have found holiday cottages in first two places, same budget, roughly same distance to travel, which would you go to? where will have nicest beach, lots to do but not too tacky (kiss me quick hats etc). Alnmouth will be a bit further to travel and less choice of properties in our budget but like the idea of rugged beach and alnwick castle!
Alnmouth wins for me. Beatuful scenery not much traffic, loads of castles and places of interest to visit. If you are NT members there are loads of places to visit in Northumberland. Alnmouth is not tacky at all and has a beautiful beach. In fact IMO Northumberland has some of the most beautiful beaches in England.
Alnwick is a lovely market town as is Morpeth. Alnwick castle is horribly expensive to visit and there aren't that many rooms open to the public so it doesn't feel like good value for money. Far better to visit Cragside and Wallington, both NT.
It is many, many years since I last visited the IOW, but from what I remember Ryde was a bit too commercial for my liking, something Alnmouth most definitely is not.
I live in Norfolk and whilst it is beautiful etc, if it rains there really is not a lot to do on the North Norfolk Coast. You would soon be sick of the beach and the steam train, because honestly that is about your lot. You could of course come down to Norwich for a daytrip to the castle etc.