A superb holiday destination for those that love water sports, good food, nature walks, bird watching and a spot of history, the village of Amble is a perennial favourite for those looking for a quiet corner of England to escape into.
Amble, known as ‘the friendliest port’, is a small town on a coastal headland that is sat on the banks of the idyllic estuary of the River Coquet. At the southern tip of the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this is a place of understated charm, a true retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
With the impressive ruins of Warkworth Castle and Hermitage close by, the joys of Hauxley Nature Reserve, prospects of a boat trip to see the puffins of Coquet Island, and exciting restaurants for the foodie, Amble could be your new favourite place. Amble is a great spot to buy fresh seafood and locals also love Harbour Village for its artisan shops. The beaches near Amble are lovely and conducive to spending hours walking by the sea with your loved ones. Our guide to Amble will help you to discover why Amble is an up-and-coming British holiday destination.
Swot up on a little history of Amble
Amble sits prettily on a promontory between the neighbouring Alnmouth Bay and Druridge Bay. Although small, Amble has had a long association with the coal mining industry. The estuary was used as a port for exporting the coal mined at the local collieries at Radcliffe and Broomhill before their closure. Remnants of this relationship can still be seen along The Braid, which can be found at the harbour and is a partial greenfield site. You can also see the old coal staithes and the fishing pier in the Coquet Estuary. Look out for cobles, a type of fishing boat, in Amble Harbour. The radically depleted fishing industry and boat building continues to this day in Amble too. There is an RNLI lifeboat station at Amble too, established in the mid-1800s.
Amble is proud of its association with the famous ocean liner, the first RMS Mauretania, once the largest ship in the world. The townsfolk were recipients of the last telegraph sent from the ship as it sailed to the breakers’ yard in Rosyth in 1935. A message of thanks for the town’s kind farewell: “Thank you to the last and kindliest port,” it said.
The most famous historical landmark is Warkworth Castle, which lies in the hamlet of the same name, less than 1 mile north of Amble. Dominating local views, the striking ruins of Warkworth Castle pique the curiosity of everybody that comes to stay in the town.
- Once home to the Percys, both Henry Percys (the 1st and 2nd Earls of Northumberland) and Harry Hotspur.
- The castle was sacked by Henry IV in 1405 then variously restored up to the 1800s; it remained in the Percy family until the late 1980s.
- Close to Warkworth Castle are the remains of the curious Warkworth Hermitage, which is an ancient abode that has been carved into the side of a rock face. Once a chapel and priest’s house, it’s a place of magic, hidden under the bows of great trees on the north bank of the River Coquet.
You can enjoy a tour of the castle, where you can learn all about its potted history. Find out about more of Northumberland's amazing castles.
Shopping in Amble
The compact town centres around the Victorian terraces of Queen Street and North Street. Most of Amble’s handy amenities are found there and along The Braid and in Harbour Village. Harbour Village is a popular destination for those of you that are interested in independent stores and trying out local food. There are 15 retail pods where small businesses ply myriad trades. Close by is the Seafood Centre where you can buy freshly landed fish, see the occasional cookery demo and buy takeaway treats. There is a hatchery, an events programme and a shop too!
Where to stop for a bite to eat in Amble
As you’ve probably gathered, seafood is big on the menus of Amble. An active but small fishing port, there are plenty of places to enjoy the oceans of aquatic cuisine on offer. For something good to cook in the kitchen of your self-catering holiday cottage in Amble, stop at the aforementioned Northumberland Seafood Centre shop – you can even order tasty items online. Other favourites include The Wellwood Arms pub and kitchen, which is a gastropub that draws visitors in for a fine Sunday lunch and a solid menu that includes English lunch and dinner time specials, as well as the odd surprise.
If you wish to take a continental approach to dining and choose dessert from somewhere different than where you ate the main course, allow us to recommend Spureli’s, an ice cream ‘boutique’ that will leave your taste buds dazzled. Fish and chips is also a sure winner in Amble; we’d single out The Old Boathouse, which is a harbour-side establishment where you are probably within sight of where your dinner got landed. There are also several chippies as well in Amble, so, seek out one of them to enjoy some atmospheric fish and chips by the waterside.
Some visitors come to Amble for the wildlife
Amble is a superb place to go if you love birds. Catch a boat tour to Coquet Island, 1 mile offshore, where a colony of thousands of puffins, various species of tern, kittiwakes and eider ducks live. You can also see grey seals too on the east coast of the island. The population is at its largest in May. It’s a great day out for all the family; the sheer number of amazing birds to witness is a wonderful sight to behold.
For further wildlife and bird sightings, head to The NWT managed Hauxley Nature Reserve. It is possibly the easiest place in Northumberland to see the lesser-spotted red squirrel and tree sparrows. Hauxley is on the coast commanding fantastic views over Druridge Bay and the North Sea. There are hides, an excellent visitor centre (made from straw bale) and a café with a great menu.
Others come to Amble for the scenic walking
Walking is popular with those that come on holiday to the North East of England. Amble has a few lovely walking trails for wayfaring delight including two exceptionally beautiful coastal circuits.
The Amble Amble
Amble around the port of Amble along its pleasant, level 1-mile circuit. A diversity of habitats lie at the fringes of your vision, like the dunes, the breakwater and coal staithes. There are plenty of pleasant places to sit and watch the boats come and go. Enjoy some takeaway seafood treats or share a bag of chips. Look out for dive-bombing seagulls! On the weekend there is a busy market, where the locals sell all kinds of useful and not so useful items. Cop a quirky bargain.
Pick the trail up by the dunes next to Warkworth Golf Course, and you will see understated, panoramic views of Warkworth Castle, the river flood plain and wetlands, the beaches north of the estuary. Again, this is a brilliant place for birdwatching; you’ll see waders, gulls and little egrets going about their daily business. Keep a watchful eye out for redshanks, oystercatchers and shelducks, all of which love the ponds and mudflats along tidal estuaries like Amble’s. There are good views of the harbour, the breakwater, and the ruins of coal staithes, so characteristic of ports in the region.
Everybody comes for Amble's activities
Amble is a town by the water, so can you enjoy water sports here? Well, where there are beaches, there may well be surf.
Northside Surf School offer surfing lessons at Druridge Bay and Warkworth Bay in Amble. The town’s waterways, shores and lakes are also appreciated for their sailing, powerboating, canoeing and kayaking prospects. The Coquet Shorebase Trust is a charitable organisation based in Amble that provides water sports training and courses for locals and visitors. Situated near to the harbour, you can book a course in powerboating, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing and sailing at the nearby Druridge Bay Country Park. Check out Northumberland's first and only canoe shop, North East Kayaks and Paddles, if you are looking to buy your own equipment. Why not charter a local fishing boat for some deep sea angling?
Cycling is also a popular land-based sport in Northumberland with many enjoying the scenic route up the coast. Read our guide to cycling in Nothumberland.
Come and stay with us in Amble!
If you are planning a trip to Northumberland AONB, book a stay at one of our Amble holiday cottages. We have properties all across town and the surrounding area from quaint terraced cottages for a cosy family break, to sea view apartments and romantic boltholes for some quality time with your nearest and dearest. Many of our cottages are dog friendly too, so you can bring your pooch along for some fun and games too!
Here are a couple of our favourites....
This stylish apartment has wonderful views across Amble’s marina and is situated less than 0.25 miles from the beaches. The wraparound balcony is a plus, as you can enjoy a hearty breakfast whilst taking in the gorgeous surroundings.
- Sleeps 4
- Sea views
- Off-road parking for 1 car / and bike storage
- Pubs, restaurants and independent shops within walking distance
An utterly charming brick cottage located a few miles from Amble, Cherry Tree Cottage is evocative of the type of country abode found in this part of the North-East. Single-level and spacious, it will provide the perfect backdrop for those looking for a cosy getaway to Amble.
- Sleeps 4
- 2 dogs welcome
- 2 wood burners
- Off-road parking for 2/3 cars and storage for bikes
If you are thinking of visiting this very appealing part of the Northumberland Coast, visit our collection of Amble cottages to discover your ideal escape and why this really is the ‘friendliest port’.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.