The Northumberland coastline covers over 40 miles of the best walking and cycle routes, with sweeping beaches, dramatic dunes and an abundance of wildlife. The best way to enjoy this coastline is to put on your walking boots and start exploring on foot. With so much coastline to see, here is a roundup of the best Northumberland coastal walks for you to enjoy…
The Northumberland coastline is an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty and stretches for forty miles from Cresswell in the south up to Berwick Upon Tweed in the borders. The Northumberland coastal path (which runs along 62 miles, coming inland around Belford), is arguably the best coastal walk in the UK. Lots of coastline and with hardly anyone around.
Along the Northumberland coastline you can also expect to find a handful of the 70 castles that dominate the county. From Bamburgh Castle to Lindisfarne on Holy Island, these dramatic castles add to the ‘wow’ factor of this part of the north east coast. Spanning 7,000 years of human activity, the area is steeped in history and many conservation projects have been carried out in the vicinity.
Of course, you will want to stop off at some of the cafes along the way to refuel and you’re sure to find plenty of pit stops to keep you going. For each walk recommended we will also include the perfect place to pop in for a much needed refreshment break.
The Northumberland coastal walks in this guide have been carefully put together to cover a range of walk lengths suitable for different walking abilities, so everyone can enjoy the Northumberland coast at their own pace.
The Best Northumberland Coastal Walks
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1. The Pilgrim’s Way on Holy Island
Walk Length: 3 miles
Difficulty rating: Medium
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is the best place to start our roundup of the best Northumberland coastal walks. Situated in the very north of the county, the Pilgrim’s Way is a very different walking experience and is unique to Northumberland.
Ever since 635 the island has been a place of pilgrimage. The main road across the causeway was not constructed until 1954 and until then the vertical poles were the only indicators of the safe route between the mainland and island.
The sight of the poles stretching across the sand and mud is one of the most iconic views in Northumberland. To walk the route away from the road and follow in the footsteps of our medieval ancestors is a memorable experience.
Before embarking on this walk, there are a few things to take into consideration:
– Be sure to check the tide times for a safe crossing. It’s a good idea to set off two hours before low tide, walking with the outgoing tide rather than the incoming tide.
– Due to the tide moving out, it may leave some areas a little slippery under foot, so take care when walking. Sturdy footwear and walking poles would be useful for this walk.
– A good walking route is to start at Beal and head towards Holy Island. When looking directly at the island, head towards the lay-by on the right hand side. From here, walk directly towards the first pole and continue this way across the flats.
– If you’re unsure about walking across the sand, you can opt to walk alongside the road. This route will be busy with traffic however, and extra care should be taken as cars travel fast.
Once you arrive in Holy Island there are a range of great places to eat, but if you’re looking for something a little fancier, we recommend trying The Barn at Beal for a post walk treat. And if you’re thinking of staying over in the county, check out this unique accommodation in Northumberland for a night to remember.
READ MORE: The Best Spots for Paddleboarding in Northumberland
2. Walk from Craster Village to Dunstanburgh Castle
Walk Length: 4 miles
This is a great walk to do with young children, as it isn’t too long. It is completely away from traffic and involves walking towards a castle ruin — how exciting!
Park in the fishing village of Craster, use postcode NE66 3TW. The car park is on the right hand side just before you enter the village. You can’t get lost as there are signs informing visitors that the road through the village is for access only. Car parking charges apply and be aware there is very little phone signal — a great place to escape to.
The walk from Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle is two miles there and two miles back. It is flat and suitable for pushchairs, making it a great one to do with kids. Dunstanburgh Castle is owned by English Heritage.
As you leave the car park turn right and walk towards the harbour. Here you can turn right and head into the village where you’ll find a pub, cafes and play park. We recommend a visit to The Jolly Fisherman for the famous Craster kippers and refreshments after your walk.
Or you can turn left to head towards the castle which you will see up in the distance. From here the path goes through fields, always keeping the castle ahead of you. It’s a popular route but plenty of space for everyone to enjoy their walk without bumping into other people. Once you reach Dunstanburgh Castle, you can extend your walk by heading down onto Low Newton which would be a 5.6 mile linear walk.
With gorgeous views and plenty of wildlife, make sure you bring your binoculars on this coastal walk. If you’re lucky you may even spot dolphins and seals out on the coastline.
3. Bamburgh to Seahouses
Walk Length: 6 miles
A visit to the Northumberland coast wouldn’t be complete without visiting the seaside villages of Seahouses and Bamburgh.
Whilst many tourists flock to Bamburgh for the castle and iconic stretch of sandy beach, Seahouses also has a lot to offer visitors. It is certainly the place to go for fish and chips by the sea, and we recommend calling into Neptune’s Fish Restaurant once you arrive in Seahouses.
This walk is a nice circular totalling six miles, however you could always walk to Seahouses and catch a bus back to Bamburgh as another option to make the walk shorter.
Leave the car at Bamburgh. There’s a large car park on the south side of the village opposite the castle where there’ll often be an ice cream van during the summer months. Car parking charges apply here. You may be lucky and get a parking spot on the main street in Bamburgh but these are limited so arrive early.
Head down the Winding onto the beach or walk across the cricket field which also leads you on the beach. Once you are on the sand, you will want to walk south towards Seahouses.
Alternatively you can follow the St Oswalds Way which takes a route through fields and along country roads. But to really soak up that beautiful coastline, we recommend sticking to the beach.
4. Druridge Bay to Amble
Walk Length: 7 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Easy – Medium
This is a great walk that takes you down towards the start of the coastal path is the walk from Druridge Bay to the harbour village of Amble.
Start your walk from the Druridge Bay Country Park. Here you’ll find access to the beach, a play park, lake, visitor centre and cafe. There are public toilets here also. Car parking charges apply, so you are probably going to want to buy a day ticket.
Head north along the section of the Northumberland Coastal Path, heading towards Hauxley Nature Reserve. Make sure you leave yourself some time to visit the cafe here, with its big windows that look out over the reserve. The perfect place for bird spotting, it is a peaceful and secluded section of the walk where you can relax and look out for wildlife.
Continue along the path until you reach the sand dunes at Amble. From here you will want to head up onto the main road and walk into the village and down towards the harbour. You will pass a welcoming sign that says, ‘Welcome to Amble – The friendliest port’. Spend some time in Amble browsing the independent shops, watch the fishermen coming into the harbour and grab a bite to eat from one of the many eateries. You are spoiled for choice in Amble, from fish and chip shops, bistros and cafes, to friendly pubs and fish restaurants.
Once you have had a good look around and re-fuelled, head back along the path you arrived on, towards Druridge Bay country park.
If you want to extend your walk even further, once you reach Amble, continue on the long straight road that takes you to Warkworth.
Now you have a roundup of the best Northumberland coastal walks, you are ready to dust off your walking boots and start exploring this gorgeous part of Northumberland’s county. Most of the walks have longer versions where you can extend the route by heading further along the coast.
Every summer, the Macmillan Mighty Hike takes place along the Northumberland coast, covering a distance of twenty-six miles. This is a great way to see as much of the coastline as possible, whilst raising money for charity.
Quick List: The Best Northumberland Coastal Walks
- The Pilgrim’s Way on Holy Island
- Craster Village to Dunstanburgh Castle
- Bamburgh to Seahouses
- Druridge Bay to Amble