Top Tips for Visiting the Northumberland Coast with Kids

Thanks to our writer Bethanie for this post. 

Over the course of the school holidays, many people flock to Northumberland’s beaches. Who can blame them? With wide stretches of sand and dunes, it never feels crowded and you are rewarded with views along one of the most picturesque coastlines in England.

Top Tips for Visiting the Northumberland Coast with Kids
Embleton Beach 

In this blog post I want to share my top tips for visiting the Northumberland coast with kids. I have packed in all you need to know for the perfect family day out at the beach. Where to park, tide warnings, where to find play parks and ice cream vans and tips for keeping the kids safe on the beach. 

The Northumberland coast is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and stretches from Cresswell in the south to Berwick-Upon-Tweed in the north. 

Most people tend to head to the popular beaches of Druridge, Alnmouth, Beadnell and Bamburgh, but with over sixty miles of beaches to explore why not try to add a new beach to your itinerary?

Where to park?

If you are anything like me, you will like to know where you are going to be parking for your trip out, how much it will cost and is it likely to get full quickly?

There are a few beaches which have car parks right next to them, Alnmouth and Beadnell for example. I like coming here when we have all the gear. Towels, pop up tent, picnic, bucket and spades etc. It is a lot easier when visiting with young children as you don’t have far to walk to carry all the “stuff”. 

There is a handy guide on Northumberland County Council website as to which coastal car parks you have to pay for and which ones are free. 

To add to this list is Alnmouth beach car park as this isn’t owned by the County Council. Throughout the summer months there is a daily charge of £3.50 and you can pay this to the attendant by card. 

Don't have a car? 

The X18 Newcastle - Berwick Bus stops within walking distance of the following beaches (amongst others): 

  • Amble 
  • Warkworth 
  • Alnmouth 
  • Craster 
  • Embleton 
  • High Newton by the Sea 
  • Beadnell 
  • Seahouses 
  • Bamburgh 
  • Budle Bay 
  • Beal 
  • Berwick 

Check the timetable here. 

Read about our experience of travelling along the Northumberland Coast by bus here. 

The best beaches for under 5s

The kids will love any of the beaches along the Northumberland coast I am sure, but there are a few beaches I would recommend for younger children, whilst others may be more suitable to take older children to. 

The beaches on this list all have parking and toilets close by. 

Top Northumberland beaches for little ones: 

  • Alnmouth Beach  - Car Park Postcode - NE66 3NJ - Free public toilets next to the Clubhouse at the Golf course (overlooking the beach)

  • Beadnell Beach - Car Park Postcode - NE67 5EE - Free public toilets in the car park

  • Druridge Bay - Car Park Postcode - NE61 5BX - Free public toilets in the visitor centre next to the car park

  • Embleton Beach - Car Park Postcode NE66 3EH - Free public toilets available in the Parish Church 

Alnmouth beach is conveniently located. In the village of Alnmouth itself you have plenty of cafes and little shops in case you need to top up with drinks and snacks.

Alnmouth Beach

Alnmouth Beach 

Alnmouth Beach

There is also a play park right next to the estuary, just round the corner from the beach. If the weather isn’t great for sitting on the beach you can head along to the park which is a bit more sheltered. There is always an ice cream van that pulls up at Alnmouth beach car park during the summer months! 

Read 5 Reasons to Visit Alnmouth here. 

Beadnell has a car park right next to the beach and because of its bay location the sea is quite safe for paddling and swimming in here. I always think it is handy to have the car park close by when spending the day at the beach with little ones – less distance to carry all the “stuff”.   

Beadnell Beach 

Druridge Bay beach also has a good set up, with the cafĂ© and play park at the lakeside not far from the beach. It just opens up your options a bit when visiting with younger children. 

Druridge Bay 

Embleton beach is often a lot quieter than the previous ones just mentioned and again, you don’t have too far to walk from where you park the car onto the beach. There is a cute park in Embleton village which is also great for picnics. 

Embleton Beach (Credit Bethanie Wardell)

The best beaches for older children

For older children, I have selected a few more slightly secluded beaches. Of course, bring the younger children here too but just bear in mind they are all reached by walking a short distance of a mile or so. 

Ross Links (as we called it but I think it also goes by the name Ross Banks), is pretty special once you get there. Located north of Bamburgh and Budle Bay, within a stone’s throw of Holy Island, this is such a secluded beach it is perfect for spending the day along the coast.

You park just down the road from Ross Farm and walk a little over a mile to get to the beach. Note that you walk through a working farm and farmland so dogs must be kept on a lead at all times, until you reach the beach.

And while we are far north, another beach you may like to try is Budle Bay. Head north out of Bamburgh and drive just under two miles until you see a sign for Waren Mill. Parking is just off the roadside on the right and you then walk down a footpath to the beach, probably half a mile or so. 

Warkworth Beach 

Warkworth beach isn’t as far to walk from the car park but if you are with very little children you will need to put them in a carrier possibly. Warkworth is in a great location with views over the Coquet Islands and Amble in the south and Alnmouth in the north. It has a large free long stay car park with public toilets too. 

Top Northumberland beaches for older children: 

  • Ross Links / Banks - Use Postcode NE70 7EN and park responsibly in the vicinity - no public toilets 

  • Budle Bay - Use Postcode NE70 7EE and park responsibly in the vicinity - no public toilets 

  • Warkworth Beach - Car Park Postcode NE65 0SW - free public toilets in the car park 

Safe swimming advice

I mentioned previously about how great Beadnell bay is for swimming in the sea. It stays quite shallow so is perfect for paddling and swimming for the kids. I used to spend many a summer holiday here in my wetsuit and body board! 

It is a popular spot for a lot of water sports so expect to see a few jet skis and boats going out from here too.

If you are heading to Alnmouth, make sure you aren’t swimming near the estuary and be aware of hidden sand banks. I think if you are coming with little ones especially, you will need to be extra cautious when swimming in the sea. In fact, stick with paddling here. 

The same goes for the previous beaches mentioned like Budle Bay and Ross Links. Be cautious of sand banks and note that the north of Budle Bay is a nature reserve with mud flats. 

Dog restrictions 

Northumberland beaches as a whole, do not have restrictions for dogs visiting but sometimes there are temporary bans in place in order to protect wildlife. These will clearly be identified on arrival. Other beaches with some seasonal dog restrictions include: 

  • Parts of Blyth Beach 
  • Newbiggin North 
  • Ross Bank Sands 

Other beaches including Cheswick Sands are part of a nature reserve and require dogs to be kept on leads at all times. 

Find out more about dog restrictions here. 

What to pack?

I don’t want to patronise you, but so many people come to the beach in Northumberland and just aren’t prepared for how different the weather can be at the coast compared to inland. 

So, what to pack? Well, aside from the obvious things like your buckets and spades, there are a few other essentials you may want to consider adding to your bag. 

I think for visiting the coast in Northumberland, layers are the way forward. Even if it is a hot, sunny day when you leave the house, temperatures can feel a lot cooler at the beach thanks to that northly wind blowing off the sea. 

Pack jumpers and spare socks is always my advice for warming up, and they can be added and removed as needed. 

Sun cream and plenty of water for those sunny days we can get along the coast. 

Change for ice creams vans and possibly parking depending on where you are going although I believe most car parks have the option to pay by card or phone now. 

I hope this guide has been helpful for planning your trip up the coast and it may encourage you to try exploring a section of the coast you haven’t been to before. 

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