Northumberland Beaches - my top picks

Lisa Brady on 12 July 2020
I have been lucky to sink my toes into some of the finest beaches around the World. I will happily set the alarm for sunrise, join you for sundowners and swim in the sea without a care in the world – or to my family’s horror a thought to what may lurk beneath. Of all the places explored, Northumberland Coast takes number one. Wherever you stay in the NE you are close by (at most a short drive) to every type of beach. We have busy beaches with surfing shops, cafes, arcades and award-winning restaurants. Secluded beaches where you are pretty much guaranteed to have miles of sand to yourself. You can choose the backdrop of world famous castles, the forefront of islands – channel your inner David Attenborough with a visit to the Farne Islands, or seep in history at the island which isn’t always an island taking the breath-taking drive of the causeway to Holy Island.

We have circa 40 miles of beach, if you want to experience all its true glory there is the 100km Northumberland Coast Path walk.

Here are a few of my favourites which we have visited over the past few weeks...


You will find Longsands and King Edwards here separated only by a cliff. Both beaches have been internationally recognised as Blue Flag Beaches. King Edwards is a small bay, surrounded by cliffs and overlooked by a historic Priory and Castle. I have memories of playing in the sand here as a child. Now, this beach is home to a nominated ‘World finest dining experience’ – Riley’s Fish Shack. This tiny shack has won praise from foodies around the World as a perfect eating experience. We have enjoyed surf and turf, lobster, monkfish, kippers, oysters, wraps and the most amazing flatbreads and roast potatoes you can imagine! Expect to queue and be surprised with the menu which changes according to the catch of the day. Sit in their deckchairs enjoy the wait and the view.

Longsands is a larger and less secluded beach, again a blue flag outstanding beach – a fab walk at around half a mile long with the wonderful Crusoe’s Café at one side – with very tempting cupcakes. Longsands is one of the region’s more popular beaches in an affluent residential area, there is always space even in the peak of summer, although parking can be a challenge. It is one of the best places to surf in the North East, book into a surf school for a day or hire your kit at one of the surf shops which overlook the beach.

Whilst in Tynemouth take a walk to Front Street, you will find an abundance of nice bars (ideal for a night out too), restaurants, cafés and an eclectic mix of shops. If you visit at the weekend be sure to experience the indoor market at the gloriously restored Victorian Station.

Places to stay

Gull Cottage, Tynemouth. This 1-bedroom cottage is a stone throw from everywhere mentioned above. The View Old Coastguard Cottage. Once belonged by the Queen as a look out for invaders, now a 5-bedroom property sleeping upto 10 people. Beautiful sea views, a great option for a group or family get together. The Village Hotel – around 4 miles from Longsands, the closest large hotel with pool, gym, spa and restaurant in the area.

Bamburgh Beach

Wonderfully dramatic with miles of soft white sands, high dunes, the iconic Bamburgh Castle always in sight and the Farne Island’s visible from its shores – everywhere you look is breath-taking, easily one of the most beautiful beaches I have seen and that’s before you explore the picturesque village of Bamburgh. Often windy which seems to help encourage other to stay away, you will have plenty space and have perfect conditions for kite surfing, surfing and dune running! Bamburgh is steeped in history, the castle deemed the King of the Castles, a grade 1 listed building now privately owned and open for visitors all year round. Bamburgh was the home to Grace Darling, the famous heroin who lived in her father’s lighthouse and risked her life to rescue other’s in a terrible storm – Grace darling Museum is in the village.

We tend to take a picnic and spend most of the time on the beach. For dining visit the Potted Lobster. Or take a drive out to another of our famous castles – Alnwick which is around 30 minutes away and book into the Treehouse for another dining treat.

Places to stay The Watch Tower in Waren Mill, near Bamburgh. This penthouse of a converted mill with commanding views over Budle Bay towards Holy Island. Sleeps up to 6 people in 3 bedrooms. The Haven, situated on the fabulous Holy Island, accessed via the tidal causeway. There is something magical about a stay on this island and this fantastic holiday cottage – the perfect seaside retreat. 2 bedrooms, sleeps upto 6 people

Druridge Bay

Whenever we visit Druridge Bay we take a BBQ picnic, now a Brady tradition, one which I would highly recommend, there is something special about a freshly cooked hot dog here!

Druridge Bay is a country park with a lake, woodland, visitors centre and 7-mile-long beach. Fans of water sports can head to the lake or sea for open water swimming – sailing, canoeing and windsurfing, again it is another great surf spot. Horse-riding is encouraged by the council on this beach, all can be arranged locally.

Another popular beach with so much on offer but because of its size it never seems busy. We visited at the start of the pandemic when we were first allowed a little more freedom, the car park was busy so we almost turned away - the beach and the dunes are vast so there was never any crowding, just fun to be had in spectacular scenery.

Places to stay

Cutter Cottage, a short walk away from Druridge Bay. This cosy cottage is just a short walk away from the beach. 2 bedrooms, sleeps upto 4 people. Cresswell Towers, a family focused caravan site situated just 200m from the golden sandy beaches and dunes of Druridge Bay. Creswell Towers was awarded the David Bellamy Gold award for conservation.

So, that is my top 3 which we have visited recently. Other favourites well worth a mention and a visit are Beadnell, Creswell, Alnmouth, Low Newton, Craster, Ross Sands, Berwick, Whitley Bay with the beautiful renovated Spanish City – the list goes on, with an abundance of properties from hotels, cottages and lodges to suit your individual needs. We hope you can visit soon!