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1

Newcastle to Blyth

The famous bridges of Newcastle are a spectacular start to the ride. The newest, the ‘winking eye’, is reserved for cyclists and pedestrians, and brings another National Cycle Network route to meet us. We stay on the north bank, climbing to a high railway path (watch for broken glass) with excellent views over to the disused shipyards.

Approaching North Shields, you’ll see a burst of North Sea Cycle Route signs, welcoming continental cyclists who’ve arrived on the ferry to Tynemouth. North Shields itself has a lively street of restaurants, fishmongers and cafés – a good place to stop for lunch. Maritime-themed NCN sculptures mark the end of the C2C and Reivers routes, but we continue north past the Priory and to old-fashioned Whitley Bay with its marvellous seaside ice-cream café.

As Tyneside recedes, the route switches between roadside cycleways, green paths and quiet roads for the five-mile run to Blyth. This town was until recently the low point of the Coast & Castles, a rambling set of urban cyclepaths touring featureless estates. The new coastal route is greatly improved, even if still a little indirect.

Bike shops

Ashington

Bedlington

Shop, HireGerrards Cycles

Blyth

Byker

Gateshead

Jarrow

Newcastle

Newcastle upon Tyne

ShopRide

North Shields

South Shields

Tynemouth

Whitely Bay

Campsites

Ashington

South Shields

Whitley Bay

Campsite listings kindly provided by archiescampings
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Hotels

Ashington

Boldon

Choppington

from £65Anglers Arms
from £65Anglers Arms

Cullercoats

from £105Pebble Cottage

Ellington

from £0Barkers
from £0Skelwith

Ellington

Ellington Village

from £0Mill Cottage

Gateshead

from £160Baltic Quays
from £2000Eslington Villa
from £30Rowers Hotel
from £45Rowers Hotel
from £45Royal Hotel
from £32Royal Hotel
from £75The Armstrong

Gateshead-on-Tyne

Guide Post Near Morpeth

Hebburn

High Usworth

Jarrow

Jesmond

from £150Osborne Ave

Morpeth

Newbiggin by the Sea

from £66Number 21
from £60Number 21
from £35The Old Ship

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea

from £80Seabreeze
from £75Seaspray
from £0Ship Shape

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Near Morpeth

from £94Graeg Neuk

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.

from £71Ebb N Flo

Newbigin by the Sea

Newcastle

Newcastle

from £79County Hotel

Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle upon Tyne

from £2000Bentley s
from £32Bentleys
from £45Cairn Hotel
from £50Caledonian
from £36Carlton Hotel
from £36Dene Hotel
from £40Dene Hotel
from £38Jesmond Park
from £48Osborne Hotel
from £41Osborne Hotel
from £35Rooms Inn
from £30Sleeperdorm
from £36The Brighton
from £2000The Brighton
from £2000The Townhouse
from £39Whites Hotel
from £29Whites Hotel
from £19Albatross
from £16Albatross
from £13Budget Hostel
from £150Cairn Hotel
from £45Carlton Hotel
from £125Centralofts
from £0Claude Gibb
from £75Docker's Digs
from £80Ellison Hall
from £32Hansen Hotel
from £41Heroes Hotel
from £15Heroes Hotel
from £2000Hotel Express
from £27Hotel Express
from £30Rooms Inn
from £60Sleeperdorm
from £27Sleeperdorm
from £97Suitestayzzz
from £32Surtees Hotel
from £55The Farndale
from £125The Wingrove
from £100Welbeck House
from £49Westview B&B
from £56Your Space

Newcastle on Tyne

from £41Heroes Hotel

Newcastle upon Tyne Tyne And Wear

from £13budget hostel

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

North Shields

from £59Park Hotel

Nr Gateshead

South Shields

from £30Athol House
from £30Athol House
from £2000Baltic Court
from £96Hopehaven
from £0Sandhaven
from £35The Clifton

Stakeford Choppington

from £80The Half Moon

Tyne & Wear

from £24Manhattans

Tynemouth

from £61Gull Cottage

Tynemouth

from £84Grand Hotel
from £486Longsands Lodge
from £160Malvern Road

Wallsend

from £68Dorset Arms
from £120Tynedale Avenue

Whitley Bay

from £74Allerdean
from £30Dunes Hotel
from £50Oaktree Lodge
from £45Oaktree Lodge
from £2000Park Lodge
from £30The Chedburgh
from £2000The Metropolitan
from £2000The Royal Hotel
from £2000The Waterford Arms
from £48Windsor Hotel

Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear

2

Blyth to Alnmouth

Setting off through East Sleekburn and Cambois, the route has a wild, post-industrial charm, even though rural Northumbria seems distant still. The A189 cyclepath and the Lynemouth aluminium works may not be dream holiday material, but persevere: good tmes are just around the corner.

For this is the end of the prologue. This is where we leave the Newcastle overspill and settle down for 60 miles of coastal cycle cruising. The coast road is gloriously quiet, offering intermittent views through the dunes to the North Sea. An unsurfaced track at Druridge keeps the cars away – but don’t get lost in the confusing car park at the north end, by Ladyburn Lake.

Amble isn’t as picturesque as the harbour villages further north, but it’s a friendly place with shops, takeaways, and a small amount of accommodation. We liked the Wellwood Inn and the Zecco seafood/pizza restaurant.

And then, the first castle of the route – and to some eyes, the finest. Warkworth Castle’s keep is superbly preserved; it doesn’t take much imagination to transport yourself back to the 14th century, when it withstood two sieges by the Scots forces. You can rest your bikes under the portcullis!

An exemplary roadside path takes you to the edge of lovely Alnmouth. Do make the detour into the town, with its three good pubs and the Dandelion Café on the waterfront.

Bike shops

Campsites

Ashington

Craster

Dunstan

Longhoughton

North Broomhill

Warkworth

Whitley Bay

Campsite listings kindly provided by archiescampings
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Hotels

Alnmouth Alnwick

from £108Prudhoe Mews

Alnmouth

from £152Littlecroft
from £139Paradise Lodge
from £250Paradise Lodge
from £160Salar'S Rest

Alnwick

from £77Nether Grange

Amble

from £74Gloster House
from £105Sea Breeze

Amble

from £96Amble-In
from £92Harbour House
from £94Holt House
from £50Masons Arms

Amble Near Morpeth

from £91Sea Drift

Ashington

Boulmer

from £0Our Storey

Broomhill

Choppington

from £65Anglers Arms
from £65Anglers Arms

Craster

from £357Waters Edge

Craster Alnwick

from £129Aidan Cottage

Craster

from £95Driftwood
from £438Dunstan Hall
from £126Harbour Cottage
from £213Harbourway
from £264Port Hole
from £62Rowan Cottage

Craster Near Alnwick

from £137Craster View

Cresswell Near Morpeth

Cullercoats

from £105Pebble Cottage

Druridge by-the-Sea

Dunstan

from £96Larch Cottage
from £116Westfield

Ellington

from £0Barkers
from £0Skelwith

Ellington

Ellington Village

from £0Mill Cottage

Guide Post Near Morpeth

Hauxley

from £114The Moorings

High Hauxley

Lesbury Near Alnmouth

from £147Tren Crom

Lesbury Nr. Alnwick

Little Mill

from £107St Bede
from £89St Cuthbert
from £456The Old Mill

Longhoughton

Longhoughton

from £105Alncroft

Morpeth

from £75No.6 B&B
from £2000The Bridges B&B
from £2000The Trap Inn

Newbiggin by the Sea

from £66Number 21
from £60Number 21
from £35The Old Ship

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea

from £80Seabreeze
from £75Seaspray
from £0Ship Shape

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Near Morpeth

from £94Graeg Neuk

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.

from £71Ebb N Flo

Newbigin by the Sea

Newcastle upon Tyne

North Broomhill

from £34The Trap Inn

North Togston Near Amble

Northumberland

Red Row

Rock Near Alnwick

from £131The Blacksmiths

Shilbottle Near Alnwick

from £0Windy View

Stakeford Choppington

from £80The Half Moon

Warkworth

from £81Castle View

Warkworth Alnwick

from £74The Loft

Warkworth

from £125Roxbro House
from £110Roxbro House
from £0The Studio
from £44The Sun Hotel
from £141Waterside

Whitley Bay

from £74Allerdean
from £30Dunes Hotel
from £45Oaktree Lodge
from £50Oaktree Lodge
from £2000Park Lodge
from £30The Chedburgh
from £2000The Metropolitan
from £2000The Royal Hotel
from £2000The Waterford Arms
from £48Windsor Hotel

Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear

3

Alnmouth to Seahouses

At tiny Boulmer, four miles north of Alnmouth, the Fishing Boat Inn offers another chance to eat and drink looking out to sea. The main route heads inland briefly, but we’d strongly recommend the off-road option. It’s not too tough, with just one short section where you need to push because of the sand, and the views strongly merit it. Any hybrid bike should be capable.

At Dunstan, stray from the route for an hour to visit Craster, the prettiest of Northumberland’s fishing villages. Yes, the tourists have discovered it, but no matter: it’s almost compulsory to have a kipper (smoked locally) in a bun, accompanied by a cup of tea, looking over the harbour to the fishermen’s cottages. Then, one mile up the coast on a grassy path is the wild ruin of Dunstanburgh Castle, an impossibly romantic sight. Cycling is forbidden on the path but usually tolerated. Don’t be tempted to cycle on past the golf course; the footpath is too rough for comfort.

After this we bid farewell to the coast for a while, taking a winding, low-lying inland route. Note the tiny railway station at Chathill, rather incongruous on the fast East Coast Main Line. A branch line once ran from here to the coast at Seahouses: it closed in the 1950s, but we roughly follow its course on quiet lanes.

Seahouses is Northumberland’s seaside resort, its centre a cheerful mess of amusement arcades and fish & chip cafés. It’s calmer and rather more authentic down by the harbour, with top quality B&Bs on nearby North Street. The front bar at the Olde Ship Inn is a must visit.

Hotels

Alnmouth Alnwick

from £108Prudhoe Mews

Alnmouth

from £152Littlecroft
from £139Paradise Lodge
from £250Paradise Lodge
from £160Salar'S Rest

Alnwick

from £77Nether Grange
from £90Rock Lodge

Amble

from £74Gloster House
from £105Sea Breeze

Amble

from £96Amble-In
from £92Harbour House
from £94Holt House
from £50Masons Arms

Amble Near Morpeth

from £91Sea Drift

Bamburgh

from £130Darling Cottage
from £0Hill Head
from £167Northaven

Beadnell

from £50Beach Haven
from £55Buttercup
from £59Clover
from £0Jimbow
from £67Serendipity
from £171The Beach House
from £140Wavecrest

Beadnell

from £0Bayview
from £90Beach House
from £236Blue Caps
from £63Bluebell II
from £58Clematis
from £120Coastal Retreat
from £58Daisy
from £66Ebba'S Neuk
from £101Greetwell
from £64Longsands
from £0Merrywind
from £72Orchard Sands
from £81Pebbles
from £69Primrose
from £99Rockview
from £63Rose
from £98Sandpiper
from £93Sea Huts
from £105The Anchorage
from £76The Haven
from £81The Hideaway
from £0The Neuk
from £166The Port House
from £56the chimes

Beadnell Near Seahouses

Boulmer

from £0Our Storey

Broomhill

Chathill Alnwick

from £79Farm Cottage
from £79West Lodge

Chathill

from £79Coach House
from £2000East House

Christon Bank

Christon Bank Alnwick

from £0The Orchard

Craster

from £357Waters Edge

Craster Alnwick

from £129Aidan Cottage

Craster

from £95Driftwood
from £438Dunstan Hall
from £126Harbour Cottage
from £213Harbourway
from £264Port Hole
from £62Rowan Cottage

Craster Near Alnwick

from £137Craster View

Dunstan

from £96Larch Cottage
from £116Westfield

Ellingham Seahouses

Embleton

from £94Teal Cottage

Embleton

from £124Eider Cottage
from £0Rose Cottage

Hauxley

from £114The Moorings

High Hauxley

Lesbury Near Alnmouth

from £147Tren Crom

Lesbury Nr. Alnwick

Little Mill

from £107St Bede
from £89St Cuthbert
from £456The Old Mill

Longhoughton

Longhoughton

from £105Alncroft

Morpeth

from £75No.6 B&B
from £2000The Bridges B&B
from £2000The Trap Inn

Newcastle upon Tyne

Newton-by-the-Sea

from £127Duneview

North Broomhill

from £34The Trap Inn

North Sunderland

from £46Little Haven

North Togston Near Amble

Northumberland

Rock Near Alnwick

from £131The Blacksmiths

Seahouses

Seahouses

from £90Aidan
from £2000Beach House
from £113Crag End
from £147Daisy Cottage
from £96Dune
from £65Dunelm House
from £47Farne Cottage
from £125Farne Haven
from £91Gull'S Crest
from £2000Gun Rock
from £122Harbour Heights
from £45Horncliffe
from £80Links View
from £80Megstone House
from £79Midby Cottage
from £125Puffin Crag
from £2000Regal House
from £96Seal'S Bay
from £0Shieleen
from £80Spinney
from £85Springwood
from £232Sunshine House
from £73The Coracle
from £239The Cottage
from £64The Links Hotel
from £157The Old Manse
from £125Water'S Edge

Shilbottle Near Alnwick

from £0Windy View

Tughall Steads Near Beadnell

from £99East Crook

Warkworth

from £81Castle View

Warkworth Alnwick

from £74The Loft

Warkworth

from £125Roxbro House
from £110Roxbro House
from £0The Studio
from £44The Sun Hotel
from £141Waterside
4

Seahouses to Berwick-upon-Tweed

With a busy B road hogging the coast, the cycle route takes a more circuitous inland path for the next 17 miles. But we return to the sea at Bamburgh, whose castle is a world away from the preserved dereliction of Dunstanburgh and Warkworth. Bamburgh’s walls are solid, its heating copious, its lawns mown; it is still, very much, an aristocratic seat. Don’t miss the surprisingly entertaining aviation museum.

More lanes take us over the busy A1 to the one hill of the entire road, the short, sharp climb into Belford. Once a coaching stop on the Great North Road, Belford looks like it has changed little since its bypass was built. It could well be the quietest town on earth, with its wooden toy shop, old-fashioned hardware store, and the timewarp of the Blue Bell Hotel.

Beautiful quiet lanes run parallel to the busy trunk road until the turn for Holy Island and Lindisfarne. This is another of the must-do detours on Coast & Castles, but time it carefully. The causeway is only accessible at low tide – and there’s a headwind pretty much all the time.

This isolation grants the island a real sense of peace. The 7th century monastic foundation is dutifully explained in the English Heritage visitor centre, but do lock your bike up, go for a stroll out onto the headland, and cast your eyes out to the North Sea before turning back.

The last ten miles of Coast & Castles are arguably the finest of the entire route. The surface is erratic, the signage sporadic, and the facilities non-existent. Tiny coast roads give out into rough byways and grass footpaths along the cliffs. It’s a little rougher than the previous three days, a little wilder; it’s simply ten miles of coast. But that’s the beauty of it. Don’t be tempted to take the easy, flat road option; follow the coast and we guarantee you’ll enjoy it.

Berwick is notionally in England, but its architecture has a decidedly Scottish feel. If you have time, the town’s pubs and restaurants merit an overnight stop. National Cycle Network routes lead up the coast, into the Borders, and south into wild Northumbria from here; there’s plenty of opportunity for further exploration. But the Coast & Castles route is reward enough in itself.

Bike shops

Campsites

Campsite listings kindly provided by archiescampings
Campsite app · Help archies

Hotels

Alnwick

Ancroft

from £86Bees Cottage

Bamburgh

from £130Darling Cottage
from £146Ferguson
from £0Hill Head
from £167Northaven
from £160The Maltings
from £105The Mill House
from £121Waren View

Beadnell

from £50Beach Haven
from £55Buttercup
from £59Clover
from £0Jimbow
from £67Serendipity
from £171The Beach House
from £140Wavecrest

Beadnell

from £0Bayview
from £90Beach House
from £236Blue Caps
from £63Bluebell II
from £58Clematis
from £120Coastal Retreat
from £58Daisy
from £66Ebba'S Neuk
from £101Greetwell
from £64Longsands
from £0Merrywind
from £72Orchard Sands
from £81Pebbles
from £69Primrose
from £99Rockview
from £63Rose
from £98Sandpiper
from £93Sea Huts
from £105The Anchorage
from £76The Haven
from £81The Hideaway
from £0The Neuk
from £166The Port House
from £56the chimes

Beadnell Near Seahouses

Beal

Beal

Belford

Belford

from £2000Detchant Farm
from £74Purdy Lodge
from £72Purdy Lodge
from £2000The Old Vicarage
from £55Well House

Belford Village Station

Berwick upon Tweed

from £70Kings Head
from £85Mill Wharf
from £2000Caroline House
from £2000Mansergh House
from £2000The Old School

Berwick-upon-Tweed

from £100Stow House
from £2000The Rob Roy Inn
from £70The Walls B&B
from £10YHA Berwick
from £10YHA Berwick
from £98Aidens
from £122Bede'S
from £75Cuthberts
from £78On The Prom
from £120West Coates

Budle Bay Bamburgh

from £0Bayview
from £0Beach View

Chathill Alnwick

from £79Farm Cottage
from £79West Lodge

Chathill

from £79Coach House
from £2000East House

Cheswick

Christon Bank

Christon Bank Alnwick

from £0The Orchard

Craster

from £126Harbour Cottage

Detchant

from £46Longstone

Ellingham Seahouses

Embleton

from £94Teal Cottage

Embleton

from £124Eider Cottage
from £0Rose Cottage

Fenham le Moor

Fenham-le-Moor

from £100Corn Cottage
from £0Sandpipers

Newcastle upon Tyne

Newton-by-the-Sea

from £127Duneview

North Sunderland

from £46Little Haven

Northumberland

Scremerston Berwick-upon-Tweed

Seahouses

Seahouses

from £90Aidan
from £2000Beach House
from £113Crag End
from £147Daisy Cottage
from £96Dune
from £65Dunelm House
from £47Farne Cottage
from £125Farne Haven
from £91Gull'S Crest
from £2000Gun Rock
from £122Harbour Heights
from £45Horncliffe
from £80Links View
from £80Megstone House
from £79Midby Cottage
from £125Puffin Crag
from £2000Regal House
from £96Seal'S Bay
from £0Shieleen
from £80Spinney
from £85Springwood
from £232Sunshine House
from £73The Coracle
from £239The Cottage
from £64The Links Hotel
from £157The Old Manse
from £125Water'S Edge

Spittal

from £74Sea Cottage

Spittal Berwick-upon-Tweed

from £78Far Horizons

Spittal

Tughall Steads Near Beadnell

from £99East Crook

Tweedmouth

from £74Dock Road