One-time capital of Northumbria, the little village of BAMBURGH, just three miles from Seahouses, lies in the lee of its magnificent castle. Attractive stone cottages – holding the village shop, a café, pubs and B&Bs – flank each side of the triangular green, and at the top of the village on Radcliffe Road is the diminutive Grace Darling Museum. From behind the castle it’s a brisk, five-minute walk to two splendid sandy beaches, backed by rolling, tufted dunes.
Solid and chunky, Bamburgh Castle is a spectacular sight, its elongated battlements crowning a formidable basalt crag high above the beach. Its origins lie in Anglo-Saxon times, but it suffered a centuries-long decline – rotted by sea spray and buffeted by winter storms, the castle was bought by Lord Armstrong (of Rothbury’s Cragside) in 1894, who demolished most of the structure to replace it with a hybrid castle-mansion. Inside there’s plenty to explore, including the sturdy keep that houses an unnerving armoury packed with vicious-looking pikes, halberds, helmets and muskets; the King’s Hall, with its marvellous teak ceiling that was imported from Siam (Thailand) and carved in Victorian times; and a medieval kitchen complete with original jugs, pots and pans.