The village of Bamburgh is one of the highlights of a visit to Northumberland. The town and indeed the area is dominated by the stunning Bamburgh Castle, high on the rocky headland and bordered on one side by the glorious Bamburgh beach which stretches for miles affording stunning coastal scenery. Whether you use Bamburgh as a base for exploring the area and the glories of Northumberland, there are some great things to do in Bamburgh and her surrounds that make a trip here a highlight of a visit to Northumberland.
The Best Things to do in Bamburgh
The village of Bamburgh is a great location to base yourself for a visit to Northumberland. In Bamburgh, you’ll find great holiday cottages, bed and breakfasts and local pubs. The RNLI Museum here tells the history of the challenges that the North Seat has brought to the area and no visit to Bamburgh is complete without a visit to Bamburgh Castle.
Visit Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle sits on a rocky cliff 45 metres above the village of Bamburgh and is one of the largest inhabited castles in England. There has been a castle here since 547 AD, although the oldest structure currently standing is the keep which dates from 1164. The walls here are 4 metres thick in places, as the castle was designed to be impenetrable. Due to its location, the castle has been attacked many times and it was sacked during the War of the Roses in 1464.
Today the castle is owned by the Armstrong Family, having been bought in 1894, by the Victorian Industrialist and arms manufacturer. A visit to the castle includes access to the Keep which includes arms and armour through the ages, a tea room, toilets and a gift shop. There is also a series of exhibitions about the castle through the ages and an archaeological dig as well as displays as to how life was here in years gone by. Expect to spend 2-3 hours here, and bring a picnic, there’s a lot of space with glorious views of the beach and surrounding area.
Visit the RNLI Grace Darling Museum in Bamburgh
Grace Darling was born in Bamburgh in 1814, the daughter of a lighthouse keeper. She was 12 when the family moved to Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands. It was in 1838 that the steamship Forfarshire ran aground on rocks and then broke in two. Grace and her father set off in their family rowing boat after she spotted survivors from the Forfarshire clinging to rocks, believing that the lifeboat from Bamburgh would not be able to launch, such were the conditions. 9 people were rescued as a result of their actions. Much more detail on Grace Darling and the lighthouses of the Northumberland coast can be seen at the RNLI Grace Darling Museum in Bamburgh. It’s also possible to visit Longstone Lighthouse as part of a trip to the Farne Islands from nearby Seahouses.
Explore St Aidan’s Church in Bamburgh
There has been a church here since 635, began by St Aidan as he moved to establish Christianity here. A wooden beam inside the church is the only remnant of that original wooden church. It is said that St Aidan was touching the beam when he died. The church is in a glorious location and regardless of your religious beliefs is worth a visit for the location alone. There’s also an effigy of Grace Darling inside the church. ST Aidan’s Church, Bamburgh is open from 0900 until late afternoon.
Pay Respects at the Tomb of Grace Darling
Grace Darling is buried in the graveyard of St Aidans Church, Bamburgh and the monument on her grave is testament to her bravery.
Spend time on Bamburgh beach
St Aiden’s Beach or Bamburgh beach runs for miles along the coast of the North Sea. Bamburgh beach is wild and untamed and battered by winds from the North Sea. It is one of the most glorious beaches in the world, with no facilities (although these are available in the village of Bamburgh). It’s a great beach to walk for miles on, the sand is hard-packed for a good long way and dog walkers are also welcome. On clear days you’ll get stunning views of the Farne Islands.
Come to Bamburgh beach for solitude and a bracing walk in Northumberland. It’s definitely a good weather place to visit, the wind here can be particularly strong!
Watch or Play Cricket in Bamburgh
The cricket ground in Bamburgh sits at the heart of the village, under the walls of Bamburgh Castle and there has been cricket played here since the 1800s. The village cricket team usually play on a Sunday afternoon. If you’re visiting Bamburgh during the summer cricket season then it may be possible to play for the Bamburgh cricket team – contact the team here.
Play Tennis in Bamburgh
If you’d like a game of Tennis during your visit to Bamburgh, then head to the Victoria Hotel, Bamburgh. You can book the tennis court in Bamburgh at the reception desk for a cost of GBP£5 per hour with a deposit of GBP£5.
Play Golf in Bamburgh
There are golf courses at Seahouses, Dunstanburgh and also just at the north of the village of Bamburgh. Bamburgh’s golf course is a par 68 and provides for superb views of the coast, Bamburgh Castle and the surrounding countryside. The Bamburgh Castle Golf Club is open to visitors and tee booking times can be done by phone or via their website, it is recognized as one of the most stunning golf courses in the country when it comes to views.
Visit Budle Bay from Bamburgh
This easy circular walk from Bamburgh to Budle way takes in part of the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve, a bird sanctuary. You’ll want to visit at low tide to see the huge mudflats, it is also renowned for stunning sunset views. The four-mile (in total) ((6.4 kilometres) easy walk is described in detail here.
Things to do near Bamburgh
Bamburgh is a great place to base yourself – try a holiday cottage for the ultimate flexibility and then explore the area around Bamburgh, this part of the country really is glorious.
Walk to Seahouses from Bamburgh
Take part of the Northumberland Coastal path and walk from Bamburgh to Seahouses. This walk is 3 miles (5 kilometres) each way and covers some great views. Why not walk to Seahouses and get the bus back if one way is enough for you. There are plenty of places to eat in Seahouses or lots of picnic stops along the way if you prefer to self-cater.
Learn to Surf near Bamburgh
You can surf on Bamburgh beach if you have your own surfing gear, but if you’d like to learn to surf in Northumberland, then head to the Northside Surf School at Seahouses. Classes start at 2 hours in length and go up to 5 days. The lessons are run by a British Surf Association Coach who is also a Beach lifeguard and are available year-round.
Visit the Farne Islands from Bamburgh
You’ll need to head to Seahouses in order to visit the Farne Islands, but it is well worth the trip. There are more than 15 islands that make up this wildlife area – trips run from Seahouses and circle the islands with some trips landing on the islands, including a visit to the Longstone Lighthouse. There are great varieties of seabird life here and even if you’re not a birder this is a stunning trip to make.
Visit Holy Island from Bamburgh
Linked to the mainland by a tidal causeway you’ll want to seriously check the tide tables before heading to Holy Island or Lindisfarne. It’s a fabulous place to spend a day, or longer with Lindisfarne Castle to explore as well as some great walks and some super local mead to stock up on. > Read more about the best things to do on Holy Island here
Final Words on the Best Things to Do in Bamburgh
Bamburgh is an iconic place to visit, the beach is, for me, one of the best in England and indeed the world. Bamburgh Castle is a stunning visit, and the area around Bamburgh is some of the most stunning scenery that you can imagine. So come to Bamburgh, enjoy the fabulous things to do here, and you’ll be back again before you know it.
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