Escape the Crowds: Northumberland Days Out for Locals & Tourists
One of my favourite things about living just a stone’s throw away from Northumberland is how just a short car drive (or train journey!) can take us to a whole new world of inspiration for my art. Whether you’re an artist, writer, photographer or even just a nature enthusiast, the region has so much to offer.
Even if you’ve lived there all your life, or nearby like me, then you’ll still find there are places you might not have explored. To mark the launch of two new additions to my Blue Skies Over Northumberland collection, I wanted to share some of my favourite lesser trodden days out in Northumberland for both locals and tourists to explore this summer.
The first hidden gem is nestled just south of popular tourist spots Bamburgh and Seahouses. If you’re looking to dodge the crowds on a summer’s day or simply want to explore something new, then Low Newton is a lovely seaside destination.
Home to the National Trust-owned Embleton and Newton Links, the grassy dunes reveal a stretch of golden coastline loved by both humans and dogs! Low Newton is a very small village but it does have one fantastic pub, The Ship Inn, which has overlooked the beautiful shoreline since the 18th century!
Tuck into a hearty meal after a stroll along Low Newton’s sheltered cove or bring your own picnic. The village is much more remote than its neighbours so be sure to pack accordingly and don’t forget your sun cream in the summer.
I’ve talked extensively about Holy Island, home to Lindisfarne and steeped in history dating back thousands of years. But that’s not the only island in Northumberland. In fact, the region is home to over 30 islands, the majority of which are in the cluster known as the Farne Islands.
Coquet Island is another of Northumberland’s geological wonders. Owned by the Duke of Northumberland, the island is home to an RSPB-managed bird reserve with over 18,000 pairs of nesting puffins and many other species of seabird including kittiwakes, terns and gulls.
The island, which is less than a mile long, holds the remains of a medieval monastery that makes up the foundations of the lighthouse that still functions today. The most common way to get to Coquet Island is by boat from Amble. A number of local providers offer boat tours throughout the summer months that include bird and seal watching and a stop-off at Coquet Island. You can usually book tickets upon arriving in Amble or a quick search online will bring up plenty of information about when and where to book.
If you’ve read my blog before, then you’ll know how much I love Boulmer. This tiny fishing village sits just north of Alnwick, making it the perfect spot to escape the summer crowds after a day in the town.
A working fishing village to this day, Boulmer is not somewhere to go if you’re looking for entertainment or shopping. Instead, it’s a peaceful retreat, remaining mostly untouched for over a hundred years. One of the most interesting things about Boulmer is that, unlike many of its neighbours, it doesn’t have a harbour. Instead, the fishing boats are pulled up onto the beach filled to the brim with the daily catch of salmon, crabs and even lobsters.
You can still grab a meal and a drink in Boulmer’s only pub aptly named The Fishing Boat Inn. Or you can bring a packed lunch and find a bench overlooking the rocky shoreline.
A little livelier than the last spot, Beadnell is a popular destination for lovers of water sports, particularly in the summer months when you’ll see people surfing, kiteboarding and even scuba diving!
The horse-shaped bay is famously well-kept and offers just about every type of terrain you can expect from a Northumberland beach. Four-legged friends will love the golden stretch of sand, and if the tide is out, then don’t forget to explore the rock pools for local wildlife.
The village itself is very quiet, mostly populated by locals with a small number of holiday homes. One of the most popular spots in Beadnell is the Craster Arms, which is particularly popular during the August bank holiday as it hosts its annual “Crastonbury.” So, if you’re after a sit-down meal then this pub is a good option. You’ll also find a fish and chip shop on the harbour for take-aways, the ideal way to replenish after a busy day of watersports.
So, that’s four of my absolute favourite places to escape in Northumberland. Each of these locations brings with it something unique, but they all share one thing in common: tranquillity. Are there any other places in the region that you’d include in this list? Let me know over on Instagram @joanne.wishart.art, and don’t forget to check out my full Blue Skies Over Northumberland Collection here.