Battlesteads by Martin Kitching
Northumberland is a historic county infused with character, charm and plenty of stories to tell. Its hotels, B&Bs and pubs with rooms are a living embodiment of all those things, coupled with exemplary hospitality that offers a true flavour of the region. Here, the Good Hotel Guide shares a selection of their top hotels in Northumberland for a little mini break inspiration this year…
An 18th century farmstead that’s morphed into an artfully designed pub, hotel and restaurant, Battlesteads is nestled in the picturesque village of Wark. Owners, Dee and Richard Slade have taken great care to make sure that the hotel is true to its history, offering a warm welcome, but also mindful of what is important to the 21st century traveller. For example, it has beautiful grounds and gardens where much of the food is grown. They make great efforts to be as sustainable as possible with a carbon-neutral heating and hot-water system, wormeries that turn food waste to compost, and locally sourced organic toiletries. Also, in this unspoilt part of Northumberland, free from light pollution, their unique dark-sky observatory is a real treat.
The Lord Crewe Arms, Blanchland
The place where WH Auden is said to have drunk Champagne, and Philip Larkin dined amidst the ancient stone walls of the former abbey, The Lord Crewe Arms is a place with its own story to tell. Today these monastic buildings have been put to luxurious use as a historic hotel, brimming with modern comforts and superb food, but having retained original features such as a huge inglenook big enough to hide a Jacobite general in the 1715 Rising, and characterful beamed ceilings.
St Cuthbert’s House, Seahouses
A superb B&B at the heart of the Northumberland coast, St Cuthbert’s House won a Good Hotel Guide Cesar award in 2019 for its exemplary standards. The delightfully converted Presbyterian church is a light and airy environment where the breakfasts are generous and the ingredients are local. Owners are more than happy to make recommendations for places to visit in the area, and everything is done with care and attention.
Chatton Park House, Chatton
A welcoming, adult-only B&B, Chatton Park House is spacious and welcoming, with large, garden-facing bedrooms, plenty of books and newspapers to browse in the sitting room and manicured gardens to wander out to on sunny afternoons. Generous breakfasts, including hot toasted crumpets, oak-smoked kippers and locally made jams, are ordered in advance and the hotel is within easy reach of the Cheviot Hills, Bamburgh Castle and Holy Island for those eager to get out and explore while they’re here.
St Mary’s Inn, Morpeth
A modern pub with rooms with a happy, relaxed vibe, St Mary’s Inn is a stylish red brick building and former hospital, that has been elegantly renovated. Inside, it combines modern and antique furnishings to create a clean and uncluttered environment. Experts in the art of the perfect pastry, breakfast is a treat and the trip would not be complete without a pint of the pub’s own locally brewed St Mary’s Ale in the popular bar.
The Cookie Jar, Alnwick
A former convent turned cosy retreat, The Cookie Jar in the village of Alnwick has 11 luxurious rooms and suites, combining a sense of intimacy with all the modern comforts you could ask for. Soft furnishings are exceptionally stylish, but everything about the hotel makes you feel at home. The brainchild of owner, Deborah Cook, the former Chief Executive of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, it combines a historic building with modern hospitality, delivering individual character, attention to detail and bags of style. As the name suggests, it’s a treat as delicious as those found in a cookie jar.