There’s nothing quite like having a day out at the beach. While the UK might not be tropical (although our recent heatwave would beg to differ!), when the weather’s good, it’s hard to beat England’s coast and this year we’re very proud to say that not one, not two, but three beaches near our Little Hideaways in Northumberland have made The Sunday Times Top 50 Beaches in the UK – all unsurprisingly sitting in the top 10! Chief travel writer Chris Haslam visited nearly 800 for this year’s Best Beaches guide so you can trust they’ve got the ultimate seal of approval!
Here is our round-up of these three sandy slices of heaven and what to do when you get there from taking a dip from a secret bay to tasting the local ales and ice cream so you can make the most out of your trip.
Howdiemont Sands, Northumberland
Kicking off the list, a little local secret, Howdiemont Sands, otherwise known as ‘The Burn Mouth’ – the most beautiful crescent of sand protected by low headlands. This is a pure beach experience, it’s always very tranquil here. There’s pretty much just you, the beach, the sea (sometimes a few sheep), and that’s perfect. Known mainly to walkers, you can either access by road or on foot. If you’re travelling by car, look out for the signpost to Low Steads Farm just after the church in Longhoughton. This will take you down Crowlea Road where you just need to make sure you have a pound or two to pop in the honesty box (you can’t miss it), then drive half a mile further down and park behind the dunes.
There’s a lot of wildlife that can be spotted here. If you have a keen interest in fauna and flora, it’s a must, or if you just want to visit one of the best beaches in Northumberland.
Top tip: if you’re walking, take the route through Howick Hall Garden’s. You have to pay for garden entry but it’s worth it as you take in their stunning gardens and then walk out onto the Coastal Path. (Note you can’t walk back up the same path and have to make your way back to the main car park from the coast.) We did this last summer and walked to Alnmouth. A two-minute walk further north is another beach that’s very similar called Sugar Sands. Dogs are welcome at both, but keep an eye out for those sheep!
2. Newton Steads and Football Hole, Northumberland
One of the most picturesque seaside spots you could ever wish for, the landscape delights all year round here – sitting pretty at a mile long, there’s plenty of sand to frolic in for the day. To watch the sunrise on a summer morning is magic, or to stand on the beach on a moonlit night and hear the seals calling is quite the experience. On a clear day, you can sometimes even see dolphins and the view of Dunstanburgh Castle is majestic too. It’s no wonder people return here time and time again. Once you’ve been you quickly realise how special this stretch of beach is.
A particular favourite of ours and very close is Low Newton beach where you can also find The Ship Inn and enjoy some real ale from their own microbrewery.
If you cross the Brunton Burn we also recommend you walk a couple of miles up to the sheltered Beadnell Bay for a seafood lunch at the brilliant, Bait at Beadnell Food Truck. Dog friendly.
3. St Aidan’s Dunes, Northumberland
St. Aiden’s beach, AKA, one of the world’s most magnificent, softest beaches with the spectacular Bamburgh Castle as your backdrop. It can be reached by foot from all our cottages in Seahouses and if you have a dog, they will probably thank you for taking them to their favourite beach of all time. There are all sorts of activities like paddle boarding, windsurfing, kayaking and more going on, though you might be too busy digging holes and building sandcastles or picnicking. It’s very clean and picturesque, and offers incredible views of the Farne Islands too, home to an internationally important breeding colony of thousands of seabirds and grey seals.
Both Seahouses and this beach have a really postcard-esque feel, so be sure to get in some good snaps whilst enjoying a few great places to get seriously tasty seafood and ice cream. We always recommend the Olde Ship Inn in the harbour for a cold drink – a treasure trove of old-worldly sailing treats set in a 17th-century coaching inn. You must also try Lewis’s Fish and Chips, which The Times have also just named them one of the top 10 chippies in the country.
What can we say. Holiday destinations don’t get much better than this!!
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