There’s nothing better than an impromptu getaway with one of your best buddies and her gorgeous kiddies and really feeling like you are stepping away from it all. And this is exactly what happened over October half term, when the littles and I were very kindly asked to stay at our friend’s holiday home in Bamburgh with her and her two little ones.
With its coastline of open, sweeping beaches, rocky shores and extensive sand dunes, Bamburgh is so beautiful and everytime we visit, I instantly relax and the kids have a ball. We spend our days pottering around the village, playing on the beach and making the most of the eternal sunshine (I swear Bamburgh has its own microclimate as no matter what time of year we visit, it’s always sunny!).
The kids absolutely adore visiting Bamburgh and its local attractions, and after consulting the little ones for the purpose of this post, here are their top 5 things to see and do in and around Bamburgh:
1 // Bamburgh Castle
Once the royal seat of the Kings of Northumbria, Bamburgh Castle has stood guard over this beautiful coastline for over 1,400 years. Spanning nine acres of land on its rocky plateau, Bamburgh Castle is one of the largest inhabited castles in the country and is definitely worth a visit.
From the Armstrong and Aviation Artefacts Museum, to the State Rooms there is something for everyone and the views from the castle ramparts across the bay to Holy Island and Lindisfarne are truly breathtaking. There’s plenty of space for little legs to run around and explore and I’d highly recommend downloading the activity pack before you visit to help your little ones discover the castle. We happily spent a good few hours, digging in the dig pit, playing quoits, running around like loons exploring and clambering on canons!
2 // Bamburgh Beach
Bamburgh Castle beach is the perfect place to go for long, wind-swept walks at any time of year and we can easily while away a good few hours on the beach building sandcastles, paddling in the surf, playing beach games and flying kites. Wth the castle providing a stunning backdrop, the sands run almost unbroken between Bamburgh and Seahouses, with dunes and just a couple of rocky areas that always prove very popular with the little ones.
After a good morning playing on the sand, we love nothing better than heading to the Copper Kettle Tearooms for a delicious homemade lunch or Wyndenwell for their locally made ice cream which is to die for!
Cosy two-in-one padded jacket c/o Boden
3 // Alnwick Castle
With its medieval knights and dragons, dressing up area and Harry Potter experience, Alnwick Castle proved to be a HUGE hit with the kids. We also timed it perfectly to take part in their Halloween themed ‘Spooky Trail’ around the beautiful gardens, which was great fun.
Alnwick Castle has played host to some pretty incredible film sets over the years including Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and Jack’s favourite, Harry Potter and he was so excited by the Broomstick Training on the very spot where Harry had his first flying lesson in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Sessions are free with your entry ticket, but require a free time-slot ticket. You simply collect your time-slot ticket from Knight’s Quest when you arrive at Alnwick Castle, but as it’s super popular you really need to arrive as early in the day as possible and collect your tickets straight away to avoid disappointment. We didn’t realise you had to book in advance and very nearly missed out.
Knight’s Quest is a brilliant area of the castle where you can dress up in medieval costume and meet Alnwick’s townsfolk as you join the hustle and bustle of life in the 14th century. There was so much going on, it was impossible to try everything but the kids loved playing traditional games in the square, dressing up and completing the quizzes. There’s also the Dragon Quest, which like the Broomstick Training is free, but you need to get your hands on tickets in advance. We started it with all four kids, but be warned it’s not for the feint hearted and only Jack and I made it to the end after lots of screaming and tears from the girls.
We didn’t manage to take a trip on the Heatherslaw Light Railway on this holiday, but its usually a firm favourite on our Bamburgh trips.
The 15 inch gauge railway runs a lovely route from Heatherslaw Station across to Etal Castle, with much of it alongside the River Till offering lovely views and copious wildlife spotting opportunities! The journey there and back takes approximately 50 minutes and if you time it right, I can highly recommend stopping at the lovely family-friendly Lavender Tearooms in Etal village for lunch or afternoon tea.
Aside from being the most northerly known steam railway in England, Heatherslaw Light Railway is a brilliant day out in all weathers thanks to its adaptability. It offers fully enclosed, partly glazed, and fully open carriage options depending on the weather and it also carries two permanent carriages suitable for disabled access.
5 // The Fish Shack, Amble
As a family of food lovers, it was only right that we included one eatery on the list and it just had to be The Fish Shack. This place couldn’t be better. With its amazing fresh food (think fish and chips, crab sandwiches and freshly steamed mussels), quirky and relaxed setting, and helpful staff, it really is a fantastic place that is well worth a visit!
Situated on Amble’s beautiful harbour, The Fish Shack is a cosy, rustic eatery that was purpose built using the old ‘Sea Quest’ boat. (The photos below have been taken from their website).