The North East is often credited for its remarkable coastline and wonderful rugged countryside. It’s true: the North East really is a beautiful place definitely worth exploring. Northumberland is home to Alnwick Castle, which lent itself well to the Harry Potter films. Head further south and you will encounter the striking Durham cathedral, where the shrine of St Cuthbert resides. But what about the places we don’t hear about?
Many people haven’t heard of Dunstanburgh Castle, a beautiful old ruin sitting on a hill near Embleton beach. The 14th century fortress is open to members of the public and is a popular destination for photographers. In summer, the golden, well-maintained beaches make for an excellent walk to the castle, and just below are bountiful rock pools swimming with life.
Inland somewhat, we find Hexham: a historic town with amazing architecture. Visit the Abbey, with its hidden treasures, including St Wilfrid’s crypt dating back all the way to the 7th century and the Frith Stool, the former throne of a Saxon bishop. Don’t forget to visit the bi-monthly farmers market, oozing with local produce. It usually attracts around 25 stalls each market day, all selling their own seasonal items, from meats and vegetables, to pies, cakes and ales.
Back out to the coast, we have North Shields Fish Quay. Go here for excellent fishing, a range of delicious freshly caught fish and seafood and delicious eateries. Some boats sell their produce fresh from the boat’s ice box! It is often a venue for concerts and festivals where bands such as McFly have played. Opposite the ice factory is a small building which contains an antiques market and a fortnightly craft fair, where you can get anything from delicious scones, cakes, jewellery, soap gifts, baby gifts and even paintings. Stalls change each time so you will have a different experience every time you visit.
Hungry? Up near Longframlington is the Anglers’ Arms, a pub with a menu to die for. Whether it’s a locally produced Sunday roast or a Chinese-inspired sizzling duck platter, there is always something to tickle your taste buds. Heading down the coast, Seaham has a small café called Leaf, Bark and Berry which I can vouch does the most delicious jacket potatoes I have ever had the pleasure of devouring. They also sell some lovely little gifts, as well as larger furniture pieces.
If you are looking for somewhere to stay, don’t bother with the big chains! For the full experience, check into a little country Bed and Breakfast. Alternatively, why not hire a Campervan? Vancations are a local company that allows you to enjoy the full North Eastern experience without having to plan a different hotel every night.
The North East is full of hidden beauty just waiting to be found whether it’s the snow-topped hills in winter or the glistening beaches in the summer months. These are just a few of my lesser-mentioned favourites. For your next break, why not take yourself for an adventure in the North East and find your own special place?