best beaches in northumberland

The Best Beaches in Northumberland

Northumberland is a beautiful place to visit, rich in history and blessed with lovely beaches and landscapes to enjoy. Choosing which Northumberland beach to visit might be difficult with miles of shoreline to pick from. There are all sorts of beaches in Northumberland, including those that are good for sunbathing, swimming, and building sandcastles and those that are perfect for enjoying brisk walks on a stormy, windy day.   From the far northern reaches of Berwick upon Tweed to North Tyneside in the south of Northumberland, there are more than 70 miles of shoreline.  Much of this is wild, but in between the wilderness, you’ll find the best beaches in Northumberland.

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Northumberland has a variety of beaches to select from! Large golden stretches ideal for sandcastle construction, attractive seafronts with plenty of ice cream, and secret locations where exploration and rock pool hunting are the order of the day. Our coastline can also be a lonely stretch of wild seas, dunes, offshore islands, and rocky promontories. Gloriously most of Northumberland’s beaches are never crowded.  Come on in and explore Northumberland’s Best Beaches!

The Best Beaches in Northumberland

Northumberland is well known for its magnificent beaches, that, even at the height of summer, are uncrowded.  You’ll see some of the best beaches in the country, and since the Northumberland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty encompasses a substantial chunk of the county’s coastline they are remarkably unspoiled.

If you do spend a day on the beach, please be sure to lock your valuables up. We use a small portable travel safe to secure our belongings – there’s more on that here.

Alnmouth Beach, Northumberland

The lovely Alnmouth is a beautiful place to spend a day at the beach. Alnmouth beach is a sandy beach ideal for sandcastle building.   In summer it’s a great place to play games, in winter it makes for a fabulous place for a stroll.

Swimming is not usually recommended at Alnmouth, and it is specifically dangerous near the river mouth while the tide is falling. There are signs warning not to approach the river’s mouth, much alone attempt to cross it.

There are public bathrooms at the beach car park and a cafe in the village.

  • Are dogs welcome at Alnmouth Beach? Yes.
  • Is there a lifeguard at Alnmouth Beach?  No.
  • Where is the car park at Alnmouth Beach?  Alnmouth has a huge public car park directly on the seafront. After entering the village, take the Wynd, and then the first left again as you go down the hill. The seafront car park is not accessible in the Spring and Summer season when an attendant collects before entering the golf course.

Bamburgh Castle Beach, Northumberland

This long beach overlooks the magnificent Bamburgh Castle and is one of the most picturesque beaches you’ll find anywhere in Northumberland.  On a clear day, you can see as far as the Farne Islands and Holy Island. Beautiful sand dunes back the beach, and taking a stroll along this beautiful beach is a must. There are miles of flat-packed sand here and it takes a little over an hour to walk to Seahouses, which is around 4 miles away.  There are toilets, cafés, a restaurant, and a pub in Bamburgh village.

  • Are dogs welcome at Bamburgh Beach? Yes.
  • Is there a lifeguard at Bamburgh Beach?  No.
  • Where is the car park at Bamburgh Beach?  There’s parking at the Beach Car Park, the Further Beach Car Park, Bamburgh Castle and the Links Car Park.  There is some free parking in the village, but the car parks charge. (£5.50 for all day).

Embleton Bay Beach, Dunstanburgh

With sand the colour of soft caramel and the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle in the distance on the headland, Embelton Bay Beach is both wild and gloriously picturesque.  There are rock pools galore here, which is one of the reasons that this is a popular family beach in Northumberland.  The other is that it’s accessible by car on the Northumberland Coastal Route.  You can swim here, bird-watch and it’s great for kitesurfing too.  The Ship Inn in Embleton is fabulous.

  • Are dogs welcome at Embleton Bay Beach?  Yes.
  • Is there a lifeguard at Embleton Bay Beach? No.
  • Where is the car park at Embleton Bay Beach? Walk along the shore or inland from Low Newton-by-the-Sea or Craster. The main option for parking is the golf course nearby, but you can also drive or walk from Embleton’s South End along Primrose Lane to a car park at Dunstan Steads.

Seahouses Beach, Northumberland

Seahouses is an excellent place to get a glimpse of the grand old seaside holiday. The beach here in Seahouses is backed with grassy sand dunes and it’s enormous. Seahouses itself has a small harbour, with boats taking trips out to the Farne Islands, and some great gastro pubs, a superb fish shop, where you can buy some Northumberland smoked fish specialities and the usual fish and chips shops too.

There are actually two beaches at Seahouses, the long one, aka St Aidan’s, which runs up towards and connects with Bamburgh Beach and then a smaller one to the south.  Both Seahouses’ beaches are great for families and are right next to the town and all its amenities.

  • Are dogs welcome at Seahouses Beach?  Yes.
  • Is there a lifeguard at Seahouses Beach?  No.
  • Where is the car park at Seahouses Beach?  Seahouses has multiple large car parks. The ideal parking is immediately on the seafront, off the main road for off-peak or early arrivals. However, extra parking is on the harbour wall and behind the public restrooms.

Beadnell Beach, Northumberland

Because of its proximity to the gorgeous village of Beadnell, Beadnell Beach is a firm favourite with families.  There’s a long stretch of white sand and the beach is reliably clean.  The super team at KA Kitesurfing are based here, and this is a great beach for watersports, with kitesurfing, wakeboarding, jet skiing and sailing available here.  Towards the quay, near the village, there is a more sheltered area, which is good for swimming and sand castle building.  Despite its popularity, Beadnell beach is rarely crowded. 

Beadnell Beach is also popular with wildlife.  The largest breeding colony of Arctic terns in mainland Britain has made their home here.  They nest in the sand dune grasses, so you’d be wise to give them space.  About halfway along the beach, there’s a hut that’s manned by the National Trust, which watches over the terns and this is the best place to see them.

There are toilets and washing facilities in the car park, another point in favour of this family-friendly beach in Northumberland.  If you decide to stay in Beadnell, then the beach is within walking distance.

  • Are dogs welcome at Beadnell Beach?  Yes.
  • Is there a lifeguard at Beadnell Beach?  No.
  • Where is the car park at Beadnell Beach?  A pay-and-display parking park is located near the village on the beach’s northern end.

Druridge Beach, Northumberland

Druridge Beach, with its seven miles of sand bordered by grassy dunes and a wealth of wildlife right on its doorstep, is with no doubt one of the most stunning beaches in Northumberland and one of the most deserted.  It is most popular for walkers, so while you might get some passing “traffic”, you’ll likely have a lot of the seven-mile stretch of beach to yourself.  Located as part of Druridge Bay Country Park and visitor centre, its easy to get.

  • Are dogs welcome at Druridge Beach?  Yes.
  • Is there a lifeguard at Druridge Beach?  No.
  • Where is the car park at Druridge Beach?  There are three car parks throughout the park, the biggest of which may be located at the far end of the entry road, just across from the visitor centre.

Ross Back Sands Beach, Northumberland

Ross Back Sands is one of the most excellent beaches in Northumberland if you’re searching for peace and alone time. It’s a 1-mile walk, through Ross Farm, and from the closest car park to get there, and the distance discourages most people.  The views and isolation here are amazing though.  There are views to Holy Island, the Farne Islands, and likely Bamburgh Castle too.

This is a great Northumberland beach for wildlife spotting.  Seals, gulls, grebes and terns are spotted regularly here. Bring your binoculars and camera.

  • Are dogs welcome at Ross Back Sands?  Yes.
  • Is there a lifeguard at Ross Back Sands?  No.
  • Where is the car park at Ross Back Sands?  To access the beach, park your vehicle at Ross Farm and walk down the road through the farm buildings and cottages, across the fields, and finally through the sand dunes to the beach.

Warkworth Beach, Northumberland

Located north of Amble, in the charming town of Warkworth, those in the know go to this beach for its spectacular sunsets, deserted ambience, very clean sand, and peace and quiet. From Birling Carrs to Amble, this magnificent length of sand beach offers stunning views of Coquet Island and the surrounding countryside. It’s just a 15-minute walk from Warkworth, which sits on the edge of the River Coquet, to Warkworth Beach.  Our favourite way to visit is to take the coastal path between Alnmouth and Warkworth.

  • Are dogs welcome at Warkworth Beach?  Yes.
  • Is there a lifeguard at Warkworth Beach?  No.
  • Where is the car park at Warkworth Beach?  Following the main road north of Warkworth into the village, cross the bridge and take the first lane on your right. There is a parking lot approximately 1/4 mile on the right. The beach is reached through a trail across the dunes.

Low Newton Beach, Northumberland

There’s something particularly charming about this beach, which is backed by cream colour cottages and the most excellent Ship Inn pub.  Views of the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle in the distance don’t hurt either!  Low Newton Beach is popular for dog walkers, and there are a couple of great walks here – heading north to Beadnell you’ll likely see dolphins and seals  Or you can head south around the headland to Embleton Bay.

  • Are dogs welcome at Low Newton Beach?  Yes.
  • Is there a lifeguard at Low Newton Beach?  No.
  • Where is the car park at Low Newton Beach?  There is a small public car park on the crest of the hill before entering Low Newton. Depending on the period of the year, there may be a lengthy queue of vehicles parked on the left before you approach the parking lot. The locals park here since it is free and just a short walk to the beach.

Coves Haven Holy Island, Northumberland

This isolated and little-known sandy beach is situated on the far northern side of Holy Island. It is accessible only by boat or on foot. The beach’s eastern end is protected by steep cliffs. In addition, when the tide recedes, there is an abundance of rock pools to explore.

  • Are dogs welcome at Coves Haven Beach? Yes.
  • Is there a lifeguard at Coves Haven Beach? No.
  • Where is the car park at Coves Haven Beach?  The main vehicle parking area for Holy Island is just after the causeway, It is detailed in our guide to Holy Island here. The village is just a short walk from the parking area.

Travel Tips for Exploring Northumberland

Final Words on the Best Beaches in Northumberland

There is a good deal of variation to pick from when it comes to beaches in Northumberland. Whether you pick a beach with a castle in the background (and there are a few of those), or close to a pretty village (yes we’ve lots of those as well) what’s for sure is that you’re unlikely to be sharing it with many people.   Northumberland is England’s least populated county and she’s glorious.  Come on up and explore!

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