Within half an hour’s drive from our home in Scotland we’re incredibly fortunate to have stunning coastlines, dramatic mountains and glistening lochs – not to mention the rolling hills peppered with forest walks in between.
When it comes to picking short break destinations you would be forgiven for thinking we’d like to mix it up a bit. Bright lights, a bit of hubbub and the lure of the big city.
But no. Nine times out of 10 we’re drawn to what we know best – stunning views, tranquility and the great outdoors.
Our search for homes from home has been bountiful, from the wilderness of the Highlands to the quaint counties of middle England – but perhaps the most familiar but different patch we’ve ventured to is in the north-east. Not our north-east here in Aberdeenshire, the other north-east – Northumberland.
It may be a good bit more than half an hour away, but the drive is worth it. Incredible beaches, charming villages, natural delights and plenty of magical fresh air – perfect for feeding the soul and tiring out little legs all at the same time!
We based ourselves near to Beadnell, picking The Wood Store at Tughall Steads from the tempting selection of self-catering properties showcased by Coastal Retreats, and were perfectly placed to explore the region.
From the seaside feel of Seahouses, perfect for a fish and chips pit-stop, to the historic vibe of Alnwick with its renowed castle and gardens – there’s plenty to see and do.
Read our blog post about Alnwick Castle here.
When it comes to simplicity and authenticity, Bamburgh has it in spades (pardon the beachy pun). Stroll along the shore and build sandcastles in the shadow of the magnificent Bamburgh Castle – during our autumn visit we practically had the beach to ourselves, just the towering ramparts to keep us company. That type of company we can certainly live with. The village itself, with tea shops to tantalise the taste buds, is homely and perfect for ambling around at your leisure.
Maybe there lies a word of caution. If it is hustle and bustle or adrenaline fuelled afternoons you seek, Northumberland probably isn’t the answer. The nearest we came to getting the heart beating was playing a spot of tidal roulette on the causeway leading to Lindisfarne, the quirky Holy Island which is well worth a visit if you get your timings right!.
As a family of five we found the perfect mix, based mainly on a healthy portion of simple but wholesome family time. A good recipe in anyone’s book.
We ventured north for a trip to Berwick Upon Tweed and south for a swimming outing to Newcastle, but by and large it was the heart of Northumberland that captivated us. Familiar but different, similar but all new – a real British coastal gem.