The county of Northumberland has many lovely towns and villages, but Alnmouth must be one of its jewels. Set on the Northumbrian coast, equidistant (30 miles) from Newcastle and the Scottish border, Alnmouth is picturesque from any angle. It has always been set on a peninsula, but in 1806 the shape of it was changed when a great storm redirected the course of the River Aln, cutting off the town from Church Hill. Alnmouth was an important port between the Tyne at Newcastle and the Tweed at Berwick, but when sailing vessels began to be made of iron and steel, Alnmouth’s importance as a port began to decline, because it was extremely expensive to rescue these vessels if they became grounded, unlike wooden vessels which could be moored on the beach. The coming of the railways also had an effect, as rolling stock could carry goods over land.
A positive effect of the railways was tourism, encouraged by cheap rail travel. Alnmouth was also used as a watering-hole by well-to-do families.
Tourism continues, and provides Alnmouth with much of its prosperity. People come for all kinds of reasons; from birdwatching to golf, and from cycling to walking. In fact, Alnmouth has two golf courses, Alnmouth Village Golf Club which has nine holes, and is right next to the beach, and Alnmouth Golf Club, in nearby Foxton, which has 18 holes. They were originally just one course, which was founded in 1869 by Mungo Park, a famous professional golfer.
There is a great choice of accommodation in Alnmouth, the most popular being self catering, and also bed and breakfast establishments. There is also a variety of pubs and restaurants, (including the well known, reputedly haunted Schooner Inn, a 17th century coaching inn), for a good meal or a snack, and coffee shops for when you’re ready for a break. Why not shop for a souvenir in one of the gift shops?
Alnmouth is handy for exploring the beautiful surrounding countryside, and as it is within the Northumberland Coast AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), it goes without saying that the coastal walks are amazing too. It is also on the route of St Oswald’s Way, which is 97 miles long and stretches from Hadrian’s Wall to Lindisfarne (Holy Island). It’s on the Northumberland section of the North Sea Trail too, and on the Coast and Castles Cycle Route.
In contrast, the Society of St Francis has a house in Alnmouth, with lovely views over the sea, and which welcomes visitors most days of the year. This is a place of peace, where you are allowed to walk around the gardens that overlook the sea.
Sailing enthusiasts can moor in Alnmouth, but the entry can be difficult because of the shallow bar which protects the changing course of the water, and, as well as that, the currents can be fast and dangerous. Fin keeled yachts are the least suitable, so bilge keeled yachts are recommended.
Alnmouth is a different kind of seaside town; still a community, and not particularly commercialised. It can be accessed by road and rail, although the railway station is about a mile away.
For a peaceful holiday, but with lots to do, Alnmouth is perfect!