|Days Out around Alnmouth in Northumberland|
Alnmouth is at the Southern end of the
Berwickshire and North Northumberland Special Area of Marine and Coastal Conservation
in the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Amble, one time home to Freddie the Dolphin, is an old coal port, though today it is the fishing boats that dock there.
You can take a short cruise around Coquet Island in the summer months.
During the Anglo-Saxon period, Coquet Island was used as a retreat by the monks, and in the Middle Ages, a small cell was set up by the monks from Tynemouth Priory.
Today it is a nature reserve, offering sanctuary to large numbers of visiting seabirds, including the largest nesting colony of Roseate Terns in Britain.
The Lighthouse is unmanned, and is maintained by the Trinity House boat "Patricia" that can often be seen in the bay.
Just South of Amble are the Druridge Bay Bird Reserves, built on reclaimed mining areas; these provide a winter home for many visiting birds, as well as nesting sites for some uncommon species.
Warkworth boasts a wonderful Castle and a Hermitage, as well as interesting shops and tearooms. In 1332 The Percys gained Warkworth, and it became their favourite residence.
In Henry IV – Part 1, Shakespeare set some of his scenes at Warkworth, when the Earl of Northumberland and his son, Harry Hotspur, plotted their rebellion against the King.
Every four years the villagers of Warkworth put on a pageant, set in the grounds of the Castle, which is great fun for audience and participants alike.
Harry Hotspur reputedly gave his name to the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, due to the fact the Percy family owned a family seat on Tottenham Marshes.
Just inland from Alnmouth, once accessible via the Alnwick Branch railway, is the market town of Alnwick, which claims to be the county town of Northumberland.
The old station is now occupied by Barter Books, one of the largest second hand bookshops in the country, and well worth a visit for any booklover.
Alnwick features much of interest including the Castle, Garden and recently upgraded Bailiffgate Museum
Travelling North from Alnmouth, through Boulmer, is Howick Hall, set in beautiful grounds, with its own church on an island.
There are pretty walks through the Rhododendrons and Azaleas, and in the Spring the gardens are covered with Daffodils.
Well worth a visit, but dogs are not allowed. Craster is a small fishing harbour famous for its Craster Kippers and a good stopping off point to walk to Dunstanburgh Castle.
The Castle's remote location saved it from the ravages of the Border Wars.
It also played an important part during the War of the Roses, as the stronghold of the Lancastrian supporter Ralph Percy.
It finally fell to the Yorkists after two sieges.
North of Dunstanburgh Castle lie Embleton Bay and the small hamlet of Low Newton nestling on the shore.
Nearby, Preston Tower, a small and "friendly" 14th Century Pele Tower contains much of interest including items on the Border Reivers.
North of Beadnell, Seahouses is home to Swallow Kippers
and visits to the Farne Islands, a major seabird nesting area, where (depending on the time of year and conditions) you can watch the seals, walk among the nesting seabirds, and visit the Lighthouse where Grace Darling lived.
A little further up the coast is Bamburgh, with its glorious beach and imposing Castle.
There is also the Grace Darling Museum celebrating Grace Darling, and her tomb in the Churchyard.
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is reached by crossing the causeway at low tide.
Do please pay attention to the safe crossing times - you have been warned!.
Lindisfarne, home of the famous Gospels was the first centre of Christianity in England.
In 1083, it was devastated by Viking attacks. Benedictine monks from Durham returned to build a new Priory on Lindisfarne, which they re-named Holy Island;
much still remains of the Priory, which was closed with the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry V111.
The Castle on Lindisfarne was built as an artillery fort in the 1530s. In 1880, Edward Hudson bought the castle and Sir Edwin Lutyens restored it as a private residence.
In 1944, the Castle was given to the National Trust.
Turning inland, Ford, with the Lady Waterford Hall and Etal, with its Castle and the Heatherslaw Corn Mill and Light Railway are well worth a visit,
along with Flodden,, scene of the last battle between the English and the Scots,
and Norham Castle, ransacked by the Scots on their way to Flodden.
Moving a short distance South East from Ford and Etal we can visit Wooler, gateway to the Cheviots, featuring the Carey Burn, Langleeford and the remote College Valley.
Nearby are Chillingham Castle - featured on Television as a Haunted Castle, and the herd of Wild Chillingham White Cattle.
Further South, Rothbury, a small Market Town, boasts the House and Gardens at Cragside (the first house in the world to be lit by Electricity).
Nearby are Brinkburn Priory (slightly off the beaten track, but well worth a visit),
the beautiful and remote Coquet Valley beyond Harbottle, the Simonside Hills and the Northumberland National Park.
North of Rothbury lies the Ingram Valley, another wild area of outstanding beauty.
Returning to Alnwick, takes us past Edlingham, with its ruined Castle nestling strategically in the valley next to the disused Alnwick to Cornhill Railway.
And of course Golf - everywhere, with visitors normally welcome, there are two courses at Alnmouth itself - Alnmouth Village and Foxton.
For a day out at the shops, Tyneside offers Eldon Square , Metro Centre (Gateshead), and Royal Quays (North Shields).
Also on Tyneside, for spectators, there are the Magpies, the Falcons and Newcastle Race Course.