A bargain Northumberland staycation at Bamburgh Castle Inn in Seahouses

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With its panoramic windows offering views over the gentle bustle of Seahouses harbour and up the coast to the majestic Bamburgh Castle, Holy Island and busy skies of the Farne Islands, there can be few better locations for a Northumberland staycation than at Bamburgh Castle Inn.

It’s a landmark pub and hotel in the village of Seahouses and rightly so – as well as the views, it’s got much to offer locals and the many tourists and day trippers who flock to this charming corner of the Northumberland coast.

I last visited four years ago and it’s undergone a major makeover since then and although it’s a new look, it’s one that’s more in keeping with the traditional inn aesthetic you want from a country pub after a bracing coastal walk.

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Owners The Inn Collection Group have a number of venues in Northumberland such as The Amble Inn in Amble, The Lindisfarne Inn in Berwick, The Hog’s Head Inn in Alnwick and more, with venues in Sunderland and Durham including The Seaburn Inn and The Seaton Lane Inn and many more acquisitions in The Lake District, Yorkshire and beyond.

The Bamburgh Castle Inn in the heart of Seahouses in NorthumberlandThe Bamburgh Castle Inn in the heart of Seahouses in Northumberland
The Bamburgh Castle Inn in the heart of Seahouses in Northumberland

Although they’re a chain, the North East-based hospitality group do much to stamp an individual identity on their sites which doffs its cap to its locality in the decor.

As such, the makeover in the bar and restaurant area at the Seahouses site features a host of quirky artworks including a Bamburgh-themed hand-painted mural, plenty of plump puffin paintings in honour of the nearby Farne Islands, which hosts tens of thousands of breeding pairs each year, and local hero Grace Darling.

The investment also saw the conversion of a previously unused access road into a glass atrium which adds a new dimension to the popular site with a second bar and a seating area complete with trailing dried hops, lobster pots, a log burning stove and nautical-themed artworks.

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Whilst you can enjoy the prime views from inside the main bar, they’ve also made the most of them outside with the addition of a raised, glass-glazed terrace which has more than doubled the inn’s outdoor seating capacity.

A new outdoor area has been added overlooking the harbourA new outdoor area has been added overlooking the harbour
A new outdoor area has been added overlooking the harbour

Another new addition was the purchase of the adjacent Coble Cottage which has been turned into an additional 14 en-suite rooms, taking the site’s total number of bedrooms to 60.

We stayed in the new annex as part of the Winter Breaks deal which they run across their venues, which was £139 in total for our double room for dinner, bed and breakfast, with a £26 allowance each for dinner, which is great value for money considering the location and new facilities.

Each venue across the group offers Winter Break deals, with a differing starting price and the same food allowance across the board.

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Back at Bamburgh Castle Inn, we stayed in one of the new rooms – if you want a seaview you’ll need to enquire about a room in the original building.

The decor doffs its cap to its localityThe decor doffs its cap to its locality
The decor doffs its cap to its locality

It’s a clever conversion of the cottage and, although it has a separate entrance to the hotel, it has the same theme which flows throughout the site’s various buildings.

Our twin room was cosy and comfortable – particularly the beds – and was decorated with feature country cottage wallpaper, tartan carpet and a smart TV.

Our room overlooked The Olde Ship Inn, a real Seahouses gem which is most definitely worth a visit. It’s a real Aladdin’s Cave of seafaring memorabilia which adorns every nook and cranny of the historic site – with some great local ales on offer, too.

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Bruschetta from the specials menu to startBruschetta from the specials menu to start
Bruschetta from the specials menu to start

The Food

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After a pint at the neighbouring Ship Inn, we headed back to Bamburgh Castle Inn for our evening meal.

It’s all hearty stuff on the menu: chowder, 10-hour pork belly, fish and chips, burgers, scampi and chips, bangers and mash and other winter warmers.

Prices for mains range from £14 for bangers and mash to £22.50 for 8oz rump steak and chips.

I chose from the daily specials board for my starter: the bruschetta, which arrived as two hunks of bread loaded with plenty of tomatoes, red onion and cheese. There’s certainly no skimping on portion sizes with their pub grub.

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For mains, I had the seafood linguine, which was again a generous portion: oodles of linguine punctuated with plenty of mussels (served out of the shell for ease) and flaky salmon, served in a light and non-greasy garlic and butter sauce.

Seafood pasta from the mains menuSeafood pasta from the mains menu
Seafood pasta from the mains menu

The menu also comes with the calorific content of each dish which is handy if you’re weight watching – however, sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Next morning, there’s a breakfast bar with cereals and pastries as well as a well-stocked hot breakfast buffet. Or, you can order from the menu with options such as eggs Benedict and traditional Northumberland kippers to set you up for a day exploring.