Seahouses is a small holiday town (or large village) on the scenic Northumberland coast about half way between Bamburgh and Beadnell. A former fishing village, it is now best known as the embarkation point for tourist boat trips to the Farne Islands, famous for puffins and other seabirds.
Seahouses’ fishermen used to join the Scottish fishing fleet to hunt enormous shoals of herring during their annual migration down the North Sea coastline. By the time the fishing fleet reached Seahouses it could number 300 boats and in the 1890s the harbour was constructed to provide shelter for the visiting boats. Cargo vessels used to pick up barrels of salted herrings packed by the village’s ‘herring lassies’ for sale in places like Russia and Germany. The industry declined from the 1930s onwards.
Seahouses has long lured wealthy naturalist, birdwatcher and artistic types but it was not until the 1920s that the village started to attract the bucket-and-spade brigade, thanks to a branch railway line which was in existence until 1951. Although the permanent population is around 1,800 it swells to around three times that number during the summer high season. They are accommodated in numerous B&Bs, self catering apartments, guest-houses, Airbnbs, hotels and a couple of sprawling caravan parks. Thankfully the pristine beaches which stretch for miles either side of Seahouses are vast enough to make the area seem uncrowded.
To be honest Seahouses is not the quaintest fishing village in the country and it has a somewhat workaday look to it but there are a few highlights:
The Swallow Fish Traditional Smokehouse. Like nearby Craster, Seahouses is famed for its smoked fish and this business, established in 1843, is possibly where the modern kipper was invented. Homemade kipper pate is one of their specialties.
The Olde Ship is one of several pubs in the village. There are also three fish and chip shops and a number of other restaurants and cafes.
A couple of tourist boats with late 18th century lime kilns standing on the left.
You can even learn to scuba dive here. Apparently Farne Islands are one of the best places to dive in the UK but personally I’d prefer somewhere a little warmer – Lombok perhaps.
RNLI lifeboat named Grace Darling.
A safe distance away is the Powder House built in 1886 for storing gunpowder used in blasting for the construction of the harbour walls.
The small light house on the jetty flies the Northumberland flag. It started to rain heavily soon after this photo was taken.
How to Get to Seahouses
The location is marked on this map: