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Digital Subscriptions > Psychologies > No. 157 > Vitamin sea

Vitamin sea

Studies show that being by the sea is good for our mental health. Instead of flying off to foreign isles this summer, Suzy Walker explores affordable, beautiful adventures on the beaches of Britain

well travelled

DRAGONS, CASTLES AND TREE HOUSES IN NORTHUMBERLAND

‘I AM THE MOTHER of dragons!’

I yelled loudly at my teenage son, Charlie, from the top of a sand dune.

‘Shut up, mother!’ he hollered back.

But, cheeky offspring aside, I challenge anyone to visit Bamburgh Castle, the royal seat of the kings of Northumbria; a looming brute of a structure built by the Normans in the 12th century, and not be inspired by the epic stories of this magnificent coastline.

We were staying just a few miles north of Bamburgh in Lindisfarne Bay, opposite Holy Island, which was the backdrop to the first Viking attack on Britain. From the Roman invasion 2,000 years ago, to the territorial battles between England and Scotland – which saw the border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed change sides 13 times – this embattled county has more castles than any other in England. Upstairs, from the picture window of our beautifully furnished, three-bedroom cottage, a converted 18th-century mill house that served the monks of Lindisfarne Priory, are far-reaching views of Lindisfarne Castle, perched dramatically atop Holy Island, which is cut off from the rest of the world by fast-moving tides twice daily. Holy Island remains a place of pilgrimage, and is the final destination of one of Scotland’s Great Trails, St Cuthbert’s Way.

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