If you know you want to visit Northumberland but are not sure which part yet, then we have just the village for you. Nestled in a loop on the River Coquet, about a mile from the coast, is a quaint old Northumbrian village called Warkworth – a dwelling that has remained almost untouched by modern life and tourism.
Warkworth is a village with a long history, making it the perfect place for a holiday pitstop. It is dominated by its magnificent castle that stands proudly at the top of the village, visible for miles around. It is thought that the castle was built on an Iron Age fort and the first known settlers were the Anglo-Saxons. This castle was once home to the Percy Family, who now live in Alnwick Castle – the Harry Potter castle that is known and loved today.
There’s plenty of appeal for visitors to this part of Northumberland. Thanks to an annual Puffin Festival taking place every May and Spurelli’s award-winning ice cream ready to help you refuel, you can get up close with the local wildlife and enjoy the best of the region’s most famous foods. From rowing across the River Coquet to see the Warkworth Hermitage – a remarkable 14th-century chapel hewn from the rock face, to exploring the harbour’s unique shopping pods, art galleries and wind-swept walks along the beach, whatever you’re looking for from your time in Warkworth, there’s something for everyone. Let’s take a closer look into this great destination…
Explore some ancient attractions in Warkworth
Warkworth Castle – It’s always nice to have the excuse to explore a historic castle when on your holiday and this one has lots of mysteries to discover within its walls. Warkworth Castle is one of the largest and most impressive castles in northern England. Part of its importance lies in its role as the chief residence of the powerful Percy family in the late middle ages, as well as the exceptional architectural quality of its late 14th-century tower. You can explore the castle keep, tower and impressive rooms and read up on interesting historical facts – an educational day out!
Highlight: You can take a free audio tour to explore the castles fascinating history, two scenes from William Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 2 were set here. Don't miss the Medieval Hermitage (a chapel carved into the stone) hidden away on the south bank of the river Coquet, it is only accessible by boat!
Parish church of St Lawrence - At the other end of the village, right by the banks of the River Coquet is the parish church of St Lawrence. This impressive church has stood on this site for almost thirteen centuries, and you can certainly feel the incredible history in its walls. Inside the church you will find gorgeous stone archways, stained glass windows and traditional wooden beams. Take a peek in and enjoy the sense of calm that surrounds you in this place of worship. It’s a beautiful and peaceful location with the river flowing gently around the churchyard.
Fascinating fact: There has been a church in Warkworth since at least AD 737 when King Ceowulf of Northumbria granted it to the monks of Lindisfarne Priory. It is thought that the 8th-century timber church was destroyed in the Viking raids that damaged Lindisfarne itself in the 9th century. It has been re-built twice in stone, the present one was built in 1132.
Wander some of the oldest streets in England
Like with any visit to a new village the best way to explore is by foot and although it won’t take you long to potter around Warkworth, there is lots for you to see and experience. You will find an ancient street setting lined with traditional inns and shops with the magnificent castle towering above you. Take some time to explore here and soak up all of the culture. Here are some highlights of Warkworth…
This is a lovely art gallery set in the heart of the village which celebrates and exhibits some of the UK’s finest contemporary artists and designers. Enjoy browsing an exciting collection of paintings, prints, ceramics, glass, sculpture, jewellery and textiles by hand-chosen. Dorien Fenwick herself (the founder of the gallery) works as a landscape artist from her studio in the gallery. This would make for a lovely morning which could then be followed with a cup of tea and cake in a nearby tearoom. Location: NE65 0UW
The Greenhouse is a unique gift shop selling an eclectic mix of those ‘must haves’ for your home and garden. It is a family run business who are passionate about bringing you exciting and unusual lines from different suppliers throughout Britain, Europe and the rest of the world. Quirky and characterful, it welcomes you in for a spot of fun retail therapy. Location: NE65 0XQ
This is another gift shop which specialises in high end gifts at affordable prices making it a lovely pitstop to pick up some nice gifts and souvenirs. You will find everything from scarves, bangles, necklaces and Italian leather bags and a nice range of designs that you don’t find on the high-street. Location: NE65 0UW
Grab a bite to eat in a Warkworth pub…
Whether you spend a couple of hours wandering around the village or out exploring you’ll be happy to hear that there are some great places to grab a bite to eat at any time of the day in Warkworth. Here are some of our favourite eateries in Warkworth village…
The Mason Arms is a warm inviting pub in the heart of the village with a welcoming atmosphere and delicious menu. Covering starters, light bites, classic mains, deserts and a great array of beers, ales and soft drinks there is loads of choice when it comes to refuelling the body after days out adventuring. The interior is cosy and inviting with stylish dining areas and quirky corners. With interesting artwork on the walls and fun décor there is plenty to look at whilst tucking into your homemade grub! Location: NE65 0UR
The Castle Brew House is a restaurant that likes to keep things fresh, offering you a menu made with fresh local produce and traceable meat. This is a lovely place to come and enjoy delicious homemade food and down time in a warm and welcoming environment. The dartboard, pool table and jukebox make for a fun vibe and they even serve traditional Sunday lunches which are the perfect way to get the family together. Location: NE65 0UP
Topsey Turvey is a friendly Northumberland eatery which has very varied menus and gives huge portions, so visitors need a hearty appetite. The restaurant’s chiller, on display in the restaurant window, is crammed with deliciously naughty desserts to tempt people in - and it does! In addition to its delicious menu the restaurant also boasts a cornucopia of prints, paintings, knick-knacks and a sideboard covered with an eclectic mix of items for sale. Location: NE65 0UG
Enjoy the villages natural surroundings and what is has to offer…
Warkworth beach is just a short walk from the village centre and is a marvellous place to spend time in the fresh air next to the ocean. Great for dog walkers, groups and families, there is ample space for everyone to get together and stretch the legs and the waves offer great rollers for surfers too! This is a great beach for picnics and the kids will love spending time appreciating the nature and rockpools that come with it!
If you are a lover of beaches make sure you check out our guide to the best beaches in Northumberland.
Warkworth Golf Club is right next to the beach just outside of the village, midway between River Tyne and Tweed. the current layout comprises nine greens, each with two very different tee boxes, providing a true 18 hole experience. It is renowned for its fast-draining soil which means it is rarely closed due to damp conditions.
You can play here as a visitor whilst enjoying the coastal back-drop and can enjoy a bite to eat at the club restaurant too! Location: NE65 0SW
For more on golf check out our guide to the top ten golf courses in Northumberland.
Stay in a Warkworth cottage
1 Coquet Lodge is set in a tranquil location just outside the village of Warkworth. It is an ideal spot for fishing, bike rides, breathtaking walks and stunning views. It is also well situated for discovering the lovely nearby villages of Alnmouth and Amble and further afield to Craster, Seahouses and Beadnell.