The ultimate guide to Northumberland: Castles, causeways, coast, country and cuisine

It was a wonderful weekend away. Full of adventure, wild abandon and outdoorsiness. A truly beautiful place which definitely appealed to my sense of dreamy escapism.

Miles of wild rolling sand dunes and secluded beaches. Not another soul around for miles, just the wind in our hair and sweeping waves as far as the eye could see.

Until we found a friend...

We climbed up and down hills, taking in the dramatic scenery of the national park and the historical Hadrian's Wall as we went.

Until we'd built such an enormous appetite and thirst that we had to indulge in these mouthwatering creations. The food and people at the Lindisfarne Inn really were lovely.

After some nourishment and lots of the ale/ vino (well earned, I'd say) we were sleepy and ready for bed. Bright and early we woke because I was beyond excited to see some historic castles and a mysterious tidal island.

We made our way up this road less travelled full of excitement and anticipation and found a quaint island village, almost picture postcard perfect and reminiscent of a bygone era.

On our quest for medieval castles we were accompanied by the distinctive tones of this celtic piper...

We joined the  many tourists taking the same pilgrimage of people from another time. Holy Island has a long history and spiritual origins, giving it somewhat magical and mysterious qualities. With the tide out, the mudbanks surrounding it looked like an eerie boat grave yard but with the sun peeking out, the haunting image didn't last long.

The castle, which at first appears fairly modest, has so much history and character inside...

We then moved onto the Lindisfarne Priory where I had my first taste of mead (quite like cough syrup but in a nice way) and strolled around some beautiful ruins.

Weirdly I love ruins of castles, abbeys and priories more than the finished article. I'm not sure why but perhaps because it allows me to engage my imagination, conjuring up images of what may have been there and all the interesting people to walk the same ground. To me, ruins are the most romantic thing ever.

And then we met a monk who told us folkloric tales of the towns people...

Too soon we had to get off the island because the tide was rising fast. In a race against time we reached the causeway and made it back to the main land before this happened to us...

To round off a truly wonderful mini-break, we visited the spectacular Alnwick Castle which is owned by the Earls of Northumberland. Co-incidentally they have a long history in the area where I live too and used to own a castle just down the street from my house in the times of Tudor England!

The castle also played the role of Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter films and so a tour of the grounds and broomstick training ensued.

All in all a fabulous weekend break location and highly recommended We saw much more than I can possibly squeeze into this teeny blog but nothing can beat the carefree, relaxed feeling I came away with.

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