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Northumberland Coast (4 Days Cycling)

Self-Guided Family Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

5 days

Prices from

$740 P.P.
Child Discount Applies
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The Northumberland Coast is best known for its sweeping sandy beaches, rolling dunes and islands. This is a lovely family cycling holiday that takes in the special qualities of this coastal landscape with spectacular views as the route passes impressive castles and fortresses.
Beginning in the beautiful market town of Alnwick there are plenty of local attractions to visit on your arrival day. Swap your bike for a broomstick and follow Harry Potter around Alnwick Castle, or enjoy 12 acres of delight at the world-renowned Alnwick Gardens, dodging the 120 water jets in their Grand Cascade before enjoying lunch in the world's largest Treehouse Restaurant. Alnwick itself is a fabulous introduction to Northumberland with its medieval winding cobbled streets, delightful cafes and independent shops, and pretty riverside walks.
From Alnwick our cycling route first takes us down to meet the stunning coast at Alnmouth before travelling northwards weaving its way through pretty villages and skirting alongside the wide sandy beaches and dunes at Embleton, Newton-by-the-Sea and Bamburgh. If tide and time allow (always check!) you can cross the tidal causeway to the historic Holy Island of Lindisfarne where the Lindisfarne Gospels were written in the 8th Century. It is also home to the world-famous Lindisfarne mead. The route continues north to finish at the historic Elizabethan border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, with its impressive defences built during many years of border wars. From Berwick-upon-Tweed we'll whisk you back to your car in Alnwick, or you can catch the train home from here.
This self-guided trip is for a minimum of 2 people and accommodation, transfers, luggage transfers and emergency back up are all included. We also provide detailed route notes and maps to enable you to do the route self-guided. Nothing could be simpler!
Create your own - you can choose to do any combination of days along the route either moving on to the next destination or spending extra days exploring a particular area. There is so much to see and do on our Northumberland Coast holiday that many families find they want to ride just short distances to visit beautiful beaches or exciting castles on some days. If you are looking to add extra days to explore Alnwick or extra routes, transfers, or child discounts, then please contact the Skedaddle Office to discuss the available options.

Highlights

  • Discovering beautiful Alnwick and its famous Castle and Gardens
  • Working out the tide times, then cycling over the causeway to Holy Island to check out the priory
  • Tasty fish and chips at Seahouses
  • Gorgeous sandy beaches and sweeping sand dunes of the Northumberland Coast
  • Seeing who’ll spot the castles of Dunstanburgh and Bamburgh first
  • Checking out the city walls of Berwick-upon-Tweed, England’s most northern town

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Fabulous! The team organized the vacation very well, all we had to do was show up. We all loved the trip, kids and adults enjoyed running on the beaches and visiting castles.

Christina, USA

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival into Alnwick
Non Cycling Day

The start point for this beautiful family cycling break is the picturesque market town of Alnwick. With a station on the East Coast Main Line nearby at Alnmouth, Alnwick is easily accessed by train. We will arrange to meet you at the train station and transfer you to your accommodation. Alternatively you can drive to Alnwick and you will be able to leave your car at or near the accommodation for the duration of the trip. Our accommodation is one of the local B&Bs and for those arriving early there are plenty of incredible local attractions to visit. Choose from Alnwick Castle and the famous Alnwick Gardens, or relax and enjoy the town with a riverside walk and your choice of independent shops, cafes and restaurants. Your representative will meet you this evening or the following morning to discuss the route and supply your information pack.

Day 2
Alnwick to Low Newton-by-the-Sea
19 Miles / 30 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 300m

Starting slowly and carefully we make our way out of Alnwick this morning to meet the new purpose built cyclepath running alongside the newly restored Aln Valley Railway where we hope to catch the sight of a passing steam engine! It’s a great start to your family cycling adventure and you’ll soon find yourself riding along minor roads and well surfaced cycle tracks to the pretty coastal village of Alnmouth. It’s worth making your first stop of the route to explore the village and its beautiful sandy beach.

Heading northwards the route follows the fabulous Northumberland coast and takes you through the little hamlet of Boulmer. This small fishing village was the haunt of smugglers during the 18th and early 19th centuries with smugglers coming from all over Northumberland and the Scottish borders to deal in illicit goods.

The route goes slightly inland from here and passes by Howick Hall Gardens and Arboretum which is well worth a visit. Howick Hall was the seat of the Prime Minister, Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey after whom the famous tea is named. The original Earl Grey tea was specially blended by a Chinese mandarin to suit the water from the well at Howick using bergamot to offset the taste of lime. The tea was later marketed by Twinings. The gardens and arboretum are simply stunning and have been rated by the BBC Gardener’s World Magazine as one of the top 5 coastal gardens in the country.

Continuing along the coastal route with magnificent views across the sea you arrive at the bustling fishing village of Craster, famous for its smoke houses where herrings are smoked to produce Craster kippers, a renowned Northumbrian export. If you and the family have been making good progress today then why not visit the eerie Dunstanburgh Castle, a ruined 14th century fortress which is only accessible by foot.

Today’s cycling ends at the small coastal village of Low Newton-by-the-Sea with its superb sandy beach and gorgeous cosy pub. There’s no better end to the day than having a wander along the beach and a paddle!!

Day 3
Low Newton-by-the-Sea to Seahouses
10 Miles / 16 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 100m

After breakfast today’s cycling takes you further inland through beautiful countryside before arriving at the seaside village of Seahouses.

Seahouses is the largest village on this coastal stretch and is home to an abundance of shops, pubs and cafes as well as award winning fish and chip shops. There are arcades, museums, crazy golf… in fact, something for everyone. There has been a harbour here since 1318 and it remains busy today with a number of tour boats taking visitors to the nearby Farne Islands alongside the local fishing boats.

Why not stay an extra night in Seahouses to give you time to enjoy the many attractions within easy reach? If you can, make time for a visit to the Farne Islands which are a haven for seabirds and seals. Spring is a great time to see the thousands of birds that nest on the islands – though you’ll want to take a hat as they are known to come close! The islands are also home to Longstone lighthouse where Grace Darling lived with her father. Her courageous rescue of nine sailors from the wreck of the Forfarshire in 1838 has become one of Northumberland’s most famous historical episodes.

Day 4
Seahouses to Beal
16 Miles / 26 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 300m

Leaving Seahouses behind you will cycle on through Bamburgh passing the mighty Bamburgh Castle perched high on a rocky outcrop (well worth a visit!), along quiet country lanes and roads through the ancient market village of Belford before arriving at your accommodation at Beal. Depending on the tide times you will have the option today of cycling the additional 7 mile round trip to visit Lindisfarne, otherwise known as Holy Island, with its sweeping beaches and dunes, castle and priory and the winery where they still make the world famous Lindisfarne mead. Subject to availability and a small supplement, it may be possible to stay on the island instead of at Beal, just ask at the time of booking.

Day 5
Beal to Berwick-upon-Tweed
12 Miles / 19 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 200m

After your final hearty breakfast of the ride, you set off for Berwick-upon-Tweed. If you didn’t visit or stay on Holy Island the previous day, you may want to visit it today, just check the tide times! The remaining journey follows the coast to the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed on the border with Scotland. After taking in the dramatic sight of Berwick-upon-Tweed’s array of bridges and famous fortified walls, you can meet your representative, collect your luggage and hop on the train, or a transfer is available to whisk you back to your car at Alnwick.

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The Cycling

Terrain

Mixture of generally flat and undulating terrain on paved river and seaside promenades, minor urban roads, quiet lanes and purpose built Cycleways. There are a few off-road sections, with tracks across grassy fields or farm roads. Being a National Cycle Network route, there are no “technical” off-road sections. With a mix of tarmac and some gravel or stoney/grass surfaces the ride can be completed on almost any type of bike. With a little extra care the off-road sections can be ridden on a road bike with touring tyres fitted, however there are tarmac alternatives to the standard route if preferred.

uk-coast-northumberland-cycling-rural-fields-tour-self-guided.jpg

Family Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 1 - 2 : Easy/Gentle

Aspects of both our grade 1 and 2 trips

Suitable for those looking for a relaxed ride

Occasional ups and downs

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

Trips that are graded as a 1-2, will have aspects of both our grade 1 and grade 2 trips. These tours are still suitable for those looking for an accessible cycling holiday with manageable daily distances, along predominately flat terrain, however there will be some days / sections where we’d expect you to be up for a slightly cheeky challenge. It might be that the distances are a little longer on some days or that the terrain is slightly more undulating, but the rides are still relaxed and manageable for families who are generally fit and healthy.

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Cycling from Alnwick to Banburgh was superb! I found the team extremely helpful.

Helen, UK

Dates & Prices

Daily departures available between April and early October.

20% discount for children below the age of 18 who are travelling with 2 fully-paying passengers. Additional 20% discount for children sharing a triple or family room.

Choose your date
Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
Return Date
--/--/----
Duration
5 days
Price
$740.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Accommodation (shared twin rooms)

B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Skedaddle App to access holiday information and navigation

D) Detailed Skedaddle route notes and relevant maps

E) GPX files available upon request

F) Luggage transfer service

G) Skedaddle Local Representative

H) Emergency tool kit, pump etc. (if hiring your bike from Skedaddle)

What's not Included Cross

A) Personal clothing and equipment

B) Travel insurance

C) Bar bills, telephone calls, souvenirs, etc.

D) Bike & helmet hire (available if required)

E) Travel or flight costs and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)

F) Single room option (may be available if required)

G) Entrance fees to cultural or historical sites and visitor centres

H) Other optional activities

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The Essentials

Travel Options

The closest main airports to the route are Newcastle or Edinburgh. From North America Edinburgh may be available for a direct flight with airlines such as KLM, or possibly with a stop over in an intermediary airport, with airlines such as Norwegian or Aer Lingus. Newcastle is slightly closer to the route however may be slightly more difficult to reach as transatlantic options are limited and most routes will come via London. From both of these airports you can then get a train to the route. If travelling by train we ask that you arrive into Alnmouth train station, where we will arrange to meet you and transfer you to your accommodation, and depart from Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Please contact us for more detailed information on the specific schedules that we recommend for your holiday and check with us before booking your travel so that we can ensure it fits with the trip schedule.

Accommodation

In the UK we use small, good quality family friendly B&B accommodation or small hotels and Inns. Our trips are operated on a twin share basis with some accommodation providing large family rooms (subject to availability).

Bike Hire

If you would like to hire a bike we have both hybrid and electric bikes available to hire. The hybrid bikes are generally Giant Roam or Liv Rove with a large 30 speed gear range, semi-slick tyres and a relaxed riding position. Our electric bikes are generally Giant Entour 2 E+2 Disc pedal assist bikes with 300Wh batteries.

We have a number of trailers / bikes suitable for children including:

  • Baby and child seats (12mths to 5 years)
  • Child Trailers (12mths to 5 years)
  • Tag-along (4 years to 9 years)
  • Childrens’ bikes – 20inch / 24 inch wheels (7 to 11 years)

Helmets and Skedaddle water bottles are provided with all our hire bikes along with an emergency repair kit including a spare innertube, bike pump and bike lock. Panniers are provided with adult bikes.

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