A Guide to Exploring Dunstanburgh Castle

A Guide to Exploring Dunstanburgh Castle

Posted by Joanne Wishart on

A Guide to Exploring Dunstanburgh Castle

We are blessed with so many beautiful castles here in the North East, and Dunstanburgh is surely one of my favourites to visit (and paint!).  




The castle sits atop a remote headland looking out across the award-winning coastline. Unlike Bamburgh, Dunstanburgh is mostly ruins now, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting to visit. One of our favourite days out is to combine a beach walk from Craster with a visit to this castle, which actually dates back to the 14th century!



The castle itself has an iconic twin-towered keep gating an archway entrance. You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate the structure’s past. The castle had watched over the beach for over 800 years before many of the surrounding towns even existed.

Visiting Dunstanburgh

Although Dunstanburgh Castle is managed by English Heritage, we were surprised to find you can get access with National Trust membership, too. There is a pay and display car park and toilets near the castle, so it’s a good shout for a family day out. You can even take dogs, as long as they are kept on the lead. 

We often enjoy the 1.3-mile walk to or from the castle to the nearby Craster. The route offers sea views throughout, and its flat nature makes it ideal for kids, too. 



That’s enough of a walk to get the belly rumbling, and if seafood is your thing, then you’re spoiled for choice. In Craster, you’ll find L. Robson & Sons, the home of the famous Craster Kippers. For over 100 years, this family business has produced its smoke delicacy, and people have travelled from miles across for a taste. 



The Jolly Fisherman is another famous seafood spot. It is a traditional pub with sea views, kid’s menus, and an amazing selection of locally caught fish. 

Wildlife at Dunstanburgh

Below the castle is Queen Margaret’s Cove, which got its name from the legend of Margaret of Anjou’s escape to France in 1460. Now, the cove is home to colonies of redshanks, oystercatchers, kittiwakes and other seabirds.

During low tides, you’ll likely spot a crab or two in the rockpools. On the cliff itself, you’ll spot sheep and even cows along the Craster walk.


Dunstanburgh Castle | Northumberland Art Print

Sea swimming near Dunstanburgh


After a warm walk from Craster, we recently enjoyed a dip in the sea at Embleton. Of course, swimming in the North Sea isn’t for the faint-hearted, but once you get in there, it becomes an addictive experience you want to do again and again. 


A summery painting of Dunstanburgh Catle showing three sheep grazing on the landscape with the castle behind. The sea is rolling in onto the rocks.

Blue Sky Over Dunstanburgh | Northumberland Art Print

Painting Dunstanburgh

If you’re familiar with my artwork, then you’ll know I take great inspiration from the beautiful Northumberland coastline. Dunstanburgh is a spot I’ve painted many times, not least because of the castle’s striking structure but also because no two visits are the same.


On some days, a blue sky illuminates the whole coastline, giving breathtaking views across the horizon. While other rainy days bring with them wild waves and dramatic skies, Dunstanburgh offers visitors something new at different times of the year. Pairing the unpredictability of the North East weather with the abundance of wildlife and blooming wildflowers, Dunstanburgh offers visitors something new at different times of the year.


Path to Dunstanburgh | Original Painting

Bringing a piece of Northumberland home

Whether you live in the North East like us or are visiting on your holidays, it’s always nice to bring back a souvenir to remember your trip. I have painted several pieces inspired by Dunstanburgh and the surrounding areas, all of which are available as limited-edition art prints and canvas prints in my online shop or at my gallery on St George’s Road in Cullercoats.

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