Warkworth to Craster
Stage Two of the Northumberland Coast Path sees some of Northumberland's most spectacular beaches and coastline. Stage two and three are perhaps my favourite stages on the Coast Path due to their varied coastline including secluded sandy coves and rocky outcrops with seabird colonies. It is an excellent stage for wildlife, particularly bird life on the rocks near Craster towards the end of the stage and in the sand dunes of Warkworth and Alnmouth beach. The map at the bottom of the page marks the route of the second stage of the Northumberland Coast Path. Click on the photo icons to see images from the stage as well as other points of interest and facilities.
Leaving the Village of Warkworth and it's excellent amenities and heading to the North, the path cuts across straight by the golf club to the beach and continues here for about a mile towards Alnmouth. As you start to see the picture postcard view of Alnmouth getting closer you know it's almost time to head in-land to the main road. As tempting as it may seem to try and cut across the estuary here, even at low tide, it cannot (and should not!) be attempted. The strength of the current is far too strong and as disappointing as it may seem the main road must be followed into Alnmouth. It's a good thing though, as possibly my favourite view on the whole Coast Path can be seen from here. The beautiful coloured Cottages of Alnmouth and it's sandy beaches and estuary glistening in the distance on a sunny day is enough to warm the soul.
Turn right at the Hipsburn roundabout and follow the road over the bridge and into Alnmouth, a great place to stop for some refreshments. There are many restaurants, pubs and cafes in Alnmouth, if you are stopping for a drink on a glorious day I can highly recommend the Red Lion on the main road through Alnmouth with it's amazing raised deck area overlooking the estuary. Heading down towards the beach and the golf course there are public toilets at the bottom of Peases Lane, where you will also find Dandelion Cafe, who offer a great cup of coffee and cake.
Once fully refreshed the Coast Path leads North from Alnmouth along the beach and golf course towards the traditional fishing village of Boulmer (pronounced Boomer). The wonderful beach gradually turns a little more rocky as you approach the village, one of Northumberland's last genuine Fishing Villages, little has changed here in the last 100 years. The Fishing Boat Inn is in Boulmer, right on the sea front. It's a friendly pub with good food and excellent unobstructed sea views from the rear on their decked seating area.
Howick Hall and Gardens, the home of Early Grey tea. The gardens in particular are spectacular and have been named as one of the top five coastal gardens in the UK by Gardener's World magazine.
Finally, at the end of stage two you reach another fishing village, Craster, home to the world famous Craster Kipper (cured herring). Robson's Smokehouse is well worth visiting while you are here, as is the Gallery of local artist Mick Oxley, both of which are by the harbour. If you'd like refreshments at the end of this stage the Shoreline Cafe and the Jolly Fisherman (who offer free internet access) on the South side of the harbour are both highly recommended. There are public toilets in Craster behind the Tourist Information Centre, just outside of the Village, heading away from the harbour.
Top Attractions Along The Way
Warkworth Castle and Hermitage, Howick Hall and Gardens, Alnmouth's Attractions, Craster's Attractions.
Warkworth is served by bus, operated by Arriva, from Newcastle, Alnwick and Ashington. Alnmouth, Boulmer and Craster are served by Arriva'a Coast and Castles Service that runs between Newcastle, Alnwick and Berwick. Alnmouth also has a train station on the main North-East line, just outside the Village.
Accommodation Along The Way