*This is a collaborative post
It's a little bit of a tradition for us to take a mini break in Northumberland either over February Half Term or Easter. It's always a lot quieter at this time of year and although it is mostly still quite chilly, it doesn't bother us too much as we're used to the arctic conditions up North.
Seahouses is a traditional seaside harbour village with a few gift shops packed with tat for the kids to spend their pennies on. There are ice cream kiosks, an amusement arcade, mini golf and a few proper English pubs too. If you were going to picture a traditional British seaside town in your head, Seahouses would be what you imagine. It's more traditional than trendy but it's still a nice place to have a potter for an hour or so.
I love walking along the harbour and checking out all of the tourist and fishing boats and you can see the majestic Bamburgh Castle in the distance.
Our main reason for heading to Seahouses was to take the kids on a boat trip to the Farne Islands as they'd never been before. We were supposed to do this last year but a storm stopped us. We decided on the 1.5 hour Grey Seal Cruise with Serenity Tours. I know Andrew (the ship's captain) through blogging (I highly recommend subscribing/having a read - see here) and trusted him to get us there and back in one piece.
The 1.5 hour tour costs £13 per adult and £9 per child. Under 4's are free. I booked the sail around rather than the landing trip as it was cheaper (you usually need to pay a fee to land on the islands, although this is free if you National Trust members) and I remember being dive-bombed by birds when I visited the islands on a school trip which I wasn't keen on putting my own children through. The round trip is a much better option for families in my opinion.
You definitely need to wrap up - even if it looks bright! Wear layers and definitely take a hat, gloves and scarf. Waterproofs are recommended too. The water was fairly choppy during our trip and lot of us managed to get slightly (or very) wet.
I'm going to write a full blog review of our boat trip in a few week's time but I have to say we are SO pleased we braved the cold. Seeing birds (including puffins) and various seals up close is an unforgettable experience. The boat gets very close and at one point our boat was surrounded by seals. There was lots of excitement on board from both kids and grown-ups as we all pointed out when the next seal popped up.
I adore this photo of Harry and Heidi snuggling together with Bamburgh Castle in the background. How often do older siblings snuggle like this? Such a precious moment.
As we stepped off the boat we were frozen to our core. We practically ran to our car and put the heating on full blast as we travelled 10 minutes down the road to the Coach House, Brownieside. The B&B has three rooms including a family room and is perfectly located for Seahouses, Beadnell, Alnwick and the rest of North Northumberland. It is literally seconds from the A1 but thanks to some cleverly placed trees you can't hear or see a thing and it feels as if you are staying in a countryside retreat.
Double and twin rooms are available from £79 and the family room we stayed in is available from £90. We received such a warm welcome from Tracey and Neil. We've been online friends for a while and it's always mad when you meet an online friend in real life for the first time as you already feel as though you are friends. We chatted about our favourite places in Northumberland and I think one of the best things about staying in a bed and breakfast is that personal touch. Tracey is full of recommendations and spent lots of time recommending local gems to other guests which you just don't get in a hotel. I've lost count of the number of times I've asked a hotel receptionist where is good for food and they recommend the local wetherspoons! It's much better when a host really knows their stuff like Tracey does.
Our en-suite family room was super comfortable and I loved the traditional beams. There is a double plus a single bed that pulls out into two single beds - our three joined them together and created one giant bed to share.
Another personal touch in our room were the homemade chocolate Easter cakes and more than enough hot chocolate to share between the five of us - it soon warmed us through and was very gratefully received.
The Coach House is a real home from home. There are leaflets, maps, books, board games and playing cards for guests to help themselves to.....everything you could need. We were even allowed to meet the two family hamsters which delighted Heidi and Jack.
Once we had warmed through, watched a bit of TV and finished our hot chocolates, we jumped back in the car and headed to the nearby village of Beadnell where we had a 7pm reservation at The Craster Arms for dinner.
We had not visited before but I immediately fell in love and knew it was my kind of pub. Just look at the beer garden! We'll definitely be popping back over summer to enjoy a cold glass of wine in the sun after a day out somewhere.
The pub was packed with families (and their four legged friends) and the atmosphere was fantastic. It's a very traditional pub and the staff are all super friendly and service was polished.
I ordered fish and chips and Steve went for the gammon. I don't want to give too much away as I'll be reviewing our meal in full in a few week's time but it was delicious, plentiful and homemade. I loved it and it was definitely worth the £11.95 price tag.
The kid's meals were very good too - £5.50 and they were homemade too. Back at the B&B, Tracey had recommended we try an ice cream sundae for pudding as they come highly recommended by all who try them. We were debating on splitting one between the 5 of us but in the end we decided this was just being greedy as we were absolutely stuffed to the brim from our main course.
The Craster Arms is the sort of pub we could have easily stayed for a few hours. We were enjoying a proper chat about our day and it's what I'd class as 'proper' family time. We were all sleepy after our day at sea though so we headed home at around 8:30pm and watched a little TV in our room before drifting into a wonderful night's sleep.
The following morning we woke up to the bird's tweeting outside and headed down to the breakfast room at 8:30am. As it was Easter, the kids were treated to an Easter Egg each (not to eat at breakfast obviously) which we thought was a lovely touch.
We helped ourselves to juice and cereal and Steve and I ordered a full Northumbrian breakfast each. Served with a cafetiere of very good coffee and a pot of tea, the breakfast certainly set us up for the day. The sausages are from a smallholding a few miles away and the bacon is from Rothbury Butchers - you could really taste the quality.
I can never be bothered to cook a full English at home and I always think having a breakfast cooked for you like this using locally sourced ingredients is a massive treat.
The kids asked for their favourite dippy eggs which they thoroughly enjoyed. Neil and Tracey asked if they wanted seconds too!
We left the Coach House feeling like we'd really had a break from the world and spent some real quality time together. We were only away for 24 hours but that's all that was needed to help us relax. We would recommend Neil and Tracey's B&B to those looking for a home from home that is extremely well located for North Northumberland and easy to find with very welcoming hosts who are full of the advice you'd only be able to get from a local and cook a very good Northumberland breakfast. If you are in the area, we recommend the Craster Arms and Serenity Farne Islands Boat Tours too.
Need to know:
Need to know:
- Visit the Coach House Facebook page here. Call 01665 579488 to enquire or book or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Visit the Serenity Farne Islands Boat Tours website to find out more and book a trip
- Visit the Craster Arms website for menus and directions and call 01665 720272 to book a table
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