It’s amazing what one can do in just 24 hours.
First, I took a train from Stockport. The train journey took about 3 hours, changing trains at Doncaster for a connecting train to Newcastle, meeting my friend Emma at the railway station before driving to our campsite. Emma was already in Newcastle for her sisters’ graduation.
We drove to Embleton, on the Northumberland coast, about an hours drive from Newcastle.
We pitched our tent at Dunstan Hill Caravan Park before heading down to the beach near the wreck of Dunstanburgh Castle. We sat on the beach, pondering the meaning of life while soaking up the sun, enjoying each others company and the sound of the ocean.
One clever holiday-maker decided to take it upon themselves to create some sculptures by the sea using the exisiting large volcanic stones scattered across the beach. Very clever.
Feeling a bit peckish after our excursion to the beach we decided to head into town. The lovely folk at the caravan park where we stayed advised us to visit one of the only two pubs in town for a hearty meal. The wildflowers were out in force providing us some lovely sweet aromas on the short route to the pub.
I tried a pint of the local ale, Alnwick Gold. In fact, I was even served by the brewer himself who told me he’d only just made a fresh batch that morning at 4am. You can’t get beer fresher than this.
After a delicious al-fresco style meal, we wandered back to our campsite for a nice hot shower before tucking ourselves into our sleeping bags, nodding off to the sound of, well, nothing except peace and quiet. Despite sleeping only on a blow up mattress I had one of the best nights sleep I’d had in ages.
The following morning upon waking, we got our shit together and started packing up. One of our lovely neighbours in their caravan offered to make us a brew before we set off for a trip to Alnwick Gardens (pronounced “annick”) and the castle.
To keep costs down, we decided to only do Alnwick Gardens and not the castle though we did at least get see the castle from the outside. Most of you would know the castle as the Hogwarts International School Of Wizardry, from the Harry Potter movies. To be honest, I’ve seen about a dozen castles now. They’re everywhere in Britain so I’m not disappointed I didn’t get see inside this one and besides, I’m not a huge Harry Potter fan anyway.
Alnwick Gardens is probably one of the most beautiful gardens I’ve seen in England to date. A particular favourite was a guided tour of the Poisons display. We were told not to touch or smell any of the plants as some are extremely poisonous, some even deadly or can cause hallucinations.
We devoured a delicious lunch while enjoying the garden surrounds before a quick visit to the adjoining tree house, an amazing example of architecture using existing natural infrastructure. The Tree House hosted an array of gorgeous cafes and a restaurant, all connected by two adjoining wooden suspension bridges.
We jumped back in the car for the long journey back to Manchester, arriving back just in time for tea.