This historic 17thC inn is run with an instinctive understanding of its traditions. The stone walls hold old photos of the community; from colliery to smithy, a vital record of its past. The bars are wonderful: brass beer taps glow, anything wooden has been polished to perfection and the clock above the fire keeps perfect time.
The house ales are expertly kept - Timothy Taylors, and local beers from Wylam Brewery. Robin cooks with relish nothing too fancy but more than enough to keep a smile on your face: fresh fish simply cooked, game and mushroom pie and slow roasted Northumberland Lamb. As for Sunday Lunch The Observer readers voted it one of the best in the North.
Bedrooms in the purpose-built annexe and the old hay barn are simple and tidy, not grand but cosy, and you'll get a piping hot breakfast the next morning - accompanied maybe by a view of the sheepdogs bringing the herd in for shearing. This is the glorious Northumberland National Park - no traffic jams, no rush and don't miss the sculpture at Kielder. Kielder Water is the largest man made lake in Europe and has the least light polluted skies.
Try everything from sailing to golfing, nature safaris to working forest visits. Visit the new Observatory, or further a field Northumberland's top tourist attactions: Alnwick Castle and Gardens, Hadrian's Wall and Forts plus countless castles, rolling countryside and miles of rugged coastline. Then hire bikes and cycle round the lake, or saddle up a pony and take to the hills. close to Kielder Water. Fishing, riding and all water sports are nearby, as are the Scottish Borders and Hadrian's Wall.