THERE’S something magnetic about the British coastline in winter. But forget Brighton, Southwold or Bude, it was Bamburgh, a tiny village on the Northumberland coast, that scored the title of number one British seaside resort in 2019 (according to Which? magazine). Famous for its dramatic castle perched on a rocky headland, it bagged the accolade thanks to its beautiful wild beaches, cutesy promenade and great value.
I’m staying five miles south of Bamburgh, at Beadnell Towers in Beadnell, another seaside village. It’s a swish boutique hotel moments from the sea. The new 18-roomer opened last summer and has all the appeal of a gentlemen’s club crossed with trendy fisherman’s cottage — think painted exposed brick, driftwood shelves and rugged fishing nets meeting parquet flooring and petrol-blue hues.
Upstairs, powdery blue-grey halls adorned with sea-faring oil paintings hide individually styled rooms named after local Geordie sayings like Hen Cree (hen house) and Canty (comfortable). I’m staying in Muckle Hoose (great house) where I’m met by twin copper slipper baths, exposed stone and vaulted oak-beamed ceilings, while handmade chandeliers and chunky glasses add to the comfortable, clubhouse appeal.
In the morning, I walk off a mighty Towers breakfast of local Bamburgh sausages, bacon and black pudding with a blustery romp between Beadnell Bay — a horseshoe-shaped sandy beach banked by dunes — and Seahouses, which takes 40 or so minutes. I spot gulls and guillemots and keep half an eye out for puffins, 70,000 of which breed on to the nearby Farne Islands between April and July. After a swift pint in The Olde Ship Inn in Seahouses, which is more a maritime museum than a pub, I wander back through the dunes.
Back at Beadnell Towers, I settle down in the open-plan bar and restaurant where I feast on fat North Sea scallops, perfectly pan-fried and served with lemon (£9) and steamed local smoked haddock on chive mash with poached egg and crispy pancetta (£13.50) before retiring to bed, all puffin-ed out.
USP: A beautiful beachy escape with cracking seafood and outstanding coastal walks.
Who goes there? Out of season it’s all weekend walkers up from Newcastle, often with dogs in tow who all howlingly approve of the dog-friendly bar, restaurant and rooms.
Out and about: It’s a beautiful 40-minute stroll along the beach to Seahouses, where you can take boat trips to the Farne Islands. Bamburgh Castle is ten minutes’ drive and it’s 25 minutes from the causeway over to Holy Island, while Harry Potter fans will enjoy Alnwick Castle (a 20-minute drive) — Hogwarts from the first two films.