A Winter Break in Craster, Northumberland
Craster is a picture perfect sleepy fishing village situated in the heart of Northumberland. A stay in Craster has always been on my bucket list and in December last year we decided to rent a cottage for the week to celebrate my birthday. Our residence would be Craster Reach Cottage from Sykes Cottages – a perfect bolthole to escape from the world.
Situated over three floors with three large bedrooms and bathrooms, our cottage provided ample space for our family of five. Cosy comforts such as a wood burning stove, warm blankets and a basket of Northumbrian treats on arrival ensured we instantly relaxed and felt at home. As it was December we were delighted to find that our cottage had been given a festive makeover too with it’s very own Christmas tree and decorations which we thought was a wonderful touch.
Craster is the perfect base to explore Northumberland with favourites Alnwick Garden and Alnwick Castle being less than 10 miles away. Whilst in Alnwick, you can’t miss a trip to the wonderful Barter Books too which is England’s largest second hand book shop. Transformed from the town’s old train station, it has a wonderful children’s section, is full of charm and serves delicious homemade cake which can be enjoyed by the fire.
Craster itself doesn’t have it’s own shop so make sure you take plenty of supplies with you. You will however find a fantastic local pub ‘The Jolly Fisherman’ at the heart of the community. Renowned for serving hearty homemade food and providing a warm welcome to locals and visitors alike, it is here we spent most of our evenings. Sitting by the fire listening to tales from the locals as we played a few board games with our children really did make us feel like we were part of a scene from a Christmas movie. In the warmer months you can sit in the pub’s beer garden and take in the spectacular coastal views. You might even spot a few seals and dolphins if you are lucky.
A stay in Craster is not complete with a trip to the famous Smokehouse. People travel from all over the world to sample the famous Craster kipper and it was such a treat having the Smokehouse almost next door to where we were staying. There is an attached seafood restaurant open in the summer too and our children loved peeking through the smokehouse windows and watching the fishmongers prepare their catch of the day for smoking. There is a small smokehouse shop where you can purchase a wide variety of seafood and you simply must buy some kippers for breakfast one morning.
The main reason that Craster attracts so many visitors is because it’s the best place to start a Northumberland coastal walk. Whether this be the 1.5 mile walk to Dunstanburgh Castle or further on to the tranquil village of Low Newton by the Sea where you can enjoy a pint from the microbrewery at The Ship Inn and let your children play on the often deserted beach, there are walks from Craster for all abilities.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Craster Reach Cottage. It was such a special place to spend my birthday and enjoy a slower pace of life for a week. Our children adored the village playground and chatting to the fishermen in the harbour every day as well as walking and exploring the castle via a field of sheep (much to their amusement). For me, I couldn’t get enough of the views. It was simply spectacular looking out of the master bedroom across the sea and towards Dunstanburgh Castle every morning and the skylight in our bedroom allowed us to see the stars in the dark skies above as we’d never seen before.