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Alnwick's beautiful main shopping street of Bondgate Within has won Google Street View's 2011 award for 'Best Shopping Street' in the UK, beating off stiff competition from the rest of the Country. We have been enjoying the relaxed shopping of Alnwick for years and we are proud that it has finally been recognised! Over 20,000 people voted in the awards and we would like to thank all of them for giving Alnwick some excellent promotion.
Laura Scott, of Google, said: "I think it's clear that people not just from the area, but also people who have visited from outside the area, obviously really credit the North East as being not only great for shopping, but also hip or trendy. There's lots of talk from the government about Britain's high streets and I think Alnwick kind of describes what the perfect high street would be like."
Front Street in Bamburgh was also recognised in the awards, it came second in most 'Romantic Street' category.
Summer is fast approaching and the weather is looking great. So there's nothing for it.... hit the beach! So here's our top 5 Count down:
5 Druridge Bay
Druridge Bay Country Park offers three miles of beautiful beach and sand dunes, plus a large lake surrounded by woods and meadows. Facilities include a visitor centre with information, toilets, a cafe and gift shop (open most weekends and school holidays), activities, water sports, bird-watching, walks, orienteering and cycling.
While you're there: Visit the nature reserves, home to everything from a resident herd of swans to rare birds like the Golden Eye Snipe.
Head here if you like your watersports! Beadnell Bay offers a stunning beach with huge sand dunes, limekilns, small harbour, beautiful coastline, and views to the distant Cheviot Hills. During holiday times the beach is very popular with watersports including, diving, sailing, surfing, windsurfing, sea canoeing and waterskiing. Boat launching facilities are also available. The beach is also popular with divers, as a departure point for exploration of the many shipwrecks located around the Farne Islands. Dedicated watersports enthusiasts and the casual visitor alike will find Beadnell Village and beautiful Beadnell Bay has a lot to offer.
While you're there: Why not try surfing lesson for just £25 with www.boardsandbikes.co.uk/lessons
3 Low Newton
You can't fail to be 'wowed' by the dramatic view you are greeted with as you come over the hilltop approaching Low Newton. The beach sprawls out into the distance with Dunstanburgh Castle's dramatic ruins jutting out of the horizon. Considered by many to be one of the most picturesque villages on The Northumberland Coast, the small isolated 18th century fishing village of Low Newton by the Sea is popular with visitors. Owned by The National Trust, the village has an open-ended square of lovely cream-washed cottages set around a small green that looks out to sea across the beach of Newton Haven. This is one of the County's quieter beaches, off season you can often find yourself walking the sandy beach alone.
While you're there: Pay a visit to the Ship Inn (originally known as the Smack Inn!) for its great value food, home brewed beer and charming location.
Visible for miles around, Bamburgh beach (shown above) is dominated by its stunning castle and is one of the finest, award-winning beaches in Northumberland. The Castle has been extensively restored, first by Lord Crewe in the 1750's and more recently by the first Lord Armstrong at the end of the 19th century. It is open to members of the public throughout the year. It offers a unique and dramatic backdrop to a beautiful untouched coastline. Grace Darling is one of the most famous inhabitants of Bamburgh. With her father she saved many lives from the wreck of the SS Forfarshire in 1838. She died from Tuberculosis in 1842, at the early age of 26 and lies at peace in the grounds of St Aidan's church.
While you're there: Pay a visit to the Grace Darling Museum. This £1.5 million project has taken two years to complete, and features a new frontage, improved access and a more spacious interior with the museum now covering two floors.
Number one has to be Alnmouth (shown above), just a few miles East of the historic market town of Alnwick, it really does have something to offer everyone and is picture postcard perfect. Aside from its glorious beach and estuary, the galleries, golf course, tea rooms, shop, pubs and restaurants in this beautiful village will charm the socks off anyone. Originally founded in 1150, Alnmouth became established as a port for grain and as a centre for shipbuilding around 1207 and its proud history is still evident today. For enjoying a family day at the beach, Alnmouth simply can't be beaten. Anywhere.
While you're there: Pay a visit to the Schooner Hotel, this 17th century Coaching Inn is said to be Britains most haunted hotel!
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