On offer

4 Night Self Guided Bird Watching in Northumberland

Merlin (Falco columbarius) North Yorkshire,England,September,2015
Duration: 4 nights
Interests: Explore nature
from £449pp £335pp

Thousands of rare bird species flock to the sands and offshore islands of Northumberland’s National Landscapes-awarded coastline every year. So it’s easy to see the appeal of our bird watching holidays here. Stay at our characterful country house in the coastal village of Alnmouth and get talks, tips, and recommendations from our HF Holidays Host so you can visit the best birdwatching sites independently during the day. Alternatively, head out on self-guided walks using our easy-to-follow routes, maps, and 24-hour support. In the evening, you can share the company of fellow twitchers and enjoy talks from a local ornithologist who’ll help you identify what you’ve spotted.

What you’ll love

  • Daily guided visits to the best birding sites in Northumberland 
  • The expertise of a local ornithologist leader 
  • Visiting Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve, Holy Island, Druridge Bay 
  • The chance to spot brent geese, great northern divers, red-necked grebes, owls and more  
  • Evening lectures on the ornithology of the local area 
  • Relaxing at our comfortable country house 

What’s included

  • Comfortable en-suite accommodation in our country house 
  • Local ornithologist leader 
  • All transport throughout the itinerary 
  • Cream tea on arrival day 
  • Cooked or continental breakfast every morning 
  • Daily packed lunches 
  • Three-course evening meals, plus tea & coffee 
  • Easy-to-follow routes, maps, and information available in our Discovery Point if you want to explore independently

Trip Notes

Easy to download as a PDF, our trip notes provide detailed information for every holiday. Please click below to find the trip notes for your departure date.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take alternative routes or adapt the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.

Check in from 4pm onwards and enjoy a complimentary cream tea on arrival. In the evening there’ll be a talk from a local birding expert with tips on where to go and what to see during your holiday.

Your local birding expert on this holiday is Martin. Martin Kitching has been birdwatching for more than 50 years, and for the last 30 of those he’s been based north of the Tyne where he’s a former author and editor of the annual report ‘Birds in Northumbria’.  He’s the director and senior guide of wildlife tours and for the last two years he’s been studying the breeding ecology of Kittiwakes, as a Field Biologist, as well as leading wildlife and landscape photography.  He’s also the coordinator of the North East Cetacean Project, which is mapping marine mammal and seabird distribution off the coast of NE England to inform marine conservation decision-making processes, and authored the majority of the cetacean species accounts in ‘Mammals, Amphibians and Reptiles of the North East’. 


Explore superb birding sites right on the doorstep of our country house or travel just a short distance north or south for some equally fabulous bird watching locations. 

Some standout sites to visit during your stay: 

  • Alnmouth: The postcard-worthy coastal village treasured for its colourful cottages, superb walking routes, and peaceful beach is just a five-minute stroll from our country house at Nether Grange. Hit the sands and you’re in with a chance of spotting species such as bar-tailed godwit, grey plover, and purple sandpiper. Red-necked divers, grebes, long-tailed duck, and common scoters can usually be found here in the winter months, as well as the characterful eider duck. And because Alnmouth is at the mouth of the River Aln, saltmarsh and saline reedbed habitat attracts redshanks, snipe, wigeons, curlews, and dunlins, too.
     
  • Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve: Also known as Holy Island, this is the jewel in the crown of Northumberland when it comes to birding. During winter thousands of wildfowl and waders flock to the area, including almost the entire population of svalbard light-bellied brent geese. Keep an eye out for red-throated divers, great northern Divers, slavonian and red-necked grebes, whooper swan, pink-footed geese, and you’ll not fail to find wigeon (over 20,000 can be found here at any one time). There are wildlife watching hides overlooking the reserve at Fenham-le-Moor, Beal, and at both The Lough and Window on Wild Lindisfarne building on Holy Island. The harbour at Holy Island can also be a good place to watch birds.
     
  • Druridge Bay: Six miles of long sandy beaches backed by sand dunes provide a series of ponds, patches of scrub, hedgerows, and fields – the perfect spot for year-round bird watching. The hides around Cresswell Pond are one of the best places to camp out for the day. In winter and early spring, watch out for long-eared owl, hen harrier, divers, grebes, merlin, peregrine, geese, plover, snipe, godwit, and more.
      
  • Low Hauxley is the most northernly point of Druridge Bay and not only has some excellent trails and hides, but a nice café, too.
     
  • Budle Bay: A fabulous place to watch the birds of the mudflats on an incoming tide. There is a long layby where you can park and some information panels. As the tide comes in, it pushes the birds closer to the shore and this is the best time to see them.
     
  • The Farne Islands: This internationally important breeding ground for both seabirds and seals, is usually open from the end of March until the end of November. Boats go out daily from Seahouses. Mid-April to July is probably the most popular time to visit the islands as it’s breeding season for a variety of birds. To spot puffins, it’s best to visit in May, June, or July.  
     
  • Coquet Island: Boats depart from Amble harbour and take you around this tiny island, where some 35,000 birds breed. The island is home to puffins from May to July, but its most famous resident is the Roseate tern (this is the only site in Britain where they breed).

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home.


Nether Grange

You can tell that you’re in for something special at this former 18th century granary in the heart of Alnmouth – the postcard-pretty coastal village treasured for its colourful cottages, superb walking routes, and peaceful beach where the River Aln meets the North Sea (in its heyday, it was a working river-port, exporting grain, wool, coal, and even the odd pipe of Madeira wine). Not only will you be a 40-minute drive from Northumberland National Park, but also within easy travelling distance of several visit-worthy castles, including Alnwick, Lindisfarne, Dunstanburgh, and Warkworth. If the weather’s nice, a boat trip to the Farne Islands that lie just offshore midway between the villages of Seahouses and Bamburgh rewards with sightings of England's largest grey seal colonies.   

 

Rooms

Designed with your comfort in mind, Nether Grange has 36 well-appointed guest rooms available in two categories: Classic and Premium. 

Classic Rooms are comfortable en-suite guest rooms, ideal for a peaceful night's sleep. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, and shower gel), and a TV. 

Premium Rooms are more spacious en-suite guest rooms. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, body lotion, shower gel), and a 32-inch TV. Extras include bathrobes, slippers, and comfortable mattresses.

We love: The sea-facing rooms are especially lovely. 

The Choose Your Room service is available at our UK country houses, allowing you the option of choosing and confirming a specific room for an extra charge of £30 per room. This is subject to availability. Upgrade supplements apply. 

Check in & check out
You are welcome to check in from 4:00pm at the earliest. On arrival, you’ll enjoy a complimentary cream tea and get to meet your fellow guests, our HF Holidays Leaders, and the rest of the friendly team.  

On the day of departure, we kindly ask all guests to check out by 10:00am. You’ll be asked to settle your bill prior to leaving. You may, of course, make a charitable donation to our HF Holidays Pathways Fund if you wish. Please note that we only accept card payments.  

Room supplements

Premium single Premium double/twin Choose your room
£20 pppn £20 pppn £30 per room

About your stay

A warm welcome
We want you to feel comfortable from the moment you arrive. You’ll find a welcome pack in your room with guest registration forms, menus, order forms for dinners and picnic lunches, the Wi-Fi password, and the front door code. Our houses are locked at night, so we recommend noting the Duty Manager’s number on arrival in case of an emergency (or getting locked out). 

Evening entertainment
While evening entertainment varies from house to house, the HF Holidays Big Pub Quiz held after dinner on Wednesdays is a weekly staple. Your HF Holidays Leader may be around for tips on guided and self-guided walking routes as well as visit-worthy local attractions. 

Walks talks 
Our HF Holidays Leaders host guided walking information briefings before dinner on arrival days. This is followed by a group Walks Talk for information on the following day’s walking delights (held before dinner every evening). Self-guided walking guests are, of course, welcome.  

The walking day
Prior to setting off on walks, your HF Holidays Leader will run you through a short safety briefing. There’s also an up-to-date weather forecast on display at the house to ensure you have appropriate clothing and footwear. If you choose to do your own walks or are on a self-guided walking holiday, we ask that you please complete an Independent Walker Card each day. These can be found near the Discovery Point in the house. 

Food & drink

Led by experienced chefs, we serve a wide range of dishes made with fresh and seasonal ingredients. We always aim to source the best produce available and use home-grown herbs and vegetables from our own gardens whenever possible. Additionally, we have a licensed bar with beers, soft drinks, and a superb selection of spirits. Full-board comes as standard and includes a cream tea on arrival and a hearty breakfast on departure day.

HF Holidays understands the importance of managing allergens effectively to ensure food is safe for guests with food allergies. Whilst we are always able to confidently inform guests which allergens are present in our ingredients and dishes, we are unable to guarantee absolute freedom from the 14 main allergens in our kitchens. Vegetarian and vegan menu choices are available. If you have allergies, food intolerances, or any special dietary requirements, please inform our reservation team at the time of booking.

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for Nether Grange

10673_0024 - Nether Grange - Chess

Getting to Nether Grange

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Address 

Nether Grange
Alnmouth
Alnwick
Northumberland NE66 2RZ

Tel: +44 (0)1665 830431

By train

The nearest station is Alnmouth, on the main east coast line between Newcastle and Edinburgh.  

Check National Rail for train times and routes. 

By taxi

The 1.5-mile journey from Alnmouth railway station to Nether Grange is about five minutes by taxi. Taxis are in limited supply in Alnmouth, so we recommend pre-booking as early as possible.

For pricing, please contact the taxi company directly.

Taxi companies in the area include:

Sovereign Taxis*
Tel: +44 (0)7553 360662

Wizard Taxis*
Tel: +44 (0)1665 663709

AA Taxis*
Tel: +44 (0)1665 606060

Some taxi companies have school runs so taxis may be in short supply between 9:00am and 10:00am. It is advisable to book your return taxi when you book your arrival taxi.

*HF Holidays does not own or manage any of the above taxi companies.

By car

Before travelling by car, note that there is no car park at Nether Grange and there’s very limited on-street parking.

Exit the A1 onto the A1068 towards Alnwick. At the roundabout turn right (it’s not well signposted), following the A1068 towards Alnmouth. Go straight ahead at the first roundabout then left at the second roundabout onto the B1338.

As you approach Alnmouth, turn right at the next roundabout, then left into The Wynd. Follow to Marine Road into Northumberland Street. After 100 yards turn right into Pease’s Lane. You’ll find Nether Grange on the left.  

By air

The nearest airport is Newcastle International Airport. Take the metro to Newcastle Central station, then the train to Alnmouth - a straightforward journey taking just over an hour. 

Essentials

  • Bird watching field guide
  • Spotting scope and/or binoculars
  • Warm & waterproof clothing
  • Hat
  • Camera
  • Rucksack with a waterproof liner
  • Thermos flask for hot drink
  • Water bottle (at least one litre),
  • Spare high-energy foods such as a chocolate bar,
  • First-aid kit

Nether Grange Calendar

  • Guided Walking
  • Self-Guided Walking
  • Special Interests
  • Unavailable to Book

Guest reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Supplements may apply.

Non-member fee: £30 per person.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take an alternative route, or vary the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.


Holiday prices

Date (Start - End) Itinerary Double / Twin Room Single Room Notes / Offers Trip Notes Book
2024

18 Nov - 22 Nov 2024

4 nights

Version 1

Single from

£449 £409

Double from

£449 £409 pp

from

£449 £409 pp

from

£449 £409

Save £40 Per Person Trip Notes
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2025

03 Mar - 07 Mar 2025

4 nights

Version 1

Single from

£555 £415

Double from

£475 £335 pp

from

£475 £335 pp

from

£555 £415

Early Booking Offer Save £140 Per Person Trip Notes
Book Now
Duration:
4 nights
Interests:
Explore nature

4 nights from £449pp £335pp

On offer

or call 020 3974 8865

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