Dog-Friendly Beadnell and the Northumberland Coast
Willow here, and I’m positively bursting with excitement to tell all of you Phileas Dogg readers about my SUPER-DOGGY-DUPER holiday in Northumberland – my tail hasn’t stopped wagging since.
This was my first experience of Hannah and her mum’s annual girls-only holiday in a self-catering cottage for a week while the boys in the family take a whole load of school children camping in Europe. This year Hannah and her mum chose a holiday cottage in Beadnell, just south of the popular harbour town of Seahouses. They visited the area last year – sadly, for them, without a dog – and kept thinking how great it would be for visitors of the four-legged variety. And now they have a companion of the four-legged variety!
We spent the week in a bungalow called Gullsway on Harbour Road in Beadnell, which turned out to be the perfect cottage and the perfect location. Harbour Road runs round the edge of Beadnell, with houses along one side of the road and the sea on the other. So we only had to cross the road and we were on the beach. And we could see it from all the windows at the front of the house!
This gave Gullsway the Paw of Approval from me straight away, but it just kept getting better –the garden was fully enclosed, meaning freedom for me. There were lawns to the front and back of the cottage, as well as a patio table and chairs round the back, so it was an ideal garden for dogs. Hannah was also happy because it made it a lot easier for unloading the car as I didn’t have to be kept on the lead and could just wander around wherever I wanted safely.
Finally the inside of the cottage got Hannah very excited. It was beautifully furnished and very comfortable – she says she wishes our house looked like it. Gullsway has three bedrooms – two doubles and a bunk room – so there was more than enough space for us. Personally I’m happy to curl up on Hannah’s knee anywhere, but we dogs have to allow our humans their little indulgences, which is apparently what a telly in the kitchen and free WiFi equate to.
Anyway, on to the star attraction – THE BEACH!!! All we had to do was cross the road, follow a path through the dunes, and there it was! It stretched all the way up the coast to Seahouses and I could run and run – there’s nothing that beats the feeling of sand beneath your paws. I had so much fun chasing the little sand flies, and even sometimes the big birds that dared to land on MY beach. The best thing was that most of the time the beach was practically deserted, especially on our morning walks, so I hardly ever needed to be put on the lead. And this was during the summer holidays too.
Beadnell itself has even more to offer the traveling canine and their family than my personal beach however – if you walk to the end of Harbour Road, which only takes about 10 minutes, you reach Beadnell Harbour, with all its boats moored on the sand and the ancient lime kilns overlooking it.
This is on the opposite side of the headland to my beach, but at this side you will find one even larger stretch of sand – Beadnell Bay itself. This is a huge curving bay with a sandy beach that stretches as far as Newton Point further down the coast.
We spent one day walking all the way along the beach to a nature reserve at the other end – then rejoined the coastal path and walked back to Beadnell through the sand dunes. That was a super day where I got to run on an almost deserted beach all morning – then discovered the joy of digging in the sand dunes in the afternoon. We finished it all off with a well-earned refreshment outside the Beadnell Towers hotel. This doesn’t let dogs inside unfortunately, but there is a courtyard where we can sit outside, and they do nice coffees apparently. Just around the corner, however, there’s the Craster Arms, a pub and inn where dogs are welcome in the bar area – hurray! There’s also a really beer garden, which was always full of dogs and their owners enjoying the sunshine, and it has an extensive local menu.
Finally, to complete the picture of Beadnell, there is also a little shop selling all the essentials, and a fish and chip shop. What more can your owners ask for?
We didn’t just spend the week in Beadnell however – oh no, we really made the most of the wonderful Northumberland Coast. We spent one day exploring the popular harbour town of Seahouses, only a short distance north up the coast from Beadnell. We walked there along the beach from our cottage and then got a bus back at the end of the day which was very handy.
Seahouses is a bustling seaside resort, full of shops and places to eat and drink, and there’s a large busy harbour where you can catch one of the many boats taking trips out to the Farne Islands. We didn’t go this time, as Hannah and her mum had been last year, but they say that a lot of the boat companies take dogs (although we aren’t allowed on the trips that let you get off and explore one of the islands, as they are nature reserves and breeding grounds for lots of birds. But you can have a boat ride, and apparently you even get to see these things called seals, which I think are like big dogs with no legs.
There are lots of dogs to meet in Seahouses though, and there’s a pet shop which was my favourite place. The Bamburgh Castle Inn also welcomes dogs inside.
Also definitely worth a visit is Craster, only a short drive down the coast. This picturesque fishing village is an ideal starting point for several walks but most notably the bracing walk over the cliffs to the imposing Dunstanburgh Castle (pictured below). It’s one of the more popular routes, though this just means more dogs to play with and people to fuss me, although I had to stay on the lead for bits as there were some cows and sheep grazing near the castle.
Craster is home to a famous kipper smokehouse, which smelt VERY intriguing, though I never got to go inside, but I did get to go in the Jolly Fisherman pub which welcomes dogs, and best of all the Shorelines Café – a café that lets dogs inside. Jackpot! We went to both, with lunch in the pub then pudding in the café – all in the name of research of course. Both are lovely inside, and serve good locally sourced food. I got lots of fusses in both, and met dogs of all shapes and sizes to compare holiday tips with.
We also visited the tiny fishing village of Boulmer, where you can park up and walk on the beach or along the coastal path. The beach here is fairly small and not as nice and sandy as most of the others we visited so the best part of Boulmer was definitely walking along the coastal path. This was completely deserted – we didn’t see a soul and I felt like it was my own private garden by the sea! Continuing on this path makes a nice walk into Longhoughton, a lovely village a little way inland where we visited some family. I had a super afternoon chasing round with Teasel, Phiz and Rafa – like the tennis player. He was pretty keen on me if I do say so myself.
Back at Boulmer we called into the Fishing Boat Inn – dogs aren’t allowed inside – but there is a very nice seating area round the back on a terrace overhanging the beach. There’s even a little wooden shelter with a table inside that bears a sign proclaiming it’s ‘Villa Fido’, so if the weather is bad but your people want to eat then they can sit in there. I’ve never had a private villa before!
Ross Back Sands
Now Phileas Phans, I’m going to tell you about this next place that I visited only if you PROMISE – Pup’s Honour – not to tell anyone else about it….
Ross Back Sands is Northumberland’s best-kept secret – partly because it’s so well hidden! You need to park up on the road leading to the tiny hamlet of Ross – then it’s over a mile’s walk through a few fields and the sand dunes until you reach the beach. But boy is it worth it! A golden sandy beach stretches as far as the eye can see in either direction, framed between Lindisfarne Castle in the distance to the north, and Bamburgh Castle to the south. It’s a huge wide beach, made even better by the beautiful sunny day we had, and we didn’t see a single soul. I ran and played to my heart’s content while we walked towards Budle Bay and back and we sat and had a lovely picnic as if we were in our very own world. It was definitely the highlight of my trip – it was like being in Paradise. Just make sure you keep it to yourself!!
If you do visit Ross, then it’s also worth stopping at Belford on the way back, a quiet village a bit further inland. There are some nice shops and pubs, and the Well House Coffee Shop which has a nice private courtyard – the waitress gave me a big cuddle and brought me out a bowl of fresh water as soon as we arrived. I also have to mention the kind lady in the Belford Interiors shop; Hannah and her mum always want to have a look round the gift shops when we go anywhere, and as soon as she saw me, the shop’s owner said dogs were very welcome inside and she brought me a bowl of water too (my bladder was getting a bit full by this point but I thought it would be impolite to turn my nose up!). Apparently her own two dogs are normally in the shop with her but were somewhere else that day. Anyway she was very friendly and Hannah spent ages chatting to her and buying presents while I crossed my legs and busied myself sniffing out the missing spaniels.
Finally I have to recommend an excellent pub we went to for a meal out on our last night in Northumberland – well worth a visit if you’re ever in the area. The White Swan in Warenford allows dogs in the bar area – it’s advised to book anyway because it’s very popular – but if your owners mention they’re bringing you then the Landlord will set you up a table in the bar. It’s very cosy and traditional inside, and the food is award winning; everything is locally sourced, with the menu even telling you which farm the produce came from. Everything is homemade too, right down to the ice cream! I was very happy curled up on the carpet, and it would be lovely in winter to lie in front of the log fire. The White Swan definitely gets my Paw of Approval!
So I think that just about sums up my amazing week in Northumberland – none of us wanted to leave when it was time to go home! The Northumberland Coast is my favourite place in the country, and is definitely a Number One Doggy-Destination. If you’re not all pulling out your most persuasive puppy-dog eyes and begging your humans to take you there right now then you should be!
- Gullsway – for an overview of the property visit www.gullswaybeadnell.co.uk where there is a link to the booking agency Grace Darling Holidays (www.gracedarlingholidays.com) which also has a large selection of other properties in Northumberland.
- Beadnell Towers, Beadnell, Chathill, Northumberland NE67 5AY Tel: 01665 721211; website: www.beadnelltowers.co.uk
- The Craster Arms, The Wynding, Beadnell, Northumberland, NE67 5AX Tel: 01665 720272; website: www.crasterarms.co.uk
- The Bamburgh Castle Inn, Seahouses, Northumberland, NE68 7SQ Tel: 01665 720283; website: www.bamburghcastleinn.co.uk
- The Victoria Hotel, Front Street, Bamburgh, Northumberland, NE69 7BP Tel: 01668 214431; website: www.victoriahotel.net
- The Copper Kettle Tearooms, 21 Front Street, Bamburgh, Northumberland, NE69 7BW Tel: 01668 214315 www.copperkettletearooms.com
- The Jolly Fisherman, Haven Hill, Craster, Northumberland, NE66 3TR Tel: 01665 576461 www.thejollyfishermancraster.co.uk
- Shoreline Café, 3 Church Street, Craster, Northumberland, NE66 3TH Tel: 01665 571251
- The Fishing Boat Inn, 14-15 Beach View, Boulmer, Northumberland, NE66 3BP Tel: 01665 577750; website: www.seaviewstudioatthefishingboatinn.co.uk
Ross Back Sands
- For Ross Back Sands beach, turn right off the A1 past Belford on a minor road towards Ross; OS Map Ref: NU 148377
- Well House Coffee Shop, 33 High Street, Belford, Northumberland, NE70 7NG Tel: 01668 213164; website: www.wellhousehayloft.co.uk
- Belford Interiors, 19-21 High Street, Belford, Northumberland, NE70 7NG Tel: 01668 213677; website: www.belfordinteriors.co.uk
- The White Swan, Warenford, Belford, NE70 7HY Tel: 01668 213453