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The great escape

Northumberland coast

Lindisfarne Castle. Daverhead/Getty Images

The Northumberland Coast Path runs for 62 miles from Berwick-upon-Tweed south to Cresswell. “Gazing out over wild sand dunes, sea-battered castles and remote tidal islands… I can see why those naughty Norse invaders wanted these craggy shores for themselves” back in AD793, says Tracey Davies in the Telegraph.

Places of note Eerily beautiful Lindisfarne – Holy Island – was the cradle of Christianity in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria. The grounds at Chillingham Castle are home to the only wild cattle herd in the world and Alnwick is a must for its castle and gardens, as well as Barter Books, a vast secondhand bookshop in a disused station. Nature lovers can spot seals, puffins and guillemots on a boat tour of the Farne Islands.

Famous faces Alnwick Castle starred as Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter films. It also featured as Brancaster Castle in two Downton Abbey Christmas specials.

To eat The Craster Seafood Restaurant has great views of Dunstanburgh Castle and is famous for its smoked kippers. The Jolly Fisherman pub, just up the road, does a tasty crab sandwich, while the Old Boat House, in Amble’s harbour, serves wonderful seafood with views to match. Head to Otterburn for a slap-up Sunday lunch at the William de Percy Inn, or to Seahouses for takeaway fish and chips from Neptune.

1 To stay

Budle Hall is a family-run B&B in a Georgian country house that’s a mile from Bamburgh Castle and a short walk from a sandy beach. Breakfast on local sausages and kippers, stacks of pancakes and creamy porridge. Doubles from £240 for two nights.

2 To rent

The medieval Clock Tower at Bamburgh Castle has three stylish bedrooms and spectacular views of the beach and Holy Island. The brooding castle has dominated the coastal landscape for more than 1,400 years, playing host to many kings and queens. From £1,545 for a week for four adults and one child.

3 To Airbnb

This four-bedroom flat is on the top floor of Craster Tower, a Grade II listed building that dates from the 15th century. It sleeps eight and guests have access to a large garden and tennis courts. The fishing village of Craster is a short walk away. From £537 for three nights.

4 To buy

Two-bedroom Stables Cottage is in the Northumberland National Park, a short drive from Alnwick and the coast. It has beamed ceilings, an inglenook fireplace in the living room and a country-style kitchen with double doors to the garden. £450,000.