The Northumberland Coastal Path meanders past windswept beaches, rocky headlands and dramatic ruins steeped in history. Here is our pick of the best short walks along the Northumberland Coast.

Stretching from Cresswell in the South to Berwick-upon-Tweed in the north, the Northumberland Coastal Path passes through an assortment of classic coastal scenery. Sweeping golden beaches, windswept grassy dunes, and crumbling castles perched on rocky headlands.

It’s a delightful, often under-visited seaside region in the country with a host of wonderful experiences, where real villages revolve around the schedule of the fishing trade and pubs serve locally brewed ales.

The entire Northumberland Coastal Path takes between 3 to 6 days to complete. But if you don’t have that sort of time, it’s entirely possible to complete some of the best sections on shorter day walks.

Most of these walks use the Northumberland Coastal Path at some point, but to create interesting circular walks, some head inland via grand stately homes or mighty castles.

Each can be completed in under 4 hours and none of them are particularly challenging. They are much more about savouring the experience of the Northumbrian coast, than physical endurance. And of course like almost all of our hikes they involve pitstops in grand old pubs or cool cafes.

We have included detailed maps for each hike, recommendations for what to see and do, plus where to stay. All in all, everything you need to have great days out exploring the Northumberland Coast.


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IN THIS GUIDE

BEST NORTHUMBERLAND COASTAL WALKS

BAMBURGH & BUDLE BAY WALK
LINDISFARNE CIRCULAR WALK
CRASTER TO DUNSTANBURGH WALK
CRASTER & HOWICK HALL CIRCULAR WALK
INNER FARNE ISLANDS
ALNMOUTH CIRCULAR WALK
WARKWORTH CASTLE WALK

01.

BAMBURGH & BUDLE BAY WALK

Difficulty – Easy | Distance – 7 kilometres | Time – 2 hours | Start – Bamburgh Links Road Car Park | Directions – Anti-clockwise on our Bamburgh Budle Bay Walk Map


The centrepiece of this lovely circular Northumberland coastal walk is mighty Bamburgh Castle. Soaring above the windswept dunes and crashing waves, this imposing edifice has stood the test of time for almost 1,000 years.

The walk begins at Bamburgh Links Road Car Park and heads across the undulating dunes to a magnificent beach. From here, it follows the Northumberland Coastal Path over the cliff tops around Budle Bay, before tracking back across a golf course and along the road into Bamburgh village.

There are numerous opportunities for excellent photos of the castle and bay, and the island of Lindisfarne shimmers in the distance. Upon returning into town, stop in at the Grace Darling Museum and the churchyard in which she rests.

There’s a row of pubs on the Bamburgh high street to stop for a pint. For a coffee pick-me-up, head to The Hut hidden in the car park behind the dunes.

OUR BAMBURGH WALK TIP

Go on a Sunday in summer and you may get the quintessential English scene of cricket being played right under the castle walls.

BAMBURGH WALK MAP

02.

LINDISFARNE CIRCULAR WALK

Difficulty – Easy | Distance – 9 kilometres | Time – 2 hours 40 minutes | Start – Holy Island Chare Ends Car Park | Directions – Clockwise on our Lindisfarne Walk Map


In 635 AD Saint Aidan made the journey from Iona and founded a new monastery on the island of Lindisfarne. Over the centuries it would become a celebrated place of Christian learning. Today, the remnants of this ancient life provide intriguing focal points on a lovely Northumberland coastal walk.

Start at the Holy Island Chare Ends Car Park and head across the island to the northern coast. From here it’s simply a matter of heading clockwise along the shore. The first half is set in the Holy Island Nature Reserve where undulating dunes drop down to golden beaches. We have marked our recommended route on the map below, but as long as you stick near the coast, it doesn’t matter if you’re on the beach or up in the dunes.

Two thirds of the way round you come to Lindisfarne Castle. Built in 1550, it’s set on a tiny rock rising above sheep-strewn fields. There’s a small harbour behind the castle, then a small climb brings you to Heugh Hill with views over the surrounding coast. Finally, the path brings you to Lindisfarne village where you will find the ancient, ruined priory and the more recently constructed church.

After the walk grab a coffee at Pilgrims Coffee House or sample the Lindisfarne Mead – a unique alcoholic fortified wine manufactured on the island.

OUR LINDISFARNE WALK TIP

The Causeway to Lindisfarne Island is tidal and is impassable at high tide. Make sure you check the safe crossing times and give yourself plenty of time to cross the causeway, complete the walk and then return before the tide rises again. View crossing times here.

LINDISFARNE WALK MAP

03.

CRASTER, DUNSTANBURGH & LOW NEWTON WALK

Difficulty – Easy to Medium | Distance – 13 kilometres return | Time – 3 hours 30 minutes | Start – Craster Quarry End Car Park | Direction Craster to Dunstanburgh return map


This stunning walk is centred around the magnificent ruin of Dunstanburgh Castle. From the north it looks little more than a few remnants of wall reaching for the sky. But from the south, this huge defensive fortress looks much more foreboding and provides one of the most photographic sites in Northumbria.

The linear walk begins in Craster, a cute fishing village. It heads north along the Northumberland Coastal Path with stunning views of Dunstanburgh. After 30 minutes you will have reached the castle and could easily turn around and head back to complete a satisfying 1 hour walk. But there’s more to see further on.

The golden sweep of Embleton Bay is one of the most gorgeous beaches along the Northumberland Coast. Low Newton – about 90 minutes after you start – is a tiny village with an excellent pub, The Ship Inn. They brew three types of ales, the Indian Summer, Newton Gold and Squid Ink.

You can either head back the way you came or walk up to High Newton and catch the bus back to Craster. However, be aware that the bus only goes once every two hours (and not on Sundays), so either plan ahead or just stay longer in the pub.

OUR CRASTER TO DUNSTANBURGH TIP

The Jolly Fisherman in Craster has an excellent terrace overlooking the sea. End the walk by dining on Lindisfarne Oysters or Craster Kippers while watching the sun go down.

CRASTER TO DUNSTANBURGH MAP

04.

CRASTER & HOWICK HALL CIRCULAR WALK

Difficult – Easy to Medium | Distance – 11-kilometre return | Time – 3 hours | Start – Craster Quarry End Car Park | Directions – Anti-clockwise on our Craster & Howick Hall Walk


This is an extremely varied and scenic circular walk that explores the Northumberland Coastal path to the south of Craster. It begins by heading inland over a patchwork of fields, rocky outcrops, and wooded valleys before arriving at Howick Hall.

At Howick Hall you have a choice. Pay to go in and explore the gardens, before making your way downstream along the river and exiting the grounds near the coast. Alternately, skip the gardens and go around them via the road (the purple path on the map).

If you head into Howick Hall (the ancestral home of Lord Grey) take an extra hour to explore the gardens and try a cup of Earl Grey tea. The tea was specifically blended by a Chinese mandarin for the 2nd Earl Grey, apparently to suit the water in the well at Howick.

BEST THINGS TO DO IN NORTHUMBERLAND

After the hall, it’s a glorious walk back along the Northumberland Coastal Path. Visit the secluded cove of Sugar Sands, perfect for a dip on a hot day, or take a break on the rocky outcrops of Rumbling Kern and look for sea creatures in the pools.

The walk conveniently ends by passing through the terrace at the Jolly Fisherman, so there’s no going out of your way for a post-walk beer or a locally caught fish.

OUR CRASTER WALK TIP

If you intend to enter Howick Hall, you must complete this walk anti-clockwise since you need to buy an entrance ticket from the ticket office before entering the grounds. Make sure you arrive during opening hours.

CRASTER WALK MAP

05.

INNER FARNE ISLANDS

Difficulty – Easy | Distance – 0.75 kilometres | Time – 30 minutes | Start – Inner Farne Islands | Directions – Follow the laid-out path on the island.


During COVID access to the Inner Farne Islands was restricted. But joyously it has now reopened and it is again possible to get a boat out to these wildlife rich National Trust run islands.

Boat tours out to the island last two to three hours visiting seal colonies and bird ladened cliffs before landing on the shore allowing you to stroll around. It may only be a thirty-minute walk, but what a walk it is. A carefully cut path meanders around nesting birds allowing you can get up close to razorbills, puffins, shags, guillemots, and whole host more.

It’s simply one of the best things to do in Northumberland which is at its peak during the bird nesting season from April to July.

OUR INNER FARNE ISLANDS TIP

This is a great location for photographing birds. Bring a zoom, a tripod and a very steady hand.

WHERE TO STAY IN NORTHUMBERLAND

06.

ALNMOUTH CIRCULAR WALK

Difficult – Easy | Distance – 4.5 kilometres | Time – 1 hour 20 minutes | Start – Alnmouth Beach Car Park | Directions – Anti-clockwise on our Alnmouth Walk Map


This lovely short circular walk not only explores some fine coastline but also visits the charming village of Alnmouth. Stuck out into the River Aln estuary it’s a mix of grand old houses peeking over dunes, coloured facades shimmering in the sun and fishing boats idling in the natural harbour.

The high street is a blast of old England with a lovely church, a quaint old post office and a couple of good pubs. Scott’s of Alnmouth provides all the tasty deli items you would need to create a wonderful picnic to take on the walk with you. They also work with Lindisfarne’s Pilgrim Coffee, but unfortunately that don’t make it with the same dedication as the chaps on Lindisfarne so skip the coffee.  

OUR ALNMOUTH WALK TIP

Sadly, you cannot swim in the sea here as the River Aln has way too much sewage in it.

ALNMOUTH WALK MAP

07.

WARKWORTH CASTLE WALK

Difficulty – Easy | Distance – 4 kilometres | Time – 1 hour 10 minutes | Start – Warkworth Castle Car Park | Directions – Clockwise on our Warkworth Walk Map


The short circular walk to Warkworth Castle is not on the Northumberland Coastal Path but given that it’s such a lovely exploration of an old market town, we decided to include it.

The River Coquet is a lazy winding stream as it heads to the coast. Wedged into one of its u-shaped loops, high up on the hill, is Warkworth Castle. Once home to the Dukes of Northumberland this now ruined medieval castle keeps watch over the town.

This lovely stroll starts at the castle, heads over fields, and drops down to the river. You can take a quick optional detour on a (rather pricey) ferry to explore a hermitage (cave in the wall), before continuing along the riverside path.

The views up to the castle are magnificent but before long you arrive in the market town. A charming church and a fine stone bridge sit amongst the cherry blossoms which are in full bloom in May. There’s a couple of pubs for a ‘barely deserved’ rest at the end.

It would be lovely if you could join this walk up with the Alnmouth Circular nearby. Sadly, there is no path over the estuary, making it a long walk round on a rather busy and uninspiring road. 

WARKWORTH CASTLE TIPS

The River Coquet is a beautiful winding river with excellent views up the castle and the perfect spot for a bit of stand-up paddle boarding.

WARKWORTH CASTLE MAP

INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING OUR NORTHUMBERLAND COASTAL WALKS MAPS

We have included all our Northumberland Coastal Walks on the below map, however each of the specific route instructions are on the maps linked under each walk.

To save them to your device, click on the map link which will load it in GoogleMaps and save it to “your maps.”

HOW TO GET AROUND THE NORTHUMBERLAND COAST

BY CAR

The best way to get to these Northumberland Coastal walks is to drive. They are all conveniently located on a 45-minute stretch of the A1 between Lindisfarne in the north and Warkworth Castle in the south. If you need to hire a car for the journey, we recommend Auto Europe.

Car parks are spread throughout Northumberland in convenient locations for many of these walks. Parking cost can add up along the coast, however, most parking areas using Pay By Phone so you don’t need to have a load of coins with you.

AUTO EUROPE UK & EU // AUTO EUROPE US

BY BUS

There is a very helpful bus service that connects many of the best sections of the Northumberland Coastal Path. The 418 runs every two hours (although not on Sunday) connecting Berwick on Tweed with Bamburgh, Seahouses, Beadnell, High Newton, Embleton, Dunstan, Craster, Howick and Alnwick.

The X18 is hourly and connects Alnwick, Alnmouth and Warkworth with Newcastle in the south and Berwick-upon-Tweed in the north.

BY TRAIN

A fast train service operates along the east coast with 15 services per day. Journey time is around 3 hours and 30 minutes from London to Berwick-upon-Tweed, making the train a great option to explore the Northumberland coast. Check prices and times on The Train Line.

WHERE TO STAY ON NORTHUMBERLAND COAST

If you are exploring the Northumberland Coast without a car, we recommend staying in Alnwick which has convenient buses to the nearby villages and a great walk right from the centre of town.

Otherwise, here are some well-located areas that are ideal for exploring the Northumberland Coastal Path.


ALNWICK

POSTHOUSE

Good budget self-catering apartments right in the centre of Alnwick from where buses leave to all over the Northumberland Coast.


BEADNELL

BEADNELL TOWERS HOTEL

Fantastic value boutique hotel tucked into the village of Beadnell, featuring a modern design with a great bar and breakfast room. The nearby beach has water sports facilities to hire.


NEWTON BY THE SEA

JOINERS ARMS

A charming pub in the village of Newton by the Sea, the food is excellent, and it’s superbly located near magnificent beaches. Dunstanburgh castle is also nearby.


ALNWICK

THE COOKIE JAR

A Grand old hotel with a beautifully designed interior that is high on style and low on stuffiness. It’s a stone throw from Alnwick Castle so you’re well located to explore the area.


ALNMOUTH

HALLSTEADS

Luxurious apartment in the centre of the lovely village of Alnmouth. Modern and bright it is well-appointed, has onsite parking and a lovely garden, making it a great self-catering option.

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The Northumberland Coast is a scenic part of Britain that’s ideal for outdoor adventure. Here are some more outdoor adventures from us in Britain.

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