Ever keen to return to the beautiful Northumberland coast after our first trip in June, we found a rental house in Spittal, chosen mainly due to its close proximity to the many local beaches. Spittal runs into Berwick upon Tweed – a town we had only previously viewed from the warmth of a train on the East Coast mainline – and on a fine sunny day we decided to explore the town a little more to test out how dog-friendly it is.
Parking is easy and often free, and it wasn’t long before we were trotting down the high street towards Berwick Barracks (our English Heritage membership giving us free access). It has several fascinating and well-put together exhibitions, designed to educate in a gentle fashion with pictures, artefacts, history boards and re-creations of life of a soldier before, during and after wars. As with many English Heritage sites, the dog was welcome in all the exhibition halls – and only baulked at the loud bangs coming from one room with a recreation of life in the trenches.
It was my first gotcha-versary - the anniversary of the day I was 'got' from the rescue centre - and so my humans decided to take me on an October Northumberland adventure to celebrate.
We started on the coast near Alnwick. It was a crisp day with blue skies, despite the fact that inland and further South it was rather damp and grey. Often we've visited the beach at Alnmouth, but due to my previous picnic-thieving success, we went instead to the quieter, very beautiful, beach at Longhaughton. We had an excellent time chasing balls and waves, and I was able to run around to my heart’s content.
Having burned off some energy, we headed to the second-hand bookshop in Alnwick, Barter Books, for a browse and some lunch. My humans pulled me towards the Philosophy section, but I made sure they visited the dog treat jar en route. While they browsed, I said hello to the other dogs, and had a big drink of water from the bowls provided. Then we all settled down by the fire to read.
Next up was the Alnwick pet shop, Northumbria Pets, where we got my gotcha-versary present: a warm, wind-proof coat with a tartan lining. The shopkeepers admired me and gave me lots of treats: I think it’s my favourite shop.
We stayed at Stablewood Cottages, nestled behind the dunes of the beautiful Budle Bay, on the Northumberland coast. The cottages are set yards from the beach, with walks either round Budle Bay, or past the breakwater and to Bamburgh, and the wonderful castle. The cottage had a small enclosed garden with a bbq built in and nice tables, opening on to a large shared garden with just 3 other cottages, each having their own fenced off veranda with magnificent views over the bay. Stablewood own the Apple Inn at Lucker, just a few miles inland, and they are just as dog friendly, serving wonderful food. The cottage was well equipped for those that prefer to stay and cook their own meals. This place is simply perfect for a peaceful get away, the bird life in the bay was wonderful, the sunsets lit up the sky, and from the beach we could see right over to Holy Island. Staying at the cottages also entitles you to a free swim and treatment at their spa, which is also in Lucker. We had an amazing stay at this beautiful place.
Northumberland: Doggy Heaven!
Miles of golden beaches and countryside walks: Northumberlandia, a country park with a giant sculpture carved into the hillside: Hadrian's Wall where you'll see the most complete Roman fort in Britain and enjoy the wonderful scenery on miles of footpaths.
Kielder Water & Forest Park offers footpaths and cycle tracks, water sports and horse riding but if you just want to take it easy and soak in the views head to one of the visitor centres for a great meal. And look out for the 'super six', ospreys, red squirrels, pipistrelle bats, roe deer, salmon and otters, all of which can be seen if you're lucky.
Rocking Horse Cafe & Gallery near Alnwick offers excellent coffee and cakes with photographs by the former jockey, Richard Dunwoody exclusively on show and for sale.
Northumberland self catering accommodation seems truly dog friendly rather than dog tolerant with many going out of their way to welcome the four legged family members.
But don't go if the 'Beast from te East' returns unless you want snow of epic proportions.
We stayed at Haughton Castle White Lodge such as amazing cottage everything for us and our dogs. Beautiful walks from the doorstep. Fantastic scenery and lots to do.