The furthest North we went was Bamburgh, a pretty village nestled in the lea of a stunning castle. Unfortunately it’s all a bit of a facade, the village not the castle, which is awesome. Bamburgh feels a bit over gentrified and full of holiday homes. There’s a decent butchers. Rick Stein says so and they have the press cutting in the window of Carter’s to prove it. Not the all time best pork pies I’ve ever tried, but they were good, pastry let them down for me. There were plenty of village notices for WI and people playing croquet on the billiard table playing field. To me everything felt a bit contrived and I suspect there’s not much local pub trade in the village and it shows because there’s no real pubs.
The Victoria hotel has a decent public bar, light and modern rather than traditional and when we visited they had Black Sheep Best bitter and VIP Village Copper on the only two hand pumps. If I’m honest I didn’t fancy it so we walked on.
The Castle inn or Middle, is primarily an eating house, it doesn’t even mention beer on the web site. Inside it’s a bit like the Tardis and it gets bigger the further you walk in. The best part is the wooden panelled bar area to the left of the front door, the worse bit the massive conservatory affair full of diners at the rear. Scottish borders brewery Foxy blonde (3.8%) and Alnwick brewery Amber ale (3.8%) were the only real ales on the bar, we had a half of each and they were okay. Too much food and too many kids for me though.
Like the Victoria, The Wynding is really the bar to a much larger, quite grand hotel, in this case The Lord Crewe. I just hope the service in the hotel is better than in the bar. I waited an age for a half of Alnwick brewery Gold and Longstone (my pen ran out and I’ve forgotten the brewer). Sadly the ‘top up’ pull dropped the bottom of the barrel into the glass of Gold which is just one of those things, so we had to do with two halves of Longstone, a copper coloured, malty at first, but with an intense and lingering hop bitterness. I’m not kidding when I say the pleasant hop taste lingered all of the three miles or so walk back into Seahouses.
To sum Bamburgh up in a sentence; definitely worth visiting for the castle and the scenery but not worth the trip just for a beer.