it wasn't exactly empty, as there was a display of some strange plastic art taking place in some of the rooms. Totally wierd and unecessary. We were flabergasted at what was called art - blow up dolls and inflatable plastic crudeness. Judging by the comments in the guest book, we weren't alone in thinking this!!! I can't remember the name of the "artist". No doubt somebody will take me to task on this!!
We loved the quarry garden and the "Castle".Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
- Arts and Culture
Old Bridge, Berwick-upon-Tweed
The old bridge was built by James I (James VI of Scotland) to link his two kingdoms after the Union of the Crowns.
The bridge was built in 1634 and was the main highway of its time into Scotland.
The bridge has since been superceded by a modern road bridge over the Tweed, but the old bridge is stil open to traffic in one direction.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
Quay Wall as the name suggests is a fortified wall built on the banks of the River Tweed to protect the town from attack from the river.
Nearby on the Quayside is a new development which contains shops and eating establishments.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
Cornhill-On-Tweed, Berwick-Upon-Tweed, TD12 4UU, u
Good for: Business
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Right by the Bondgate, so 'Alnwick central'. Private parking at the rear (steepish drive to get into...more
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