- 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
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.
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.
- 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!!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Family Cycling Grade
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.
Cycling from Alnwick to Banburgh was superb! I found the team extremely helpful.
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.
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
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
8 reasons to cycle Northumberland
Here's why we think this often-underrated destination is perfect for those seeking a holiday at the speed of the bike...
Our travel guide to 2021
Travel with the seasons! We highlight some of the incredible experiences we can’t wait to share with you...
Family Holidays: Near or Far?
We share our top tips for deciding where to go for your next cycling holiday!
The Northumberland self-guided bicycle tour was fabulous. The Skedaddle team organized the vacation very well: all we had to do was show up. Our group included 3 adults and two kids age 4 and 5. The 5 year old bicycled solo the whole way, only needing a push for rare uphills. The 4 year old was on a tag-a-long bicycle. We also pulled a little trailer, just in case one of the kids went on strike, but we only used it for carrying snacks. We all loved the trip. The mix of country farmland, castles, and ocean were terrific. Kids and adults enjoyed running on the beaches and visiting castles. The hotels were comfortable and clean with good dinners every night. The kids regularly ask to go back to England! We are looking forward to another Skedaddle adventure soon.
Helen, Worcestershire, UKEverything went like clockwork!
From the first call to Saddle Skedaddle, indicating I wanted to create a bespoke package, I found the team extremely helpful! And from then, everything went like clockwork. All the planning, agreeing the route, booking and preparation for the routes with trip notes etc was all very good. Cycling from Alnwick to Banburgh was superb!
Alison, Derbyshire, UKSo helpful!
Saddle Skedaddle were very helpful all the way!