A stunning coastal ride from Newcastle to Edinburgh passing numerous iconic castles, breathtaking scenery and nature reserves. Castles and Coasts is one of the easiest of the country’s long-distance cycle routes, there is a great selection of independent hostels and bunkhouses offering low-cost accommodation along the way.
The Coast & Castles Route (South): An overview
The Coast & Castles route (south) runs from Newcastle to Edinburgh. One of the UK’s easiest, but still epic, long-distance routes, it links the Tyne and Forth estuaries. The first 85 miles will take you along the stunning and mostly flat Northumbrian coastline. You will cycle through several Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, nature reserves, and as you would expect, past many castles. Tynemouth Priory, Warkworth Castle, Alnwick Castle (detour), Dunstanburgh Castle, Bamburgh Castle, Lindisfarne Castle & Priory (Holy Island), The Berwick Walls, Norham Castle, and finally Edinburgh Castle will all bear witness to the progression of your ride. If you plan your trip correctly to coincide with the low tides you can cycle over the paved causeway to spend a few hours on the magical island of Lindisfarne, which was possibly the holiest site of Anglo-Saxon England.
A choice of route options
The route hugs the coastline on NCN Route 1 until you reach the picturesque border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed. Here the route splits and you have two choices. For the shorter option take NCN Route 76 and continue along the coast via Dunbar into Edinburgh (173 miles). Alternatively for a longer ride (199 miles) stay on NCN Route 1. This will lead you inland into the Tweed Valley and the quiet lanes of the Border Country to Innerleithen, then up over the moors and into the imposing city of Edinburgh.
With its historic old town, the shops of Princess Street and the many tourist attractions, Edinburgh is well worth a stopover before you make your return journey.
Starting and finishing points
The route is best ridden south to north, as the wind is generally more favourable. The official start on the Sustrans map is Newcastle Train Station. However, the pretty coastal town of Tynemouth is the much more popular starting point. Tynemouth is easily reached by regular local trains and saves you the tedious ride through Newcastle. Once you have finished exploring Edinburgh and you don’t fancy returning by bike there are direct trains from Edinburgh Waverley to Newcastle Station.