You can get some affordable coastal living here – but it is a town ‘on the up’ thanks to a tourism-based economic resurgence of late. That has a lot to do with the attraction of great eating places – freshly landed lobster anytime you like. What’s not to love?
So, there are neat little terraced cottages that would offer up a weekend retreat if you’re of a doer-uper persuasion. Or take a look at Coble Quay, a Scandi-vibe development of energy-efficient apartments and shops overlooking the Coquet Estuary. It’s a sassy addition to Amble’s waterfront.
The town has plenty of stone cottages, a traditional high street, access to good schools, plus heritage coastline on its doorstep.
It was a working town, once a coal-exporting port – and retains that edge compared with the likes of chichi Alnmouth and Bamburgh – but you could argue that it ticks a ‘retro chic’ box these days – and basically anywhere with access to beach and boats is having a resurgence in the UK today.
Amble sits beneath the gaze of Warkworth Castle and the lovely neighbouring town of Warkworth has good properties of all ages and character – many with views over the winding River Coquet that feeds into the sea at Amble. There’s a swathe of open countryside with well-price homes, including newbuilds nearby.
Pretty handy if you’ve got your own boat – and living here might tempt you to get one.
The 1068 road will get you to the A1 and A19 easily and you can hop on the east coast rail line at Morpeth or Alnmouth to whizz to Scotland, Newcastle and London.
Ponteland is also relatively near to get you to Newcastle Airport easily.
There are some really good fish restaurants in Amble, a place where the heritage of fishing boats means the catch is landed near enough daily. Plenty of seasonal catch for the burgeoning restaurants in Amble.
These include the mighty popular Old Boat House, which was exactly as the name says, a former boat house, by the water’s edge. Delicious seafood dishes from an open kitchen – including daily specials depending on what’s landed that day. By its side is the cute Fish Shack offering fish and chips, a pint and seafood snacking by the harbourside. Or head to The Sand Bar for a good breakfast or brunch.
If you’re going posh, Sea&Soil is a classy restaurant which covers all the bases in terms of great fish, good meat dishes and inspiring vegetarian food.
Jaspers Bistro wins plenty of plaudits for skilful well-crafted seafood menus, lovely puds and great welcome.
Plenty of options for traditional fish and chips in the town too. And if you love your gelato then Spurellis is a mouth-watering destination – an award-winning ice-cream parlour with dreamy flavours, traditional and not-so much – elderberry and ginger anyone?
The town itself has a smattering of gift shops and galleries, growing all the time. Harbourside investment has created a little village of ‘pods’ which are home to a variety of small creative businesses. These are worth a mooch for some pocket-money spending or seaside and artisan mementoes.
Stroll and sail >>
Beaches galore and fabulous walks along the coast with the majestic Warkworth Castle in one direction or Druridge Bay in another. But Amble is famous for its puffins too (the Puffin Festival happens every year). From the harbour at Amble you can get a boat out to Coquet Island to see the puffins.
The island is a mile out at sea and was the site of a Benedictine monastery in Anglo-Saxon times. The place where Elfleda, the abbess of Whitby and sister of the King of Northumbria, persuaded St Cuthbert to become a Bishop. Coquet Island is protected as a nature reserve for sea birds. Its main residents are rabbits, gulls, puffins and eider duck. You can also take a rowing boat along the river to Warkworth.
Little ones will love rock-pooling on the ‘jumpy shore’ which is the other side of the breakwater/pier from the Little Shore. Collect periwinkles, mussels and shells.
Julie Ringland is managing director of holiday rental business, Coquet Cottages. She lives in Warkworth.
Three good things about living here >>
– Warkworth is unspoilt and steeped in history. One of my favourite things to do is get up before sunrise with our gorgeous Great Dane, Gracie and take her to the beach, a five-minute walk from our house. It is so peaceful at that time in the morning. The river is blissfully still and if you’re lucky you can sometimes spot deer by the river. At the beach I could sit for hours, watching the sunrise and the waves.
– I love how dog friendly the area is. Not only does the vast sandy beach have no restrictions for dogs, all four village pubs welcome dogs too.
– Warkworth Castle still takes my breath away each time I see it. It sits proudly at the top of the village and I have a perfect view of it from the office, which proves to be surprisingly calming on busy days!
Three places to take visitors >>
– Warkworth is a well-known hub for tourists and is widely known as being the prettiest village in Northumberland. We can stroll down to Amble and the harbour or nip up to Alnmouth beach for a change of scenery. At the riverbank you can feed the ducks, hire little rowing boats and explore the Hermitage (which is only accessible by boat).
– On a Sunday we head to the dog-friendly boutique café, Bertrams in Warkworth Village with a sun terrace open in summer and wood-burning stoves in the winter.
– Bamburgh Castle. Everything about this day trip out is great, from the scenic coastal route to the breath-taking awe as you approach the castle.
An ‘in the know’ secret >>
One of Northumberland’s best kept secrets is the surf community. There is a ‘secret’ beach on Northside in Amble where, on summer’s day, you will often find the locals jumping into the harbour with their boards and paddling too. If you’re not feeling brave enough to jump in, Northside surf school has exclusive rights to the gravel road leading to the beach. They run lessons on the beach where you can arrange either a group lesson, or one-to-one classes. Even if you don’t want to get in the water it is mesmerising watching the surfers. Take a picnic down to the beach and sink your toes into the sand – just make sure the tide is right out!