Us Cavaliers at The Barking Bugle have been on another adventure! This time heading all the way up something call the A1 to visit the castles & coastline of Northumberland!
We had a totally pawesome time in this dog friendly county. There are miles upon miles of sandy beaches to run and play on, and we didn’t come across any dog restriction signs on the beaches we visited between Amble and Lindisfarne.
One of the first places we visited was the historic town of Alnwick, pronounced Annick because an Earl couldn’t say his ‘L’s. Alnwick Castle is very well known for filming Blackadder, Robin Hood and of course Harry Potter. We are not allowed to visit the castle or its grounds, but the nearby Bailiffgate Museum is great for a paw around. You can learn all about the history of the town, and as a bonus we visited the Harry Potter exhibition which is on till mid June 2017.
For refreshments in Alnwick try the Blink Bonny pub or The Alnwick Ice Cream Parlour which had bowls of water and treats outside! We love places like this!
Druridridge Bay Country Park is a must visit! You can park up for free – something that dad gets really excited about! There’s a visitors’ centre, cafe and toilets. It’s a 2 minutes walk to the 7 mile long sandy beach which is dog friendly all year round. Alternatively you can walk around the lake which takes about an hour; the path is flat and suitable for doggies in strollers. This was without doubt one of our favourite spots!
Bamburgh castle – wow!!! This is a beautiful castle right next to the sea. Although we are not allowed inside we could still appreciate what an impressive structure this is!
There are dog friendly places in Bamburgh though. The Victoria Hotel Bar has dog friendly rooms and my pawrents enjoyed a nice meal there. The Lord Crewe Hotel and The Copper Kettle Tea Rooms also allow us canines inside.
No Barking Bugle holiday is complete without a ride on the steam train! Dogs go free on the Heatherslaw Light Railway from Heatherslaw to Etal Castle. Etal village has beautiful thatched cottages and there was a Lavender tea room where dad and Willi-I-Am’s mum sampled a tasty cup of Northumberland tea. There was also a pub but we didn’t visit this because of Gizmo’s appalling drunken reputation! The journey is 30 mins either way and we are welcome to visit the ruins of Etal Castle. (open from Easter).
We also visited Dunstanburgh castle and the delightful fishing village of Craister which has two dog friendly pubs, the Jolly Fisherman and the Cottage Inn. The latter also has accommodation for us woof woofs. There’s a campsite in the village which caters for tents, caravans and motorhomes. We stayed there last summer and had a great time!
From the village you can walk along the coast to Dunstanburgh Castle which is a dog friendly visitor attraction. It’s an easy walk, although a bit bumpy in places and I nearly fell out of my stroller a couple of times but I did enjoy barking at all the sheep and cows en route!
Amble harbour and the new marine is great for shopping; there is even a pet boutique from which I bought a bow tie. They also sell doggy ice-cream – Yum! From Amble harbour you can take a non-landing boat trip around Coquet Island to see the puffins and seals. Not all boat companies allow dogs so best to check before you set off. There are also plenty of places where you can sample some fish and chips on the quay.
If you’re a sea dog another boat trip is to the Farne Islands which departs from Seahouses. Do check which companies take doggies before you book. Many of the islands are nature reserves and breeding sites for a variety of birds – this means we can’t do the landing trips.
The atmospheric Holy Island is well worth exploring – there is a castle and the ruins of a monastery to visit. You have to be very careful though as you can be cut off from the mainland – however, when you park up you are warned about the the latest time you can stay in order to avoid this. The Crown and Anchor is a nice friendly doggy place to stop off for lunch or snacks.
If all that sun, sea and swimming gets too much for you why not take a trip inland and visit the Northumberland National Park. We took a fantastic drive through the area and it really is quite beautiful, particularly if the sun is shining. Be careful though – as we were driving we encountered a military zone which were able to pass through but is not an area for walking. Popular spots for walking and wildlife include Kielder Lake and the Dark Skies Park which is fantastic to stop off for some nightime star gazing! There are several attractive little inland market towns which are well worth taking a trip to see.
For doggies who like all things historical you’ll love a visit to Hadrian’s Wall. You can walk the entire 84 miles from coast to coast or like us you could just visit a few sections. The most photographed section is under the Sycamore tree which Kevin Coster stood under for a scene from the film ‘Robin Hood’! Although we can visit the wall and the tree, the museums and most visitor centres are sadly not dog friendly.
Northumberland is one of our favourite counties and if you ever go there I am sure you’ll agree with us. We plan to visit the area again this summer so if we come across any other hidden gems we’ll be sure to let you know – watch this space!
Woofs Frodo Cavalier – BB Editor
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