Bamburgh, Northumbria, is a northern coastal gem that offers great food, great history and great scenery. What more can one possibly wish for? Here’s our guide to the perfect weekend break in Bamburgh, Northumbria.
I’m rather embarrassed to admit it, but I haven’t really seen much of England. I’ve been to Bristol (I love it), London (I loathe it), Sheffield (highly underrated, in my humble opinion). And that’s basically it. Sorry guys. In comparison, I can proudly claim that I’ve been high and low in Scotland during my three years as an ’adopted Scot’ – from road trips through the Scottish Highlands, tasting the famous Loch Fyne oysters in the west, and dreaming of living in my very own Scottish castle.
But England? I’ve never really bothered.
Last weekend, we jumped on a train and ended up in Bamburgh, Northumbria. And spoiler alert: Northumbria is now my new favourite place, and I want to spend all my weekends here. OK?
Bamburgh – A Coastal Gem in Northumbria
Never heard of Bamburgh before?
Not surprising, but I must admit that you’re missing out! Bamburgh is a stunning coastal town in the very heart of Northumbria. Thousands of visitors flock to Bamburgh every summer for its famous beach, majestic castle, beautiful scenery and its fabulous location close to other popular sights such as Lindisfarne, Seahouses and Alnwick. Despite the high number of visitors, Bamburgh still feels like a wee village. And, as I mentioned to my partner as we were strolling through the quaint main street, the village is certainly what I – as a non-English person – would consider to be quintessentially English.
Whether you’re staying for a week or just a weekend, here’s a wee guide curated to let you see, taste and experience the most of this little coastal gem during your visit.
For The Culture Vulture: What To See and Do in Bamburgh
It might be a wee village, but there’s still plenty of great experiences awaiting you in Bamburgh.
Your first stop should of course be the impressive Bamburgh Castle, which sits proudly as a crown on top of the only hill in the village. Historically, Bamburgh was the capital of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria. The castle has allegedly been occupied for over 10,000 years, and it has evolved from a wee wooden building to the impressive castle it is today. Fun fact: Bamburgh Castle was the first ever castle in England to fall to canon fire – this happened as the Wars of Roses drew to a close. The castle was bought by the First Lord Armstrong in 1894, and it’s still owned by the Armstrong family. The castle is open all year round, and I can highly recommend a visit! You can find more information on opening hours and directions to Bamburgh Castle here.
Once you’ve been impressed by the art collection in Bamburgh Castle, I suggest that you head down to the absolutely stunning beach. I mean it – if it wasn’t for the bitter, autumnal wind I could easily have mistaken it for a beach in the Bahamas. Take a romantic stroll down the coastline, admire the nearby Farne Islands or sit down for a wee picnic in the sand. Whatever you do, Bamburgh beach is sure to bring some peacefulness into your life.
You also cannot miss out on a visit to the Grace Darling Museum. The museum, which is only a short walk from Bamburgh Castle, commemorates the life and actions of Grace Darling, undoubtedly the greatest heroine in Victorian Britain. On September 7th 1838, Grace Darling, a young woman who lived in a lighthouse on the Farne Islands, risked her own life to rescue nine survivors from SS Forfarshire, which sunk during a terrible storm. The museum tells you the story of Grace’s life and upbringing, and, of course, about the faithful night in 1838. It’s a great and interactive museum which comes highly recommended.
There’s also plenty of day trips to take from Bamburgh, as the city is located in close proximity to Alnwick, Seahouses and Lindisfarne (article coming up!).
A Culinary Feast: Where To Eat in Bamburgh
Exploring can be exhausting, but luckily Bamburgh has plenty of eateries to offer!
I always get excited when visiting a coastal town, because that can only mean one thing: fresh seafood! We settled on The Potted Lobster, which is known to serve quality seafood (all sourced from local suppliers in the North East). I had Gruyere tart as a starter, and grilled lobster for main. My partner had potted lobster as a starter and lobster thermidore for main (there’s no such thing as too much lobster…). All of the dishes were absolutely amazing, and we were both too full for pudding – that’s always a tell-tale sign of a succesful meal, in my opinion. It was most definitely the celebratory meal we had all been hoping for.
But of course, there are plenty of other options nearby. The Brasserie at the Victoria Hotel is supposed to be good, and the same goes for Bailey’s Bar & Restaurant and the Apple Core at Lucker. There’s also plenty of tearooms in the village, if you rather just fancy a cuppa. There’s also a nice restaurant at nearby Doxford Hall (but that would require either a car or an overnight stay – and a well-filled wallet, of course).
Safe to say, you won’t go hungry in Northumbria.
Spending the Night: Where to Stay in Bamburgh
As any well-respected, holiday destination, Bamburgh has plenty of accommodation to offer. No matter your budget or preferances, you are most certain to find something that suits you.
We were quite lucky as our family had booked the most stunning villa – just a quick stroll from Bamburgh’s impressive beach. It suited us perfectly as we were 6 people travelling together, all of us with different routines and expectations for the trip. It gave us a calm oasis to start the day together – and a wonderful place to meet up for relaxation and chats in the evenings.
If you are looking for self catering accommodation, you can find a great selection here .
And you can find a list of hotels in Bamburgh here. The Mizen Head Hotel and The Victoria Hotel look super lush, so you can’t really go wrong with any of those.