The stunning British seaside town close to Hogwarts where you can spot dolphins from the beach – but most people don’t know about it
For most parents, a seaside location with beautiful beaches, dolphins and amazing castles all within a stone’s throw of Hogwarts may seem like a bit too much for a holiday destination.
However, there is such a place – and not only that, it is in the UK.
Alnmouth in Northumberland is one of the many underrated coastal towns in the North East that has plenty to offer for a family day out or for adults just looking for a break.
While locals like me are familiar with its charms, those elsewhere are less aware of just how much it has to offer.
The beach is one of many stunning stretches of Northumberland coastline that some say resembles those found in other locations often considered more exotic than Britain.
Northumberland family diaries wrote: “Living in Northumberland we are spoiled for choice between beautiful beaches that could almost be abroad on a really sunny day!”
Alnmouth Bay is popular with people in the area not only because it’s big enough not to get crowded even in the warm summer months, but also because it’s easy to get to.
Your Northumberland say: “Easily accessible with a car park right by the sea, the beach attracts visitors from all over the country, and rightly so.
“It’s the perfect place for a family outing, a nice walk, a picnic or, weather permitting, just relaxing and sunbathing.”
As well as enjoying the extensive sandy beaches, lucky visitors to the bay are sometimes spoiled by dolphins and whales, which can be seen swimming just off shore.
White-beaked dolphins are known to swim in the North Sea off Alnmouth, as are porpoises, while minke whales make an occasional appearance.
Further up the coast, visitors can see puffins at both Lindisfarne and Seahouses.
However, Alnmouth is much more than just beaches and wildlife.
It is home to two golf courses, several walking and cycling routes, as well as cafes, pubs and restaurants.
The Sun Inn and Red Lion are great options for drinks and dinner – the latter offers views of the Aln Estuary from its beer garden.
However, the town itself is ideally placed for visiting two of the country’s most impressive castles, one of which was home to Harry Potter in the film adaptations of JK Rowling’s books.
Alnwick Castle was used as Hogwarts for several scenes in the films, including where Harry and his classmates learned to fly broomsticks and play Quidditch.
It was also the location where Ron had an accident with his father’s flying car, as well as the route to Hagrid’s hut and the Forbidden Forest.
Kids can even take part in a broomstick training session at the castle, where they learn how to fly on their own stick in 25-minute lessons.
Alnwick is not the only castle in the area, Walkworth’s Castle is equally interesting.
The hilltop fortress features a series of interactive trails that reveal the lives of the people who lived in or near the castle in the early 15th centuryth Century.
A short walk and boat ride takes visitors from the castle to the Hermitage, a rock-cut religious building tucked away in the surrounding countryside.
Of the two towns, Alnwick has more to offer than castles, with one of Europe’s largest antiquarian bookshops a personal highlight.
Located in the disused Victorian Alnwick railway station, Barter Books is also known for being the spot where the WWII poster with the slogan Keep Calm and Carry On was discovered between a crate of old books being sold at auction were bought.
The shop’s former life as a transport hub is well known, with model trains cruising the bookshelves.
Visitors can browse the extensive book collection, including some incredibly rare editions, or simply sit in the station’s old waiting rooms and enjoy a beer or a bite to eat.
There are several pubs within a short walk of Barter Books in the town center, although it’s also worth taking a trip to the Alnwick Brewery taproom to sample the delicious ales that are made on site.
Elsewhere, Alnwick Garden offers even more family entertainment, with its complex of formal gardens a great place for a stroll or for youngsters to frolic.
Garden highlights include its giant fountains and water features, as well as the Poison Garden, which grows intoxicating and poisonous plants including marijuana, hemlock, and foxglove.
The garden also houses the treehouse restaurant, built around 16 mature linden trees that grow through and into the building.
It is the largest wooden structure in Europe and is 18 meters above the ground and can accommodate up to 85 guests.
Visitors to Alnmouth can stay at the Schooner Hotel from £82 per night, while campsites are available nearby from £9 per night.
Glamping options nearby offer stays in a luxury five meter bell tent from £50 per person per night, or in a woodland camping cabin with hot tub from £72 per person per night.
In the meantime, these are some of the best hot tub stays to book this year.
And these are some of the quietest places to stay in the country.
https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/travel/10462984/alnmouth-northumberland-dolphins-castles-alnwick-hogwarts/ The stunning British seaside town close to Hogwarts where you can spot dolphins from the beach – but most people don’t know about it