Once the capital of the 7th century Kingdom of Northumbria, it is now a seaside village dominated by the magnificent Bamburgh Castle overlooking miles of silver sands. The present 11th century castle was a Norman stronghold which survived sieges and welcomed many English kings as guests.
The castle was restored in the late 19th century by Lord Armstrong and now houses an excellent collection of arms and artwork as well as a tea room and gift shop. Also in the village is the Grace Darling Museum commemorating the lifeboat heroine who is buried in the village churchyard.
What can I do?
- Visit the Crypt at St Aidan's Church - a unique experience to see the final resting place of the Bamburgh Bones.
- Visit the Grace Darling Museum and the Grace Darling Monument in St Aidan’s Churchyard.
- Explore Bamburgh Castle and see how many Farne Islands you can count from the ramparts.
- Check out the Armstrong Museum at the Castle, chronicling the life of Lord William Armstrong, inventor, industrialist and benefactor best known for his connection with Cragside, near Rothbury.
- Pick up the Bamburgh Clue Trail from any local shop and discover the village’s rich history.
- Go rock pooling below the lighthouse at Harkess Rocks with a copy of the Exploring the Shore guide. During winter you may also see divers, grebe and seaduck.
- Explore the dunes to the north and east of the castle. They support a range of different plant communities as well as several nationally rare invertebrates.
- For the energetic, try surfing on Bamburgh beach.
- Head off on a walk along the Northumberland Coast Path, inland to Belford or south to Seahouses or Beadnell. Catch the bus back to Bamburgh.
- Come in December to see the Christmas lights and nativity.
- Download a Journey Planner for trips around the AONB from Bamburgh by bus
What do I need to know?
- The crypt at St Aidan's church is open daily from 9am until dusk.
- Bamburgh Castle is one of the most important archaeological sites in England. Excavations have uncovered Mesolithic fints, Neolithic axe heads, Bronze Age graves, Iron Age pottery and evidence of Roman occupation. The Bamburgh Research Project dig at the castle during the summer months
- Bamburgh Lighthouse at Harkess Rocks (sometimes called Stag Rocks) is the most northerly land-based lighthouse in England.
Getting to Bamburgh
Bamburgh is served by an hourly daytime bus service between May and September, two-hourly between October and May.
The Arriva X18 Coast and Castles Service and the Travelsure 418 Service connect Bamburgh to Belford to the North and Alnwick via the Coastal Villages to the south. The X18 continues to Berwick-upon-Tweed and Morpeth and Newcastle to the south.
A place of worship was founded on the site of the present church in 635 by Saint Aidan. St Aidan was called to Bamburgh from Iona by King Oswald to establish Christianity in his newly united kingdom of Northumbria.
The church building that is now seen dates from the end of the 12th century. This parish church has been a focus of pilgrimage over the centuries and modern day visitors and pilgrims are very welcome.
The cypt at St Aidan's church is the final resting place of the Bamburgh Bones. The interactive display and unique interactive digital ossuary tells the story of 110 skeletons dating back to the 7th and 8th century unearthed from what is believed to be the burial ground for the royal court of Northumbria.
Grace Darling Museum
The RNLI Grace Darling Museum illustrates Grace’s upbringing and life on the lighthouse, the events of the rescue that propelled her into the limelight and the nature of that subsequent fame.
Her story is told through personal items, including letters, family portraits and the famous coble. Atmospheric audio-visual interpretation and a stunning model of the Longstone lighthouse are also on offer.