Coast and Castles Cycle Route

The scenic Coast and Castles cycle route is a beautiful ride like no other. A gentle amble along the coast of the North sea, passing historical castle forts, beaming with culture and wonder, before finishing in Scotland’s Capital. Following minor roads and beautifully maintained pathways, this is a firm favourite amongst the cycling community.

The Route

Beginning your journey in the shadows of the Spectacular 13th century Tynemouth Priory is a fitting start for this magnificent coastal route. As you follow the quiet roads through the village and the gentle pathway to Blyth, there are many more wondrous sites that await you along the water’s edge.  As you approach the village of Cresswell you will be welcomed by the site of the 15th Century Pele Tower – one of 175 towers built in Northumberland. The towers were built in order to defend the county against the Border Reivers, who raided the Anglo-Scottish border from the late 13th century to the beginning of the 17th century. 

Following the Coast and Castles cycle route further, you will enter the Northumberland Wildlife Trust of Druridge Bay. A stunning 7 mile stretch of beaches, woodlands and meadows – all teaming with wildlife. If you keep an eye on the skyline you could spot the Pink-Footed Geese who migrate here from Eastern Europe during the winter. Listen carefully and you may be able to hear the chirps of a Grasshopper Warbler, a small passerine bird, whose high pitched song is amplified by the short, dense vegetation of the bay. The bridleways throughout the trust are well maintained, ensuring a pleasant journey for cyclists, walkers and horse riders. There are plenty of beautiful backdrops for memorable photographs as well as fairly secluded grasses for a rest, drink or simply a breather. 

Leaving the sanctuary of Druridge Bay, the country lanes sweep through to the village of Amble. Known as ‘The Friendliest Port’, it is a perfect place to take a break with many scenic outside eateries offering much-needed sustenance for the journey ahead. Whilst you are there, ‘The Cheese Pod’ is a fabulous little shop with a large array of Doddington cheeses, ice creams, award-winning preserves and homemade biscuits – perfect for stocking up the rucksack for your next pit-stop, or as a take-home memento. As you amble further up the coast you will ride upon the pristine ruins of Warkworth Castle, crowning the hilltop above the River Croquet. The medieval castle began construction in 1139 and is said to be one of the first stone buildings in Northumberland. The gatehouse, Carrickfergus Tower, postern gate and east curtain wall are all still visible today. 

As you depart the village of Warkworth you will begin a small ascent whilst following the River Croquet, before passing over cobbles lanes and into heathered moorland. The pleasing pathways continue through the harbour side of Alnmouth, before becoming a little more uneasy over the following few miles as you ride over fields that rest against the coast. You will then reach Dunstanburgh Castle, a 14th century fortification, erected between the villages of Craster and Embleton. The remaining dramatic ruins of the wave-battered coastline still showcase the craftsmanship of the great twin-towered gatehouse, the inspiration for the painting ‘Dunstanburgh Castle From The South’ by JMW Turner in 1797-8.

Coasting through the fishing village of Craster, through a Gothic style Grade II listed Gateway, leaving the awe inspiring Castle ruins in your mist, you will once again roam through field pathways, sheltering the waters edge, littered with apple tree’s and early 20th century buildings. The route will then lead you back on-road through the bustling harbour of Seahouses. From here you can see Holy Island in the distance, with the evocative ruins of Lindisfarne Priory.

Travelling further North, you will reach Bamburgh Castle, a superbly preserved Grade I listed building spanning 9 acres of land. Within the castle grounds, the rooms are brimming with treasures and historical tales. It’s stunning beauty hasn’t gone unnoticed by many Film Producers and it has been used as the setting for many Films and TV Series, including; Transformers: The Last Knight and Netflix series, The Last Kingdom. The Castle has provided accommodation for thousands of years, with 10 residential apartments still being lived in today. Due to the high level and longevity of activity within the castle, there are many ghost stories, legends and myths which surround this ancient fortress. Following the tranquil pathways and minor roads, through Belford, West Kyloe and Goswick, you will pass many more turrets and fort remains. Sadly, few have been preserved and many of them now shells, still providing passersby with a reminder of a time now passed.

The sites along this stretch:

  • Twizel Castle – A Grade II listed building and ancient monument of the medieval castle it once was. 
  • Etal Castle – A 14th Century medieval fortification, this was a gatehouse to defend against Scots Raiders.
  • Duddo Tower – Ruinous remains of an ancient Pele Tower and 16th Century tower house.
  • Norham Castle – One of England’s great strongholds built in the 12th century, and one of the most attacked forts by the Scots.

The trail will then again meet the seafront, across the stunning clifftops, leading up to Berwick-Upon-Tweed. You will now reach your final English Castle, before heading across the Scottish borders. The ruins of the majestic, 12th Century Berwick Castle are centrally located on the country border – making it one of the most important strongholds in the British Isles. The castle has changed hands between Scotland and England many times, both being won in battles and being sold to help fund other ventures. It has belonged to the English since 1482. The castle walls began to be whittled away in the 16th century and the stone was reused to build The Church Of The Holy Trinity. Much of the once proud and formidable building, was further demolished to make way for Berwick-On-Tweed Railway station. 

Crossing the border and continuing along the quaint seafront lanes, you will reach Ayton Castle. This is a beautifully restored medieval tower house with exceptionally stunning gardens. The castle began its time as a Pele Tower, later becoming a mansion after being captured by the English in 1497. It was then burnt down, to be rebuilt again in the 16th century, in keeping with Scottish Baronial style. The castle is now a residential estate which welcomes tourists to stroll around the grounds and even enter the magnificent house on certain days throughout the year. If this is somewhere you would like to visit inside then please do look into opening times to avoid disappointment. The route stretches inland from this point, through farmland and along country roads, before it heads into the ancient, semi-natural woodland of Pease Dean Wildlife reserve. The park is a wonderland of Bluebells, Primrose, butterflies, bats and birds and is a perfectly tranquil haven to have a rest from the saddle.

Your journey will continue along the fringe of the staggering Dunbar Deer Park, a landscape inspired by French baroque gardens, before venturing up towards Hailes Castle. Hidden away in the peaceful valley of the River Tyne, Hailes Castle is one of Scotland’s oldest Castles, dating back to the early 1200’s. It is heavily associated with the Wars of Independence and Mary Queen of Scots, with many of the influential Scottish parties being born inside the Castle. The Castle has successfully withstood many attacks over the years and much of the main building and towers remain, including the extraordinary vaulted cellar.

As you follow the roads further into more urbanised landscape you will stumble across the compact ruin of St Martins Kirk – a sturdy Roman ruin estimated to have been built in the early 1150’s. The ruin is not of a Castle, but a Parish Church, and a fantastic little addition to the Coast and Castles cycle route. You will then continue through the town of Longniddry which will in turn lead you back towards the coast before entering the compact, hilly, capital city, Edinburgh. The first castle you will encounter in Edinburgh is Craigmillar Castle. A superb example of 14th century craftsmanship and one of the best preserved medieval Castles in Scotland. You will have the opportunity to climb the tower house and explore the prison within its walls. There are many mysterious remains of chambers, with hidden nooks and crannies to inspect as well as vast gardens and ponds.

Your final destination on this outstandingly spectacular tour will be the mesmerizing Edinburgh Castle which dominates the skyline over the capital. Once you have climbed the mile along the cobbled road, the view from the top is like no other. The site has been occupied since the Bronze age and continued to be a royal residence until 1633. There are so many iconic sites to see within the castle including; St Margaret’s Chapel, The Mons Meg, The many museums and the astonishing views over Edinburgh, this is an unforgettable finish to a breathtaking adventure.  

What We Can Offer

  • Bike transfer from Newcastle Central Station to Tynemouth to start your trip (other pick up locations available on request)
  • All baggage transfers between accommodation
  • Route Maps and GPX file
  • List of bike shops and places to visit en-route
  • Phone support available from 7am to 10pm daily
  • Emergency support – to help you in your moment of need
  • Transfer from Edinburgh to Newcastle at the end of the experience
  • Transfer for riders and bikes to your home or accommodation

Route Highlights

  • A spectacle of Castles, Forts, Towers and historical landmarks along the route
  • A gentle amble along stunning coastlines
  • Travel through quaint fishing villages, historic market towns and bustling cities
  • The outstanding finish at one of Britain’s best known landmarks, Edinburgh Castle

Why Choose the Coast and Castle Cycle Route?

  • Gentle terrain along its whole length, offering a great opportunity for newer long distance cyclists
  • Countless beauty spots along the route with time to explore at your leisure
  • Wonderfully friendly villages and harbours with a fantastic range of eateries and accommodation
  • Relatively simple to navigate route

Accommodation Recommendations

The Coast and Castles cycle route can take anywhere between 2 to 4 days to complete.  It is important that your evening accommodation is reached in a safe, enjoyable manner, therefore we can provide you with a few recommendations for you to consider depending on your planned daily mileage. 

ecocabs and ecocabs cycles work both in the public and private sectors, working with some of the largest employers in the North East. We can offer accommodation booking and full package services but unfortunately only with corporate clients due to the hands on approach we take in all aspects of our business.   If you would like to know more about  ecocabs cycles corporate support please see here.

 

Areas covered

  • Edinburgh
  • Musselborough
  • Longniddry
  • Haddington
  • East Linton
  • Dunbar
  • Cockburnspath
  • Coldingham
  • Eyemouth
  • Berwick-Upon-Tweed
  • Horncliffe
  • Norham
  • Coldstream
  • Kelso
  • St Boswells
  • Melrose
  • Galashiels
  • Traquair
  • Innerleithen
  • Holy Island
  • Belford
  • Bamburgh
  • Seahouses
  • Beadnell
  • High Newton-by-the-Sea
  • Embleton
  • Craster
  • Alnmouth
  • Warkworth
  • Amble
  • Lynemouth
  • Blyth
  • Whitley Bay
  • Tynemouth
  • Newcastle Upon Tyne