LONG renowned as an iconic image of Northumberland’s historic treasures and majestic coastline, Bamburgh Castle already plays a key role in helping to lure tourists and their vital spending power to the region.
Now the imposing seaside fortress has the national spotlight trained on it once again – after being voted as one of the 10 best places in Britain to enjoy a picnic.
Bamburgh Castle – together with its surrounding green spaces and nearby beach and sand dunes – is included in the official top 10 spots for al fresco dining.
The accolade, following an internet survey in which more than 10,000 people nominated their favourite picnic spots, recognises the castle as “an idyllic lunch spot for all the family to enjoy and watch the world go by.”
It pays tribute to the area’s outstanding local beauty and scenic views.
Bamburgh gets a special plaque and commemorative bench as a prize for its success.
The 10 best picnic spots have been chosen by members of the public after the survey was launched by bread makers Kingsmill, in partnership with tourism agencies VisitEngland and Visit Wales, to encourage more people to enjoy lunch outdoors.
Bamburgh Castle is joined by locations such as Belfast City Hall, Blakeney in Norfolk, the coast road at Barrow in Furness, Cumbria, Cow and Calf Rocks in West Yorkshire, Wales’s Elan Valley Reservoir and Stokes Bay beach in Hampshire in the top 10.
Yesterday Jeff Sutheran, who chairs the North Northumberland Tourism Association and runs an award-winning bed and breakfast in Seahouses, welcomed Bamburgh’s success.
“Things like this are very, very important because national publicity is absolutely crucial for this area, especially when our places get voted into top 10s like this one.
“Bamburgh Castle is a magnificent tourism asset and I would think 90% of the guests we get would walk that beautiful three-mile stretch of beach between Seahouses and Bamburgh.
“There could be no more dramatic and inspiring place to sit and have a picnic than Bamburgh Castle. It’s also great that, once again, Northumberland is being singled out as among the best places in Britain.”
Kingsmill encouraged people to nominate their favourite picnic spot on its Facebook page. A panel of judges whittled down the 10,000 entries into a 25-strong shortlist, based on factors including accessibility and free entry to all. People all over the UK were then given the chance to vote their favourite into the top 10.
James Berresford, chief executive of VisitEngland, said: “We’re thrilled to see that Kingsmill’s top 10 includes seven of England’s most scenic spots, from the stunning views from Cow and Calf Rocks and the rolling scenery of the Cotswolds to the picturesque beaches at Blakeney and Bamburgh.”
The survey was launched after Kingsmill carried out research with the University of Sussex which found that eating outdoors boosted people’s moods and made them happier about going back to work.
Things like this are very very important national publicity is crucial for this area