Motorbike Tours Northumberland
Castles, Battlesites & Ghosts
Each year Bamburgh Castle thrills, enthralls and captivates many thousands of visitors from across the globe with its incredible history, dramatic views and treasure-trove collection of unique pieces which tell the story of Bamburgh’s many reincarnations over the centuries, from Anglo Saxon Royal palace to Victorian inventor and industrialist, The First Lord Armstrong’s vision of a perfect castle.
The vast and imposing walls have witnessed dark tales of rebellion and bloodshed, spellbinding myths, millionaire benefactors and ghosts who love Bamburgh Castle so much, they never want to leave. (did someone mention ghosts!)
Once the royal seat of the Kings of Northumbria, Bamburgh Castle has stood guard over this beautiful coastline for over 1,400 years. Spanning nine acres of land on its rocky plateau, Bamburgh Castle is one of the largest inhabited castles in the country.
You can explore Bamburgh Castle and discover everything this iconic building has to offer. The castle enjoys more than its fair share of legends and myths. With dragons and ghosts, it’s also believed to be the site of Sir Lancelot’s fictitious castle, Joyous Garde.
Mystery awaits as the past comes to life with dark tales of royal rebellion, bloody battles, and spell-binding legends – what will you uncover?
You will discover the legacy of the Armstrong empire as you take a trip back through time. With 14 rooms and over 3,000 items on display, ranging from arms and armour to fine porcelain, china, artworks and furniture, there is plenty to discover.
This Castle defends itself from its position 150 feet above the sea, dominating the Northumberland countryside and coastline. It sits on a natural throne of volcanic dolerite, known locally as whinstone for the sound it makes when hit by a stonemason’s hammer. Bamburgh’s written history begins in the times of the Anglo-Saxons with one chronicler citing Bamburgh as probably the most important place in all of England; but even before this there were people living here, there is archaeological evidence that as early as 10,000 BC there were people here. There are Bronze Age (2,400 -700BC) burials nearby and pottery sherds dating to the Iron Age (700 BC – 43AD). With little evidence of their occupation, only the name Din Guayrdi gives us a hint that Romans were here sometime between 43AD and 410AD.
It was during the early medieval period between 411AD and 1066AD that Bamburgh grew in stature and importance. With the arrival of the Saxons, the creation of an important Christian site and the coming and going of the saints Oswald, Aidan and Cuthbert, it was a pivotal time. Following this period saw the arrival of the Normans and the construction of the Great Tower, the culmination of the Wars of the Roses with the siege of 1464, the arrival of the Foster family (gifted the ruins by James I) and the subsequent acquisition by Lord Crewe and the formation of the Crewe Trustees. A resurgence in stature, as under the guidance of John Sharpe, the castle became a leading surgery and dispensary for the poor and sick.
To capture everything this fabulous castle has to offer from stunning views to myths and legends, from history and heritage to ghost stories you ‘must’ visit Bamburgh Castle.
Dragging ourselves from the worlds greatest Castle (we will be visiting the worlds second greatest very soon, well, when I say second I could be forgiven for saying equal worlds greatest, but more of that later).
We head our way further south through the lovely village of Seahouses and it is from here you can take a boat trip to the Farne Islands to experience the fabulous wildlife, plus see Bamburgh Castle from another angle. Seahouses was once a very busy fishing harbour but alas these days it is more pleasure boat rides that keep the economy going. You may, however, see one or two small fishing boats early in the morning checking their crab and lobster pots. Being a seaside tourist area, you are spoilt for cafes and fish & chip shops, but we do not have time for that as we head further south and take the road the Beadnell, why? I hear you ask….well if you get to Beadnell Bay on the right day in glorious sunshine you may feel you have ridden through a time machine and been transported to another country.
Beadnell Bay has the most magnificent bay, curving around in a beautiful cove with golden sands and crystal clear blue water. Surely this cannot be the North East of England with such spectacular beaches…….yes it is.
But, there is more, so let us find out about another harbour area that is famous all over the world and has been famous for well over 100 years.
We leave Beadnell Bay and turn left at the T junction to head towards Alnwick. However, after just over a mile, we turn left and head southward until we see the sign for the Craster, where we turn left and ride through gorgeous countryside heading towards the land of the ‘kipper’.
Craster is famed for being thought the home of the Kipper, a smoked fish delicacy exported to food lovers across the country and reputedly popular with the British Royal Family, too.
But there’s more to this cheery village than its famous food delicacy, still prepared in the village the traditional way, in oak smoked barrels.
If you are lucky enough to be in Craster when they are smoking the kippers the air is thick with the smell of them ‘smoking’ away and for me, that smell is mouthwatering.