We look at lots of different travel destinations on the blog, and so far I have taken you all across the world looking at people’s recommendations on where to visit. Today however we are looking at places closer to home as we stay in UK, looking at Northumberland and Bath, courtesy of Lucy Oates-Dibnah from Boutique and Breakfast. Lucy Oates-Dibnah counts herself extremely lucky to be able to visit wonderful places to stay in the course of her work. Here she recommends a great destination for a family break and the perfect choice for a weekend away with the girls…
I’ll pass you over to Lucy………
I recently discovered the magic of Northumberland and really fell for its rugged charm; endless, unspoilt beaches; and sleepy little villages. I visited with my husband, our little girl and our two dogs, and we can’t wait to return…
Stroll among the sand dunes at Bamburgh: This is the best way to get a close-up view of one of Northumberland’s most iconic sights – Bamburgh Castle. The recorded history of this sprawling fort, which occupies a lofty position on a rocky outcrop, dates back to 547, although much of what you see today was built in Victorian times. We picked up fish and chips at Seahouses and parked up close to the castle to enjoy an al fresco lunch with a view before heading out into the dunes and down onto the beach.
Have a crab sandwich at Craster: This picture postcard village is actually the home of Northumberland’s famous kippers and, although you may want to pick up some of those too, the crab sandwiches at the Jolly Fisherman pub are the freshest I’ve ever tasted. When we visited, the skies were grey and moody, and enormous waves were crashing ominously beyond the tiny little harbour, but Craster’s beauty still shone through.
Drive down the coast from Warkworth to Amble: The drive from Warkworth (which has a stunning castle and is a lovely place to shop and lunch) is particularly picturesque as the road closely follows the course of the River Coquet towards the sea. Although we were not lucky enough to see them, it’s sometimes possible to spot seals.
Spend time at Druridge Bay Country Park: Located south of Amble, the park comprises three miles of beach – one of the most beautiful that I’ve seen – and sand dunes, alongside a large freshwater lake surrounded by woods and meadows. There’s a children’s play area and visitor centre, although the café was unfortunately closed when we were there. There are plenty of spots to enjoy a picnic and you could easily spend a full day there in warmer weather. As it was rather chilly when we visited, after a walk on the beach we continued down the coast to Widdrington, where we enjoyed delicious homemade cakes and hot chocolate at The Country Barn farm shop.
Eat out in Alnmouth: We loved the village of Alnmouth, which retains an old-world charm and has just a scattering of eateries and shops. There’s a handy General Store with a fantastic delicatessen counter; a lovely gift shop and gallery; and a great choice of pubs. The Hope and Anchor is dog and child friendly, and serves hearty grub. Part of the pub has been converted into an Italian restaurant, where we enjoyed authentic Italian-style pizzas and linguine topped with a generous mound of mussels.
A good friend and I enjoyed a couple of wonderful days of pampering, shopping, eating and sight-seeing in the beautiful city of Bath. Here are just a few of my (many!) favourite things about it…
The Thermae Bath Spa reopened in 2006 following a £40 million redevelopment, and features a fabulous rooftop pool boasting panoramic views of the city’s skyline and surrounding countryside, as well as an indoor pool and a series of large, pod-like steam rooms, each with a different aroma. The pools are fed by the natural thermal spring waters on which the city was built, so the outdoor pool is inviting, whatever the weather.
The Jane Austen Centre: This small but informative museum is located on Gay Street, just a few doors down from where Jane’s family once lived. It provides visitors with a unique opportunity to learn more about Austen, her work and what Bath was like in the days when she lived there. There’s even a selection of period-style dresses, bonnets, gloves and parasols so that visitors can dress up like the romantic heroines featured in Austen’s novels; great fun!
Cruising the River Avon aboard the Pulteney Princess: The boat sets off from Pulteney Weir and heads out of the city towards the picture postcard village of Bathampton. Blessed with fantastic weather, we enjoyed a glass of Pimms and soaked up the sunshine on the top deck as the crew pointed out places of interest along the way, pausing briefly to admire a beautiful kingfisher sunning itself by the water’s edge.
Fabulous cocktails at the über stylish Sub 13: This atmospheric, candle-lit bar is located below street level in one of the many vaults beneath.
Bea’s Vintage Team Rooms on Saville Row: This little gem of a tea room is decorated in a fabulously kitsch, vintage style and is right next to the famous Assembly Rooms, where, in Jane Austen’s day, the social elite would have gathered in their finery to dance the night away.
The shopping: Bath has a winning formula of quirky, independent boutiques; top end high street stores; and great market stalls.
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