We are very lucky living in Newcastle Upon Tyne as we are in striking distance of a great many lovely places to visit. If you go along the Northumbrian coast you will soon find yourself on a route that is jam packed with a number of different castles, lovely seaside towns and of course Holy Island and the Farne Islands. One of the castles that is well worth a visit is Bamburgh castle. It is set on a hill overlooking the coast in a very dramatic way. The outcrop it is set on was formed by volcanic activity many years ago and as you drive into the village of Bambrough the castle dominates the area. You can easily see by looking at the hillside how difficult it must have been to attack this castle.
Bambrough castle has a long history, there has been a fortification of some sort on the site since the year 420. Obviously this would have been a fort rather than the impressive structure that you see today. The castle we see today was based on the castle the Normans built in around the 1000’s but it has been added onto and lovingly restored by William Armstrong a victorian industrialist who was born in Newcastle. He was a very interesting man who had a house at Cragside, also within striking distance of Newcastle, which was the first house in the country to be lit by incandescent lamps.
Bambrough castle is well worth a visit and the inside is very striking. It is certainly a good days visit to look around. You can find a few photographs of the inside of the Bambrough castle on my post about the Northumberland coast/
We did not look inside on this visit but we did go down to one of Northumberland’s best kept secrets, the glorious golden beach that the castle overlooks. These beaches go on forever and are rarely crowded. As it was April it was really windy and good kite flying weather. However on a sunny day this beach is glorious. From the shore you can see the Farne Islands. These are a seabird sanctuary and home to puffins amongst other birds. If you go a few miles down the road to Seahouses you can get a boat which takes you on a tour around the islands. In nesting season this is really worth doing, provided the sea is calm. It is a lovely day out and being close to the sea the fish and chips are fabulous.
If you are visiting the Northumberland coast it is also worth a visit to Warkworth castle, when we went they had a medieval pageant which was great fun. It is also worth a trip over to Holy Island. The priory and the castle are both well worth a visit.