Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

This post is in two parts - the first section was published in July 2020, when some but not all Coronavirus restrictions had been lifted in England. The second part is the original post from a trip in 2016 - I love looking back through the older photos. 

There are some FAQs halfway between the two posts. 

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids



The Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle walk is one we have completed a few times over the years. It is flat, offers gorgeous views of the Northumberland coastline and is suitable for younger ones who can manage a 4 mile walk. 



There is one car park in Craster and it only has 140 ish spots so it can get busy - the postcode is  NE66 3TW and parking is £4 all day (bring change for the machine). The only public loos are in the car park so make sure you visit. They are open and free. 

Turn right out of the car park and walk towards the harbour. It is a lovely spot to sit and take in the view / watch the fisherman and there is often an ice cream van here. 

If you are facing the sea, turn right to visit the pub, cafe, play park, gallery and play park (the park is just past the pub if you keep walking) OR turn left to enjoy the walk to Dunstanburgh Castle. The castle soon comes into view and you just follow the coastline along. It is difficult to get lost. 



I love having a nosey at some of the gorgeous cottages and gardens by the harbour. One day!   



The walk to Dunstanburgh Castle is a popular route but it is nice and wide so super easy to socially distance if needed. It is mostly grass and flat so suitable for an all-terrain pushchair. I think a wheelchair may struggle (although I am not an expert). 
 



There are several points along the walk where you can access the beach. It is a stone beach but a good one for exploring/climbing. 



Lots of people bring their dogs along this walk. They must be kept under control though as you walk through fields of sheep and cattle. There are signs to say if your dog is caught worrying sheep, it will be destroyed. Serious business! There are a couple of gates to open so bring hand sanitiser if needed. 


The sheep and cows along the route get pretty close! They have even been spotted on the rocks eating seaweed on occasion. 




The coastline here is brilliant for spotting wildlife - we have spotted dolphins and seals here before. Recently there have been sightings of Killer Whales too. Bring your binoculars and keep your eyes peeled. 





I love how this sheep is randomly guarding the castle! The walk from Craster to the castle is 2 miles. You can continue around the castle to Low Newton (5.6 mile linear walk) which is a gorgeous beach with a microbrewery / pub overlooking the shore. We will complete this extended walk one day! 





Back to the castle though. We had pre-booked online for 1pm and arrived around 15 minutes early for our slot. A lady on the gate checked our names from her list, checked our NT cards, offered hand sanitiser and explained the new one way route. 

You cannot get up to the roof at the moment but the grounds are lovely as are the views. The castle had sold out for bookings on the day we visited and lots of disappointed folk were turned away - make sure you check up-to-date opening / booking procedures before you visit. 




The castle is mostly accessible except for this one set of stairs. There are various points where you can access remote parts of the rocks overlooking the sea but what I love is that there is so much wildlife here. We spotted lots of seabirds with their chicks, a seal, butterflies and various insects. 











 
Remember there are no toilets at the castle. You can bring your own picnic and there is a small shop selling a limited selection of drinks and gifts. 


Now for the walk back to the car park......







Craster is famous for its kippers and you have to visit the Smokehouse Shop in the village. They have a brilliant traffic light system in place with only two people being allowed in at any time. The shop has just had a bit of a refurb and you can purchase fresh fish, smoked fish, condiments, frozen fish and more. 




The Jolly Fisherman has a new pop up area in the car park this summer. 




We have dined everywhere in Craster and never had a bad meal. We had one last place to try though - The Pipers Pitch. So many people rave about this place and I can see why. Find them pitched up in the car park. Food is all takeaway but they do have outdoor seating for customer use. Card payments are accepted. 







Craster - Dunstanburgh Castle FAQs (last checked July 2020) 


Where are the toilets located? 

There are free public toilets in the main car park and customer toilets in the Jolly Fisherman pub. There are no loos at Dunstanburgh Castle so make sure you go before your walk.  

Where can I park and how much? 

There is one car park in Craster, postcode  NE66 3TW. There are 160 spaces and parking can get busy on a sunny day. Parking is up to £4 for 24 hours, bring change for the machine. 

How can I visit by public transport? 

The 418 bus (Alnwick to Belford) and X18 (Newcastle - Alnwick) both stop at Craster. 

Is there a pub / cafe? 

Yes, The Jolly Fisherman is a fantastic pub serving delicious homemade food (reservations recommended although some walk ins may be available). It offers coastal views and has two beer gardens. 

Further into the village, the Shoreline Cafe is also open for sit in / takeaway cakes / sandwiches etc.... and there is a seafood restaurant joined onto the Craster Smokehouse (again, bookings recommended).  

You can purchase some takeaway food from the Smokehouse shop and there is a food van in the car park serving takeaway sandwiches with outdoor seating (The Pipers Pitch - highly recommended). 

Is the walk pushchair/wheelchair friendly? 

The walk to the castle is mostly on grass and flat, some people managed with a more robust pushchair. I cannot say I have ever noticed anyone along the route in a wheelchair and I think it may be a struggle (although I am not an expert). 

There is one section of the walk which is on an incline and rocky but with a bit of effort, you should be able to get a pushchair up there. It is just before the castle. 

Can I bring my dog? 

Yes, dogs are welcome but must be kept under control. You walk through fields of cows and sheep and tey get fairly close. There are signs up saying if your dog is caught worrying sheep, it will be destroyed so personally if it was me, I would keep my dog on a lead at all times. 

Dogs are allowed in the bar area/beer garden at The Jolly Fisherman. 

Do I need to pay to visit the castle? 

At the moment, visits need to be pre-booked through the English Heritage website. You can book a visit for free if you are National Trust or English Heritage member (this may change in te future depending on restrictions), otherwise, see their website for pricing info. 

Where is there to visit nearby? 

Howick Hall is a few miles up the road and a lush spot for a walk. Alnwick, Bamburgh, Alnmouth and Warkworth are close by. 

How is the phone signal? 

Phone signal isn't the best in Craster and there are some areas where you won't receive any signal at all. 


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Please follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines , respect the local area, leave no trace, take litter home, park responsibly and if somewhere is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. 

Always check updated opening hours / protocols with venues direct before setting off as things may have changed after this post was published. 


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Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle Walk with kids




The rest of this post was originally published in 2016.......

 After reaching for one too many snacks over half term I was keen to get out and enjoy some exercise with the family. The walk from Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle is one of our favourites but not one we have ever attempted with the kids so we thought we'd give it a go.

There is only one car park in Craster (you can't miss it - it's well signposted just before you enter the village) and parking is £2 all day. Make sure you visit the loos here as there aren't any available at the castle.

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

We were lucky with the weather and although it was breezy we were blessed with gorgeous blue skies. If you include a walk around the castle walls, it is around 4 miles from Craster car park to Dunstanburgh Castle and back (2 miles each way). It is difficult to get lost - just follow to coast line.

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

The walk is flat (although a little rocky in places) and easy for little legs. There are a few places you can get right up to the sea and pause to throw a few stones/look for treasure. 

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Harry was delighted to find some washed up animal bones on the shore! 

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

 There are animals grazing on the fields you walk through - mostly cows and sheep, so it's very important to keep dogs on leads.

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Almost there.........

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Dunstanburgh Castle dates back to 1313 and I personally think it is well worth a visit. It is free to enter for both English Heritage and National Trust members or from £2.20 if not (see here for prices and opening times).


We stopped for a drink and snack (which we had packed in advance) on one of the picnic tables before taking a walk around the castle walls. There were ample chances to spot lots of wildlife from nesting birds to fields full of butterflies and some very hairy caterpillars! 

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

The views of the coastline really are breathtaking and some of the best in Northumberland (actually make that the world!). If you are a keen photographer there are plenty of places to take some snaps. 

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

The kids had fun running from the sea, searching for wildlife and playing games with each other - again, I am sure being inside a castle really inspired their imaginations. 

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

The views out to Low Newton were particularly stunning and Steve and I are keen to go further next time and will try the Craster to Low Newton walk (6 miles) after the summer. I think this may be pushing it if we take our 5 year old along. 


There was time to climb to the top of the castle tower and check out the views and castle features. Big Stevie Cool pointed out various points in the castle wall where hot oil would have been poured onto any intruders. 

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

We headed back to Craster and I was DYING for a drink. A proper drink I mean. We wanted to head to The Jolly Fisherman but unfortunately as it was a bright day there was no room for our party of 8. Instead, we walked into the village and set up camp in the park which overlooks the sea front. Grannie and Grandad popped to the Shoreline Cafe for some take out sandwiches but unfortunately there was a bit of a wait. Next time we really need to be more prepared and pack a picnic! 

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

We headed home with our lungs full of fresh air and slightly tired legs. It wasn't long before H, H and J were asleep in the car - always a sign of a good day out!



If you have enjoyed this post and found it useful, here are some ways you can say thanks and support North East Family Fun: 

1 - Click here to sign up to our FREE monthly guide to what's on. This monthly email will feature lots of ideas for things to do for the month ahead plus exclusive deals. 

2 - Join our  Days Out Facebook Group here which includes lots of ideas for things to do - you can post your own recommendations too. 


4 - Share this post with your friends 

5 - Follow North East Family Fun on the following platforms :
Thank you for your support as always. 

Please follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines , wash hands regularly and use alcohol hand gel (especially before eating), respect the local area. leave no trace, take litter home, park responsibly and if somewhere is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. If you have any Coronavirus symptoms, please stay at home and follow NHS advice. 

Always check updated opening hours / protocols / parking advice and charges with venues direct before setting off as things may have changed since this post was published. 





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