Northumberland Cottage
           

Dunstanburgh Castle & Craster

Dunstanburgh Castle Dunstanburgh Castle Lilburn Tower

The drive to Craster is via Alnwick and Denwick, then minor roads towards the coast, and will take a good 40 minutes from Branton. There is a car park on the edge of Craster village, which has a pretty harbour, overlooked by the friendly Jolly Fisherman pub. Here, you can sit outside looking out to sea on a good day, or inside and out through the large window if it's cold! The food is good, including locally smoked kippers and sea food, and the beer is a treat. Craster has always been known as a fishing village, with its traditional fishing boats (or cobles) bringing in a variety of fish including herring for the kipper production. The small harbour was built in the nineteenth century for the herring fishery. Its famous Robson's curing sheds produce Craster kippers, a renowned Northumbrian export. In recent years, Craster has become famous as one of the key locations for the "Distant Shores" TV drama series, starring Peter Davidson and Samatha Bond.

Managed by English Heritage and the National Trust, the romantic ruins of the extensive 14th century Dunstanburgh castle, the largest in Northumberland, are in the most dramatic of locations on 100 foot cliffs overlooking the North sea. The castle is reached only by a gentle 1½ mile walk from Craster, manageable with a sturdy push chair, but easier with a back pack if you have a baby or toddler. Built by Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, from 1314, the castle was enlarged later by John of Gaunt but was lived in for less than 150 years. A Lancastrian stronghold, the castle was heavily damaged in two sieges during the Wars of the Roses in 1462 and 1464. It was never repaired and has been largely unoccupied ever since.

An alternative approach is to drive to Embleton or Newton by the Sea, (further north up the coast, but very near) and walk along the beach and dunes to Dunstanbrugh and Craster. There are several other marvellous walks around Craster, including one around Howick Hall, South of the village, so it's worth a couple of visits.

Open (2005): April - September, from 10:00am - 6:00pm, October 10:00am - 4:00pm, November - March Wednesday - Sunday 10:00am - 4:00pm . Adults: £2.50 (2005). Tel: 01665 576231.

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Last updated: 8 October, 2007
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