The fairytale in the fells
Step back in time in Blanchland, the postcard-perfect, honey-stone village with the rightful reputation as one of the prettiest villages in the north of England. Stones, cobbles, hanging baskets and winding lanes are everywhere in Blanchland, and there isn’t a modern-day chainstore in sight.
The village owes its name to the French canons who lived and worked in Blanchland Abbey and were distinguished by their white habits. ‘Blanche’ is French for white, and so the name ‘Blanchland’ was born. A local shop with an unusual, white-washed postbox, The White Monk Tea Room, which used to be the village school, Blanchland Abbey and the magnificent Lord Crewe Arms Hotel which was originally built as the Abbot's Lodge are all that you’ll find in this small village in Northumberland.
The oh-so-atmospheric Lord Crewe Arms Hotel is one of the oldest hostelries in the country, dating back to the 12th century. Here, the Jacobite Rebellion leader, General Tom Foster, hid behind the inn’s great fireplace in 1715. Expect to find stone wall interiors, rustic wooden beams, flickering candles and a roaring open fire when you visit for a drink, some scran or an overnight stay.
Blanchland Abbey was founded by Walter de Bolbec in 1165. Edward III visited the hidden gem while campaigning against the Scots in 1327. During church restoration in 1881, a 'marvellous system of drains devised by the monks' was discovered under the chancel. At least that is what the architect thought. It is much more likely that the 'drains' were, in fact, acoustic pits beneath the choir stalls, meant to amplify the voices of monks singing.
Surrounded by magnificent fells and idyllic views, Blanchland straddles the Northumberland and Durham border in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.