Watching the Tour de France on TV has ramped up my excitement for the Northumberland Stage of the Tour of Britain. I find myself going through the route and trying to decide where to watch from.
I, of course, am more than happy to spend hours just waiting, absorbing the atmosphere and looking forward to seeing my cycling heroes in the flesh, but I realise that not everyone wants to spend hours that way. So, may I offer some suggestions of what to do for anyone who is less of a cycling nut, whilst we nuts are watching the race. Obviously, these suggestions also apply to cycling enthusiasts before and after the race...
On Monday the 9th of September Stage 3 of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain will depart Berwick upon Tweed. Berwick is a great place for cycling enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike.
Why not arrive a day or two before and spend a relaxing time in one of the excellent hotels or B & Bs, book in advance of course? There are lots of things to see and do in Berwick, shops aplenty for retail therapy, and more cafes than you can shake a stick at.
The Town Walls and museums provide interesting and informative details of this town’s long and turbulent history.
Even if not a fan of the race, the sight of the multi-coloured peloton crossing the iconic Grade 1 listed Berwick Bridge is bound to be a sight to remember for a long time, and should provide superb photo opportunities.
Whilst the riders toil up Ford Common and Lytham Moor, there are many things to see and do nearby.
Holy Island with the Castle and Priory would be excellent places to visit and spend time. Check and adhere to the tide times though, or you may end up spending more time on the island than you intended.
Alternatively, the race passes Bamburgh where my favourite castle is situated, and visiting the castle is a must do, and maybe you will catch a sneaky peak of the cyclists as they flash past.
A little further down the coast is Seahouses which has a picturesque harbour, shops, hotels and beautiful coastal scenery. There will be a sprint for the racers here, so there is bound to be plenty of atmosphere.
Next on the route there are mountain points to be had at Longhoughton, and more sprint points at Warkworth. In this area there is a plethora of things to do.
Alnwick town, the famous Alnwick Castle and Alnwick Gardens are close by, whist Warkworth is a historically significant town and the Castle is yet another must visit.
A further few miles down the road is Amble. Another lovely harbour where a boat trip around Coquet Island can be taken. More shops, little cafes, and if for no other reason, visit Amble for the superb ice cream.
The final Northumberland Sprint will be at Seaton Delaval, and Seaton Delaval Hall is the obvious place to spend some time if not watching the race.
The problem if you don’t want to watch the race, is not what to do to spend the time, but which of the many attractions can you bear not to see, and I’ve not even mentioned the miles of beautiful coastline, nature reserves, excellent walking, caravan sites, and so much more. A day is not enough, so if you cannot spend longer on this visit, why not return soon and see the things you missed.
Written by The Retirement Ramblers
Image credit HandLuggageOnly