Coast and Castles

Harriet Holland from HF Holidays’ Marketing team had the opportunity to join guests on a Guided Cycling in Alnmouth break.

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Here she tells her tale…

“I’m always keen to try new things and am usually the first to volunteer whenever opportunities arise so when a cycling trip to Northumberland came up I was first to offer my services.

After a horrendous journey through torrential rain that took over five hours, I arrived at Nether Grange and despite having worked with images of the Country House for over a year, I hadn’t realised just how close it is to the sea front.

Stretching my legs on the sand dunes certainly made me forget about the journey.

Our group was made up of 12 keen cyclists and we met for a briefing from our leader, the wonderful Steve and an absolute dream from the very beginning.

He asked everyone how much cycling they did and my pulse started racing – I’d not been on a bike for over a decade whereas everybody else seemed to be regular cyclists…

What had I got myself into?

IMAG0410At breakfast, the following morning, I tried and failed to have a sensible breakfast.

It’s nigh on impossible to be disciplined when you’re faced with the option of a cooked breakfast – the sausages were particularly delicious.

The majority of the group had hired bikes so we started off by getting all fitted to our saddles and checked our helmets were secure.

By the time we were all suited and booted I was amazed how much I actually looked like a cyclist!

We set off at around 9.30am and cycled about 8 miles to Barter Books, Alnwick which was an absolute treat!

The log fires, miniature train sets and row after row of books were not something I was expecting.

It was a treasure trove of literature, history and quite honestly took my breath away – nothing to do with the cycling of course.

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I was disappointed to only stay for a coffee break, I could have easily spent a lifetime perusing first editions and row after row of history contained within the pages.

Alas, there was more to be seen and our bikes allowed us to see so much more of it in a shorter time.


We had lunch in the fishing village of Craster and over the top of the wall we had spectacular views of Dunstanburgh Castle.

The weather was incredible; considering we were on the coast and it was October, the skies were blue, the wind was minimal and the rain was non-existent!

IMG-20141111-WA0027We cycled 28 miles on the first day and although at the time it felt like an uphill battle it wasn’t actually that bad at all.

The frequent stops to look at the view, repair various punctures or have a hot drink were welcomed by everybody and made the miles disappear – each hill brought out the defeatist in me but no sooner had that negative attitude appeared something happened that lifted my spirits.

Our second day of cycling took us from Seahouses to Holy Island and it was magnificent, truly.


Everything about the ride was incredible and I feel proud to say where I’ve been especially when I think about how I got there.

The weather again was exceptional and the ride across the estuary was a very strange experience.

There was a very welcoming pub on Holy Island that had a beautiful log fire that ended the day perfectly.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience out of the office and can see why Nether Grange is such a popular destination.

My favourite part of the trip was the downhill sections. They made my eyes water we went so fast and I said to Steve, “How fast were we going? 50, 60mph?”

It turns out we were probably just doing 25mph but I felt lightning fast regardless.

The castles, the food, the views all add up to a wonderful experience.”

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Thank you Harriet for sharing your tale, it sounds like you were won over by the North East!


For more information about breaks at Nether Grange call 0333 123 9559, visit the HF Holidays website or email their travel experts.


About hfholidays

We're the experts of outdoor holidays world. We've over 100 years’ experience and have been recognised by Which? the consumer champion as one of their recommended holiday providers for three years running.
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