I was born in Whitley Bay, just east of Newcastle upon Tyne on the coast, and sometimes the urge to be near the seaside just overwhelms me. Staying on the Northumberland coast for a few days was therefore the perfect place to be. Seems ridiculous but we had never actually taken a holiday around here – the odd day trip, yes, but over the years we have just stayed with Mum and Dad so hadn’t considered the region for a proper break. Madness.
A perfect day at the seaside began when I looked out of the window and saw a vast blue sky. Leaving the teens to their slumber, Dougie and I couldn’t wait to make the most of the weather and go for a walk. And what a walk. Our apartment looked out onto St Aidan’s beach and we could now see it properly as the tide was going out. The air was fresh and there was quite a gusty breeze but that couldn’t alter the sheer happiness of walking hand in hand on the beautiful beach. Sounds soppy but I had a grin from ear to ear as it was just what I had been pining for – a beach and plenty of time to enjoy it.
|The beach at Seahouses with the Farne Islands in the distance.
We headed towards Bamburgh Castle which you may remember from my previous post could be seen in the distance on the headland. From the beach we couldn’t see the castle above the dunes but we kept walking as we knew it was there somewhere. After a while we were convinced we must have reached it, so popped our heads over the dunes, only to discover it was still some way off. We hadn’t planned to stay out all morning so did the sensible thing and headed back. The kiddies still weren’t up.
Coffee on the balcony, some ‘encouraging words’ to the kids and we eventually managed persuade them to join us in a saunter around the vicinity. Seahouses itself is a small fishing village which caters for day trippers wanting a short cruise to the Farne Islands to see the puffins and seals. It has an amusement arcade, a Crazy Golf, a few chippies, a great real ale pub and a bustling high street. We really should have taken a boat trip out to the Farne Islands, odd that we didn’t, having come all this way. We did pop into the RNLI lifeboat station, remembering the story of Grace Darling, daughter of the lighthouse keeper on the islands, who, realising it was too rough for the lifeboat to be put out from Seahouses, rowed out with her father to rescue sailors from the stricken Forfarshire in 1838. There is a museum about Grace Darling in Bamburgh – we didn’t get to that either.
So what did we do in Seahouses? We ate fish and chips down by the harbour, like everyone else does. According to The Hairy Bikers the ‘best fish and chips in the country’ can be found at Pinnacles Restaurant. We put this to the test; Rory and Juliana getting theirs from Pinnacles, Dougie and I buying ours from Lewis’s restaurant. Not a very scientific comparison, as we neglected to include the third chippie, Neptunes, from our taste test. The result was a win for Pinnacles – by a whisker. Although slightly more expensive, the fish was enormous. I did prefer the batter from Lewis’s though…
Despite being full of fish, Juliana wanted to try the kippers for which the village is so famous so we hunted out the local smokery, Swallowfish, located in a tiny, authentic little place, the Fishermen’s Kitchen, with a rather good-looking, bohemian young chap serving at the counter. Looked nowt like Captain Bird’s Eye, that’s for sure.
Here are Dougie and the teens posing outside the shop:
We took the kippers home and left the teens to have a game of Crazy Golf and a session of sandcastle-building on the beach.
Dinner later was a five minute walk through town to the Elan Pizzeria, a tiny place where you can bring your own wine if you don’t fancy buying theirs. The pizza toppings were a bit out of left field – Peking duck with hoisin sauce and Caesar salad anyone? – but the pizzas were great and the puds – Tiramisu and a Wimbledon Mess in a large Knickerbocker Glory glass – were scrummy.
A quick walk back, taking in the view yet again:
|Evening view from Salt Air apartment to the Farne Islands|
Back in our cosy apartment, coffee served, some beers and a tad more wine before a family decision to watch a DVD. A great selection for us to choose from so we settled down to The Grand Budapest Hotel.
A day of simple pleasures – unforgettable.