April 29, 2021 5 min read
Though it seems to be far away, summer is just around the corner. Every day there is even a slither of sunshine my heart is filled with a euphoric sense of pure delight, anyone who knows me will know how much I thrive in the summer months. I come from a long line of sun-worshippers and, I don’t mean to brag, but from being a small child I have been able to endure long 8 hour shifts of sunlight exposure- and I tan exceptionally well. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that summer is nearly here, love it or hate it, the days of flip flops, ice creams and beer gardens are almost upon us. If you’re anything like me, you will have been too sceptical to book an overseas holiday and didn’t think far enough in advance to book a staycation so, for today’s blog, I wanted to delve a little deeper into some of the North East’s gems so you can enjoy your own mini-vacation in the region.
Last week we decided to take the short drive up North to Seahouses and Bamburgh, it was refreshing to see somewhere that wasn’t Whitley Bay- even if it was another beach! We were extremely lucky with the warmish weather and the sun even honoured us with the presence of her strong golden beams, though it wasn’t quite warm enough for me to ditch the jumper. Although most things were still closed due to COVID guidelines, it truly felt like we’d escaped abroad to an overseas holiday destination. To be honest, I had such a great time that I vowed that this summer I will be filling my days off with as many miniscapes (my invented word for mini holiday escapes) as humanly possible so I can indulge in seeing areas beyond North Tyneside while simultaneously sitting smug and avoiding the dreaded cloud of cancellations.
Depending on where you live, the journey to Seahouses can average about 40-90 minutes in the car. We live in Whitley Bay, so it took us just over an hour by car, but the drive is pleasant, with country roads twisting through fields and hills. If you don’t have a car the journey is quite a way longer than this at around 3-4 hours depending on your starting point. You will need to make your way to Haymarket bus station and take the X15 bus towards Berwick-upon-Tweed, getting off at the Playhouse after around 90 minutes then changing to the X18 for just under an hour. Though this journey seems rather laborious, a day trip up to Northumberland is definitely worth it.
Most places were still closed due to COVID restrictions when we visited Seahouses, but we managed to have plenty of fun walking along the beach. We strolled right along the beach at Seahouses and walked towards Bamburgh Castle which can be seen peeking over the top of the dunes. This long stretch of sand is perfect for all the family, whether you want to settle down in a sunny spot for a picnic or dip in the freezing North Sea. I have vivid memories of visiting this beach as a child, jumping off the highest sand dunes possible- a memory I attempted to re-enact but failed miserably after realising age has made me a big wimp! Though there was certainly still a chill in the air, I slipped my shoes and socks off and let the sand find its way in-between my toes, a sensation that always makes me feel like I’m home. The sand is glorious, the kind of soft, white sand that you think of when you picture the Caribbean, it’s a great cushion for high dune jumping and can be moulded into the grandest sandcastle palace in the North East.
As we strolled along the beach during our visit, I pondered over how much of a beautiful place Northumberland is. If we were lucky enough to have the security of sunny weather, I honestly think it would rival top destinations like Cornwall, Spain and Greece. That being said, the peace and empty vacancy of the beach is one of the main reasons I and many others are so drawn towards it, it’s one of the few environments where you can feel like the only person in the world.
After walking along the beach and back, we returned to the town centre of Seahouses and decided to take a trip along the Pier. Again, most things around the Pier were closed but we managed to grab a quick coffee from one of the takeaway vans and wandered towards the end of the Pier. If you were to visit later in the year when many more restrictions have eased, then you would be able to book a short boat trip across to the Farne Islands. The Farne Islands are a collection of rocky islands with a vast population of seals and a monastical heritage. The Islands were the home to St Cuthbert for over a decade and, later, the Darling family, namely Grace Darling who became something of a Victorian celebrity following a risky rescue mission for survivors of the Forfarshire. There are a range of trips available with Billy Shiel’s Boat Trips that range between £20 and £200 where you can travel to other areas in Northumberland, go dolphin spotting or have a private charter.
What’s a trip to the seaside without fish and chips? Of course, that was our next destination after our long walk around Seahouses and, despite restaurants still being closed, we were able to get a takeaway from Lewis’s Fish Restaurant. Lewis’s is a small family run business that catches all of their fish, crab, kippers and lobster in Seahouses. Their takeaway menu is vast with delicious treats like Lemon sole and chips, fishcake and chips and cheese and onion patties for veggies. The day we visited there was a fresh kipper sarnie on the specials board so, of course, we had to try it. We ordered a haddock and chips and a haggis and chips as our other meals with sides of mushy peas and curry sauce and two cans of Dandelion & Burdock to wash it down. There is an unwritten truth that a chippy takeaway always tastes better outside so we decided to settle down on a bench overlooking the harbour to tuck into our feast- it went down a treat. I couldn’t recommend Lewis’s chippy enough, the staff cooked the proper chippy classics to perfection and the menu had plenty of inventive variations of the typical fish and chips so it’s a real all-rounder. Pair that with the chatty and friendly staff that the North East is so famous for and you have yourself a real winner, the perfect way to end our miniscape to Seahouses.
So, if you’re looking for somewhere to visit for a quick day out in the summer months, I couldn’t think of anywhere better to go than Seahouses. It’s got all the components of an excellent miniscape: sea, sand, good food, heritage and history and even the sun if you’re lucky!
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