Until we had or daughter, holidays for my husband and I were a very relaxed affair. They involved a lot of sun, great food and wine and lots and lots of relaxing. We saved hard and stayed in some beautiful hotels abroad. Our favourite was in Fuerteventura where we spent our honeymoon. My husband has a physically demanding job, mine is stressful and mentally draining so we cherished our holidays abroad to just switch off, relax, soak up the sun and re-charge our batteries.
We knew that for the first few years once we became parents, sun holidays would be off the agenda. Getting away somewhere closer to home was going to be the way forward. To prepare us for UK holidays, we went away with my sister, her husband, their 2 kids and my mum to Beadnell on the Northumberland coast, the summer before we met little Miss. We went in August, the height of the holiday season.
Having never holidayed in the UK before, we didn’t really know what to except. Neither of us really thought about the weather, so we merrily packed our usual holiday clothes for our week away. I’ll never forget the look of amusement on my nieces faces when they saw what clothes we’d brought. I’d thrown in a cardigan as a last minute addition, but other than that it was all short sleeves, vest tops and linen. My husband didn’t fair much better. His suitcase was full of t-shirts and shorts.
Standing on a hill at Alnwick Castle was the turning point. I was laughing as my husband battled to put my mum’s pink pac-a-mac on to try and find some relief from the cold and realised that if we were going to make our new style of holiday work, we’d need a whole new UK holiday wardrobe.
Fast forward 4 years and sun drenched holidays by the pool are well and truly a distant memory. Other than the guaranteed sunshine, there is very little about them that I miss. Holidaying in the UK has really opened our eyes to the beauty of the country we live in. We’ve been to some amazing places and are looking forward to exploring more over the coming years. Our favourite place is Northumberland. Despite the cold weather, our first holiday there had us hooked
This summer is the first time we haven’t been tied to afternoon naps so it’s felt like we’ve had more freedom to explore. We love getting in the car and just driving. We’ve gone a bit further north each time, stopping off at some beautiful places on the way. Here are some of our favourites:
Beautiful coastal village and home to a stunning castle. We haven’t ventured into the castle with little Miss yet, but I’ve been a few times many years ago when I was at school and thoroughly enjoyed it so am looking forward to taking her when she’s a bit older. The beach is stunning. Our favourite place for lunch is The Victoria which has a wide range of food from pub grub to fine cuisine in the restaurant. Dogs are welcome too in certain parts of the pub.
This is where my husband spent many summer holidays when he was young so it holds a lot of special memories for him. It’s a beautiful little village which boats a fish and chip shop, general store and a couple of pubs. We love the sheltered beach and enjoyed our first attempt at kite flying there on a brisk November afternoon. Despite it being freezing and very windy in the car park, a few short strides onto the beach and we basked in the sunshine and a much less strong wind. Utterly stunning. We love stopping for lunch in The Craster Arms. It’s another dog friendly pub and is our favourite place to go for Sunday lunch.
We love Alnwick Gardens, particular on a dry warm day. Little Miss loves playing in the water features although she hasn’t been brave enough to stand under the biggest one yet. We had a fab visit there a couple of years ago to see Father Christmas which was magical.
A Stunning village with a gorgeous beach and a wide range of places to eat. Our favourite so far is The Red Lion. We first discovered it on our first solo outing without little Miss when we were in the depths of our hideous potty training experience. She stayed at our caravan for the afternoon with her Aunty and Uncle and we escaped for a delicious, chilled and very grown up Sunday lunch. It was bliss and utterly delicious.
The river Coquet winds its way through the stunning town of Warkwarth which boasts some beautiful buildings that house places to eat, drink and stay. The imposing ruin of the Castle stands proud at the top of a hill, overlooking the town. Little Miss loves sitting beside the fish tank in the The Hermitage Inn which sells lovely traditional pub grub.
This is one of our favourite places to spend an afternoon. The long U shaped pier is a perfect route for a safe walk to blow away the cobwebs and explore the sea at a safe distance. We took little Miss for her first rock pool adventure there and she loved it. The fish and chips are divine, as is the ice cream from Spureli’s. The Pods are a lovely way to spend your cash on locally produced goodies from beautifully crafted home accessories, to ice cream to handbags. The play park at The Old Storehouse is a safe place for young kids to burn off some energy while you relax. The food is very nice too.
Newbiggin by the Sea
The long promenade which follows the curve of the beach is perfect for riding bikes and scooters. The visitors centre is the home of a lovely café, shop and museum. Little Miss loves going in the museum and dressing up in the life jackets. There is a well equipped park too just beside the car park which has spectacular views of the coastline.
Creswell is a beautiful hidden gem right on the Northumbrian Coast. It is a tiny little village with nothing more than stunning houses, 2 caravan parks, an ice cream shop and the fabulous, recently extended Drift Café. We love going there for a late breakfast and then burning it off with a walk along the beautiful beach. Creswell is our little piece of paradise and we can’t wait to go back next year.