Inside ‘Viking’ village with secret beaches and stone cottages just 90 min drive from major UK city | The Sun

A HIDDEN Viking village with stunning beaches is surprisingly close to one of the UK's major cities.

The tiny village is filled with quaint cottages and coastal charm and is only 90 mins away from the centre of Manchester.

The village of Heysham is just a few miles west of Lancaster and is lined with pretty stone cottages dating back to the 17th century.

Picturesque homes have names such as "Seagull" and "Cockle", and colourful flower displays brighten up the winding streets.

A nature reserve with woodland and coastal grassland borders the village, where rocky coves and small sandy beaches provide a picture-perfect landscape.

As well as being rich in natural beauty, Heysham is steeped in history and myth.

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The ruins of St Patricks Chapel sit on the grassy headland, which according to legend was built by St Patrick when he was shipwrecked off the coast in the 5th century, reports Manchester Evening News.

The sandstone ruins that are visible today are thought to have been built a couple of centuries later.

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They are now Grade I listed and looked after by the National Trust.

Next to the ruins are eight, body-shaped graves cut out from the rock, it is thought that they date back to the 11th century and were probably used for burying high-status people.

The graves were also featured on the CD cover of Black Sabbath's "The Best of Black Sabbath"

Hundreds of Viking artifacts have been found in the surrounding area along the cliffs, known as The Barrows, and Heysham is very proud of its Viking roots.

Each July the village holds a Viking festival where people can get a real sense of what it was like for the Scandinavian settlers.

A scenic footpath leads from  St Patrick’s Chapel to Half Moon Bay at the other end of the village.

The trail leads you through the greenery of The Barrows and there are viewpoints along the way where you can look out over the stunning Morecambe Bay.

The artist William Turner made sketches of the spot in August 1816 which later formed the basis of his watercolour "Heysham and Cumberland Mountains".

There are plenty of places to stop off for refreshments while exploring the village of Heysham.

The Mad Hatters Cafe is a popular spot for a sunny day, with incredible views across the bay.

For something more substation, The Royal, a sixteenth-century coaching inn which is now a four-star restaurant is the perfect place to end the day.

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