I can't believe it has got to the end of March and we haven't booked our summer holiday yet. Throughout the year we do go on several little trips but nothing beats a whole week away. We have two main locations for our August holiday. We either venture south and across the Solent to the Isle of Wight or head north to Northumberland.
We all love Northumberland and even after all the times we have been we still find new places to go. Travelling up we always get off the A1 at Alnwick so we can take the more scenic route up the coast. If you ever pass through Alnwick you know you'll have to come back and have an explore. Of course there's the famous Alnwick Castle and the beautiful Alnwick Garden next to it. Just outside the town walls housed in the former Alnwick Station is Barter Books – I defy anyone to come out empty-handed! Thursday and Saturday are also market days in Alnwick so although it will be extra busy it's worth it for the display of fresh and local produce.
From Alnwick we make our way to Seahouses. It was once a thriving fishing village but it is still busy with boats coming in and out of the harbour. Some are still for fishing and lobster pots can be seen piled up on the quay.
The other boats are for trips to the Farne Islands and the lighthouse were Victorian heroine Grace Darling lived. The islands are a haven for seabirds and seals and a great place to see puffins up close. Just be careful of the terns trying to dive bomb you! It was while living in the Longstone Lighthouse that Grace witnessed the steam ship Forfarshire being wrecked on the rocks. Despite the still howling gale she and her father took their rowing boat and managed to save many of the passengers. You can find the cottage where Grace was born in Bamburgh which is near to the RNLI Grace Darling Museum.
While you are in Berwick you can't miss the imposing Bamburgh Castle. The Castle is made up of several parts added on over several hundreds of years. Despite its age it is still inhabited and you can visit it.
Just after Bamburgh you get back onto the A1. If you look across to the coast you'll see Holy Island or Lindisfarne. What makes it an island is that the tide cuts it off twice a day. If you want to go across make sure you consult the safe crossing times. They are published by the start of the causeway and at tourist information centres. Don't be tempted to cross if the water has started to come up to the causeway as the tide comes in very quickly and many a car has become property of the sea! Once across the main attractions are the Castle, ruined Priory and the winery which is home to Lindisfarne Mead.
A couple of years we booked a bank holiday trip to Berwick For years the Scottish and English border has been disputed but this town currently falls on the English side. For many years between the 1930s and 1970s the artist L. S. Lowry visited Berwick. The views he saw both in the town and along the coast inspired a number of his paintings. You can retrace his steps on The Lowry Trail which gives details on the locations and Lowry's paintings.
If you fancy crossing the border then I going up to St. Abb's. It's a stunning location and forms part of St. Abb's Head National Nature Reserve. In terms of shops there's not much going on but with stunning views such as these who needs retail therapy?
What are your holiday plans this year? Have you ever been to Northumberland?