With a mixture of the traditional seaside holiday town, quaint old fishing village and one of the UK’s greatest wildlife spectacles, it’s no wonder Seahouses is becoming the place for a weekend stay, writes STEVE NEWMAN.

One of Northumberland’s best known coastal villages, Seahouses has been making happy memories for a few years now. It’s unique mixture of being a ‘kiss me quick’ style of resort and also having the gentle isolation of a centuries old fishing village gives it a strange ambience that draws you back time after time.

Add on the fact it has become the jumping off point to visit the Farne Islands with its quarter of a million sea birds, seals and dolphins, plus it has a plethora of pubs, restaurants, cafes and lovely little shops that you’re going to have to go some to get it all in.

We drive in from the north with the islands and their lighthouses calling to us from out to sea with the high sand dunes and beaches also letting us know they’re an ideal place for a barbecue or picnic.

As we enter the village the harbour below with people queuing to board a boat trip mixing with the fishermen unloading their catch seems strangely at odds with the crazy golf course to our right!

A quick trip to the cash machine sees us deciding whether to take lunch at one of the three excellent fish and chip restaurants that surround the roundabout that holds the village’s war memorial or dive into the National Trust gift shop for a bit of retail therapy.

We’re about to do the former when we spot the Farne Gift Shop. Like the Tardis it’s bigger inside than out and used by locals and visitors alike as it’s full of essentials and things you don’t need but simply have to have and it’s a lifesaver for things we’ve forgotten to bring.

After lunch the lure of a delicious ice cream from the Coxons’ parlour next to the National Trust shop is too great to resist so like thousands before us we walk down to the harbour enjoying their smooth flavours.

Halfway down the hill we pop into the Seahouses RNLI Lifeboat Station. It’s fascinating in there with the boards of all the rescues and the lifeboat herself looking sleek and serene waiting to be called out.

There’s a lovely little shop where we buy some souvenirs to keep the furry little puffins we bought in the National Trust shop earlier company as well slipping some coins into the collection box.

The harbour itself is quite busy with people at the kiosks booking day fishing trips and boarding the boats to visit the islands, fishermen unloading their catch and divers in their wetsuits lugging their breathing tanks onto the pier.

We stop to read the information sign on the old lime kilns about the islands and Grace Darling, the archetypical Victorian heroine, and her home in the Longstone Lighthouse which can see peeping its red and white head over the  islands and horizon.

Walking up the Harbour Road past the old granaries now converted into houses we hug the harbour wall and turn left into Crewe Street to sit awhile on the benches and watch the life of the harbour below going about its business. Walking on, we turn right into South Street and step back in time 150 years.

We find ourselves in the old fishing village with its narrow streets and hidden squares, where the fishing families mended their nets and baited the lines. The street takes us in to a cobbled section past Craster Square and we come to Swallow Fish, England’s oldest smokehouse and said to be the birthplace of the kipper.

Today the doors are open and we peer inside the blackened walls with the oak chippings still smouldering on the floor. You know a place is good when the locals use it and we queue patiently for some kippers, crab meat and prawns.

Turning right, we walk past quaint cottages until we come to Seahouses’ semi-detached pubs The Schooner and the Black Swan. The latter has an enviable reputation for its seafood with scallops and locally grown Lindisfarne oysters.

We cross the road into Chapel Row where the gateposts still bare the deep scars where the fisherman sharpened their knives and suddenly we arrive at The Olde Ship Inn. We can’t resist nipping in for a swift half to be dazzled by the plethora of ships’ brass and maritime memorabilia.

“It takes a couple of hours to clean them all starting at 9.30 every Monday morning,” the barman tells us.

We decide we’re having a barbecue tonight so we walk up the High Street past the visitors buying everything from beach sandals to sunhats in the Pinnacles Bazaar and others trying their luck in the amusement arcade.

We cross the roundabout to Scotty’s, the village’s traditional butcher also selling an amazing range of pies and pasties, then resisting the urge to dive in the artisan, crafts and souvenir shops we nip into the Independent Green Grocer which has all sorts of fresh veggies and cheeses but our attention focuses on local bottled beers.

Stepping back on the High Street we decide to go for a walk and stash our barbecue goodies for later but not before we get waylaid by Seahouses’ own Trotters (not Delboy and Rodney) but a wonderful bakery reminiscent of a French boulangerie with a selection of breads, rolls and pastries to die for.

All this excitement is getting too much so we decide to catch the double decker X18 bus that travels along the coastal route to great views from the top deck of the beach and surrounding countryside. Three miles and ten minutes later we arrive at the village of Bamburgh with its iconic clifftop castle towering above the lawn below where the cricket team and croquet club are playing.

The sun will be setting soon and we want to walk back and have a drink in a pub overlooking the harbour. The question is do we walk back on the footpath alongside the road between the dunes and the fields or along the beach and hope to keep our feet dry and maybe catch the dolphins breaching close into shore?

visitnorthumberland.com; seahouses.org


Seahouses has a vast choice places to eat with quite a few hidden gems and it’s a good idea to walk around the village to see what’s on offer before you decide.

There’s the American-style diner at the Bunker crazy golf course, two Indian restaurants, three fish and chip restaurants, a Chinese takeaway and two pizzerias. (Check out the excellent menu outside Insieme tucked away down a side street at the top of the High Street).

Inns such as The Bamburgh Castle Hotel, The Black Swan and The Olde Ship all have excellent food on offer and you can also get a quick coffee either inside or out and sit and watch the world go by at places such as One Coffee1, Trotters, Scotty’s and King Kebab, which serves an authentic Turkish kebab.

You don’t have to eat in of course and takeaway fish and chips or a sandwich from places such as the Spitting Feathers Deli on the High Street on the tiered benches overlooking the harbour is a popular choice on sunny days. The harbour, too, has seafood and catering stands.


Most people come to Seahouses to visit The Farne Islands with its incredible seabird colonies. Billy Shiels and Serenity Boats have trips to Inner Farne and Staple Island when they are open. You can also get boat trips to Holy Island and sunset cruises.

The Farnes are also popular with divers due to the large numbers of wrecks around the islands and you can book diving sessions here.

The Golden Gate is the only boat allowed to land on Longstone Island and tour inside the Trinity House Longstone Lighthouse.

Ranger Jane Beach School offer a 90-minute beach safari where you can find out all about life amongst the rock pools. They also have a snorkel safari with a qualified diving instructor at both Seahouses and Beadnell.

Seahouses has a large beach to the north which is accessible via paths through the dunes with parking areas on the road. There are also beaches at Adderstone and Beadnell which has a large car park.

Kaadventure Sports in Beadnell offers surfing, kitesurfing and paddleboarding as well as coasteering and a kids’ club. Northside Surf offers surfing and paddleboard course at Bamburgh.

Unity Fishing Trips and MV Genesis offer seafishing trips with rod hire and boat hire.