The quaint coastal town of Seahouses in Northumberland is well known for its little harbour and for providing access to the Farne Islands, a scattering of tiny isles just off the Northumberland coast. An ideal base while holidaying in this neck of the woods is The Bamburgh Castle Inn, where my family and I stayed for a couple of nights during Summer 2016.
We were exploring North East England while staying in several inns owned by The Inn Collection Group, a leading hospitality and pub company operating in the north. We enjoyed our time at Seahouses, partly because we fell in love with The Bamburgh Castle Inn: but then who wouldn’t when you wake up each morning and can wander out onto your wide balcony to be seduced by the breathtaking sea views and, if the weather is playing ball, wonderful sunrise?
If you book a room with sea view, you’ll look out over the harbour to the North Sea; look up the coast, and you’ll spot not only Bamburgh Castle itself but the atmospheric Holy Island of Lindisfarne and the Farne Islands, famous for its birdlife, especially puffins, and seals.
The inn has 35 newly refurbished ensuite rooms, a pub-cum-restaurant dishing up scrummy food and is, understandably, popular with visitors and locals alike. There is also a beer garden overlooking the harbour. A free car park is for patrons of the inn but gets very busy; we were lucky enough to find a space after returning from our sightseeing trips. Other people, though, had to park in the nearby public car park.
There is much we liked about The Bamburgh Castle Inn. Our children, Hollie and Peter, were always made to feel welcome and the kids’ dinner menu contained seven dishes to choose from, all priced at £5,95, including good old cheese and tomato pizza and spaghetti with tomato and garlic sauce. Being vegetarians, there were a handful of dishes we could select, although the catering staff were flexible and would adjust dishes to meet our dietary requirements which was much appreciated.
Like all the inns in the group, food portions were generous and even though the restaurant was busy, it didn’t affect the standard of service or waiting times. We didn’t experience any noticeable delays between ordering and being served.
While we were staying, dinner and bed/breakfast deals at the 3-star inn were on offer for £44.95pppn which seemed like great value. To be honest, it’s easy to see why this place has been crowned North East Tourism Pub of the Year.
When we weren’t out exploring, we spent more time than normal out on our balconies. We were lucky enough to sample two rooms with access onto spacious balconies and we all enjoyed relaxing and appreciating the scenery on offer.
Although it was, at times, difficult dragging the kids away from the fine views – well, it was difficult for us, too – we did a fair bit of sightseeing. Just up the coast is impressive Bamburgh Castle, one of the county’s most iconic landmarks. If it looks familiar, it’s because it is often featured in TV and film productions, most recently Steven Spielberg’s retelling of the Roald Dahl book, The BFG. The castle, once home to kings of ancient Northumbria, stands above the long, sandy beaches running up this coastline. After visiting the castle, we clambered through the dunes to the sea shore and enjoy a bracing walk on the beach.
Later, we enjoyed driving across the causeway to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, but not before stopping for lunch at The Lindisfarne Inn, another 3-star hostelry owned by The Inn Collection Group. Situated on the busy A1, just as you turn off the main road for Lindisfarne, this former coaching inn is, essentially, the gateway to the island and offers accommodation as well as a bar and restaurant. There is a large car park at the rear of the property as well as secure bike storage, being that the inn sits alongside the Sandstone Way and Coast & Castle cycle routes.
We enjoyed an appetising meal at the inn before proceeding to Lindisfarne, where visitors must take note of tide times because the causeway gets covered when the tide comes in. The island is usually very busy and it doesn’t take long to realise why millions of people flock here each year.
Rising from the sheer rock face at the tip of the island is Lindisfarne Castle. Built to defend a harbour sheltering English ships during battles with Scotland, it’s an idyllic location and enjoys a fine vantage point. Hollie and Peter enjoyed looking through a telescope to spot the countless seals populating this coastline.
Next on our itinerary was nearby Lindisfarne Priory. Just a ruin now, it was, nonetheless, still interesting to stroll around the Monastic building which once formed the living quarters of the monks.
Two days at The Bamburgh Castle Inn wasn’t long enough, we could have stayed a week but, sadly, we had to move on to the next stage of our Northumberland adventure.
The Bamburgh Castle Inn
Northumberland NE68 7SQ
Tel: 01665 720283
The Lindisfarne Inn
Berwick-upon-Tweed TD15 2PD
Tel: 01289 381223
Tel: 01670 622152
Reviewed: July 2016