Bamburgh: Villagers of UK’s ‘best seaside resort’ say it is a victim of its own success

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Villagers living in the UK’s ‘best resort’ have said it is a victim of its own success as an influx of tourists has left it plagued by traffic jams, litter and drunken holidaymakers.

The small Northumberland village of Bamburgh topped by a who? poll that ranked each destination on its beaches, value for money, food and drink, and tourist attractions.

With a population of just 414, Bamburgh attracts over 150,000 visitors each year and is famous for its castle and spectacular golden beaches.

But despite being crowned the UK’s top seaside hotspot for the second consecutive year in April’s poll, proving it was ‘once again unbeatable for its sheer beauty’, locals have consistently claimed extraordinary that he was a victim of his own success.

A severe lack of parking spaces and strict planning laws have led some locals to say the village has been ruined by tourists and day trippers.

Bamburgh, with a population of just over 400, has been named Britain’s best beach destination in Which?’s annual survey. Above is the imposing Bamburgh Castle overlooking the beach

With a population of just 414, Bamburgh attracts over 150,000 visitors each year and is famous for its castle and spectacular golden beaches.

With a population of just 414, Bamburgh attracts over 150,000 visitors each year and is famous for its castle and spectacular golden beaches.

A resident and business owner, who did not want to be named, said: ‘It may be an unpopular thing to admit, but the village is just too popular now.

“When it was named the best resort in the UK you could almost hear a collective groan from residents and businesses.

“Of course we need tourists and we want them here, but the village is so crowded on sunny days that no one seems to be having much fun.

“It is not uncommon to spend an hour in your car as traffic passes through the village.

“What I fear is a few more ridiculous busy summers and people will completely miss Bamburgh in a few years.”

Another business owner added: ‘A friend of mine pretty much summed it up the other day saying it was like overfishing.

“Pub and hotel owners may be profiting from the money, but the more people who come here the more damage there is to the environment.

“I’ve noticed a big increase in litter being dumped in the sand dunes below the castle, which is really sad to see.”

Respondents to the question Who? A poll, published on April 30, said the village’s wide sandy beach overlooked by cliff-top Bamburgh Castle was “spectacular” and “imposing”.

In 2021, when Bamburgh also came out on top, respondents suggested word had spread about Bamburgh’s appeal, with some encouraging visitors to book tables at restaurants in advance as seats were often booked up and arrive early at the castle to secure a parking space

Now locals have complained of groups of rowdy revelers hosting late-night boozy parties in the sand dunes.

Resident John Graham, 60, said: ‘When the sun is up the place can get overgrown.

“During the day, the ice cream brigade leaves its rubbish everywhere and in the evening, the drunken thugs have fun.

“On an average morning in the summer, I pick up five or six burnt disposable barbecues and half a dozen trash bags full of bottles and cans.”

The village drew huge crowds last year as millions of Britons were forced to holiday in the UK due to strict Covid rules limiting overseas travel.

To meet the demands of more visitors, temporary emergency town planning laws have been introduced to free up land for additional parking.

But now the rules are tightened, meaning the village has fewer parking spaces this year while still expecting the same number of visitors.

Although they were crowned the UK's best seaside hotspot for the second consecutive year in the April poll, proving it was

Despite being crowned the UK’s best seaside hotspot for the second consecutive year in the April poll, proving it was ‘once again unbeatable for its sheer beauty’, locals of Bamburgh made the extraordinary claim that he was a victim of his own success.

Paintings by whom?  show the ranking of coastal towns and villages across Great Britain.  The consumer champion asked thousands of holidaymakers to rate the resorts they've visited across a range of categories

Paintings by whom? show the ranking of coastal towns and villages across Britain. The consumer champion asked thousands of holidaymakers to rate the resorts they’ve visited across a range of categories

Bamburgh parish council chair Barbara Brook said: ‘We had a dispensation last year to open the Glebe Field next to the church for 56 days and now it’s going to be impossible because the directive is 28 days.

“We have asked for more yellow lines – and I can understand that more yellow lines are not wanted in Northumberland – but we are now in a dilemma because over the Easter period we had huge parking problems in the village.”

The village has also seen an increase in litter and fly spills, with locals blaming a pilot project allowing motorhomes to park overnight.

Councilor Brook said there had been “an enormous amount of extra waste” since the scheme was introduced.

Despite calls to prevent traffic jams building up in the village, Northumberland County Council has refused to increase the number of parking spaces available.

Local services manager Paul Jones said: ‘We are not offering any additional parking capacity in Bamburgh.

“We are happy to have a more in-depth dialogue to see what we can do to support you and the local landowner in terms of the use of seasonal overflow provisions and what can and cannot be done to stay on the right side of the law. ‘

** Have you been caught in the traffic chaos? Email [email protected]**

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