Please proceed with caution my friends. For there’s something that lurks beneath the vast sand rushes of Northumberland’s shoreline that seeks your soul to have as its own. I know, because it stole mine from me – and I haven’t been the same since.
Alongside its beautiful collection of romantic castles, Northumberland is home to more than 30 miles of the most beautiful beaches in the British Isles – all dog-friendly. Some of them hulking curved slices of sand and rock, others sheltered coves of folding dunes and dancing grasses.
Whichever beach you choose, be prepared; keep your heart guarded at all times. For if you don’t, it’ll be lost amongst the wild sands, and you will never want to return home.
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1. The Spiritual Shore – Lindisfarne
Cut off from the world twice a day as the thumping North Sea rolls in, Lindisfarne (also known as Holy Island) has a shoreline of haunting solitude. Although this tidal island is known mostly for its medieval religious heritage, it is also home to 4 unspoiled beaches where you can sense the ghosts of centuries passing by:
The Links Beach – a heart-thumping sweep of gold flats where, on a clear day, you can see all the way to the cliffs on the Scottish border. Coves Haven – a cosy quiet, remote nest of a beach, backed by high sand dunes. Keel Head – a secluded scoop of sand overlooked by the white navigation tower of Emmanuel Head. Harbour Beach – dotted with pebbles and boats, and probably the beach visitors see the most on their way to Lindisfarne Castle.
Discover more: A heavenly weekend visit to Holy Island
2. The Soulful Shore – Beadnell Bay
With the only west-facing harbour on the east coast of England, Beadnell Bay has been capturing souls for as long as there have been souls to net. This breeze-filled bay is one that families flock to in the summer to feed their cravings for crabbing and sandcastles, and, in the winter, runners and dog-walkers steal away to find some space for themselves.
The bay, which arches protectively up from the tip of Dunstanborough Castle to Beadnell’s unusual harbour and its two historic limekilns, is also a mecca for surfers, windsurfers and wakeboarders. They skip from wave to wave, almost touching the sky, the whole universe in their heart… and the thrill of Beadnell silently stealing away their soul.
Discover more: A weekend ride to the Farne Islands
3. The Spine-tingling Shore – Bamburgh Beach
Beyond Bamburgh Castle and Bamburgh village, there’s a beach of such magnitude, such presence, such power it’ll shake you to the very core. Bamburgh Beach’s heart-thumping size knocks the breath from your lungs as you come on to it from amongst the grassy dunes that keep it hidden.
A magnificent spread of honeyed sands, packed hard and flat by ferocious North Sea winds, it runs and runs until the sands turn into a thick smattering of rock pools at its far end, ideal for kids. The waters that wash its shores – Blue Flag, naturally – are loved by swimmers and windsurfers; Bamburgh Beach having been voted one of the North East’s best surf spots.
Of course, during winter the only things brave enough to flurry in the jagged waves are dogs, watched on by their owners… watched on by the curious eyes of the mighty Bamburgh Castle.
Discover more: 12 hours in Bamburgh
For me, nothing beats the wild beaches of Northumberland
Have you been or would you like to go? Do you agree or disagree?
I’d love to know what you think – I always reply
This article was a guest post written for the Visit Northumberland ‘Wild Northumberland’ campaign – #WildNland – which I am honoured to be a part of.