This is an attractive old white building with great character at the end of Main Street next to the massive disused lime kilns with views across the harbour to the Farne Islands. With their links to St Cuthbert, it was only appropriate there were cuddy ducks* swimming in the harbour.
*Cuddy duck is the local Northumbrian name for the eider duck, named after St Cuthbert as according to local legend they snuggled round his feet in winter, so helping keep them warm. They breed on the Farne Islands and St Cuthbert instituted special laws to protect them in 676 – the first ever bird protection law.
January is definitely out of season and there were few people. In summer it is popular and always busy, especially the beer gardenabove the lime kilns.
We had a warm welcome when we checked in and the terms of the deal explained to us. We had a balcony room on the second floor, reached by a long walk through a rabbit warren of corridors and staircases. In summer the balcony would be great to sit enjoying the view, which must be the best in Seahouses.
The heating hadn’t been turned up for us (a black mark) and the room was cold. Fortunately the heating was efficient and we were soon warm, almost too warm. It was a huge room, newly decorated in pale magnolia paint. The king size bed was comfortable with crisp white bedding and plenty of pillows. There was a settee and small dressing table which also doubled up as a work area and had a flat screen TV on the wall above it. Wi-fi didn’t reach our room, but was available in the bar. There was no suitcase rack and only a small open hanging area. The well stocked welcome tray with biscuits was appreciated after a long journey.
The bathroom has a sloping ceiling so using the wash basin isn’t easy and the mirror is at 90? to it. There was a large bath with excellent shower and lashings of hot water. Towels were thick and absorbent. I enjoyed a welcome soak in the bath only to discover when I tried to get out that the non slip surface on the bottom of the bath wasn’t… We reported this on leaving and were told management has plans to refurbish the bathrooms and these issues will be addressed.
The bar and dining areas are spacious and pleasant. Having seen three hand pumps and Casque Mark accreditation, we decided to drink beer rather than wine. There is a good and interesting menu and we had problems deciding what to choose. We shared a starter of garlic mushrooms in a thick creamy sauce. Michael followed this with rib eye steak, cooked to perfection, juicy with lots of flavour, served with chips, mushroom, tomato and salad garnish. I had steak and ale pie. Maybe a boring choice, but a good way of sorting out good from the mediocre establishments. This definitely ranked in the good category. It was delicious, with plenty of huge chunks of tender meat in a rich gravy. Served with chips and a variety of fresh vegetables I was struggling to finish. We couldn’t manage a desert. The meal was washed down with Farne Islands ale, the house beer brewed by Hadrian and Border.
We weren’t very hungry at breakfast time but still managed to do justice to the full English breakfast – a huge plateful of local sausage, bacon, sautéd potato, baked beans, mushroom, tomato and eggs. After that we didn’t want any lunch.
The car park is at the back of the Inn, off the mini roundabout. It isn’t very large and in summer may soon fill up. There are a couple of pay and display car parks near by.
Entry is either up a flight of stone steps at the front of the Inn or by the back entrance, down a few steps into the bar. There is no level access into the Inn for anyone with a wheelchair although, once inside, there is level access to the bar, dining area and 6 bedrooms. Anyone with mobility problems is advised to ask for one of these rooms as all other rooms involve a long walk and staircases.
In the winter months the hotel offers a bargain £44.50 per person dinner, bed and breakfast deal for one night which includes an allowance of £16 towards the evening meal. In summer the price is £80+ for a double room which includes the full English Breakfast, still a good deal compared with places like Premier Inn.
We enjoyed our stay and heartily recommend the Bamburgh Castle Inn.
Seahouses makes a good base with boat trips to the Farne Islands in summer and is also popular with divers. There are several golf courses and good tramping beaches – the east coast can be a bit cold for sunbathing. The hotel has exclusive use of facilities at the Ocean Club Pool with swimming pool, spa and fitness suite.
A few miles away is Bamburgh with its castle towering above the North Sea and Grace Darling connections. Budle Bay is popular with bird watchers at low tide when the mud flats attract large numbers of wading birds.
Lindisfarne, Wooler, Chillingham Castle with its herd of Wild White Cattle are a short drive, as is Alnwick with its castle and Harry Potter connections. Those preferring ruined castles have Warkworth, Dunstanburgh and Edlingham less than 40minutes drive.
Alnwick, a delightful small town with its links to Harry Potter and the Alnwick Castle Gardens is a 30 minute drive. A bit further is Cragside the home of Victorian industrialist, William Armstrong, and the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity.
Craster is renowned for its kippers and the butcher in Bamburgh is a ‘Rick Stein Food Hero’, so take a cool bag with you.
Bamburgh Castle Inn