Drives

Driving The Wild Coast Of Northumberland

The Wild Coast Of Northumberland

We have recently returned from the US after driving one of the most iconic roads, Route 66. Although, it’s an experience not to be missed it does make you think of the beautifully rugged scenery we have closer to home which we may not fully appreciate.

One such area of Britain is the wild coastline of Northumberland in the North East of England. As Autumn approaches it is an ideal time to drive along the Northumberland coast as the clouds roll in from the North Sea. The magnificent sweeping views have a timeless quality and you can simply forget the stress of the 21st century.

If the views aren’t enough for you, there are also plenty of castles to visit and a few treats for Harry Potter fans as well.

Budle Bay
Budle Bay on the Northumberland Coast

The Route

There are a number of beautiful locations to choose from but we will concentrate on the short drive from the medieval market town of Alnwick over to Craster. Then heading north along Northumberland’s coastline which is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and ending at the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.

The total distance is just under 40 miles which allows plenty of time to stop and explore.

Alnwick
Alnwick Castle
Alnwick Castle

Before setting off from the pretty market town of Alnwick you must visit Alnwick Castle, the second largest inhabited castle in the country. It may look familiar as it has been used as a film location in many TV shows and films including Harry Potter.

From Alnwick head northeast towards Craster, ‘the home of the kipper’. A walk along the coastal path takes you to the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. Due to its turbulent past, Northumberland has more castles than any other county in England.

Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle

From Craster, it is only a 30 minute drive through Northumberland’s designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to Bamburgh Castle.

Bamburgh Castle was originally the royal seat of the Kings of Northumbria dating back to Anglo-Saxon times. The castle as it appears to do was restored by the Victorian industrialist, the first Lord Armstrong.

Bamburgh Castle has also made an appearance in many historical dramas and of course, Tony Robinson and his Time-Team mates have spent a few days digging around filming a Saxon Special. I think they actually found slightly more than their usual bit of random pottery.

The Holy Island Of Lindisfarne
The Holy island of Lindisfarne
Lindisfarne Castle

Finally, it’s only another 25 minutes to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. This is the part of the drive which you have to plan as access to the island is along a causeway which is cut off by the fast-moving tides twice a day. So don’t forget to check the tide times.

Despite all the warnings and tide tables, unsuspecting tourists are still found desperately wading to safety from flooded cars. So make sure if you are visiting or borrowing a car you get some cheap day car insurance, just in case.

Lindisfarne Priory
Lindisfarne Priory

Once you’ve safely negotiated the causeway, you enter the 12th-century world of Lindisfarne Priory. Lindisfarne was one of the most important centres of early Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England and the priory was the original home to the historic Lindisfarne Gospels.

Driving Northumberland

There are many other areas to explore in Northumberland from the Northumberland National Park, the least populated park in the UK, to the beautiful countryside along Hadrian’s Wall. So next time you are gripped by the road trip urge, don’t forget what’s waiting to be discovered closer to home.

*Collaborative Post

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