Sitting at the mouth of the River Aln, the village was an important trading port in Northumberland’s past; now it is bustling in summer, fairly hushed in winter. At right angles to the road, are a row of 17th-century sandstone cottages with sweet gardens and views of the sea. Both Victoria and Smuggler’s have good sized sitting rooms with open fires (logs are on the house), Farrow & Ball paints, New England style shutters, comfy sofas and original art inspired by the ocean; smart kitchens have Amtico style floors and enough gadgets for the fussiest of cooks. Both cottages have a double and a twin upstairs: crisp white sheets, goose down duvets and pillows; bathrooms (Smuggler’s is downstairs) are sparkling and modern with baskets of soaps and lotions. On fine days it will be lovely to sit by your own front door in the plant-filled gardens and listen to the waves, or just cross the road for the glorious long, sandy beach – even a swim if you’re feeling brave! The village has good pubs and an Italian if you don’t feel like cooking; the local golf course has stunning views, castles are near. Lovely.