One of the most recognised villages in Northumberland due to the prominent position of Bamburgh castle at the bottom of the village, overlooking the stunning coastline and golden sandy beach. Steeped in history, the village is also the birthplace of Grace Darling, the sea heroine who rescued survivors from a stormy ship wreck. Bamburgh is a very pretty village in every season and is home to some lovely shops and restaurants.
The Historic Coastal Village of Bamburgh is set in some of the most beautiful Northumberland countryside. As well as appealing to families, with a fabulous, vast and sandy beach dominated by a beautiful and dramatic castle, it similarly appeals to couples as an incredibly romantic place, and is also a very dog friendly location.
In a superb central position, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Bamburgh is ideal for exploring the whole Heritage Coastline, from Berwick down to Druridge Bay, but also close to the historical market towns of Alnwick – with Alnwick Castle and Alnwick Garden – and Berwick upon Tweed. The nearby fishing town of Seahouses offers a ‘seaside village’ atmosphere and boat trips to The Farne Islands and Holy Island. The pretty coastal road is perfect for exploring all the little coastal villages such as Alnmouth, Craster, Low Newton and Warkworth.
Northumberland is a walkers’ and cyclists’ paradise. Bamburgh is a popular location offering many cycle routes for walkers exploring St Cuthbert’s Way or simply enjoying the miles and miles of golden sandy beaches. Bamburgh is known as “the very foundation stone of England”.
It is a royal city and was home to the Kings of Northumbria. Nowadays, the resident population is only about 300, however, this swells during the summer months when tourists flock to visit the village creating a friendly atmosphere.
Bamburgh has resisted the trappings of the average coastal village, you will not find fish and chip shops, take away’s and amusement arcades here.
Instead Bamburgh has retained its heritage and has a strong village feel. At the centre of the village, there is a tree lined village grove showcasing St Aidan’s Church to one side. To the other side you’ll find Front Street which hosts local amenities such as a delectable village shop selling traditional sweets and locally made ice creams, two quality gift shops, a wonderful deli, an award winning tea room and Bamburgh’s Famous Butcher, R Carter’s and Sons, ‘one of Rick Stein’s food heros’.
Bamburgh also provides a selection of superb restaurants and places to eat, and for art lovers there’s a local gallery. To the top of the grove you will find the family run Green grocer and nursery called G S Clark almost hidden in the walled garden that used to serve the castle. We have listed local shops and places to eat further down on this page.
The Farne Islands
The Farne Islands lie two to three miles off the Northumberland coast midway between the fishing village of Seahouses and the magnificent Castle of Bamburgh. The Farne Islands are a hub for wildlife and these rocky island habitats are perfect for seales and many species of seabirds. The Farne Islands have possibly the most exciting seabird colony in England with unrivalled views of 23 species, including around 37,000 pairs of puffin. It’s also home to a large grey seal colony, with more than 1,000 pups born every autumn.
Historically, the islands have strong links with Celtic Christianity and St Cuthbert, who lived here in the 7th Century. There’s also a medieval pele tower and Victorian lighthouse here, plus a visitor centre and easy access boardwalk. Many of the islands hide underwater at high tide. Visitors pass lots of these inaccessible islets on boat trips – a short journey to a different world!
Open from May to July, Staple Island is home to puffins, shags, guillemots and many Atlantic Grey Seals. National Trust rangers live on the Inner Farne and welcome visitors by boat. They live here for the entire season, overlooking the colony and keeping the wildlife safe. May different birds can be viewed on the Farnes, but beware of the Arctic Turns who will protect their chicks if you walk too close so bring a hat!
Longstone Lighthouse stands on the outer group of the Farnes. It was made famous on the 7th September 1838 by Grace Darling when she and her father rescued nine survivors from the Forfarshire, a paddle steam ship which ran aground on Big Harcar in stormy seas. Longstone Lighthouse was manned for 164 years before automation was introduced in 1990.
The Inner Farne and Staple Islands are those open to the public, so bring a picnic, relax, and enjoy the best view of Bamburgh Castle and the Cheviot Hills you will ever see.
Billy Shiel’s boat trips are the best to use for trips over to the Farne Islands. The also offer Dolphin tours in season, trips to Holy Island and private boat tours too. Click HERE to visit their website. Pre-booking is absolutely essential as in the summer is gets very busy.
Where To Eat in Bamburgh
This newly refurbished pub has a really cosy bar and a fabulous restaurant called The Wynding Inn. Definitely somewhere to cosy up in after a long walk on Bamburgh beach. Serving traditional English dishes, this pub and restaurant is recommended to us often by our customers. It is not one to miss. Tel: 01668 214273 or click HERE to visit their website.
The Castle Inn
Located in the centre of the main street in Bamburgh, The Castle Hotel is a traditional pub and restaurant, serving a hearty Sunday lunch too, ideal after a brisk walk on the beach and round the castle. Their beer garden is huge and a sun trap on a warm day, plus dogs are welcome in the garden too. Tel: 01668 214616.
Very traditional style tearooms serving light, homemade lunches and afternoon teas. Located in the heart of Bamburgh on the main street.
Walks around Bamburgh
The beach can either be reached over the dunes at the bottom of the village, or next to the cricket pavilion down a little shortcut. There are some lovely views over too Lindisfarne and Holy Island, and dogs are allowed on the beach all year round too.
Circular route from Bamburgh to Budle Bay
This route is approximately 4 miles, heading out of Bamburgh inland, crossing over the meadows and dropping down into the beautiful Budle Bay. You then head back towards Bamburgh along the coastline, taking in the stunning views. For the full route, click HERE.
Bamburgh’s Coast and Castle
If you want a hearty walk around the heritage coastline, this walk is 8.5 miles long and should take roughly about 3 hours and 15 minutes. The link to the walking directions is HERE.
Fantastic local and traditional butchers which are the makers of ‘Northumberland’s finest sausage’, “The Northumbrian Bamburgh Banger”. If you like pork pies, you must pop in. It’s rare nowadays to have such a good village butcher, but they also do many things other than just meat and pies. Click HERE to visit their website.
As well as providing a fantastic selection of sweet treats such as puddings, sweets, preserves and deli products, the Pantry also makes up its own hampers which Is a lovely treat to take back to your cottage. Keep an eye out at Christmas time as they make their own festive range of chutneys and Christmas boxes. Click HERE to visit their website.
A delicious deli selling award-winning local ice cream (to die for), sandwiches and paninis, deli products and old-fashioned sweets. There is also a coffee shop inside and seats outside in the summer, where you can enjoy a coffee and a sweet treat whilst soaking up the views. They also have a great selection of local gifts and a small display of local artworks. Click HERE to visit their website.
G.S Clark & Son Greengrocers
A very pretty traditional green grocers, located in a little stone courtyard at the top of the village. Very reasonably priced and a quaint place to even just have a look around.
Blacketts of Bamburgh
A small shop at the top of the village selling antiques and coastal themed gifts. The perfect place to find a memorable gift to remind you of your trip to Bamburgh and Northumberland. Click HERE to visit their website.
Country House Gifts & Gallery
A small art gallery and gift shop, as well as a stockist for country clothing such as Joules and Crew Clothing. Located in the middle of the main street.
Bamburgh B-Fest is a fantastic summer evening music festival happening in the shadow of Bamburgh Castle on Saturday 13th August, hosted by Hospice Care. BFest is a celebration of a multitude of genres of music from classical through to rock and roll and many points in between. Their aim is to give you a great summer evening, lounging on picnic blankets or sitting in deck chairs, enjoying your own picnic, listening to some cool sounds and watching the sun set on Bamburgh castle – perhaps with a glass of fizz or whatever tickles your fancy.
At BFest provide the venue, the music and the atmosphere, all you have to do is bring along the things you need to be comfortable and, if you want, your wicker baskets packed with delights. Click HERE to visit their website and to buy your ticket.
Bamburgh Christmas Lights
On the last weekend of November each year, Bamburgh has a small evening to celebrate the turning on of the Christmas lights. It usually begins very early evening with a nativity scene next to the church then the lights are turned on shortly afterwards. Why not use this opportunity to have a meal at one of the local pubs or restaurants and have a lovely stroll around the village.
Bamburgh Annual Flower, Vegetable and Industrial Show
The show usually takes place on the 2nd weekend in September, this is the biggest event held in Bamburgh during the year. The cricket field and pavilion opens up to visitors with stalls and competitions for all ages, fun races and a marquee on the field, which really pulls the community together.
Bamburgh Castle & History
Spanning nine acres of land on its rocky plateau high above the Northumberland coastline, Bamburgh is one of the largest inhabited castles in the country. Archaeological history dates back to the 1st century BC, showing that the Celtic tribe was probably the first occupier of the land.
During the Roman Conquest, Bamburgh was occupied during the invasion as soldiers advance into Scotland before retreating south to Hadrian’s Wall. The coastline is vulnerable to seaborne raids and coastal defence was critical.
Bamburgh’s commanding crag top position is viable for miles and put to good use as part of the Roman beacon coastal defence system.
Here is some interesting drone footage shot by Enlightened Media:
Grace was born on 24th November, 1815 at Bamburgh, Northumberland and spent her youth in two lighthouses (Brownsman and Longstone) of which her father, William, was the keeper.
In the early hours of the 7th September 1838, Grace, looking out from an upstairs window of the Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands, spotted the wreck and survivors of the Forfarshire on Big Harcar, a low rocky outcrop. The Forfarshire had foundered on the rocks and broken in half; one of the halves had sunk during the night.
Amidst tempestuous waves and gale force winds there followed an amazing rescue of the survivors. Grace’s life would never be the same.
Run by the RLNI, the Grace Darling Museum commemorates the life of Victorian Britain’s greatest heroine and the story of the wreck of the steamship SS Forfarshire on 7 September 1838. It is located at the top of the village opposite the church, where her gravestone can also be found.
The interactive Museum illustrates Grace’s upbringing and life on the lighthouse, showcasing personal items such as letters and family portraits, and an atmospheric audio-visual interpretation, allowing a realistic look at Grace’s life.
Please click HERE to visit the Grace Darling website, where a full account of the rescue and Grace’s life history can be found.
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