The Coast and Castles Cycle Route
The 200 mile Coast & Castles cycle route (National Route 1) links Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Edinburgh via Northumberland and the Scottish Borders.
The route is signposted and there is a specific map to guide you.
In Northumberland the Coast and Castles follows unspoiled coastline for almost all the way, including Amble, Bamburgh and Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland. It would also be wrong to miss out on cycling across the causeway to Holy Island as well, but do check the Tide Times and don’t get stuck!
There are fabulous castles either on the route or not far off – Alnwick, Barmburgh, Warkworth and Dunstanburgh, while the border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed is also fascinating.
From Berwick there are two choices. You can cycle up the beautiful Tweed Valley and over the hills of the Scottish Borders. The route goes through Coldstream, Kelso and Melrose and close to the ruins of the great abbeys of the Borders.
The Borders hills are gloriously quiet and open out into a great view over the surrounding area and then down to Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth.
The route then drops down through Dalkeith and into Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, mostly via cycleways.
Alternatively, from Berwick stay on the coastal route through the quite towns and villages of East Lothian.
All along this coast are lovely (and usually quiet) beaches.
It is a brilliant route – I know, I’ve cycled it! In fact, you can read more about it in the list of my Top 5 Sustrans cycle routes.
Cycle Northumberland have a discussion page on the route, which might also be helpful.
(Slightly confusingly, Sustrans renamed the cycle route north from Edinburgh as far as Aberdeeen as ‘Coast & Castles North‘ and so added ‘South’ to the name of this route. Of course, you could always carry on up the coast of Scotland afterwards…)
There is a very good map of the Coast & Castles available:
The Coast and Castles South Cycle Route Map
The map is printed on splashproof paper, and in a plastic wallet. It has clear route-finding, and is ideal to choose between the alternative routes.
Or put it in the basket below. If you are looking for other maps of the area, there are a variety of choices:
Coast and Castles South Map from SustransProduct on sale
Tyne and Wear Cycle MapProduct on sale
North Northumberland and the Scottish Borders Cycle MapProduct on sale
Cycle Touring Map of Northumberland£7.99
Coast & Castles North: Edinburgh to Aberdeen map – Sustrans£8.99
33 Cycle Rides in Northumberland and Tyneside£12.99