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Budle Bay is a glorious beach set on the north coast of Northumberland which is a very popular spot for bird watchers, dog walkers and those looking to spend relaxing days by the ocean.
The beach is a beautiful and important bird sanctuary where you will find huge mud flats that become exposed at low tide. This is a time where you can see all sorts of birds finding food for their next meal. The whole area is part of the Lindisfarne Nature Reserve and it's during the winter when thousands of wildfowl and waders come to spend the season on the bay’s mud flats.
Budle Bay has a fascinating history with an industrial past. It used to be a busy and bustling port in the 13th century, and the harbour has now disappeared but not without leaving some historic buildings behind. You can still find some stone structures coming out of the sand here and there, which is a lovely reference to the Budle Bay’s history. Warren Mill, the inhabited village of Budle Bay, got its name from an old corn mill in 1187. The original building of this corn mill dates back to the 1780s but now exists as a block of luxury apartments with an incredible view out over the sea.
We have lots of self-catering cottages dotted along the coastline of Northumberland - view our top ten coastal cottages and sample some of the best. Read on to find out what you can do on the Bay, and what there is to do nearby…
Water sports in Budle Bay
Water sports play a massive part in entertaining everyone during a day on the beach. Whilst some like to simply spend their hours running in and out of the water, playing in the sand and dune jumping, others like the more adventurous experiences on water. Popular sports you will see people enjoying on Budle Bay are windsurfing, body boarding, kite surfing and jet skiing. People like to bring their own sea kayaks too and, of course, the trusty dinghy, which can be picked up easily from any beach shop.
The summer months are best for water sports as this is when the sea is at its most calm, with more chance of gentle winds and sunny days. The Bay provides safe and shallow conditions which makes it popular with families, and also great for kite surfing in particular. If you spend the whole day here, you will see the lagoon filling up before high tide and emptying again after – why not leave the watch behind and time your day by the sea? It could be a great way to properly switch off!
Things to consider:
- Water sports are only permitted between the months of April and October in order to protect you and also the habitat of thousands of migrating birds.
- Boards and Bikes is a great company that can hire you out equipment, and if you want to be really organised you can get equipment delivered to your cottage door! They rent out boards and wetsuits – and bikes for those who want to stay on land!
- Always make sure you and your group/family are safe in the sea. Floating aids should always be handy for those who are not confident in the water.
Walking at Budle Bay
For those into walking, this is the perfect area to enjoy good views and fresh air. The bonus of being on the coastline is that most walks are easy going and relaxing, compared to the hillier inland sections of the county. A popular walk in this area is the circular walk from Warren Mill to Bamburgh. We recommend you take this walk during low tide, as that is when the beach is at its best, with wide stretches of golden sand to walk along. The views along the beach walk section are outstanding, stretching far over the ocean and south along the coastline.
When you reach Bamburgh, you can stop for a coffee in the village in one of the idyllic tea stores, and whilst you are here you must try a cream tea, consisting of homemade scones, jam and clotted cream. This will re-energise you for the trip back. The castle can be visited, and you can go in and admire the historic and impressive building, so you could always tie this into your outdoor expedition. Reas all about this fascinating town in our guide to Bamburgh.
Simple directions: From Warren Mill, head south along the bay on the main road. You will come to a track on the left that takes you towards the beach at Budle Point, and from here you can walk along the beach all the way to the village of Bamburgh. There are toilet facilities and coffee shops in Bamburgh. You can head back north along the main road or go back the way you came.
Warning: Never attempt to cross the bay’s mouth, even at low tide. People have lost their lives over the years trying to do this. The incoming tide’s speed and power must not be underestimated.
Great places to visit near Budle Bay…
This is a magical island set off the coastline of Northumberland which can be reached by a causeway only two times a day. Known at the ‘Holy Island’, you will find a traditional English village, historic castle, and beautiful harbour. There is also a beach which you can all play on and a colony of seals which cause a lot of amusement as they bask in their masses in the sun.
The village offers up a gorgeous place to potter around with a museum and a number of independent cafes and pubs to relax in. There is also a smashing golf course which enthusiasts will love, with views out of the sea and sand dunes. You can take boat trips off the island to the Farne Islands where you will find large colonies of sea birds and our colourful friends, the puffins! Read more about this amazing place in our guide to Lindisfarne.
The bustling village of Seahouses is an unmissable spot during your visit to Northumberland’s coastline. If you are staying nearby Budle Bay, or Bamburgh, it is a short drive to Seahouses and definitely worth a trip. The colourful fishing harbour offers a lovely place to come and spend a couple of hours, with lots of little streets to explore, cafes to visit and beach shops to browse. The ice cream shops and fish and chip shops are perfect for picking up a quick bite whilst watching the seals and other marine life from the harbour.
If you are holidaying with children, they will be sure to love the amusement arcades, crazy golf and boat trips from the harbour. If you don’t have your own boat, and let's face it, most of us don't, you can hop aboard a boat from Seahouses harbour and visit the islands - there are 28, but only three are accessible - Inner Farne, Staple and Longstone. We have lots of holiday cottages in Seahouses which offer the perfect base for exploring the area and further afield, so a day trip to Budle Bay is very easy from here.
To read more about Seahouses and what you can do here, check out our guide to Seahouses.
Beadnell is located about 6 miles south-east of Bamburgh and is a lovely place to come and visit during your stay on the Northumberland coast. This is another popular location for water sports with a lovely big beach and lots of space to enjoy yourself. There is a great harbour where you can watch the boats get ready for days out on the ocean and see them come back in with their daily catch.
The Diving Centre in Beadnell runs courses from beginner dive sessions all the way up to instructor level, so you may find that you make Beadnell an annual pilgrimage to get your diving qualifications! If you already know your stuff, they have an active and exciting dive scene with local trips out, as well as a fully stocked shop to buy your next bit of kit. To find out more about this great Northumberland village, read our 8 reasons why you should visit Beadnell.
Be prepared for a day out on Budle Bay
This is one of the more remote and quieter beaches in Northumberland which makes it popular with families, especially those with smaller kids. For full days out on the beach it is important to come fully prepared with everything you will need so there is no need to cut your day short. Here is a list of items which you could keep in mind for your next beach kit-list:
- Sun cream
- Sunscreen clothing
- Wetsuit for chillier days
- Snorkel and mask
- Lilo/rubber ring
- Beach towels
- Buckets and spades
- Cool box with water, juice, and cool snacks
- Thermos for tea and coffee – the adults will need it!
- Bag of extra jumpers for cooler afternoons
- Wind break/small shelter for smaller children
- First aid kit including plasters and painkillers
- Binoculars and bird book
Days out on the beach can be some of the best of any holiday. Children love nothing better than being able to run freely outside, and adults get a lot of brain space and freedom when spending time next to the ocean. Sandcastles, sand pits and ball games are all activities that enhance children’s brains, and all get good endorphins running through their bodies. A day on the beach is a great way to burn off energy too!
For more inspiration check out our guide to the best beaches in Nothumberland. There are some amazing ones in here which are perfect for fun days out and we have featured a few dog-friendly ones too!
Stay in a self-catering coastal cottage in Northumberland
If you have been inspired to visit Budle Bay for yourself, then keep our coastal cottages in mind for your next break away. We have lovely accommodation around Budle Bay in Northumberland. From family-friendly holiday homes to awesome dog-friendly pads, we will have something to suit you. View the collection today and start planning a holiday to remember.