- Arriving on Lindisfarne before your walk and exploring Lindisfarne Castle and Priory.
- The abundance of religious and local history.
- Following the breathtaking Northumberland Coastline and staying in seaside villages.
- Trying out the famous oak-smoked kippers in Craster.
- Walking through the heather-clad moors of the Simonside Hills.
The St Oswald’s Way is a fascinating, historical 97 mile walk through some of the finest landscapes in Northumberland. The walk hugs the coastline heading south from Holy Island before heading inland across beautiful countryside to Heavenfield. This walk will energise and enrich you with the fascinating history and wonderful landscapes of England’s northernmost county.
Starting your walking adventure in Holy Island you follow the stunning Northumberland Coastline from Bamburgh with its famous Castle, past small seaside villages down to the fishing village of Craster and on through Alnmounth to Warkworth. The walk then heads inland across the beautiful countryside to Rothbury and south to Heavenfield in Hadrian’s Wall country. The walk links places associated with St Oswald, the King of Northumbria in the early 7th Century, who played a major part in bringing Christianity to his people.
Your holiday features hand-picked overnight accommodation in high quality B&B’s, country inns, and guesthouses. Each is unique and offers the highest levels of welcome, atmosphere and outstanding local cuisine. We also include daily door to door baggage transfers, a comprehensive guide book with detailed maps and pre-departure information pack as well as emergency support, should you need it.
We offer a number of different itineraries on the St Oswald's Way, each of which is made up of the following sections. Individual itineraries are detailed on the right.
Holy Island to Bamburgh - 19 Miles
The first section of the walk, which is also the longest starts at Lindisfarne Priory on the beautiful Holy Island and heads westwards to the mainland via the causeway. (please check the tide times in advance) The path heads south through Fenwick and the Kyloe woods with its surviving population of red squirrels. As you head to Belford through higher ground you will be amazed by the views around you. From Belford the path heads East to Budle Bay and then reaches the attractive village of Bamburgh with its superb castle.
Bamburgh to Craster - 14 Miles
Bamburgh was the site of King Oswald’s royal seat and the most familiar landmark is the magnificent Bamburgh Castle. From here the section of the St Oswald’s Way heads down to the popular seaside village of Seahorses where you can take boat trips to the nearby Farne Island. Heading south you pass other seaside village down to Embleton Bay. Where possible and if tides allow you can walk on the beach as an alternative to the path. You then pass the romantic ruins of Dunstanburgh - another famous Northumberland castle before arriving in the fishing village of Craster.
Craster to Warkworth - 13.5 Miles
From the picturesque village of Craster which is famous for its oak-smoked kippers, the St. Oswald’s Way continues south along the stunning coastline. You pass the sight of Northumberland’s earliest Stone Age settlement of Howick as you head down to Boulmer. Heading towards Alnmouth again you can walk along the beach while you pass two golf courses, one of which is the oldest in England. After reaching the peaceful village of Alnmouth the route passes through dunes with great views of Amble and Coquet Island. The path then meets the River Coquet for the first time at the historic village of Warkworth.
Warkworth to Rothbury - 18 miles
Warkworth is a beautiful village with a fantastic setting, which lies beneath the castle with the river Coquet passing through it. From here, you head west through the scenic valley which is another long section of the walk. The path passes through the village of Felton then through woodland and along riverside paths to Welton Bridge. The route then stays on the southern side of the river and passes through attractive farmland on route to Rothbury.
Rothbury to Kirkwhelpington - 15 Miles
The picturesque and ancient village of Rothbury is surrounded by hills and when the St. Oswald’s Way leaves here you leave the River Coquet behind and head south over remote and secluded countryside. The route enters the Northumberland National Park and passes the remains of an Iron Age hill fort and rock carvings. Passing through the heather-clad moors of the Simonside Hills you will feel a real sense of freedom. You then reach the Harwood forest which is protected by the Forestry Commission and head down past Knowesgate until you reach the small village of Kirkwhelpington.
Kirkwhelpington to Heavenfield - 17.5 Miles
The final section of the St. Cuthberts Way leaves the picturesque village of Kirkwhelpington and runs southwards through rolling countryside. This section of the walk is fairly remote and passes many interesting small settlements before reaching Great Whittington. South of here the route joins the Hadrian’s Wall Path and runs westwards along the Roman frontier to the historic site of Heavenfield—the end of the St. Oswalds Way. However, there is no public transport from Heavenfield and no accommodation so we will book your last nights accommodation in Wall or Chollerford which is just a mile or so on from the end of the walk.
One of the highlights of this tour is the high standard of the accommodation. We specifically choose the hotels, inns, guesthouses and B&B’s to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. All offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food.
This independent walking holiday is available to solo walkers at a supplement. Please note that singles may not be of the same standard as twins/doubles.
We will always try and accommodate you at the locations detailed in the itinerary, but because of limited availability we may have to accommodate you at an alternative location. Alternative details will be noted on your accommodation sheet.
Your bags will be collected from your accommodation each day and moved onto your overnight accommodation. We ask you limit your luggage to one bag of 20kg.
Lindisfarne Hotel - Holy Island
The Lindisfarne Hotel has a wonderful location at the start of the St Oswald's Way. This hotel was built in 1902 and provides clean and comfortable accommodation.
Bamburgh View - Holy Island
The bamburgh View holds a central position in the village. The owners offer a warm welcome at this newly renovated, comfortable bed and breakfast.
Market Cross Guest House - Belford
Market Cross Guest House is right in the centre of the village, the 200 year old guest house provides quality en-suite accommodation and award winning breakfasts.
The Farm House Guest House - Belford
The Farmhouse Guest House is a family run establishment where you will enjoy a personal, warm welcome with all the comforts of home. They offer a high standard of accommodation in an easy, informal atmosphere.
Dunstanburgh Castle Hotel - Embelton
The Dunstanburgh Castle Hotel is situated just before the village of Craster in the heart of Embleton, a picturesque village within an area of outstanding natural beauty. The Hotel provides comfortable ensuite rooms and delicious meals are available in the A La Carte Restaurant or the Table d’Hote Dining Room.
Fairfield House - Warkworth
Fairfield house offers 5 star quality guest accommodations in this charming B&B in Warkworth. All rooms are en-suite and are tastefully decorated and equipped to provide comfort for your stay.
Cornhills Farmhouse Bed & Breakfast - Kirkwhelpington
Cornhills farmhouse B&B is a 4 diamonds silver award B&B and is situated on a typical Northumberland farm in the beautiful Northumberland countryside. Cornhills Farmhouse is well catered to walkers, they provide drying facilities for both clothes and boots.
Matfen High House - Corbridge
Matfen High House is a beautiful well appointed spacious stone-built house, set in a quiet rural location a few miles from the St Oswald's Way path. Offering double and twin en-suite rooms with shower and bath, this Bed & Breakfast provides comfortable accommodation for walkers.
The Hadrian Hotel - Wall
This cosy Hotel in the Tyne Valley is an ideal spot for walkers to relax. With tranquil views over the countryside and comfortable rooms this is a perfect stop for walkers.
Single Rooms & Solo Walkers
If you require a single room within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable
Grade & Terrain
The St Oswald’s Way is graded Moderate overall but each itinerary has its own grade.
Generally, the terrain will be varied with some rough and rugged footpaths, with ascent and descent involved, so a good level of fitness will be required. The route also includes a few sections where you are required to climb over a dry stone wall on a ladder stile, extra care should be taken at these points.
Navigation, Route Notes & Maps
Must of the walk is way-marked and you will be supplied with turn by turn route notes and detailed maps so you will have no problem following the route each day. The way is marked with the ‘St Oswald’s Way logo - a bold black arrow (normally on wooden posts or signs).
Daily door to door baggage transfer is included in the price of your trip. We ask you to keep your baggage to a maximum of 1 bag per person (maximum weight 15kg)
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.
The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a daypack.
Getting to Lindisfarne
Edinburgh and Newcastle airports are the closest options. Onward travel is by rail or coach
There is a railway station in Berwick upon Tweed and there is a bus service from here to Holy Island which only operates April - September 1st. Alternatively you can take a taxi.
We generally recommend using public transport as parking is generally not available in Holy Island.
Getting from Heavenfield
Edinburgh and Newcastle airports are the closest options. Travel by rail and /or coach.
We include your last night in either Wall/Chollerford whcih is a mile from the official end of the walk in Heavenfield. Regular buses run between Wall and Hexham and then from Hexham there are buses to Newcastle along with a train service.
The best way to plan your journey if the Traveline Website; www.traveline.org.uk
- Hand picked accommodation in B&B's, guesthouses and country hotels and inns.
- Breakfast each morning.
- Daily door to door baggage transfer.
- A detailed information pack, guide book with map for your party.
- Emergency telephone support from our office in the event of a problem.
- Travel to the start or from the finish of the walk.
- Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks.
- Travel Insurance.
- Personal Equipment.
- Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage.
- Single room supplement.
- Additional nights before, during or after your walk.
We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any queries.
How fit do I need to be?
We offer a range of itineraries so you can choose your preferred daily distance so hopefully, you will find an itinerary that suits your preferred level of activity. If you currently don’t enjoy an active lifestyle we suggest regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardiovascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your walk. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.
How far in advance do I need to book?
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as St Oswald's Way is extremely popular especially in the summer months. You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans.
What personal equipment do I need?
You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc. You can download a full equipment list from the downloads page of our website.
When is the best time of year?
Traditionally April/May has always been the most popular time of year because the theory goes that the weather is better. Although I believe any time between late March and October offers a wonderful experience.
Should I check the tides for Holy Island?
Yes, we recommend you check the tidal chart for your arrival day into Holy Island (lindisfarne) and also for your first days walking to make sure that you can cross the causeway. Check out the safe tide crossings here.
Am I able to take my dog?
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.
What happens if I can’t walk a stage?
You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.