We couldn’t have asked for a better time exploring North England! I have some family friends who live in Newcastle and were nice enough to host us for two days and two nights. Lynn, Ron, and their dog, Bo, were exceptional tour guides! In such a short amount of time, we were really able to get the most out of our visit.
We started our first day by driving to Northumberland Coast and visiting lots of little towns along the way. Our first stop was in Alnmouth, which was a town that is particularly special to Ron.
We took a short hike up a path that led us to the top of a hill with a gorgeous view of the coast. There were hundreds of tiny froglets hopping along the path that we had to be careful of, but I really enjoyed seeing them bouncing everywhere. Along our walk, we heard a story about how my grandfather got lost along the path when he tried to go off by himself! After that, we promised Lynn and Ron that we would stay close by.
After our walk back down to the town, it started to rain so we rearranged our schedule to go find some indoor lunch. We went to a very cute town called “Seahouses,” and Thomas and I were blown away by the vast difference in the water from when the tide is in or out.
We found lunch at a restaurant called “Neptune” which had the BIGGEST portion of fish and chips we have ever seen. It was so good, but I couldn’t even finish mine.
On our way out of the restaurant, we heard of another local store that was giving free ice cream cones with the purchase of another. So of course, all of our fullness immediately went away so we could make room for some delicious ice cream.
While we enjoyed our treat, we took a walk along the coast where Lynn and Ron pointed out the Farne Islands where you can find puffins and seals. We decided we would go there the next time we visit, since Thomas and I have never seen puffins or seals!
We took a short drive over to Bamburgh Castle after that, which was a massive castle that was really well preserved! This was only the second castle that Thomas and I got to explore on our trip, so we were excited to check it out.
My absolute favorite part was the view of The North Sea from the castle’s walls. There were several places to step up and catch a glimpse of the coast, and it was breathtaking.
The castle had a lot of great spots for various activities, including an art show with painting and drawings of the castle (and some funny puffin cartoons). There was also an opportunity to do some wood carvings and play a game using sticks and rope. (Ron almost threw the rope over the castle wall on his turn!)
There were also several opportunities to take photos – Thomas jumped at the opportunity to sit in the throne!
We also took some pictures by the cannons and in the stocks.
There were lots of “funny” reasons for people to be locked in the stocks, and there were lots of not-so-funny things that would get thrown at people in the stocks!
We were also able to walk around the inside of the castle and explore the different rooms and its history. Altogether, it was a great way to spend our day.
After that, we drove to Newton By The Sea for a stop at a pub for some beer. It was great to sit down after walking all around the castle’s grounds. We each picked out a different beer and had a good time talking.
We ended our visit by walking along the edge of a town called Craster. There were lots of little holiday houses with a nice view of the water. It was easy to see why this would be such a popular place to relax.
Of course, Bo was happy to see us when we got back. We spent the evening with tea and lemon cake, as well as some sandwiches.
The next morning, we slept in and got some work done before driving into Newcastle. We drove over the Tyne bridge and walked into the Sage, which was a giant music hall with a great view of Newcastle. Ron pointed out the new castle (which is now an old castle) that gave the town its name.
After taking in the view, we walked across the Millennium Bridge to get some lunch at Pitcher & Piano. We had some great sandwiches and drinks, which helped us feel very refreshed as we walked further down the street. We were able to get a nice picture on Millennium Bridge, though!
We laughed at the “beach” that Newcastle had put next to the river, although it was a clever idea for people to relax with their toes in the sand by the Tyne River.
To end our day, we went inside the Baltic, which was an old flour mill that now shows rotating art exhibits. It offered another spectacular view of both bridges for us to see, as well as an amazing gift shop.
Lynn was nice enough to pack us some food for the road on our drive out of England, and we were back on the road! It’s hard to believe there are only 5 more days of our trip, but we were very thankful for our nice stop and visit with some great family friends!
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