Earlier this summer, I headed up north to Newcastle for a weekend. I always love to fit in both city exploration and adventures in the countryside if I can, so on one of the days there I headed further north up to Amble and Coquet Island.
Honestly, I feel like I’ve become a bit of a birdwatcher this year – even more so since my main reason for heading out to Coquet Island was that I’d heard it is one of the best places in the area to see puffins and that the time of year (June/July) was perfect for spotting them.
Located just over a kilometre off the coast, Coquet Island is positively alive with birds – on the ground, in the air, in the sea – with up to 18,000 nesting pairs of puffins alongside 90% of the UK’s population of roseate terns, eider ducks, kittiwakes, and more. It’s not possible to dock on the island, as it’s protected by the RSPB, but you can take a boat trip on a restored lifeboat from Amble harbour. Trip times for the puffin cruises tend to vary from day to day so it’s wise to check in advance and book ahead – the boat we took lists their times over on their Facebook page.
As well as its bird population, Coquet Island is most recognisable by the distinctive, almost fortress-like lighthouse which was built in 1841 onto the remains of a medieval monastery. It was just the most photogenic spot and you can spy another photo of mine over on the Guardian (scroll to #24!).
The town of Amble itself, located at the mouth of the river Coquet, has a lovely little shopping area on the waterfront (I picked up the cutest lighthouse photo frame from one of the stalls to go in my seaside-themed bathroom). There’s also a boot sale and antique market on a Saturday by the harbour. It’s also a lovely spot for walking along the waterfront and out onto the pier, where you’ll find another smaller lighthouse and views over to Warkworth Castle (more on that coming soon!).
Post-boat trip, I headed to a lovely little bistro and coffee shop called Sea Salt. The food wasn’t cheap but it was exceptionally good with very generous portions. I had the biggest vegetarian grilled aubergine sandwich and sweet potato fries (it was a particularly good weekend for food!). I loved their interior too – not least because they’d chosen the same colours as my living room!
How have you spent your summer weekends? Have you explored anywhere new?