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28 September 2021

Cosiest pubs in Northumberland

‘Tis the season when Northumberland's pubs light their fireplaces and load their log burners in preparation for the frosty days and bitter nights that autumn and winter bring. As much as we are going to miss the sunshine in the winter months, there is little more satisfying than sitting beside a crackling open fire after a long, cold, windswept walk. We have rounded up six of the cosiest pubs in Northumberland, all with open fires, so you can hide away from the cold, wrap your hands around a hot cup of tea and fill your belly with some hearty pub grub. 1) The Angel of Corbridge           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The Angel of Corbridge (@angelcorbridge) The Angel of Corbridge sits in the centre of cobbled Corbridge and is a firm favourite for visitors discovering the area’s numerous historical sites. Sit by the crackling log burner while you tuck into a hearty pub meal from their menu of fresh, local ingredients. The Lounge and Angel’s Table areas are both dog friendly, meaning your four legged friend can curl up by the glow of the fire while you dine. What’s nearby? Don’t miss Corbridge Roman Town, which is just a stone’s throw away from The Angel of Corbridge. 2) The Ship Inn           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by writer + twin mama (@disastersofathirtysomething) The seafront Ship Inn offers sunny beach beers in the summer and a cosy haven in the winter. Based in Low Newton, its coastal location and sea views lure in its guests, and they stick around for the toasty open fire, freshly cooked food and exquisite local ingredients. With its whitewashed exterior, exposed stone interior, open fire and live music, what more could you wish for after a long walk by the sea. What’s nearby? See Dunstanburgh Castle in the distance and set off on foot, through idyllic Embleton Bay, to see it up close. Head a little further down the coast to magical Alnwick, where you can see The Alnwick Garden at its most festive. Or drive down to Amble for a surfing lesson with Northside Surf School. 3) The Holly Bush Inn           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Stephen Waddington (@wadds) Tucked away in Northumberland National Park, it doesn’t get much more quintessentially British than The Holly Bush Inn. The flower-filled entryway, stone front and remote setting make stepping inside irresistible. Once you’re in, you can expect fantastic food, excellent service and a warm and cosy ambience that will warm you up on the coldest of days. The pub also sits beneath the Northumberland Dark Sky Park, perfectly located for a spot of stargazing in the autumn/ winter months. What’s nearby? Take advantage of The Holly Bush Inn’s position near Hadrian’s Wall and step into your hiking boots to enjoy the numerous attractions and viewpoints along the wall. Be sure to check out Hadrian’s Wall Baggage Transfer if you need a hand getting your luggage from A to B. 4) The Pheasant Inn           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The B & B Directory (@thebandbdirectory) The exterior of The Pheasant Inn becomes cloaked in bright orange and red ivy when the season turns to autumn. Surrounding stone walls, wooden beams overhead and a roaring fire in the centre of the restaurant greet you as you walk in. Relax in one of the lounge bars, lovingly restored with warmth and cosiness at their heart, or dine in the restaurant which boasts sweeping views across Kielder’s countryside. What's nearby? The Pheasant Inn sits near staggering Kielder Water & Forest Park, excellent for walks, bike rides, nature and stunning views. Spend the evening at Kieldder Observatory for an inspiring night of stargazing. 5) Redesdale Arms           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Retreat,Escape,Secret,Boutique (@otterburnlodges) Redesdale Arms sits in the south of the county in remote Redesdale, near the historical village of Otterburn. Echoing the area’s history, the oldest part of the pub is 600 years old and is a former bastle house, and is known as the “First & Last” Inn on route to Scotland. Inside, enjoy the glow of the log burner, locally-sourced, home cooked dishes and a selection of real ales from Allendale Brewery and First and Last Brewery to wash it all down with. What's nearby? Head to the Redesdale Valley where walking and cycling routes are waiting to be explored. Explore the ancient capital of Elsdon, the stonefront village complete with an ancient parish church, a tower house and even the remains of a castle. 6)  Barrasford Arms           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Barrasford Arms (@barrasfordarms) Barrasford Arms is a traditional beauty in the Northumbrian countryside, serving exceptional, freshly cooked, award winning pub food. Take in their breath-taking beer garden views as they overlook the North Tyne Valley, before unwinding in the cosy bar area. Proudly championing local suppliers, and serving vegetables from their very own polytunnel, their exquisite seasonal menu is sure to replenish your energy levels after a chilly walk in the surrounding landscape. What's nearby? Nip to nearby Hexham to explore Hexham Abbey, Hexham Old Gaol and more. Peruse stunning artwork from Dennis Kilgallon Gallery and pick up a piece to take home. Go wild with Allout Adventures and go quad biking, paintballing or clay pigeon shooting. Or explore the area on two wheels with Eco Cycles' fantastic bike hire service. Author: Jenni Meikle
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09 September 2021

10 things to do this autumn

It may still feel like summer with the recent, sporadic sunny days, but autumn is just around the corner. Soon crisp leaves will lie underfoot, frosty mornings will make it almost impossible to get out of bed, and you will be dusting off your winter coat before you know it. Here’s how to make the most of the crisp mornings, dark evenings and array of autumn colours in Northumberland: 1) Take a walk in the park           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Lucy (@missimber) One of the most irresistible things about autumn is its colours. Oranges and copper browns cloak the landscape, and the Cheviot Hills in particular make for a stunning hiking spot. Roe deer dash over the heather and buzzards circle overhead in the peaceful and frosty landscape. Simply visit Northumberland National Park’s website for their extensive list of route suggestions.  2) Espresso yourself           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Helen Templeton (@gingerminx76) While the cold (and sometimes wet) weather isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, there’s just something about heading into a café and cosying up with a cuppa. Snug cafes with sink-into-seating and menus of frothy coffees and fluffy cakes can be found across the county. The Drift Cafe sits on the seafront, offering staggering views and exquisite breakfasts. Or try Kirkharle Courtyard, tucked away in a picturesque spot in the tiny hamlet of Kirkharle, offering an extensive menu of coffees, brunches and lunches, as well as selling artwork, crafts and local artisan eats to take home with you. Head to our food and drink page for some drink-spiration. 3) Get toasty with a roast           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by writer + twin mama (@disastersofathirtysomething) It’s the perfect time of year for a long walk followed by a hearty roast dinner, and an even cosier way to dine is by a crackling open fire. A number of our pubs boast roaring fireplaces perfect for warming your toes after a hike in the crisp autumn air. Grab your pub grub in the countryside at The Holly Bush Inn, The Pheasant Inn, The Angel of Corbridge, The Redesdale Arms or The Barrasford Arms. Or, stop off by the sea and book a table at the seafront pub, The Ship Inn. 4) Cosy Up           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Sandra Tang (@sandratang) Autumn is the perfect time to huddle up in that cosy cottage, rustic log cabin or quirky accommodation you’ve had your eye on. Northumbria Coast and Country Cottages, Original Cottages, and Crabtree and Crabtree  all offer a range of self-catering options with beautifully-decorated living areas, toasty log burners and sweeping sea views. Or, hide out in a luxurious log cabin with a private hot tub in the forest at Kielder Waterside. Pick a B&B where warm welcomes and outstanding customer service are guaranteed, such as Old Rectory Howick, Shaftoe’s Guesthouse, Post Office House B&B or Market Cross Guesthouse. Take a look at our 'Where to Stay' page for some autumn accommodation inspiration. 5) Watch the sun come up           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Visit Northumberland (@visitnorthumberland) Northumberland’s sunrises and sunsets are always spectacular, but in autumn they are pretty hard to beat. When the sun is low, a candy-floss-pink illuminates the sky and simply takes your breath away. Wake up early, wrap up warm, pack a flask and take a windy coastal walk for a spectacular sunrise to start your day. Or, head inland and stay out until sunset, where the horizon becomes fiery with the low sun. Hadrian’s Wall is a particular favourite for astounding sunsets behind the ancient wall.  6) Stare at the Stars           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Daniel Monk (@danmonk91) On that note, along with the dreaded dark nights and mornings comes one of the best things about autumn: the awe-inspiring dark skies that mean you can gaze into the galaxy. The jet black skies make the stars appear clearer, brighter and more spectacular. Search for the stars at Kielder Observatory and graze while you gaze at award-winning Battlesteads’ shooting star supper.  Pull on your walking boots and head to Northumberland National Park, where The Sill, Cawfields, The Stonehaugh Pavilion and Harbottle are all excellent spots for stargazing. 7) Get out of your back Garden           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by hannah 🎃🖤 (@hannahlucyrose) Northumberland's gardens are great places to get away from the crowds in autumn. The swarms of summer visitors have generally cleared, and the ever-changing garden fauna has turned orange and crisp, making for a stunningly colourful day out. From mazes to manor houses and pumpkins to Poison Gardens, we have an array of peaceful gardens to explore at the change of season. 8) Go Wild           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Laverocklawcottages&Glamping (@laverocklawholidaycottages) Set out on an adventure with North East Guides and learn navigation and mountain skills at some of Northumberland’s most picturesque beauty spots. Or have an overnight stay filled with adventure with Laverock Law’s Wildwalks and Family Adventures, where your experienced Mountain Leader-led hike will be accompanied by strawberries and fondue, as well as some bubbly for the adults. 9) Pick your own pumpkin           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by 🍇G (@graceloisrowe) What more festive way to get in the autumnal spirit than by going pumpkin picking? Brocksbushes Farm offers fantastic fruit picking opportunities throughout the year, and throughout October their pumpkin patch is the star of the show. This year, they have expanded the experience as they have more pumpkins, an extra pumpkin patch and will host pumpkin carving activities in their marquee. Pre-booking is essential, so head to their website and sign up to their newsletter to be the first to hear when tickets are available. 10) Save it for a Rainy Day           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Justin Parkes (@picturesbyjustin) We can’t ignore the fact that autumn comes with the potential for some drizzly weather. If you wake up to the somewhat comforting sound of rain tapping at your window, head to one of Northumberland’s indoor attractions. Spell-binding Bamburgh Castle, beautiful Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, enchanting Cragside House, Gardens and Estate and more all have weekend opening hours throughout November and December. Each have stunning interiors with rich historical significance to admire and, if the sky does clear, their gardens are worth a wander. Now you have some inspiration for your autumn adventures, don't forget to tag us on social media when you're sharing snaps of your trip. Tag us at @visitnorthumberland or use our hashtags #visitnorthumberland #endlessexperiences. Author: Jenni Meikle
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17 August 2021

Inside Seaton Delaval Hall

Seaton Delaval Hall is a hidden treasure in the truest of forms. Trundling along on the A190, you could almost miss it, as its entryway is so subtle. After initially missing the turning and doubling back on ourselves, we were astounded when the narrow entrance opened up into a spectacular view of this 18th century country house. Over a number of years, major restoration works have been carried out at Seaton Delaval Hall following funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the National Trust and from donations. We were lucky enough to have a look around and we wanted to give you a sneak peek into one of the National Trust’s most significant restoration projects. Our first stop was the new Brewhouse Café, a cosy building with brick interiors and wooden beams that is set in the once disused brewhouse. We chose to eat outside as it was a beautiful morning, so we took to the flower-filled terrace where there is ample seating and enjoyed a cuppa and delicious bacon butty. Then, it was time to explore Seaton Delaval Hall’s striking surroundings, where the path networks and sightlines have been reinstated, giving visitors views across the wider landscape and back to the Hall. Playful interventions are dotted throughout, and families can play in The Dark Matter Cube, take selfies in The Mirror Cube and run riot in the fantastic children’s play area. After our peaceful wander around the gardens, we headed inside to see the awe-inspiring transformations that have taken place in the interior areas of the Hall. Iconic cantilever staircases have been completely renovated, including the installation of new steps and landings to ensure that visitors can experience their grandeur. One of the most visible transformations can be seen in the Hall’s basement, which has been turned from a dark, damp, unevenly floored space into an atmospheric, architectural, and visually striking part of the building which is now accessible to visitors. New flag flooring and sensitive up-lighting has been installed, and the discovery of a historic drainage system found during archaeological excavations can also be viewed. Make a day of your visit and bring a picnic to enjoy in the tranquil grounds, or wear your walking shoes and explore one of the walking routes that take you on a circular route to the beach and back to the Hall. Based in the stunning seaside village of Seaton Sluice, there are a number of things to do and places to admire in the local area. And, keep your eyes peeled for the hall’s upcoming events, as performances are always being planned. Author Jenni Meikle
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23 July 2021

Hand Luggage Only's top 5

Yaya and Lloyd, creators of Hand Luggage Only, have pulled together their top five Northumberland sites, activities and recommendations. Use their ideas as inspiration to make the most of our stunning county and explore the magic of Northumberland for yourself.  Their new book, Hand Luggage Only, the ultimate travel guide for exploring Britain’s best destinations, is out now and available from local bookshops Waterstones and Amazon. Make sure to bag yourself a copy after you’ve enjoyed this blog! A HOLY-MOLEY HABITAT           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Hand Luggage Only (@handluggageonly) The tidal island of Lindisfarne is perched just off the coast of Northumberland and several times a day it gets cut off from the mainland when the tide rolls in and the road to the island disappears beneath the water. In the 8th century it was raided by the Vikings – its importance as a Christian centre meant this raid in particular marks the start of the Viking Age in Europe. Nowadays, you can explore the ruins of Lindisfarne Priory and pop into the 500-year-old Lindisfarne Castle.  Once a defensive fortification between Scotland and England, the castle dates back to the 1500s and is positioned perfectly on a mound with a rather steep, albeit relatively short, climb to get up to. There are a few shops on the island, too – be sure to pick up some of the famous mead (an alcoholic drink made from honey). Tide and time wait for no man: Be sure to pay particular attention to the tide times (they will be signposted before you get on the road and also available online, so check on the day you plan on visiting), as it comes in very fast and you can get in trouble really quickly.  A LEGENDARY HISTORY           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Hand Luggage Only (@handluggageonly) Northumberland has no shortage of castles – it’s home to more than any other county in England – but even with all that choice, Bamburgh Castle stands out and absolutely has to be visited.  For starters, it has a written history dating back to 420 CE, making it one of the country’s oldest. In the years since, it’s been ransacked by Vikings, been home to kings from Henry VI to James I, and was the first castle in the world to be destroyed by gunpowder in the War of the Roses. (Did you know author George R. R. Martin based his Game of Thrones book series on this ongoing struggle for the English crown?) Explore the staterooms, grand hall, grounds and beach beyond at your leisure.  Arthurian legend has it that Bamburgh is the site of Sir Lancelot’s castle, Joyous Garde.  STARRY SKIES AND ROMAN HERITAGE           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Northumberland National Park (@northumberlandnationalpark) Hugging the border between England and Scotland, Northumberland National Park is home to part of Hadrian’s Wall. Stretching all the way from the North Sea to the Irish Sea, this fortification was built in 122 CE to guard the Roman Empire’s northern frontier. Along the wall, explore the Temple of Mithras (dedicated to the god Roman soldiers adored), Vindolanda (a vast ruined fort) and Housesteads Roman Fort, where you can see remains of the barracks, hospital and some pretty old toilets. The latter is more interesting than it sounds!  For night owls: Northumberland National Park is great for stargazing. It contains an International Dark Sky Park – one of the biggest areas of protected night sky in all of Europe. You can even spot the Andromeda Galaxy with your naked eyes! Just keep your fingers crossed for a clear night. If you really want to stretch your legs, scale the Cheviot, the park’s highest peak. Although this is not not an endurance-style hike, you will need a good level of fitness to reach the very tippy-top. From here, on a crisp and clear day, you might even be able to see Edinburgh in the distance.  HUFFIN AND PUFFIN           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Visit Northumberland (@visitnorthumberland) Just off the coast of Northumberland lie The Farne Islands, an archipelago of 28 islands, of which three are accessible to visitors. Often referred to as the ‘Galapagos of the North’, there’s an abundance of wildlife here (whales, seals, dolphins and lots of sea birds), and it’s easily one of the best places in England to spot puffins. Depending on when you visit, you’ll probably get up close and personal with the thousands of non-human residents. Make sure you pack a pair of binoculars to look the part.  If you’re looking for maximum cuteness, the first seal pups start to arrive in September, so plan your visit accordingly. Birdwatchers will have a field day – many sea birds (guillemots, kittiwakes and razorbills, to mention a few) call this beautiful part of England home. The best way to make the most of it is to hop aboard one of the boat tours leaving from Seahouses. Four private companies offer boat trips between April and October from Seahouses Harbour. Don’t forget to make a back-up plan: Have some alternative ideas to explore the local area – like a visit to nearby Bamburgh Castle- in case the sea is too choppy to travel.  SEA FOOD, EAT FOOD         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Visit Northumberland (@visitnorthumberland) Stretching 62 miles (100 kilometres) in length, the Northumberland Coast Path is one of the best British hiking routes for history buffs. Along the route from Cresswell in the south to Berwick-upon-Tweed in the north, you’ll see historic remnants from the last 7,000 years dotted all across this coastline.  We recommend setting aside a week to complete the trail or dipping in and out at your leisure to enjoy the sections that intrigue you most. As you ramble along the unspoilt coastline, be sure to stop off at the totally pristine Bamburgh Beach where, just shy of the shore, you’ll spot Bamburgh Castle. From here you’re just a short walk at low tide to Holy Island. Hankering for a bite to eat? Pop into the historic fishing village of Craster with its picturesque harbour and country pubs, which offer some amazing local seafood. It’s like heading back to the 1800s, but with much better fish and chips. Remember, Hand Luggage Only is out now, available from local bookshops, Waterstones and Amazon. Pick up a copy and plan your next adventure.
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07 July 2021

Five family walks

Do you have commitment issues when it comes to long walking routes? Or maybe your family holiday is filled with little legs that just can't hack long hikes? Whatever the reason, we've got you covered, as we have picked five of the best short walking routes in Northumberland. Mostly circular, all beautiful, and none over 5 miles, take your pick from fairy trails, mysterious caves and bluebell-carpeted woodland. Here are our five short walks in Northumberland for you to enjoy this summer and beyond: 1) Wandering and wildlife watching          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by (@northeastfamilyfun) If you love to mix your wandering with wildlife watching, this is the walk for you . Hauxley Nature Reserve is a great place to watch birds, butterflies, red squirrels and otters. There are a number of circular trails around the reserve, so you can easily return to your original starting point once you’ve completed your chosen route. Leave time for a break in the Look Out Cafe, which has wonderful waterside views of the ponds to entertain you while you taste locally sourced refreshments. There is also a 1km accessible trail suitable for those who have the pushchair in tow or require wheelchair access, with two accessible bird hides en-route.  Dreamy Druridge Bay sits just next to Hauxley Nature Reserve, where the views are serene and the wildlife is spectacular. Infringed with rugged dunes, its unspoilt coastline stretches as far as the eye can see and families can play in the sand, explore on foot and wildlife watch.  Where to park: There is car parking on site (NE65 0JR). All day parking for cars is £2, or £25 for an Annual Parking Permit 1 April to 31 March. Make a day of it: Amble is an approximate 10 minute drive away from Hauxley, where you can find plenty of places to eat and drink. Hire a bike from Pedal Power and cycle along the coast, take a surfing or paddle boarding lesson with Northside Surf School, visit The Amble Inn for a bite to eat, and stay at Radcliffes Lodge if you can’t bear to leave just yet. 2) Stepping stones and secret gardens         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Just A Normal Mum (@justanormalmum_) Wallington House, Garden and Estate's River Walk promises a day of fascinating history, peaceful riverside views and exciting adventures over stepping stones and in secret gardens. At just over 2.5 miles, the whole family can enjoy this gentle route.  Explore the secret, walled garden with its lily pad-covered ponds, then cross the River Wansbeck via stepping stones. Once you reach the route’s woodland areas, find hints of magic in the forest, where tiny doorways fit for fairies hide in the tree trunks. The circular route ends at Wallington courtyard, where you can grab some refreshments and rest your legs at the tea room. Where to park: Wallington has a designated car park, and this circular route will take you back to Wallington Hall where you can get back to your car or continue exploring this beautiful building. Please note there is an entry charge when visiting Wallington House, Garden and Estate and there may be pre-booking requirements before you visit. Make a day of it - Visit Kirkharle Courtyard for a frothy hot chocolate, homemade lunch and a walk around the picturesque Serpentine lake. Go for a swim at Ponteland Leisure Centre, or visit Belsay Hall with its magnificent gardens and medieval castle. For a wildlife adventure, book ahead onto one of Wild Intrigue’s “Bats and Beers” evenings which start nearby in Elsdon. 3) Bluebells and bustling streets         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Ijay Ogah (@flourishingmum) Discover the 2.5 mile walk through the bustling, stylish streets of Morpeth to tranquil Bluebell Woods. Starting in the centre, head up Cottingwood Lane, then take the path through the woods and cut into the open fields where, if you’re lucky, you may spot some deer. Follow the path around the outskirts of the hospital and you will arrive at Bluebell Woods, where you can admire the carpet of bright blue in the springtime, and the idyllic woodland surroundings for the rest of the year. Once you’re out of the woods, you can return, full circle, to Morpeth centre. Stop for a coffee en-route to boost your energy before the walk, or save yourself for the way back and head into one of Morpeth’s many restaurants to fill your boots on return. Don’t miss Sanderson Arcade, which holds an array of shops and eateries. Or time your walk with a Wednesday morning and peruse Morpeth Markets, selling fresh, local produce. There is also a Farmer’s Market on the first Saturday of each month.  Where to park: There is plenty of parking in Morpeth town centre, but a parking disc is required. These can be easily purchased from retailers, Tourist Information Centres and libraries. You can also use a disc from another council if you already have one. Make a day of it: Go for a splash about at Riverside Leisure Centre, visit the Morpeth Chantry tourist information centre where you can buy local arts and crafts, and see the snow leopards at nearby Northumberland College Zoo. 4) Riverside roaming and Roman history         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Richard Harrison (@richy.harrison2011) Stroll along the banks of the River Tyne on the 5 mile trail between two historic, quaint, cobbled towns, Hexham and Corbridge. Begin in Hexham where beautiful Sele Park and the stunning grounds of Hexham House make for a peaceful start to your walk. From there, you will wander along woodland trails, past Dilston Castle, and along Devil’s Water where a series of waterfalls tumble into plunge pools. Then, you follow the rushing river until you reach the 17th century stone bridge which takes you into Corbridge. Corbridge is filled with cosy cafes and local pubs to fill up on refreshments once you have made it to this beautiful small town. Where to park: Park in Hexham and take the Go North East bus from Corbridge to Hexham once you have finished your walk. Make a day of it: Visit Corbridge Roman Town, home to the Corbridge Hoard, one of the most significant finds in Roman history. Enjoy a delicious meal at the Angel of Corbridge, then once you’ve taken the bus back to Corbridge, extend your stay at Woodside Lodge, Hexham Holiday Homes, or Shaftoe’s Guest house. Hexham holds a bloody history and there is plenty more to explore here, such as Hexham Abbey and England’s first purpose-built prison, the Old Gaol, which can be traced back to the 1300s. 5) Caves and castles         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Northumberland 250 (@nland250) St Cuthbert’s Cave, nestled away in the remote countryside of Belford, oozes mystery due to its spiritual past. It is said that the ancient monks of Lindisfarne laid St Cuthbert’s body to rest here in AD875, the seventh century Anglo-Saxon monk, bishop and hermit, who possessed the power of spiritual healing. Starting in Holburn, this circular, 3 mile route takes you to the eerie cave on both surfaced and unsurfaced tracks, and offers sweeping views of the rugged Cheviot Hills. When you reach the cave, if you can, go up the hill above it to see the wonderful view over Holy Island. Where to park: The National Trust car park in Holburn Make a day of it: Visit astounding Bamburgh Castle to the east, with its surrounding sand dunes and white sand beach. Or visit Ford and Etal Estate to the west and board the steam train at Heatherslaw Light Railway, bake bread at the old corn mill, and visit Hayfarm Heavy Horse Centre. Extend you stay at Chatton Park House, Post Office B&B, Market Cross Guesthouse, Bluebell Hotel, and Belford’s many other excellent accommodations.
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25 June 2021

Five family days out

The kids are lying in bed all morning, dad’s rocking the socks and Crocs look and mum’s sunnies are fixed to her face whatever the weather. It can only mean one thing – summer is here, and your trip to Northumberland is just around the corner. We may be biased, but we think it’s safe to say that Northumberland is the best place to spend your summer holiday. So, read on for our hints and tips on five of the best family days out in Northumberland. 1) A day of magic in Alnwick         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Alexandra (@piccolipazzi) Visiting spellbinding Alnwick is guaranteed to make for a magical family day out. Start with a visit to Alnwick Castle, known for its starring role as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Spot Harry Potter and Ron Weasley wand-ering the corridors, and enjoy a broomstick lesson on the very spot where Harry, Ron and Hermione learned to fly. Enjoy lunch in the twinkling treetops of The Alnwick Treehouse (if you can make it across the wobbly bridge!) before visiting The Alnwick Garden. Admire the Grand Cascade, mysterious Poison Garden and romantic Rose Garden. Don't miss Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery, which holds over 10,000 years of history in its charming stone walls, before heading to Lal Khazana to dine on delicious Indian cuisine on your way out of the town centre. Make it an overnighter: Stay at Village Farm Cottages, just a ten minute drive from the centre of Alnwick in the old village of Shilbottle. The superb self-catering holiday cottage accommodation ranges from Scandinavian-style chalets to traditional stone-built cottages and a 17th century farmhouse. Plus, they have a Health Club equipped with a swimming pool and spa, perfect for the kids to play and parents to relax. 2) A day of time travel in Ford and Etal         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Days out 4kids(&their adults) (@wherewegoingmummy) Stepping out of your car at Ford and Etal Estates is like stepping out of Marty Mcfly’s DeLorean Time Machine. Start your day by learning to bake bread and grind flour in Heatherslaw Cornmill, the traditional, 700 year old corn mill that is still a working mill today. Take a bag of freshly ground coffee with you and head to Boes Café for coffee and cake, before boarding the steam train at Heatherslaw Light Railway to Etal. Visit beautiful Etal Castle, currently offering free entry. Then, grab a bite to eat at the only thatched pub in Northumberland, The Black Bull. Take the perfect post-lunch walk down to the banks of The River Till and watch canoeists glide by on the sparkling water. Return to Heatherslaw and pop into Lady Waterford Hall (a short walk or drive away). The old school house is now a gallery that is filled with Louise Waterford’s Pre-Raphaelite artwork. And finally, end your day by walking or driving to Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre to see the adorable horses, foals and piglets. Make it an overnighter: Till River Fishing Holidays cottage accommodation lies only 200 yards away from the River Till, offering a large lawn area, a path leading down to the river, an apple and plum tree, and even a tennis court closeby. Make use of your self-catering facilities at mealtimes, or treat yourself to a meal cooked for you by Kooked North, who use all local produce to create beautiful dishes for guests. 3) A day to roam like the Romans in Hexham         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Vindolanda (@officialvindolandatrust) Time your trip to Hexham with a Tuesday and start your morning with a mosey around Hexham Market. Freshly baked bread, organic fruit and veg, and locally sourced meats are just a few of the exquisite culinary offerings. Visit Hexham Old Gaol, the prison that dates back to the 1300s where you can descend into the dungeons and even try out the stocks. Head into Hexham Abbey to admire the striking architecture. The monastery-turned-abbey was built in 674 AD using ancient stones from Hadrian’s Wall, and the eerie crypt from the original building still remains today. Then go for a wander around the idyllic Tyne Green’s lush green spaces, passing trickling streams and views of Hexham Bridge. Take a short detour to The Barrasford Arms and grab a bite to eat, where you can fill up on a hearty pub meal or refuel with light bites and a drink. Then get back in the car and make your way to Vindolanda, or if you’d prefer not to drive, Ecocabs offer an excellent taxi service from Hexham to its nearby historical sites. Once you’re there, see live excavations taking place by expert archaeologists and you might be lucky enough to witness some astounding ancient artifacts being revealed. Enter The Roman Army Museum to learn about the history of the site and see collections of incredible ancient finds that were dug up onsite.  Make it an overnighter: Hexham Holiday Homes sit in the heart of Hexham, making an excellent base for nearby restaurants, shops, and of course incredible historical sites such as Hadrian’s Wall and the many forts and attractions alongside it. Their variety of modern and traditional properties are all beautifully refurbished and offer different designs to suit every family’s tastes and holiday styles. 4) A day to al-paca your wetsuits in Kielder         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Landal Kielder Waterside (@landalkielderwaterside) Fill your day with activities and adventures in Kielder. Start with much-needed coffees and hot chocolates to fuel up for the day ahead at The Forest Bar and Kitchen. Make the most of their staggering, waterside outdoor seating area and enjoy the peaceful reservoir views before you take to the water yourself with Kielder’s guided watersports activities. Northumbrian Water’s newest activity offering means you can admire Kielder reservoir from the water itself. Test dad’s balance on a stand up paddleboarding session, or discover the reservoir on a guided canoe tour. Having surely worked up an appetite, drive to The Pheasant Inn for a delicious lunch and beautiful countryside views. Then, continue the adventure with a visit to Ferny Rigg, who run Alpaca Walks through Northumberland National Park. Get active and enjoy the fresh country air with an adorable, fluffy alpaca by your side. They are guaranteed to make the kids smile with their loveable nature and quirky charm.  Make it an overnighter: Falstone Barns offer four individually designed holiday apartments within a spectacular barn development. The two bedroom apartments generally sleep families of 4-5, and larger groups can reserve two or more apartments together. Or, go glamping in their PosHHuts, in an idyllic, rural setting and overlooking woodland, the river and stunning countryside. A King size bed, sofa and roaring wood burning stove are perfect to relax after a long day of exploring (more suitable for families with older children as the huts sleep 2). 5) A day of beaches and boat trips in Berwick         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Tanya Marsh (@tanya11712) Start your day with a walk along the romantic River Tweed in Berwick, then climb on-board The Border Rose with Berwick Boat Trips, where you can sail beneath the magnificent Royal Border Bridge and into the mouth of the river for some seal and dolphin spotting.    Once you’re back on land, step into Berwick’s complex past and take yourself on a history tour through the cobbled streets. See Berwick Town Hall’s atmospheric jail cells where graffiti from unruly 18th century cellmates lines the walls, get an insight into a soldier’s life at Berwick Barracks and take a haunting walk along the Elizabethan Town Walls.    For an upmarket lunch, stop at Foxton's Wine Bar for exquisite seafood. If you’re looking for something a little more casual, grab a cafe lunch and eat it on the riverbanks at The Lookout Cafe and admire the waterside views.   Once you’ve filled your boots, take advantage of the town’s position along the coast and go for a family walk along barely-trodden Berwick beach, or striking Spittal Beach which lies less than two miles away.   Make it an overnighter: Sleeping up to 8 guests, Ness Street Holiday Cottage makes for a great family getaway. The cosy, four bedroom self-catering holiday home sits within Berwick’s historic town walls, and the sea is less than 100 yards away from this grade II listed building. For more family activities and adventures, see our family friendly attractions page. Don't forget to tag us in your holidays snaps on social media via @visitnorthumberland or using our hashtag #endlessexperiences. Author: Jenni Meikle
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11 June 2021

Father's Day in Northumberland

Father’s Day: The day that we let the ‘dad jokes’ slide and all ‘dadmin’ duties are relinquished for just one day while we let our dads put their feet up. You have scratched your heads and come up with a few gift ideas, you have bought his favourite tea bags and chocolates and the ‘best dad’ mug, but what should you do on the day itself?  We have categorised a few types of dad that we hope yours somewhat falls into, so you can have the best ever Father’s Day. Read on for inspiration, deals on the day, vouchers and gift ideas in Northumberland. (Oh, and it’s on the 20th June in case you needed a reminder…). For the dads that deserve a break          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Cherrytree & Almond Apartments (@ctabeadnell) It’s not too late to book a mini-break, and who doesn’t deserve one after the past year?   ILDERTON DOD BARNS Ilderton Dod Barns have availability for 20th June in The Barn, an 8-bed, beautifully rustic self-catering accommodation to fit the whole family, and three dogs if you can’t bear to leave them at home. Based in the rugged Cheviot Hills between Breamish valley and Harthope valley, staggering landscapes and awe-inspiring attractions are on your doorstep. Book now for a Father’s Day getaway.   CHERRY TREE AND ALMOND APARTMENTS Cherry Tree and Almond Apartments are luxury apartments on Northumberland’s staggering coast, and they are running an unmissable Father’s Day competition. The winner will receive a complimentary week-long stay for two, (must be taken between 2nd October 2021 and 2nd April 2022 excluding Christmas and New Year, subject to availability). All you have to do is enter via their Facebook page, so keep your eyes peeled on Monday when it goes live. For the foodie fathers         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by The Angel of Corbridge (@angelcorbridge) The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so for the dads that love some good grub,  we have a number of exquisite restaurants in Northumberland, as well as some deals and offers to get your hands on.   BIKE RIDE AND BIG DADDY BURGER IN KIELDER Pair bikes with burgers for the ultimate dad’s day out, as The Bike Place and The Street Diner have teamed up to offer a fantastic Father’s Day deal ‘Bike ride and burger’. The Bike Place is offering 20% off pre-booked bike hire for dads on 20th June, so you can explore Kielder’s staggering cycling trails before heading to The Street Diner to refuel. Any dads ordering the Big Daddy Burger, a double bacon cheeseburger topped with chilli jam and shredded iceberg, will get any free drink off the menu as an added Father’s Day treat.   GET SOME PUB GRUB Northumberland is known for its quaint, local pubs, serving fresh produce, locally-brewed ales, and meals hearty enough to refuel after a long walk. The Angel of Corbridge, based in the picturesque, cobbled town of Corbridge, serves delicious meals all day, made up of fresh meats, cheeses and other Northumberland-grown ingredients. The Crown Inn, Humshaugh sits close to Hadrian’s Wall and is an excellent place to rest your legs after a day of exploring. Or head to the Duke of Wellington, a village pub close to the border of Durham complete with a roaring fire and local ales.   For the Nigel Thornberrys         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Wild Intrigue (@wildintrigue) If you don’t remember The Wild Thornberrys, they were the lates 90s’ ultimate wildlife explorers, and Northumberland offers a host of wildlife adventures that are perfect for Father’s Day.   BATS AND BEERS EVENING WITH WILD INTRIGUE The team at Wild Intrigue run a number of mini expeditions which include wild goat-spotting and al fresco gourmet meals, and Moths and Muffins mornings at Wild Northumbrian. Our top pick for Father’s Day, however, is Bats and Beers, an evening of sampling award-winning, local beers, learning about the art of brewing using locally foraged and sourced ingredients, and embarking on a guided bat safari. Heading out with bat detectors in-hand, you will hear and watch the bats which cruise the starry night skies above First & Last Brewery Northumberland.   PUFFIN, SEAL AND DOLPHIN SPOTTING AT THE FARNE ISLANDS Take your dad out on a sealife safari with Serenity Farne Islands Tours. The boat trips depart from Seahouses harbour and take you to the spectacular group of tiny islands off the Northumberland coast, where hundreds of puffins return every year to mate and nest. Grey seals are commonly spotted here too, and regular dolphin sightings make the trips especially magical. If you can’t make it on the 20th, buy a voucher to gift to your dad to use it at a later date through Serenity’s website, or if you would like a flexible voucher with a one year expiry, buy it direct by contacting [email protected]   For the DIY dads         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Ford & Etal (@fordandetal) If your dad is constantly coming over to offer his DIY expertise, or can often be found focusing on his latest project at his workbench, take him to see the inner-workings of Northumberland’s sculptures and architecture   THE ALNWICK GARDEN PUMP ROOM TOUR The Alnwick Garden runs a fascinating tour of its Grand Cascade’s Pump Room, where you can delve into the inner workings of this astounding sculpture. Learn how it pumps huge quantities of water every minute, allowing its visitors to enjoy magnificent water displays. At only £10 per person, just contact The Alnwick Garden directly to make an enquiry. Once you’ve done the tour, pop into the garden’s shop to browse products from their ‘Maker of the Month’ who is selling organic skin care with a men’s range as an additional treat for your dad.   HEATHERSLAW CORN MILL  Ford and Etal always makes for a fantastic family day out. Heatherslaw Light Railway is loved by kids and dads, as the steam locomotives take you from Heatherslaw Station to Etal Castle. Once you have delighted dad with the steam train journey, take him to Heatherslaw Cornmill, one of the oldest working corn mills in the UK, and get to grips with the mechanics of water power and the milling process. A firm favourite with dads, and with regular events and activities for kids too, you can come away with freshly ground flour for some family baking later that day. For the big kids         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Laverocklawcottages&Glamping (@laverocklawholidaycottages) A common group of the dad species, the big kids can’t get enough of exciting activities, they love an adventure, and they grasp any opportunity to get competitive.   KIELDER WATERSIDE Kielder waterside is an activity playground, and is offering ‘dads go free’ on all target sport activities on Sunday 20th June. Feel macho and try out Tomahawk Throwing, channel your inner Robin Hood with archery lessons, and put your aim and accuracy to the test with a crossbow session. To make a booking and receive your ‘dads go free’ place on a session, contact Kielder Waterside directly at [email protected] There are a number of other activities and nearby walking routes, cycling trails, and stunning viewpoints to explore too.   LAVEROCK LAW FAMILY ADVENTURES Laverock Law Holiday Cottages run a number of excellent activities, including yoga sessions and bread making, but the perfect activity for the ‘big kids’ is their Family Adventures. Starting at Wooler Common with some basic map reading skills, you head out with a map in-hand, pausing along the way to learn about local history and admire staggering viewpoints. Ending at the top of Humbleton Hill, adults can enjoy an elderflower champagne while the kids work with dad to make strawberry chocolate and cream fondue on a stove. You don’t have to be an overnight guest to book this activity, but you can make a weekend (or longer!) of it by booking a stay at the cottages.   For the artsy dads          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Dockside Gallery (@dockside_gallery) Polar opposites to the ‘big kids’, the cultured and refined fathers out there shouldn’t miss Northumberland´s artsy exhibitions on Father’s Day.   DOCKSIDE GALLERY Dockside Gallery’s new summer mixed exhibition, showcasing new work by Ronnie Fulton Ceramicist, is a firm favourite with fathers. His sculptural pieces are influenced by man’s relationship with the sea. The vibrant and distinctive designs would make the perfect gift, or head there on Father’s Day so your dad can peruse the work himself. The gallery has a range of other elegant artwork by various local artists, and you might want to pick up a piece to take home with you.   MUSEUMS NORTHUMBERLAND Inspired by Museum Northumberland’s new exhibitions, Northumberland Folk has a range of limited edition gifts created by artist and illustrator Jonny Hannah. They are inspired by the people and places of Northumberland, so if your dad loves Northumberland and is interested in artwork, it’s a win-win. Open at various destinations including Woodhorn Museum, Hexham Old Gaol, Berwick Museum and Art Gallery, and Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum, make a day of it and go and browse the exhibition. Or, grab a gift online in time for Father’s Day. Give the best gift         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Muckle Brewing (@mucklebrewing) Looking for something to do a little later in Northumberland, or buy a thoughtful gift from our spectacular county, then here are a couple of gift ideas.   MUCKLE BREWING GIFT BOXES Muckle Brewing is selling lovely gift boxes for Father’s Day this Saturday 12th June at Hexham Farmers’ Market and on Sunday 13th June at Greenhead Farmers’ Market. Selecting from their range of nine local beers, you can cherry pick the ones that your dad will love the most for your gift pack. You will also meet the brewers who can help you with your selection.   KIELDER OBSERVATORY VOUCHER Gift the brightest gift there is by giving the gift of stargazing with a Kielder Observatory voucher. Perfectly positioned to give the best possible chance to gaze at the galaxy, their bookable events allow you to stargaze with an expert by your side, and they offer everything from beginners’ experiences to dining under the stars evenings where you can graze while you gaze.   We hope you have a great Father’s Day and please don’t hesitate to tag us in your Northumberland adventures at @visitnorthumberland or use our hashtag #endlessexperiences Author: Jenni Meikle
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27 May 2021

Why go abroad...

...when you can go up north! Going abroad is tricky to say the least this year. It's no wonder people are re-discovering home soil and looking to the UK for an unforgettable staycation. Who needs to go overseas when you have staggering beaches, fascinating history, incredible wildlife, and diverse landscapes all on your doorstep? We celebrated English Tourism Week by rounding up 10 things to do in Northumberland that will make you forget all about going abroad. Switch the following for a staycation in Northumberland this year and discover our endless experiences... 1) Croatia’s waterfalls         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Visit Northumberland (@visitnorthumberland) If you were hoping to head to Croatia this year, wander from waterfall to waterfall in Northumberland instead. Nestled away in the idyllic Breamish Valley is Linhope Spout, a 60 foot chute of water that rushes into a 16ft deep plunge pool. Hareshaw Linn sits just a stone’s throw away from Bellingham, where secrets of St Cuthbert, an abundance of walking routes, and stone cottages adorned with ivy are all closeby. Seemingly secret Roughtin Linn, where you could almost miss the narrow path that leads down to it, tumbles in a secluded spot in Ingram Valley in The Cheviots. 2) Idyllic islands         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by ilovefridaysme (@ilovefridaysme) For an idyllic island escape, simply venture across Lindisfarne causeway and visit Holy Island. This tidal island holds an ancient priory, an enchanting castle and Gertrude Jekyll Garden, and of course shimmering sea views fit to soothe the soul. Sip on Lindisarne Mead at St Aidan’s Winery, stop for a coffee at Pilgrim’s Coffee House, and stay the night at Belvue Guesthouse for a long weekend escape. *Always check safe crossing times before visiting Holy Island. 3) Rome’s history          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Kate (@moira.willow) When in Northumberland, do as the Romans do… from Hadrian’s Wall that plunges across Northumberland’s rugged landscapes, to the Roman auxiliary fort Vindolanda where ancient artefacts are uncovered during excavations every summer, Northumberland boasts a host of Roman history. Secrets of the Roman Empire are scattered across our countryside in our Roman Baths, Corbridge Roman Old Town and numerous forts. 4) The Azores’ dolphins          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Lindisfarne Mead (@lindisfarne_mead) It’s not just foreign seas that boast dazzling dolphin displays. Bottlenose dolphins are regulars on the Northumberland coast, and they have a habit of showing off to visitors. They can be seen from many points along our coast, but to heighten your chances, take a boat trip with Berwick Boat Trips. Heading out to the mouth of the River Tweed, regular sightings take place along with grey seal spotting. Venture over to The Farne Islands on a boat trip from Seahouses harbour and keep an eye out for dolphins while you’re admiring the puffins, as they love to race the boats in this area too.   5) Canada’s log cabins          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by JACK | Adventure + Travel (@jackboothby) Craving a cosy, Canadian-style log cabin getaway in the heart of nature? Northumberland’s remote treehouses, huts and cabins are the perfect fix for a rustic retreat. Woodland Chase’s glamping cabins and treehouse with hot tubs and wooden terraces, Huts in the Hills’ huts with spectacular views and outdoor copper bath tub, and Alnmouth Shoreside Huts that teeter on our staggering coastline are just a few options. Not to mention Hesleyside Huts’ cabins and brand new treehouse accommodation nestled away in Hesleyside Estate, or Kielder’s glass-roofed Sky Den that’s perfect for stargazing. 6) Iceland’s sealife          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Roberto Sauli (@sauliroberto) Iceland’s marine life is one of its highlights, but you don’t have to travel there to see adorable puffins and incredible whales. Visit The Farne Islands from Seahouses harbour with Serenity or Billy Shiels boat tours and you can see thousands of colourful puffins and lazing grey seals. Humpback and killer whales are also known to have been spotted off Northumberland’s coastline. 7) Japan’s cherry blossoms          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Lulu Knowles (@lulu_knowles_uk) If you’ve always wanted to walk beneath Japan’s famous Taihaku cherry blossom trees, you don’t have to travel as far as you think. Every spring, from the end of April to the beginning of May, The Alnwick Garden boasts the largest collection of ‘Taihaku’ cherry blossoms in the world. Comprising of 329 trees, they all bloom for a short-but-sweet two week period, when you can watch them fluttering above you while you wander through the orchard and relax on the swinging benches. 8) Norway’s Northern Lights         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Coast & Country Northumberland (@coastandcountrynorthumberland) Beautiful Norway is known for its dazzling Northern Lights displays and star-studded night skies, but did you know you can see the Northern Lights in Northumberland? We’re fortunate enough to have extremely low levels of light pollution, making Northumberland one of the best places in the country to go stargazing. The Northern Lights have been known to dance over our coastline, and the whole of Northumberland National Park and most of Kielder Water & Forest Park make up our International Dark Sky Park. Both Kielder Observatory and Battlesteads Observatory host awe-inspiring stargazing events, where you can see thousands of stars, the Milky Way, and the Andromeda Galaxy with the naked eye. 9) Finland’s forests          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Hannah (@explorewithhannah) If you fancy exploring thick forest landscapes and foraging for food fresh from nature like the Finnish do, look no further than Kielder Forest. Offering the perfect opportunity to reconnect with nature, you can wander along woodland walkways, weave your way through the trees by bike, and discover wildlife rustling on forest floors and soaring over treetops. Go foraging with professionals while you’re there to truly be at one with nature, or venture to our lesser-known woodland such as Warksburn, Hepburn and Holystone. 10) Mediterranean beaches         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Harley Bean (@harleyannx) Crystal clear water, pristine sand and exquisite seafood aren’t specific to overseas. Northumberland’s coast is an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, meaning it has been recognised for its distinctive character, striking beauty and outstanding wildlife. Endless beaches, quiet bays and countless castles sit along the stretch from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Seaton Sluice, just waiting to be discovered. Show us that you are here for tourism by tagging us in your Northumberland adventures on social media and using the hashtag #EnglishTourismWeek21.
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12 May 2021

21 for 2021

It’s been a long, long year, but hope is finally on the horizon. Places are opening up, things are certainly looking up, and after a year of staring at the same four walls, it’s about time you went on an adventure. We're already a few months into the year, but it definitely feels like time for a fresh start, so we have rounded up 21 things to do in Northumberland in 2021. Scroll through our ideas, add them to your bucket list, and book your trip for a year filled with endless experiences. Make sure you tag us in your Northumberland adventures at @visitnland/ @visitnorthumberland and use the hashtag #endlessexperiences. 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 imogen banks (@imogenbanks) Wander into the wilds of Northumberland and you just might find an unexpected opening where a whimsical waterfall tumbles into a bottomless plunge pot. 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 somewhere to dip your toes after a long walk. 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 with Billy Shiel Farne Island Tours or Serenity Farne Island Tours. Adorably clumsy puffins and lolloping seals reside at The Farne Islands, where birds rule the roost and humans are in the minority, 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 and enjoy an al fresco dinner with Wild Intrigue’s Goats and Gourmet activity. Cheviot Goats are members of one of the oldest herds of wild animals in Britain, and are a rare find roaming in the Cheviots. The trip is followed by an al fresco gourmet meal prepared by local chef Chris from Fells Kitchen while you take in the breath taking College Valley views. If you like the sound of this, you’ve goat to try their other activities too, such as Bats and Pizza, Moths and Muffins and more. 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. Want to walk the length of the wall without being weighed down by your luggage? Let Hadrian's Wall Baggage Transfer do the heavy lifting for you.  9) Hang out in 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) Nama-stay in a hot tub lodge         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Sandra Tang (@sandratang) Treat yourself, you deserve it! Soak off a tough year in a hot tub haven in one of Northumberland’s lodges and cottages. Unwind in Village Farm’s health club, bask in the bubbles of your private hot tub at Kielder Waterside lodges, or stay in The Little Owl Cottage at Border Forest and sink into your own jacuzzi. 12) Be OAR-some         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Landal Kielder Waterside (@landalkielderwaterside) Paddle past Warkworth Castle or into the estuary (depending on tide levels) with a two hour canoe tour along the River Coquet, or kayak over to Coquet Island and drift past puffins on an incredible wildlife excursion with Adventure Northumberland. Stand-up paddle board beside a castle on our coastline, or on breath-taking Kielder reservoir, and kayak over its calm waters.  13)  Walk a mile in someone else's shoes         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Cherry Cottage (@crastercottage) Let Footsteps in Northumberland lead the way along The Pilgrim's Way and follow in the footsteps of 6th century saints across the causeway to Lindisfarne Island. From April to September, hundreds of grey seals gather on the sandbanks, and from October to March thousands of migrating birds fill the bay and make this trip a wildlife lover's paradise. *Always check safe crossing times for Lindisfarne Island ahead of visiting. 14) Have your pick of the bunch         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Discover Northumberland (@discovernland) Pick your food straight from the forest and onto the plate with a Northern Wilds Wild Food Forage Feast course. 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. 15) Give yourself a push         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by @eco_cabs Get on yer’ bike and freewheel through forests, countryside and coast in Northumberland. We have gentle, circular routes for families, off-road adventures for the experienced cyclists, and scenic routes perfect for sight-seeing by bike. Hire everything while you're here with our fantastic bike hire services like Pedal Power, or, if you've got all the gear but no idea how to transport it, Ecocabs cycle transport will do just the trick. 16) Branch out         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Hesleyside Huts 🌿 (@hesleysidehuts) Feel the magic of sleeping in the treetops in one of Northumberland's awe-inspiring self-catering tree houses. Both Hesleyside Huts and Woodland Chase offer fairytale stays in a mystical woodland setting where you are quite literally immersed in nature, nestled away in the trees.  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. 21) Spread the love         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Dockside Gallery (@dockside_gallery) Show our locals some love and shop local when you visit Northumberland. This one doesn’t need much encouragement, as you won’t be able to resist our independent shops and eateries. You’ll be lured in by the flower front doorways of our shops, delicious smells from our butchers and bakeries, and the charm of our cobbled high streets. Pick up souvenirs and peruse artwork at our galleries, such as Dockside Gallery located in beautiful Berwick.  Please visit Northumberland in line with government guidance, and respect and protect our pristine county. Plan ahead and check individual attractions' websites for any pre-booking requirements. Take your litter home and only park in allocated spaces, give others plenty of space and help keep Northumberland unspoilt.  Author: Jenni Meikle
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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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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) on Mar 8, 2020 at 3:00am PDT 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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