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03 December 2020

The Big Gift Guide

Now more than ever we need to support our local businesses, and what better way to do so than by shopping local for your Christmas prezzies this year. We have collated an extensive gift guide, complete with candles, crafts, vouchers and virtual experiences from NewcastleGateshead and Northumberland, so you can treat your favourite people to gifts from your favourite places in the UK. From pocket performances to a brewery in a box, our businesses have a huge array of innovative gift ideas this Christmas: THE GIFT OF A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Hesleyside Huts 🌿 (@hesleysidehuts) Give the gift of a getaway for your loved ones who have been working hard, have been stuck in or just deserve a relaxing break. Pick from seaside to city break staycations with our hotels and B&Bs and give the escape we are all dreaming of at the moment. 1) Hesleyside Huts Treat someone to a luxury glamping experience with a voucher for Hesleyside Huts in the breath taking Hesleyside Estate in Northumberland National Park. Each glamping cabin is irresistibly rustic, cosy and has a unique design that will make for an unforgettable present. 2) Post Office House Nestled in the beautiful village of Belford, Post Office House B&B is selling gift vouchers for their elegant, cosy and peaceful accommodation perfect for treating someone who is due a well-deserved getaway. 3) St Cuthbert's House Gift a stay at the historic St Cuthbert’s House. This stunning B&B has been tastefully renovated from a 19th century chapel, and is brimming with luxury detail. Located on the coast in Seahouses, your loved ones will be thrilled with this coastal retreat. Just give them a call to purchase using the phone number on their website. 4) Beadnell Towers For a touch of luxury by the sea, grab a gift voucher from Beadnell Towers. The boutique, dog friendly hotel is idyllically set in the seaside village of Beadnell, where Beadnell Bay and our staggering coastline are just a few steps away. 5) Newcastle and Gateshead Hotel Vouchers Give the gift of a change of scenery for local loved ones desperate to escape their four walls with a NewcastleGateshead hotel voucher. There are a number of superb hotels to choose from for a future city break staycation. Almost all of Northumberland, Newcastle and Gateshead’s fantastic hotels, B&Bs, glamping sites and cottages are offering vouchers. While we can’t squeeze them all into this blog, you can search for more accommodation on our stay page and on NewcastleGateshead’s website. UN-FIR-GETTABLE EXPERIENCES       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Kielder Observatory (@kielderobservatory) One of the biggest questions at Christmas is, “what should I buy someone who’s already got everything?!” Well, we think we have the answer. How about thinking outside the box and giving your loved ones memories to cherish forever, such as boat trips, guided hikes or even a stargazing experience. 1) Farne Islands Tours Let your Christmas present ideas go from nothin’ to puffin with a gift voucher for a fantastic Farne Islands Boat Trip. Their sail-arounds result in seal and puffin spotting, and sometimes even dolphin spotting. Simply email [email protected] for further information. The receiver of the voucher will have a year to redeem it. 2) Footsteps in Northumberland Guided Tour Walking is one of the worry-free activities that we can enjoy at the moment, so what better gift than a voucher for a guided walk with Footsteps in Northumberland. His routes cover coast, castles, College Valley and more, and vouchers can be redeemed once restrictions allow guided walks. 3) The Corbridge Larder Zoom Party Bag The perfect gift for the friends you miss the most, Corbridge Larder are selling Zoom Party Bags so you can enjoy virtual tasting sessions with local gin, bubbly, rum, cheese and more. Practically a Zoom Christmas party in a box, they offer a fun way to re-connect with family as well as selling local produce-filled hampers. 4) Stargazing Vouchers A star for your star; buy a stargazing voucher at one of Northumberland’s observatories. Both Kielder Observatory and Battlesteads offer vouchers for the price of your choice so you can contribute to your loved ones’ stargazing experience. 5) Hexham TV Virtual Performances One for your more sophisticated friends and family members, Hexham TV is selling Pocket Performances. Simply purchase a ticket and gift the QR code to your cultured friend so they can watch magical performances from home. IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME FOR A BEER       View this post on Instagram A post shared by The First & Last Brewery (@firstandlastbrewery) Whether it’s a creamy hot chocolate, a fragrant mulled wine or a fizzing glass of bubbly, it’s not Christmas without a festive drink. From relatives who reckon themselves gin experts to the ones you just aren’t sure what else to get, a Northumberland drinks delivery will always go down a treat. 1) First and Last Brewery in a Box For anyone who’s missing their freshly pulled pints from the local pub, get them the next best thing. This brewery in a box from First and Last Brewery offers a selection of beers showcasing the best of the region. 2) Lindisfarne Mead It doesn’t get more traditional than Lindisfarne Mead, which was allegedly sipped by Medieval monks on The Holy Island of Lindisfarne. The sweet, honey-tinted tipple is available to order online and a great gift to give a taste of Lindisfarne Island. 3) Hepple Spirits Hepple Gin is a must-taste for any self-made gin connoisseur (or just anyone who can’t resist a G&T). Their junipers grow in a 4000-acre estate that stretches from the wild Simonside hills to the banks of the River Coquet and their products are available online. 4) Sloe Crafts From flavoured gins, to cherry liqueurs, to elderflower spirits, treat your loved ones to the sweetness of Sloe Crafts’ spirits. Based near Thropton, they produce unique, seasonal products inspired by their farm and natural ingredients in the region. 5) Wylam Brewery Vouchers Standing beautifully in Exhibition Park, Newcastle, Wylam Brewery is offering Beer Gift Vouchers this Christmas. This can be redeemed at their Tap Room, live music events, kitchen and more, making it an excellent and versatile gift for beer and live music lovers. THERE'S NOTHING THAT FOOD CAN'T FIX       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Blackfriars Newcastle (@blackfriarsrestaurant) While this isn’t quite the Christmas we all imagined, a box full of Geordie and Northumbrian foodie treats is sure to cheer anyone up. Jars of sweet treats, festive nut butters and dinner party cookery classes are just a few of the foodie offerings this Christmas. 1) Northumbrian Pantry Northumbrian Pantry’s jams, jellies and chutneys, brought to you from the heart of Hadrian’s Wall country in Northumberland, are a delicious way of gifting Northumberland in a jar. Using seasonal produce and ingredients from the local landscape, they are bursting with flavour and make the perfect cheese board accompaniment or sweet treat. 2) Blackfriars Voucher With a Blackfriars voucher, you can learn to cook like a medieval, feast like King Edward III in his own Banquet Hall, attend a cheese and wine tasting evening and more. The exquisite restaurant in Newcastle city centre enjoys cosy, stone interior décor, stunning stained-glass windows and a unique dining experience. 3) The Mad Jam Woman With gift bags made up of breakfast delights, tea time treats, cheese mates and Christmas chutneys, The Mad Jam Woman offers delicious, beautifully wrapped gifts that make excellent Christmas presents. For cheese lovers, anyone with a sweet tooth and anyone wanting to taste local, Northumbrian produce, these are a winner. 4) The Nut Roaster For anyone who’s nutty about butter, these ‘no nasty’ nut butters from The Nut Roaster are the perfect gifts. Ideal for health foodies, they are pure, naturally high in protein, and great for dolloping on toast, porridge, yoghurt and more. 5) North Chocolates Luxurious Christmas boxes, dark clementine bars and rum with caramel squares are just a few of North Chocolates’ indulgent offerings this Christmas. With stockists in both Newcastle and Northumberland, they make for delicious, locally produced gifts. Produced in Northumberland, which showcases the best of Northumberland's local producers, has launched a virtual Christmas Market. Take a look and fill your (online) basket with a host of festive treats. A gift to melt your art       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Carol Nunan Artist Printmaker (@carolnunanprint) Send a gift from the bottom of your (he)art by delivering local paintings, photography and hand crafted art work from Northumberland. Choose from picture-perfect puzzles of the county’s incredible sites, hand-painted, ceramic trinkets, colourful prints and handmade woodburning art. 1) Carol Nunan Art Carol Nunan creates original art prints, made by hand, inspired by the wild landscapes, seascapes and fauna of Northumberland. Plus, limited edition giclée prints and home accessories that will brighten up your loved one’s home this Christmas. 2) Sarah Farooqi Art Based at Gallery 45 in Felton, Sarah Farooqi’s hand painted illustrated maps, landscapes and wildlife of Northumberland and the North East make for stunning gifts for art, décor and North East lovers. Fine art prints, cards and calendars are also available. 3) Eve Burnup Art Eve Burnup’s beautiful, hand painted, ceramic glass and cards make for stunning, delicate gifts. Perfect for anyone who loves decorative mugs, decorative tableware and gorgeous keepsakes. Email [email protected] and keep an eye out for Eve's new Etsy shop EveBurnup. 4) Bright Seed Textiles Spouse team Keith & Jane Jackson own Bright Seed Textiles and produce a range of high quality giclee art prints and greetings cards. Featuring scenes and landscapes from Northumberland, Scotland and Cumbria, everything is created from Jane’s intricate, needle felted Harris Tweed, creating unique, quirky and simply beautiful Christmas presents. 5) Charred Wood Pick a piece from Charred Wood, the bespoke, handmade woodburning art in Northumberland. Depicting nature, wildlife, this small business have just launched their new website showcasing their stunning, rustic products. A GIFT THAT WILL LIGHT UP THE ROOM       View this post on Instagram A post shared by NorthburN (@northburnhf) You may not be allowed to have your usual Christmas blowout, but you can buy a present for your loved ones to blow out this Christmas. Buy a beautifully fragranced candle from one of Northumberland’s local providers, or pick a luxury home fragrance to gift this Christmas. 1) The Pure Candle Company Offering a range of beautifully fragranced soy wax candles, The Pure Candle Company creates handmade candles in small batches in their Northumberland studio. Hand poured using ethically sourced and cruelty-free soy wax and fragrances, they are the perfect gift to soothe that loved one that has been burning the candle at both ends. 2) Darling Northumberland Darling Northumberland’s elegant gift sets are great for anyone who appreciates tasteful home décor, natural fragrances and beautiful packaging. Pick from a spicy winter scent of apple, cinnamon and almond, a Druridge Bay-inspired scent of bergamot, orange and rich amber and more. 3) Northburn Home Fragrance From candles to an aromatherapy treatment range, the mother and daughter team at Northburn Home Fragrance in Northumberland create luxurious home fragrances. Deepest Pomegranate, Orange and Thyme, Lime and Coconut and White Tea and Grapefruit are just a few of the unique scents on offer. 4) Robin Roots Robin Roots' luxury scented, hand poured soy candles bring a touch of elegance to your home. This new venture that sprung from lockdown has flourished, resulting in exquisite products including candles, wax melts and gift sets. 5) Dizzywix The candles with a conscience, Dizzywix’s upcycled candles are made from soy wax derived from all-natural products including paraben-free fragrance oils. Quirkily hand-poured into colourful, modern craft beer cans, the scents are created to compliment the can that they sit in, as well as offer seasonal scents that vary throughout the year. A PRESENT THAT WILL MAKE HISTORY       View this post on Instagram A post shared by NT Cragside (@ntcragside) Spread a little of Northumberland and NewcastleGateshead’s history along with your festive cheer this year. Bring a bit of Beamish into your home with suffragette sashes and museum monopoly, or live like a Roman with a Roman shield umbrella from Vindolanda. 1) Vindolanda Roman Shield Umbrella We love this funny, innovative umbrella from Vindolanda. Live like a Roman with your very own Roman shield that doubles as an umbrella, bringing a touch of Roman history into homes and putting smiles on history lovers' faces. 2) Beamish Online Shop Beamish has opened up its online museum shop ready for Christmas, where you can buy a Museum Monopoly Board, enamel signs, posters, tea towels and sweet treats. 3) English Heritage Online Shop Grab a gift from English Heritage’s online shop and support their work to maintain and restore over 400 historic sites across England. Their wealth of unusual and inspiring products includes collectables, local food and drinks, create-your-own hampers, membership vouchers and more. 4) Newcastle Castle Trip Treat someone to a trip to Newcastle Castle, the medieval, defensive fortification that’s just a short walk down the Grade I-listed 19th century Grey Street. Making for a fascinating and historical day out, it can be paired with Newcastle’s other attractions (and numerous pubs…). 5) National Trust Membership Give the gift of endless explorations to anyone who loves staggering stately homes, stunning gardens, and intriguing historical sites with a National Trust membership. Membership will gain entry to more than 100 gardens and parks, free parking at most sites and more. Other places to fill your basket There are so many fantastic businesses in Northumberland, Newcastle and Gateshead. Once you’ve browsed our blog, don’t forget to search our website and various sources online for individual businesses’ gifts and vouchers. NewcastleGateshead has a dedicated virtual Christmas Market, where they have collated an excellent range of vouchers, festive gift ideas, experiences, hampers and annual passes from North East businesses including favourite attractions, cultural venues, hotels, artisans, creativesand restaurants. Many of the businesses feature are stallholders at Morpeth Chantry, which is thrilled to have re-opened. If you prefer to pick up presents in person, there are an array of local gifts on sale to browse and purchase.
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04 September 2020

How Food is Your Passport to Travel: Northumberland Edition

From its scenic beauty to its historical sites, Northumberland is a sight to behold. A wonderful way to experience this beautiful county is through its food and, in today's challenging times, taking a relaxing trip to Northumberland via your kitchen might just be what you need. Blogger Jennifer Birch has rounded up some local recipes for you to try at home, so you can do just that.With its roots tracing back to the county's working-class history, the culinary delights of Northumberland are especially hearty and comforting. A Northumbrian meal made from locally grown ingredients is perfect for days when you need a pick-me-up, as the rich flavours will not only satisfy your taste buds, but your soul, too. Many delicacies have seafood, lamb, and beef, which are rich protein sources that can do a world of good for your health. Everyday Health notes that protein is essential for repairing and making new cells, protecting the body from viruses, and promoting proper development.This is all the more important today, as more and more of us are working from the comfort of our homes, and eating home-cooked, whole food meals is one of the 30 tips for a successful work-from-home setup by travel writer James Gonzales. That’s because you need to nourish yourself with the right nutrients, which you can’t always get from food delivery services. Plus, the act of cooking can also be very soothing, especially when you’re preparing a meal as hearty as Northumbrian dishes. That said, here are savoury and sweet options that'll bring you to this charming county.Pan HaggertyWith its rich layers of potatoes, cheese, and onions in butter and oil, this classic dish will surely fill you up with its savoury flavour and crispy yet tender texture. This Northumbrian dish can taste even heartier by incorporating protein sources like salty bacon pieces or corned beef. Here's a rundown on how to prepare this delicacy.1. Preheat the oven to 190 C.2. Melt 50 grams of butter in a large frying pan over medium heat, and cook 250 grams of sliced onions until they're soft.3. Boil one kilogram of thinly sliced potatoes with salted water for five minutes in a large pan and drain afterwards.4. On a frying pan, arrange 1/3 kilograms of sliced potatoes and fry for five minutes, or until they're crispy underneath.5. Then, take the pan away from the heat and add half of the cooked onions and cheese onto the potatoes.6. Add a second layer of potatoes and the remaining onions.7. Place one more layer of potatoes with cheese, and bake for 25-30 minutes or until it's golden.Singing Hinny"Hinny" is a term of endearment that Geordie men call their partners — think of it as a North Eastern way of saying "honey." And you'll surely say kind things about this sweet, fluffy griddle cake. To prepare this delectable concoction, here's what you need to do:1. Mix 300 grams of plain flour, one tsp of baking powder, half a tsp of salt, and lemon zest.2. Add 75 grams of chilled and diced white vegetable fat, and 75 grams of cold diced butter. Rub them into the mixture until it looks like breadcrumbs.3. Place 100 grams of currants or dried fruits.4. Add three tbsp of milk to achieve a firm dough.5. Roll the mixture on a floured surface until it becomes one centimetre thick.6. With a cutter, stamp out six centimetre-sized rounds.7. On a greased flat griddle, cook the hinnies over medium to low heat for two to three minutes. Serve once brown and firm on each side.Alnwick SoupNamed after the Northumbrian county town of Alnwick, this soup is the epitome of comfort in a bowl. The broth base is light but flavourful, while the protein and vegetables make the dish especially nourishing. So if you'd like to make your own Alnwick soup at home, here's how:1. Take 2 smoked ham hocks (around 750 grams), and cut off the rind and excess fat.2. Place the ham hocks in a large pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat and leave the pot to simmer for 10 minutes.3. Remove the water and the scum on top of the pot. Add in 1 chopped onion, 2 large chopped carrots, 2 chopped celery stalks, 1 bay leaf, a few sprigs of thyme, and 1/2 tsp of black peppercorns.4. Cover soup with fresh water and bring to a simmer. Continue cooking for 2.5-3 hours, or until the meet is tender enough to fall off the bone. To ensure that the ham cooks evenly, turn them halfway every now and then.5. Once the ham hocks have cooled, put them into a large bowl and use a pair of tongs to pull the meat off the bone and tear them into bite-sized chunks.6. Strain the broth and place into a clean saucepan before discarding the vegetables, herbs, and peppercorns. Place freshly chopped onions, potatoes, celery, and thyme into the strained stock.7. Cook the soup for 30-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Add the ham back into the pot and simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve warm with a sprinkle of parsley.Piece by Jennifer Birch, exclusively written for
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26 June 2020

The Good Hotel Guide Recommends...

In a few short weeks, hotels are planning to start re-opening their doors after the lockdown period. It will be new, it will be different but it will be a welcome moment in time this year both for hotels and their guests who miss them.Northumberland has some particularly special independent hotels to offer visitors – they are exactly the places we are daydreaming about exploring. – both returning to old favourites and discovering new ones. Here are some of the hotels in Northumberland the Good Hotel Guide recommends daydreaming about…The Lord Crewe Arms, BlanchlandThe setting of The Lord Crewe Arms in the North Pennine moors really is breath taking. An old inn that’s been thoroughly modernised, the hotel has all the character of its 900-year history, complete with a priest’s hole and medieval hand-painted stained glass, but with 21st century service. It’s delightful and it will be a tranquil escape from the rest of the world.Thistleyhaugh Farm, LonghorsleyA creeper-smothered Georgian farmhouse on an organic farm on the River Coquet, Thistleyhaugh Farm dates back to 1780 and has been owned by the same family for three generations. Spacious bedrooms are traditionally furnished; there are antiques, artwork, fresh milk and home-baked biscuits and the hotel is in an ideal place for exploring the surrounding area. Perhaps a drive to Hotspur’s Alnwick Castle or the coast is in order post lockdown?St. Cuthbert’s House, SeahousesA celebrated B&B on the Northumberland coast, St Cuthbert’s House has won a Cesar award from the Good Hotel Guide. 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 their care and attention to detail is second to none.St Aidan Hotel and Bistro, SeahousesJust 300 yards from the harbour, St Aidan Hotel and Bistro is a blissful escape on the Scottish Borders. It is surrounded by miles of sandy beaches and plenty of activities to do. Spend your days taking diving courses and bird watching for the famous Farne Islands Puffins. Dog friendly and designed to be tranquil and reflect the coastal peace, it’s simple, chic and like coming home.The Beaumont, HexhamA magnificent hotel in the heart of Hexham, The Beaumont is a Victorian townhouse hotel with views over a sixth-century Abbey. Spectacularly designed to be contemporary chic whilst still reflecting the history of the building, The Beaumont invites you to enjoy a romantic and luxurious experience. Tuck into an ever-changing seasonal menu from the open kitchen at dinner and retire to Egyptian cotton bedding and Aromatherapy Associates products in your room to enhance a peaceful night’s sleep.Battlesteads, HexhamThe historic coaching inn is run as a characterful, modern pub, hotel and restaurant, Battlesteads is in Europe’s largest Dark Sky park, and offers spectacular views and guided observatory tours of the stars complete with a pair of binoculars. The hotel has impressive eco credentials including a sizeable organic garden, and a morning tour of the grounds is a real highlight. Individually decorated bedrooms are in the main building and a row of wonderfully different timber lodges, each with a spa bath and separate sitting area, are in the grounds.St Mary’s Inn, MorpethThis country-style bed and breakfast near Morpeth offers a sense of warmth and generosity, good food and good drink and a place to spend time with loved ones. Offering a distinctly Northumbrian welcome, it’s tastefully decorated and has 11 country-style bedrooms. It’s family-friendly and dog-friendly – they will even provide a bowl and bedding. It’s a haven for everyone who visits.Chatton Park House, AlnwickIf you’re in the mood to impress, the grandeur of Chatton Park House, a five-star B&B, is very much the way to go. Completely reworking the traditional concept of a bed and breakfast, this award-winning luxury Northumberland estate gives you the chance to stay in the elegant main house or a luxury cottage in the grounds for extra privacy. Tranquil and beautiful, this is very much a place to visit for uninterrupted time together.The Cookie Jar, AlnwickThe Cookie Jar is an 11-room boutique hotel less than a minute's walk from Alnwick Castle. Dog-friendly, stylish and in a historic building, the property was formerly the Convent of Mercy. Proudly owned and created by experienced hotelier, Debbie Cook, from who it takes its name, the hotel is the embodiment of her vision for the ultimate hotel experience. It offers character, personality, locally sourced food and somewhere to rest and recover.Hotels are allowed to re-open from 4th July 2020, but it is best to check with destinations directly about their plans to return to business as usual.
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14 May 2020

From Cocktails to Cask Ales | Taste Northumberland at Home

If the only thing you throwback on Thursdays are G&Ts, you’re missing your after-work pint at the pub or this hot-and-cold weather is making you crave your café trips, treat yourself to some of Northumberland’s most tantalising tipples from home. From martinis to margaritas and teas to tonics, make them at home or order them to your door: MIX THINGS UP Shake up your week by making a Northumbrian cocktail at home. Traditional Lindisfarne Mead, local Ginger Wine and Hepple Gin are all available for delivery and have offered up their cocktail recipes for you to try: Hepple Gin Dry Martini         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by HEPPLE Spirits (@hepple_spirits) This no-shaker-needed, dry martini recipe is one of Hepple Gin’s recipes, whose junipers grow in a 4000-acre estate that stretches from the wild Simonside hills to the banks of the River Coquet. Cause a stir at home using only a glass and a spoon and sip on sweet vermouth combined with gin straight from Northumberland National Park and into your martini glass. Make it with us as Hepple gave us a demo on our Instagram story, and take a look at Hepple’s other cocktail recipes for some delectable concoctions. Click here for the Hepple Dry Martini Recipe The Lindisfarne Pink Mead-arita       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Lindisfarne Mead (@lindisfarne_mead) on Feb 10, 2018 at 3:54am PST It doesn’t get more traditional than Lindisfarne Mead, which was allegedly sipped by Medieval monks on The Holy Island of Lindisfarne. Today, a visit to the island (always check safe crossing times before you go!) is incomplete without a visit to St Aidan’s Winery. While you can’t visit the island, the sweet, honey-tinted tipple is available to order online. This recipe uses Mead with a twist, as it is made with blood orange and therefore comes pretty in pink. Keep an eye on Lindisfarne Mead’s Facebook page for virtual Happy Hours, discount codes and updates. Click here for The Lindisfarne Pink Mead-arita recipe The Lindisfarne Naughty Girl This cocktail recipe was shared by The Joiners Arms, a coastal, cosy pub nestled away in Newton-by-the-Sea. Normally served as a complimentary room cocktail for hotel guests, they have shared the recipe while they are closed so you can close your eyes, take a sip and imagine that you are in Northumberland. This one is perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth, as the caramel, vanilla and toasted coconut flavours from the Holy Island Spiced Rum infuse with the berry blast from the drop of Chambord. Click here for The Lindisfarne Naughty Girl Recipe Pretty Kitty Mocktail Kitty’s Homemade Ginger Wine is a local, family-run businesses that creates homemade, non-alcoholic wine using root ginger and a host of other fresh ingredients. The refreshing, citrusy burst of flavour is perfect for pouring into a mocktail, or adding to a cocktail for a warming finish. Kitty shares a number of cocktail recipes on her website, but we have picked the ‘Pretty Kitty’ which is perfect to mix up for kids as well as parents. No shaker needed and not even a fancy glass, as it’s served tall with ice. Click here for The Pretty Kitty Mocktail Recipe HOT DRINKS HEAVEN Northern Edge Coffee       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Northern Edge Coffee (@northernedgecoffee) on Apr 10, 2020 at 1:27am PDT If you’re local to Berwick-upon-Tweed and you’re missing your macchiatos and craving a cappuccino, Berwick based coffee roastery, Northern Edge Coffee, are in the midst of trialling their hot coffee collection service. Every Thursday, from 9am – 1pm, they will be serving takeaway coffees with strict, social-distancing guidelines in place. Not local to Berwick? That’s OK, you can still support this family-run business by buying a bag of freshly ground coffee online. Check out their Instagram page for takeaway details and their website to make ground coffee orders. Hot Chocolate with a Twist Slip a splash of Holy Island Spiced Rum into a creamy cup of hot chocolate. We have been tipped by the team at St Aidan’s Winery that the caramel, vanilla and toasted coconut flavours work excellently when mixed with luxuriant, creamy and chocolatey hot chocolate drinks. Earl Grey Tea Earl Grey tea has a long and intriguing history that begins at Howick Hall in Northumberland. Pop some Earl Grey in your next online shopping basket, or be extra Zen and make it at home. We shared a recipe on our other blog that you can try at home. DON’T WORRY, BEER HAPPY The Twice Brewed Inn       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Twice Brewed Brew House (@twicebrewedbrewhouse) on Mar 16, 2020 at 6:52am PDT While the Twice Brewed Inn pub is currently closed, its attached mini-brewery is still open and operating safely in the heart of Northumberland National Park. Their door to door service means that, if you’re missing your pub pints, delicious local ale can be placed on your porch. They also distil their own spirits, so if one of you fancies a beer and the other a G&T, you can choose from their array of artisan gins and liqueurs. Allendale Brewery Sitting on the banks of the River Allen on the edge of the rugged North Pennines, Allendale Brewery brews quality cask ales in kegs bottles and cans. They are currently delivering 10 litre beer boxes locally and bottles and cans are available for UK-wide delivery, so you can sip on local Northumbrian beer from anywhere in the UK. RAISE YOUR SPIRITS Northumberland Spirit Company Check out Northumberland Spirit Company to scroll through spirits that you can order to your door. They are the makers of the delicious, hand-crafted Alnwick Gin, as well as sweet Alnwick Sloe Gin and Firestone Gin to make up the perfect G&T or gin cocktail. A range of miniature bottles are also available to add to your online shopping basket. Marlish Tonics and Soft Drinks Pair your Northumbrian spirit of choice with Marlish Tonics and soft drinks for a guilt-free G&T, as they operate with sustainability as their number one priority. Their fresh, sugar free drinks are made using a sustainable water supply at Marlish Farm, from rainwater that falls on the Northumbrian hills. Taking hundreds of years to naturally filter through the rock strata, it gains a high level of purity and mineralisation. All products are packaged on the farm to reduce their carbon footprint and preserve the purity of the water, and no plastics are used in their packaging. Heather & Bale Luxury Hampers       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Heather and Bale (@heatherandbale) on May 14, 2020 at 6:03am PDT If you just can’t decide between Northumberland’s brilliant beverages, bag yourself a Heather and Bale alcohol hamper and try a little bit of everything. Delivering luxury to your living room, their elegant hampers include a range of Northumberland’s products, such as Alnwick Gin, Alnwick Ale, Brinkburn Prosecco and Cheviot Wine (oh, and they also sell chocolate and cheese hampers, just saying…). If you want more information on the county's local food and drink, visit our Produced in Northumberland page. Then close your eyes, drink up and picture yourself in breath-taking Northumberland.
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08 April 2020

You butter stay home and try these Northumbrian Dishes

With all of this extra time at home, many of us are becoming professional chefs and expert bakers as we take to the kitchen to cook up new concoctions. Northumberland is home to many traditional eats and tipples – Craster Kippers, Lindisfarne Mead and Doddington Dairy Ice cream to name a few. Unfortunately, not all of them are accessible while the UK is in lockdown, but some of them can be cooked up in your own kitchen… We have searched the web for classic, Northumbrian recipes, so you can put your skills to the test and get a taste of Northumberland from home. Cook up a storm with a cheesy potato dish, spongy stotties or a historical hot beverage with our foodie round-up: 1) Pan Haggerty         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Hannah Mactaggart 🍎 (@hansieskitchen) This crispy one-pan wonder is a potato dish with a little Northumbrian love sprinkled over it. Traditionally, it involves frying layers of potatoes, cheese and onions in butter and oil, then popping them under the grill until the cheese bubbles and turns golden. For a meaty variation, you can turn it into a Panhackerty by tossing in some salty bacon pieces or corned beef. We’ve trawled for the best recipe and we love the look of this one from Lavender and Lovage. It’s called ‘Nanny’s Pan Haggerty’ and it doesn’t get much more traditional than straight from a North Eastern nana’s kitchen. We tried this one ourselves, so check out our Instagram story and cook with us. 2) Stotty Cake/ Stotties       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Karen S Burns-Booth (@lavenderandlovage) on Apr 6, 2020 at 8:18am PDT Despite its name, the stotty cake is actually a type of bread, and the chewy goodness has a similar consistency to sourdough. Like many Northumbrian recipes, it came from frugality – waste not want not – and the idea was that it could be made using any excess white bread dough. It was traditionally chucked into the bottom of the oven, reacting to the initial burst of heat and continuing to bake while the oven was cooling down. Once it’s cooled and ready to eat, you can enjoy it like a sandwich and fill it with Doddington Dairy cheese, thick slices of ham or whatever tickles your fancy. We stuck with Lavender and Lovage again for this Stotty Cake recipe – this one was actually a secret recipe discovered many years after her Grandmother’s passing, so it must be pretty special! 3) Singing Hinny       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Powoli Po Prostu. (@powolipoprostu) on Jun 28, 2016 at 1:16am PDT The word ‘hinny’ is a term of endearment up here in the North East, supposedly deriving from the word ‘honey’ and having a similar meaning to ‘darling’ or ‘dear’. What a lovely name, then, for this delicious, fruity bake, which gets the second part of its name from the sizzling noise that it makes on the griddle pan. Fairly similar to a scone, this light and fluffy concoction is filled with dried fruits and can be enjoyed lathered in butter or with a sprinkling of sugar over the top. We found a traditional recipe from The Spruce Eats so you can try them out for yourself at home. 4) Earl Grey Tea       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Lifestyle • Interior • Dog&Cat (@karolina_pingielska) on Feb 27, 2020 at 12:32am PST There’s something extremely comforting about curling up on the sofa with a cuppa. Make your next brew a Northumbrian delicacy by filling your tea pot with Earl Grey. This fragrant beverage was originally made in Northumberland and named after Charles Grey, who received the tea blend from a Chinese mandarin as a gift, specially blended with bergamot to suit the water from the spring at Howick Hall. Lady Grey served it to guests, and it became so popular that British tea merchants requested permission to replicate it. Buy it in your next online shop, or if you want to be really Zen, make it yourself. We found this recipe from Mossy Meadow Farm, using loose leaf black tea and bergamot oil for the perfect homemade pot. 5) Pease Pudding       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Daisy Winter (@daisywinter_) on Feb 6, 2020 at 11:29am PST “Pease pudding hot, Pease pudding cold, Pease pudding in the pot – nine days old. Some like it hot, some like it cold, Some like it in the pot – nine days old.” You may have heard the old nursery rhyme, paying homage to the North East’s famous pease pudding. This comforting dish, with a thick and smooth consistency, is made from split yellow peas (hence its yellow appearance) and most often served with cooked ham, gammon or sausages. You can even enjoy it alongside fish and chips in place of good old mushy peas (another British delicacy for any non-British readers out there!). Or, spread it on a stotty with a salty joint of gammon for a truly traditional lunch and a fantastic burst of flavours. There are a number of recipes to choose from online, but we like the look of this one from The Spruce Eats. Remember, leaving the house just isn't worth the whisk, so bake us proud by staying at home to stay safe, keep calm and carry on cooking.
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25 February 2020

10 ways to celebrate Mother's Day in Northumberland

She gives the best hugs, makes unbeatable Sunday dinners, can remove any stain and she has the miraculous ability to do it all at the same time. No matter how old you are, you still find yourself picking up the phone to ask for her advice on just about anything and, for that, she deserves the world. While you can’t give her exactly that, you can give her a Mother’s Day to remember in Northumberland. This one’s for the mams, the grans, the aunts and the Mother-in-Laws out there who deserve to be celebrated this 22nd March: Better than a bunch of flowers 1) Howick Hall's Daffodil Spectacular         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Chloe|Newcastle/NorthEast Blog (@newgirlintoon) There aren’t many mams who don’t appreciate a good flower, especially the bright and breezy daffodils that cover Howick Hall Gardens & Arboretum at the end of March. Nearly all planted by Lady Grey after she inherited the estate in 1963, you can spot her preference for white and pale yellow, single trumpet daffodils as they flutter in the breeze. Head indoors to sip on a steaming pot of Early Grey tea in the Tea House that was once the ballroom of the Grey residence, and order fluffy scones with generous pots of clotted cream and jam to lather them with. 2) Battlestead’s Floristry Event and Afternoon Tea Don’t just buy Tesco’s Finest bunch of flowers, make one yourself at Battlestead’s floristry event. The workshop is led by Kate Norris from Northumbrian Flowers, the artisan flower farm that specialises in seasonal, sustainable and stunning floristry. After a demo, you and mum can take to the task of making your own arrangement, personalised with your favourite flowers which you can then take home with you. Then, top it all off with an indulgent Afternoon Tea! Make mum run 3) The Kielder Dark Skies Run       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Kielder Water & Forest Park (@visitkielder) on Jan 25, 2020 at 1:09am PST If you have a marathon mum who can’t stop signing up for park runs and is way too productive to wait for you to serve her a breakfast in bed, take her on an adventure this Mother’s Day. The Kielder Dark Skies Run combines athletics with astronomy, so you can run into Mother’s Day morning as the event ends at 12.30am. Make sure to look up and admire the gold tier-rated International Dark Sky Park above you during your night time trail run. There will also be daytime activities filled with food, fun runs and family-friendly activities. 4) Mother’s Day Fair at The Sill Take a hike through the spectacular landscapes of Northumberland National Park by choosing one of its picturesque routes and trails. Find the hidden waterfall Linhope Spout, get your own snap of Sycamore Gap, the most photographed tree in the UK, or hike along Hadrian's Wall. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to The Sill for a Mother’s Day Fair where local tipple tasters, stalls filled to the brim with delicious local foods and gift-making lessons from the Ranger Team await. The soothing sounds of choir music will accompany the day, as a wonderful local choir will put on a special Mother’s Day performance. Good food = good mood 5) Sunday lunch at Alnwick Castle Make your mum feel like a Queen by dining in Alnwick Castle’s courtyard, where fortresses and turrets are your Sunday dinner backdrop. A delicious, three course selection of traditional roast meats or a fresh, seaside catch of the day will leave mum enchanted. Once you’ve filled your boots, use them to explore The Alnwick Garden, where petals a-plenty flutter in the breeze, the toxic Poison Garden is waiting to be ventured into and the spectacular Grand Cascade makes for a beautiful setting to enjoy some snacks and drinks from The Pavilion Kitchen or the bakery. 6) Audela Mother’s Day Lunch Restaurant Audela used to be a Cockle shop, where Cowe and Sons produced the famous Berwick Cockle Sweet for over 170 years. Today, it is an exquisite seafood restaurant based in the cobbled market town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, and its delectable taster menus are a true treat for the deserving mams out there. Hosting its annual Mother’s Day Lunch, you can pick from traditional roast meat or succulent sea food, all sourced daily from suppliers in Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. The restaurant’s stunningly lavish décor just add to the experience, plus the best of Berwick is on its doorstep for you to explore after your meal. Whisk her away for the weekend 7) Extend your stay Make a weekend of it and whisk mum away to a B&B by the sea or a rural countryside retreat. Treat her to a luxury stay near Beadnell Bay at newly renovated Beadnell Towers, let her feel like royalty in the opulent rooms at Doxford Hall or a converted castle hotel such as Langley Castle. Take your pick by having a look at our accommodation page. 8) Pick a private cottage       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Northumbria Cottages (@northumbriacoast) on Feb 5, 2020 at 12:44am PST If self-catering is more your style, book a cottage by the coast or a countryside hideaway with Northumbria Coast and Country Cottages and make breakfast in bed extra special. Stunning sea views, crackling log burners, flower-pot-filled terraces and cosy bedrooms all feature in Northumbria Coast and Country Cottage’s selection of self-catering holiday homes that make a perfect Mother’s Day getaway. Live and Learn 9) Mother’s Day on the Milky Way Take your mam to the telescope and open her eyes to the wonders of Northumberland’s dark skies by joining one of Kielder Observatory’s extraordinary astronomy events. For families with young kids, their early evening Introduction to Astronomy sessions are an unmissable experience to share as a family. Or, head to their late night event where reduced guest numbers makes for an especially intimate experience with the stars while experienced astronomers are there to answer all of your celestial questions. 10) Sausage Making Workshop       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Justine Gray (@juicy_justine) on Sep 8, 2018 at 1:25am PDT How about an innuendo-filled, hilarious day of sausage making with mum at Brocksbushes Farm. Led by The Northumbrian Sausage Company, you will spend two hours squeezing, filling and twisting sausages with flavours varying from Chilli Sizzler to Hoison and Spring Onion. Try delicious, meaty treats made by the meat masters themselves, such as 8oz steak burgers and Black Pudding, and take your 1kg of bespoke sausages home with you at the end of the day.
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13 February 2020

10 things to do on a rainy day this February

Admittedly, February is (sometimes) not the best time to head out on a hike or go for a beach stroll. That being said, you can still make the most of Northumberland on those cold and drizzly days! From things to do this February half term to indoor activities to fill your Feb with, take a look at our round up of 10 things to do on a rainy day: 1) Explore Alnwick's Indoor Attractions         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Barter Books UK (@barterbooksuk) Barter Books is undoubtedly one of the cosiest places to escape the storm. This old, second hand bookshop is steeped in history, and open fires, armchairs and model trains are just a few of its quirky features. You are encouraged to carry your coffee (or a fruit shoot) from the café area and enjoy it with a book by the warming fire. Once you’ve toasted your toes here, visit the newly re-opened Alnwick Playhouse for its showing of Rumpelstiltskin and enjoy the magical performance as a family (showing on 20th February). 2) Be Spellbound by Bamburgh Castle       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Florian (@flo_roundtheworld) on Apr 23, 2019 at 2:03pm PDT From now until November, Bamburgh Castle will be open every day, just in time for February Half Term. This is the earliest the castle has opened its doors to the public since the 1950s, and entering the grounds of this fascinating, medieval castle takes you through impressive, stone-walled corridors, towering turrets and formidable fortresses. Head along on the 18th February for a photoshoot with acclaimed photographer Phil Punton and Bamburgh Castle as your backdrop. 3) Indulge Indoors There’s nothing like a bit of foodie indulgence when the weather is miserable. Pile the family into the car and visit Doddington Diary, where soft, creamy, home-made cheeses and ice creams fill the counters. Visit Brocksbushes for one of their Food Lovers Friday and Sampling Saturday events, where you can try delectable, locally-produced tasters. For a sit down meal, book a table at Battlesteads Restaurant where the fruit and veg is home-grown and the meat is smoked on-site. Adults can sip on local ales and spirits, along with fruit gins made by Battlesteads’ co-owner herself. 4) Try a Cookery Course       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Karen Phillips (@linnels_farm) on May 3, 2019 at 9:04am PDT If you fancy getting more hands-on with your food, make it yourself at Linnels Farm. Offering Gardening, Cookery & Floristry Courses, the farm is set in the idyllic, rural countryside near Hexham and offers cookery courses with a touch of luxury. Join chef Andy Snell in preparing a South East Asian Street food inspired lunch, including Malaysian style salads, noodle dishes and spicy sambals. Or, try a gluten free baking session that involves morning bread baking, a gluten-free-feast for lunch and an afternoon of trying and taking home gluten-free bakes. 5) Learn a new skill at The Sill The Sill’s enriching events and exhibitions are a brilliant way to bond as a family or catch up with friends whilst keeping warm indoors. The Lost Words Festival, running throughout February, is hosting Kids Clay Workshops and holding musical performances. Enjoy a drop-in whistle making workshop where you can make your own wooden whistle (disclaimer: we hold no responsibility for parents’ earache after a whistle-filled car journey home). If you’re visiting without kids, try a taster spoon carving session or a clay jug workshop. 6) Be happy at Hexham Abbey Hexham, recently voted the happiest place to live in the UK, is a beautiful, cobbled market town with cafes and restaurants a-plenty to hide away from the rain. Spend the day here and visit Hexham Abbey, the monastery-turned-abbey that was built by Saint Wilfrid in 674. The eerie crypt from the original building still remains today, and the dusty stones in this chamber actually came from the Roman ruins of Hadrian’s Wall. Every Tuesday, a craft fair is held in the Abbey’s entryway, where local traders showcase their handmade gifts and products. Pop into to Hexham Forum Cinema afterwards for some vintage film viewing at this quaint theatre that first opened its doors in the 1930s. 7) Step into a fairy tale at Cragside House and Gardens       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Sarah Jane Millman (@sarahjanemillman) on Nov 12, 2019 at 12:17am PST Cragside House looks like something from a fairy tale, peeping out of the thick woodland that surrounds it and showcasing the idyllic architecture of a traditional Victorian country house. Entering the estate is like travelling back to the future, as the house was years ahead of its time and was the first in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity. Lord Armstrong’s gismos and gadgets are still there today and are waiting to be admired by visitors. While the garden and tea rooms have been open since January, the house itself will re-open ready for February half term. 8) Wander through Wallington House Wallington House will also open in time for February Half Term, so if it’s too drizzly for Snowdrop Planting (a lovely event held in Wallington Hall’s peaceful woodland in February) you can explore the superb country house. Adorned with decadent, pre-Raphaelite features, the house holds years of history and everything from intricate artwork to delicate doll houses can be admired there. 9) Immerse yourself in Berwick’s culture The Maltings by Ollie Cowgill If it isn’t the right kind of day for a roam along the River Tweed, visit Berwick-Upon-Tweed's Town Hall where graffiti from unruly 18th century cellmates lines the walls of the haunting jail, then to Berwick Barracks, built in 1717 and now home to three museums. End your history tour with the ruinous remains of breath-taking Berwick Castle, which is perched on a rocky outcrop over the river. Then, cosy up together for a film viewing or a theatre production at The Maltings, where you can watch anything from an Abba Reunion Tribute show, to the Shaun the Sheep Movie, to the award-winning Little Women remake. 10) While the day away at Wentworth Leisure Centre The beauty of visiting a leisure centre is you can pack so much into your day without having to step outside between activities. With play areas, bowling alleys and swimming pools, plus gym classes galore if you want to get active, there’s plenty to do at Wentworth Leisure Centre while you’re taking shelter.
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06 February 2020

10 things to do in Northumberland on Valentine's Day

As Valentine’s Day looms, romance blooms in Northumberland. With a coastline full of romantically ruinous castles, a star-studded sky where the Milky Way can be seen with the naked eye and awe-inspiring landscapes to explore together, there’s something for every type of couple to celebrate their love in Northumberland. Whether it’s filling your boots at a candle-lit feast or dusting off your hiking boots to set out on adventure together, here is our list of 10 things to do in Northumberland this Valentine’s Day: The Hopeless Romantics 1) Stargazing For the dewy eyed duos who like to spend Valentine’s in a traditionally romantic manner, spend the evening hand-in-hand beneath Northumberland’s dazzlingly dark skies. There’s something spectacularly moving about a star-studded sky, and we aren’t just talking about standing on your driveway and looking up. Make sure you are in the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park and spot the almost incomprehensible number of stars that look like diamonds that have been lodged into the sky. Head to one of Northumberland’s Dark Sky Discovery Sites with a flask full of tea and a couple of deck chairs in your boot. Or book an evening at one of Northumberland's observatories - Kielder Observatory offers a range of stargazing sessions and Battlesteads Observatory still has availability for Astronomy for Absolute Beginners events on Valentine’s weekend. 2) Spa day         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by LAURA CRANSTON | BLOGGER | (@girltalkwithlaura) There’s nothing like taking some time to relax together by sinking into a hot tub, unwinding in a sauna and sipping on a glass of bubbly to finish it all off. In Northumberland, Georgian stately homes, opulent estates and Edwardian mansions have been renovated into serene spa hotels, offering indulgent Couples Massages and tranquil spa and fitness centres to while the day away in. Bask in Doxford Hall’s heated pool, Slaley Hall’s bubbling hot tub, or Matfen Hall’s soothing sauna and treat yourselves to an intimate day out. The Table for Twosomes 3) A Romantic meal for two For some, Valentine’s Day calls for a feast complete with an overflowing sharing platter and delectable desserts and Northumberland is the perfect place for a foodie love affair. Battlesteads’ restaurant serves exquisite local dishes using vegetables, herbs and fruits that are grown in their own gardens and polytunnels, mushrooms from their on-site old shipping container-style mushroom farm. Along with a Head chef who smokes his own meats, fish and cheeses on-site, you can savour fresh, local flavours with their five-course or eight-course tasting menu, then follow up your meal with a home-made fruit gin and some stargazing at the hotel’s own observatory.       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Battlesteads Hotel (@battlesteads) on Sep 7, 2019 at 4:52am PDT 4) Sea-Foodie Festival Sea food lovers cannot miss the Valentine's Oysterfest at The Lindisfarne Inn, an evening dedicated to the food of love (and natural aphrodisiac…). The Inn’s location makes it perfect to pair with a trip to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, where the spiritual priory and a castle that perches on the edge of the coast are there to be explored and you can sip on Lindisfarne Mead (ALWAYS check causeway crossing times before visiting). Make it a two night getaway and enjoy bed, breakfast, one evening meal and a complimentary bottle of wine thrown in there for good measure for just £60 per person! The Cosy couples 5) Hide away for the weekend         View this post on Instagram A post shared by Northumbria Cottages (@northumbriacoast) on Feb 1, 2020 at 1:22am PST Sometimes, all you want to do is… well… absolutely nothing. Especially at this time of year when the temperature has dropped and curling up on the sofa with your hands wrapped around a warm mug of frothy hot chocolate is far too tempting. Northumbria Coast and Country Cottages have a selection of self-catering cottages to hide away in your pyjamas and fluffy socks together. Crackling log burners, spectacular sea views and romantically remote locations are common features of their properties, so take your pick, stock the cupboards full and cosy up together for your romantic retreat. 6) Find an open fire       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Lord Crewe Arms Blanchland (@lord_crewe_arms) on May 9, 2019 at 6:10am PDT Already got your accommodation sorted? Find an open fire pub in Northumberland and spend the evening warming your toes with a glass of wine in-hand. The Twice Brewed Inn, The Ship Inn, The Boatside Inn and The Lord Crewe Arms are just a few examples of pubs with wood burning fireplaces that set that romantic, glowing ambiance that will make your heart melt. The Couples that Train Together 7) Mountain Biking While some couples like to cosy up together, others are itching to get out and have completed an early morning adventure together before some of us have even rolled out of bed. If this sounds like you, spend your Valentine’s weekend scaling Kielder Water & Forest Park’s mountain biking trails. Forestry England’s off road routes are waiting to be explored by thrill-seekers, so tackle the Bloody Bush trail, the Lonesome Pine or the Deadwater red and black trails to take in the plummeting, 1900 ft summit of Deadwater Fell together. 8) Watch the sunrise       View this post on Instagram A post shared by (@thenorthernhikers) on Feb 1, 2020 at 1:08am PST Make the most of your ‘morning person’ attributes by packing up a flask and some snacks then heading somewhere beautiful to enjoy a private sunrise breakfast for two. Pull your bobble hat over your ears, step into your walking boots and hike to Hedgehope Hill in the rugged Cheviots in Northumberland National Park, where extensive views across Breamish Valley are paired with the blissful sound of silence. The Pet Parents 9) Family beach day If you can’t go anywhere without your (four-legged) baby in tow, take your dog for a windswept beach walk on one of Northumberland’s many dog friendly beaches. Commit to the coastal path walk from Craster, where Dunstanburgh Castle sits on the coast, to Newton-by-the-Sea. Dunstanburgh Castle can still be seen in the distance from this quaint civil parish, and you can warm up with a coffee or a hearty pub lunch bursting with local flavours at The Joiners Arms. Dogs are more than welcome in their beautifully rustic and cosy restaurant (because three is never a crowd when the third wheel has four legs!).       View this post on Instagram A post shared by The Joiners Arms (@joinersarmsnorthumberland) on Nov 3, 2019 at 10:04am PST 10) Roam along the River Tweed Take your dog on a cultured day out and head to Berwick-upon-Tweed, the cobbled town that teeters on the border of England and Scotland. Explore its quaint alleyways and independent shops before scaling the Elizabethan Town Walls that hold such significance to the town’s haunting history. Viewpoints over the romantic River Tweed and the three bridges that stand proudly over it can be enjoyed en-route as you wander hand-in-hand (and lead in-hand) along the walls and down to the quayside. Then, stop off at The Lookout Café, a dog-friendly, waterside eatery that sits along The River Tweed. If you can bear the cold, it’s worth sipping on your coffee from their outdoor seating area to watch the sun lowering over the river’s sparkling waters.
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31 January 2020

Dare to Disconnect in Northumberland

Stars over Laverock Law Shepherd's Hut Let Northumberland’s Gold-Tier rated, star-studded sky be your TV screen, its wildlife be your entertainment and its almost incomprehensible silence be your playlist. Go off the beaten track and experience Northumberland unplugged, where the only batteries you need to re-charge are your own. All it takes is three easy steps… 1) Disconnect Put down your phone, forget about work and disconnect from your life at home. Head to one of the county’s remote accommodations where you are actively encouraged to get back to basics. Have a digital detox at Laverock Law Cottages, where their idyllic, remote location lets you go off the grid. Their reduced Wi-Fi access is the perfect excuse to swap scrolling through your phone for sitting on their tree platform and listening to the birdsong or building a campfire together then sitting around it with a blanket wrapped around your legs and a bottle of local beer in-hand. Have a phone-free holiday by surrendering yours to Hesleyside Huts’ mobile phone boxes for the duration of your trip and reach for one of the books left by previous guests in their ‘Little Book Exchange’. Instead of watching Youtube videos while you’re soaking in the tub, watch the world go by from Huts in the Hills’ outdoor copper tub that sits on a wooden terrace overlooking Northumberland National Park’s sweeping landscape. Escape to Langley Dam Glamping and cook your tea over open fire pits then watch the fiery sunset fall over the idyllic lake from your glamping pod’s terrace.           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Hesleyside Huts 🌿 (@hesleysidehuts) 2) Switch Off Switch off with a spa day in an old, Georgian-style hotel in the remote countryside. Walwick Hall’s pavilion pool and hot tub look out onto the idyllic walled garden and out towards the Tyne Valley, and soaking in Doxford Hall’s pool can be followed up with a relaxing cuppa by a crackling open fire in one of the hotel lounges. Absorb the nature from the comfort of a warming Jacuzzi at Kielder Waterside, where the starry sky will take your breath away and constellations can be seen with the naked eye on a clear night.         View this post on Instagram A post shared by a.musing (@amusing_jools) on Feb 11, 2018 at 4:09am PST Surround yourself with the calming scent of the county’s budding spring flowers and wander through rhododendron-filled Cragside Gardens, past the fluttering cherry blossoms at The Alnwick Garden, the swaying daffodils outside Warkworth Castle or the elegant snowdrops at Etal Castle. ‘Walk to Wellbeing’ with a guided National Park walk and immerse yourself in the breath-taking National Park landscape as you breathe in the clean, countryside air. Focus your thoughts on a new skill and visit The Sill for pottery making, spoon carving or rustic stool making in one of their many events and workshops.         View this post on Instagram A post shared by Amy Louise (@xamylouise89x) on Jun 11, 2019 at 10:17am PDT 3) Re-connect Re-connect with each other, yourself and the world around you by submerging yourself in the nature of Northumberland. After the removal of everyday nature words from a widely used children’s dictionary, such as "acorn", "bluebell", "kingfisher" and "wren", author Robert Macfarlane and illustrator Jackie Morris felt it important to bring those words back to life. Their book, The Lost Words, does exactly that, and inspired The Sill’s Lost Words Exhibition that celebrates the creatures and plants that we share the world with. Head along for magical performances, events and exhibitions to re-connect with the world around you. Visit Kielder Water & Forest Park, the largest working forest in England, where little signs dotted throughout the forest encourage you to walk over the springy moss barefoot and feel the spongey-ness between your toes. Grab a pair of binoculars and sit in one of the many nature hides in the forest and wait patiently for Ospreys, Goshawks or Roe deer that appear at various times of the year. Venture into the National Park with Northern Wilds and go wild food foraging, then taste your picks afterwards in their food wagon where they turn the day’s harvest into a wild food feast. Stay in the heart of nature overnight in one of Northumberland's bothies and spend the evening watching "the bothy TV"...         View this post on Instagram A post shared by Scott Overton (@shootingscott) on Jan 23, 2020 at 5:44am PST Sit back and relax below Northumberland’s Dark Sky Park at one of the county’s Dark Sky Discovery Sites and let shooting stars and constellations be your entertainment for the evening. Or, discover more about the galaxy with one of the county’s observatories, such as Kielder or Battlesteads, and let an expert help you connect with the fascinating world that we live in.  
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15 January 2020

20 for 2020: Northumberland Adventures for the New Year

New Year, same you - but with a desire to make this your best year yet. We have rounded up some of Northumberland’s must-dos to add to your bucket list this New Year and plan a holiday filled with endless experiences. So, what are you waiting for… try one, some or all of our list of 20 for 2020 when you visit Northumberland: 1) Car Gaze       View this post on Instagram A post shared by @elishascott_photography on Oct 9, 2018 at 9:26am PDT There are few places in the UK where you can pull over, turn off your headlights, allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness and admire the dazzling sight of Gold Tier Status Dark Skies. In Northumberland, 572 square miles of Gold Tier Dark Skies await your arrival, so fill your boot with a deck chair, flask and binoculars and venture to one of the county’s Dark Sky Discovery Sites. If the conditions are right and the sky is clear, you can gaze at dazzling stars and admire Orion or The Milky Way with the naked eye. 2) DO n’t go chasing waterfalls       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Luke & Emma (@campervanscrapbook) on Oct 13, 2019 at 5:03am PDT Wander into the wilds of Northumberland and you just might find an unexpected opening where a whimsical waterfall tumbles into a bottomless plunge pot. Linhope Spout, Roughting Linn and Hareshaw Linn all wait at the end of hidden trails and off-the-beaten-track routes, making perfect picnic spots and even invigorating wild swimming spots! (Please check whether wild swimming is permitted in advance of visiting and do so at your own risk). 3) Al-paca your walking boots       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Hemscott Hill Farm (@bellsofhemscott) on May 3, 2018 at 6:05am PDT Quirky, cheeky and charming alpacas are the perfect companions for a walk in Northumberland. Hemscott Hill Farm and Ferny Rigg Alpacas offer fluffy field walks as you (literally) take the lead and trek through stunning landscapes with an alpaca by your side. Just try NOT coming away from the experience with a smile on your face. 4) Much Ado about Puffins       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Ian Henderson (@ianhendersonimages) on Dec 10, 2019 at 2:53pm PST Head to Seahouses between March – October and book a Farne Islands boat trip at one of the wooden huts on the harbour. Adorably clumsy puffins and lolloping seals reside at The Farne Islands, where birds rule the roost and humans are in the minority. The arctic terns in particular like to dive-bomb visitors once their eggs have hatched (so wear a hat!) and seals are regularly spotted lazing on the rocks. 5) Wake up on the bright side of the bed       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Stablewood Coastal Cottages (@stablewood_coastal_cottages) on Sep 10, 2019 at 1:14pm PDT Watch the sky become emblazoned with oranges, pinks and reds over Northumberland’s staggering coastline and capture it on camera if you can. Northumberland’s sunrises are well worth the early wake up, so just remember that when your alarm disturbs your slumber. While the experience is spectacular year round, people fall for the horizon most in autumn as the colours are simply magical. 6) Whatever floats your goat       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Explore Northumberland (@explorenorthumberland) on Apr 9, 2019 at 1:43pm PDT Go wild cheviot goat spotting at College Valley and keep your eye out for the feral goats that scale the Cheviot Hills. They are a rare find and are currently being GPS tracked by Newcastle University, so don’t be surprised if you see one donning a large collar! Tucked away in Northumberland National Park, the pristine and peaceful College Valley allows access to only twelve cars per day. You can book your permit ahead of time here, or access the valley by foot or bike to explore. 7) Find your Porpoise       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Pot A Doodle Do (@pot_a_doodle_do) on Jun 21, 2019 at 11:37pm PDT The romantic River Tweed is a sight to behold, as Berwick’s three iconic bridges stand proudly over its shimmering water. Hop on board The Border Rose with Berwick Boat Trips and sail out to sea in search of the dolphins that are regularly sighted at the mouth of the river. David and crew will open your eyes to Berwick’s tumultuous history while you keep them peeled for the water’s wildlife. 8) See the Rolling Stones       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Matt Wood (@matt.jwood) on Jan 1, 2020 at 11:19am PST Northumberland boasts the longest stretch of Hadrian’s Wall, the fascinating Roman remains that delve and dive across the rolling Northumberland National Park landscape. Step into your hiking boots and explore one of the National Park routes where iconic sites such as Sycamore Gap, Roman Forts and ancient temples can all be discovered and the wall is with you every step of the way. 9) Slide into Kielder Water & Forest Park       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Discover Northumberland (@discovernland) on Aug 18, 2019 at 12:38pm PDT This one is a beginner adrenaline-junkie’s dream; Calvert Kielder’s ZipCoaster has you soaring through the air in roller-coaster-esque ups, downs, twists and turns. Securely strapped into a harness, the thrilling ride gives you a free-flying sensation and, like all of Calvert Kielder’s activities, is completely accessible, so users with a disability can enjoy the ride. 10) Get to know a telescope       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Kielder Observatory (@kielderobservatory) on May 7, 2019 at 11:39am PDT As well as doing some independent stargazing, you might want a bit of guidance when you’re gazing into the galaxy. Northumberland’s observatories are here to help, offering everything from beginners’ workshops to experienced astronomy events. Kielder Observatory, which sits directly below the International Dark Sky Park, and Battlesteads, the award-winning, sustainable hotel that has its own observatory, are two excellent examples. 11) Bag yourself a bothy       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Michael Straker (@micstraker) on Jan 3, 2019 at 8:45am PST Bothies are built especially so that explorers can camp out and keep dry… for free! Staying in one is essentially camping without the tent and most are completely without facilities, purely providing a roof over your head for the night. Others, however, have a little more to offer, like this oh so cosy-looking bothy with a log fire and a bunk bed. Sitting beneath Northumberland’s International Dark Sky Park, they’re also excellent, remote places to stargaze. Just visit the Mountain Bothies Association website to find the best bothy for you. 12) Be OAR-some       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Adventure Northumberland (@adventure_northumberland) on Oct 21, 2017 at 10:37am PDT Paddle past Warkworth Castle or into the estuary (depending on tide levels) with a two hour canoe tour along the River Coquet. The perfect combination of peaceful and active, you can drift along the river and admire its surrounding nature as well as the stunning village of Warkworth. Canoeing season runs from 1st March – 31st October and, if you do it in spring, you get the added highlight of the abundance of daffodils that surround Warkworth Castle at this time of year. Check out Adventure Northumberland’s website for more details. 13) Hang out in Thrunton Woods       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Katie Henery (@katiehenery) on Sep 6, 2019 at 1:58pm PDT Admittedly, not everyone owns a hammock, but if you do then we would highly recommend hanging out in Thrunton Woods… literally. We spotted @katiehenery on Instagram relaxing in the woods with a book in-hand and now it’s next on our bucket list. A great way to rest your legs mid-walk and spend a peaceful hour or two feeling pretty Zen in the great outdoors. If you don't have a hammock, these enchanted woods are still worth a visit; walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders take advantage of the breath-taking trails that wind through lichen clad trees and offer spectacular views over Northumberland National Park. 14) Let your Thursdays be-GIN       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Hemscott Hill Farm (@bellsofhemscott) on Jul 3, 2019 at 11:30pm PDT Head to Hemscott Hill Farm’s for ‘Thirsty Thursdays’ at their pop-up gin bar on the coast. You can choose from over 30 gins to enjoy with a zesty mixer or sip on refreshing gin cocktails beneath reams of fairy lights in their beautiful, rustic barn. Its position beside Druridge Bay makes it perfect to pair with an evening beach stroll. The bar is only open throughout summer and its opening hours vary so check their blog ahead of visiting. 15) Have your pick of the bunch       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Northumberland National Park (@northumberlandnationalpark) on Feb 11, 2019 at 10:06am PST Pick your food straight from the National Park and onto the plate with one of Northern Wilds’ Wild Food Forage Feast courses. Their emphasis on gut health, wellbeing and the benefits of eating fresh, natural produce will make you come away wanting to escape to the wilderness and live on wild mushrooms and berries. On their full day tour, they prepare the day’s harvest in a wild food wagon and turn it into a delicious feast so you can taste your picks there and then. 16) Coast, castles and kippers       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Visit North East England (@visitneengland) on Dec 5, 2019 at 2:32am PST You will smell Craster before you see it, as the delicious, charcoal scent of L Robson and Sons smokehouse drifts through the village. It’s the only working ancient smokehouse in Northumberland, so treat yourself to a paper bagful of their traditionally-smoked kippers. Take them to the harbour and savour them by the sea, or munch while you meander to nearby Dunstanburgh Castle, the pocket-sized site of romantically ruinous remains that teeters on the coast. 17) Fifty shades of Earl Grey       View this post on Instagram A post shared by @theteatraveller on Nov 3, 2019 at 11:39am PST Howick Hall was the home of Charles Grey who, in the 1830s, received a tea blend from a Chinese mandarin as a gift. The tea had been specially blended with bergamot to suit the water from the spring at Howick Hall and, after Lady Grey served it to numerous guests, it became so popular that British tea merchants requested permission to replicate it. Today, it is known as Earl Grey, and it is pretty much essential to stop at Howick Hall Tea Room for a pot of the refreshing beverage in what was once the ballroom of the Grey family’s residence. 18) Blossoms and broomsticks       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Sophie Pearce Travel Blogger (@thirdeyetraveller) on Jun 14, 2019 at 10:00am PDT Visit the cobbled market town of Alnwick in spring and spend a magical day amongst The Alnwick Garden’s cherry blossoms and Alnwick Castle’s grounds. The Alnwick Garden has a short window between the end of April and the beginning of May where their collection of Taihaku cherry blossoms (the largest in the world) blooms. Relax on one of the swinging benches amongst the fluttering blossom trees before heading to Alnwick Castle, known for its starring debut as Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, for a Harry Potter-themed tour or a broomstick lesson. 19) Love is ale you need       View this post on Instagram A post shared by scotland247 (@scotland247) on Jun 22, 2019 at 8:08am PDT Tucked away in the heart of Ford & Etal Estate sits the only thatched pub in Northumberland, The Black Bull Inn. Managed by the brand new Cheviot Brewery who brew real ale just up the road, you can taste local tipples and enjoy a pint or two in the cosy, stone interior and by a warming open fire. 20) Watch a film that ends in ruins       View this post on Instagram   Staggering, iconic and magnificent no matter when you visit, Bamburgh Castle dominates Northumberland’s coastline as you approach the village of Bamburgh. Stay in the castle grounds after sunset for one of its magical and spell-binding outdoor cinema viewings, where towering turrets are the back-drop and crashing waves are the soundtrack.
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10 January 2020

The Good Hotel Guide's Top Hotels in Northumberland

Battlesteads by Martin KitchingNorthumberland 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…Battlesteads, HexhamAn 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, BlanchlandThe 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. Cuthbert’s House, SeahousesA 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.https://www.stcuthbertshouse.comChatton Park House, ChattonA 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. Mary’s Inn, MorpethA 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. Cookie Jar, AlnwickA 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.
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19 December 2019

Where to Stargaze in Northumberland

Image Credit: Elisha Scott PhotographyStargazing isn’t just looking up at the smattering of visible stars from your porch while you’re juggling your shopping bags. It’s the spine-tingling moment when you position yourself beneath a truly ‘dark sky’ - one that is officially recognised by the International Dark-Sky Association for its quality and clarity – and see constellations and galaxies with the naked eye.It’s safe to say that Northumberland is the best place to do this in the UK; 572 square miles of Northumberland have been awarded Gold Tier status for their dark skies. This makes up Northumberland’s Dark Sky Park which is the largest in UK and the second largest in the whole of Europe, spanning Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water and Forest Park. So, when autumn falls over the county and the nights become longer and darker, locals head out to their favourite stargazing spots and visitors arrive with their binoculars at the ready for a star-studded show.Stargazing may sound a bit daunting to beginners, but you really don’t have to be an expert or have expensive equipment to do it. Warm clothes, a deckchair, a flask, a pair of binoculars and a little bit of luck with the weather are all you need to go stargazing. Plus, of course, a touch of knowledge on where to go to have the best possible experience, and that’s why we’re here… read on for our list of some of the best places to stargaze in Northumberland:Curious about ConstellationsKielder ObservatoryKielder Observatory by Dan M PerseidIf you prefer a bit of guidance while you stargaze, everyone from night-time-novices to astronomy experts can head to Kielder Observatory for events that are out of this world. Sitting beneath Northumberland’s vast, Gold Tier status International Dark Sky Park, their telescopes sit in concrete pillars for outstanding levels of stability. Some are even computer controlled meaning any visitor can experience the thrill of "driving" a telescope around the skies with just the click of a mouse. From beginners’ Introductions to Astronomy to Physics in the Forest and everything in between, there is an event to suit every ability. Take a look at their events calendar here.Battlesteads ObservatoryThis accessible, public astronomical observatory offers talks, activities, stargazing and Astro courses that range from beginners’ introductions to subject-specific topics. Get to Know your Telescope, Astronomy for Absolute Beginners and Stargazing & Moonwatch are just a few of the events on offer. You can even have a Shooting Star Supper and dine on fresh food from the award-winning hotel that is attached to the observatory while you stargaze. (Tele)scope out their at events calendar here.Twice Brewed InnTucked away in Northumberland National Park, The Twice Brewed Inn isn’t just known for its excellent pints and stunning location. The pub has recently taken action to make the most of its situation beneath Northumberland’s International Dark Sky Park and now offers stargazing events. With a team of in-house astronomers, you can enjoy an inspiring presentation before heading outdoors for a laser guided tour of the constellations. Then, observe incredibly distant objects including planets, galaxies, nebulae and star clusters using large aperture telescopes. Plus, you can do it all with a pint in hand!Strong, Independent StargazersDark Sky Discovery SitesCawfields by Cain Scrimegeour, Northumberland National ParkThe beauty of these sites is that you can do some solitary stargazing – all you need is warm clothing and maybe a pair of binoculars if you want to get up close and personal with the night’s sky. Dark Sky Discovery Sites are locations that are internationally recognised for their lack of light pollution, clear view of the sky and public access and many of them are scattered across Northumberland National Park. Each one has been awarded special status due to the outstanding quality of its dark skies and given one of two darkness ratings; “Orion” where the seven main stars in the constellation Orion are visible to the naked eye and “Milky Way” sites where the Milky Way is visible to the naked eye. Take a look at the Go Stargazing website where you’ll find a map of Northumberland’s Dark Sky Discovery Sites that you’d be lost without! Or, click through to Northumberland National Park's list of stargazing spots.Northumberland’s CoastlineHead to the coast where the sand is your seat and the sound of crashing waves accompanies your stargazing experience. The dazzling Aurora Borealis, more commonly known as the Northern Lights, have been known to grace the skies above Northumberland’s coastline. The dark expanse of sky over the ocean and the limited street lighting along this official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty means that, even in towns and villages, it is possible to enjoy the darkness of Northumberland’s skies. With more than 30 miles of beaches, narrow your options down and take a look at our beaches page for castles on the coast, hidden bays and dramatic, sweeping vistas that make amazing Aurora viewpoints.Stargaze until you Fall AsleepKielder WatersideStargaze until you fall asleep at one of Northumberland’s dark sky-friendly accommodations. Kielder Waterside Lodges sit amongst the pine trees of Kielder Forest, bringing a touch of luxury to the great outdoors. Each lodge has a plush, sophisticated décor with cosy log burners and rustic furnishings. Their star quality, however, is their location beneath the county’s protected dark skies, not to mention their view of the shimmering reservoir that acts as the perfect, non-light polluted canvas for a breath-taking, starry display. Some lodges even have their own hot tub, so you can stargaze from the relaxing warmth of a bubbling, private Jacuzzi.BattlesteadsBattlesteads by Martin Kitching is the only hotel in the country with an on-site observatory and its magical location means that there is just as much to do after the sun sets as there is during the day. Here, your cosy room is just a few steps from Battlesteads Observatory (detailed above). The hotel regularly wins awards for its sustainability and its old shipping container-style mushroom farm and two acres of gardens and polytunnels make for a restaurant menu filled with home-grown fruits and vegetables. Dine on tongue-tingling cheese that has been smoked on-site and sip on local ales and spirits as well as home-made fruit gins. Choose from snug hotel rooms filled with cushions and blankets-galore, or treat yourself to a stay in a private eco lodge with its own terrace for some independent, late-night stargazing (not to mention a relaxing, super-sized spa bath). Now, go and experience Northumberland's dark skies for yourselves... you'll be over the moon with what you find.
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