The Latest

24 June 2021

The World’s Original Marmalade Awards at Dalemain 20th June 2021

Local preserves producers, Sandy Higson, The Mad Jam Woman have (once again) found success at the World Artisan Marmalade Awards, receiving a gold award for their Lemon & Ginger with Chilli Marmalade, & four silver awards for Lemon & Cointreau, Seville & Cranberry, Orange & Carrot & Bucks Fizz Marmalades proving them to be some of the best in the world!   A firm favourite, these preserves are particularly loved for their Flavour, Clarity & versatility and clearly the judges agreed! They were very impressed with the marmalade’s appearance, colour, consistency, aroma and flavour.   Despite the pandemic and multiple UK lockdowns, the Marmalade Awards received a record-breaking number of entries this year, with over 3,000 jars from more than 30 countries worldwide including Japan, Canada, Australia, Kuwait and the Dominican Republic. The Artisan Awards are judged by an expert panel including food writer Dan Lepard and Fortnum & Mason Grocery Buyer Sarah Metcalf, and this accolade denotes a marmalade of exceptional quality.     Founder of the Awards Jane Hasell-McCosh says: ‘We have always been so proud to champion quality artisan producers, and this year it has been more important than ever. Small businesses have been hit incredibly hard by the pandemic, but I think it has made people realise how vital good, local food is, and I hope that The Mad Jam Woman will have huge success with her marmalade both locally and further afield. The quality of artisan marmalade has never been higher, and I am so proud of our Award winners this year.’   Due to continuing restrictions, the Awards were not announced in March as usual, and instead the winners were celebrated as part of the annual Plant Fair at Dalemain in June. Marmalade enthusiasts flocked to Dalemain to taste preserves from all over the world, see the winners announced and take part in ‘Marmalade Question Times’ with the experts.   Owner and artisan marmalade maker Sandy Higson says ‘I am so pleased to have won these awards against such strong competition from all over the world. I have been making my marmalade for (26) years and have always thought that it is some of the best marmalade we’ve ever tasted, so it’s nice to have the Awards to prove it!’   As well as online, The Mad Jam Woman’s marmalades etc can also be purchased at _Alnwick market every Saturday & many Local Shops. For the full list of Artisan Marmalade Awards, visit: https://www.dalemain.com/2021-award-winners/   The Awards are sponsored by Fortnum & Mason and Rathbones and are proud to raise money for palliative care around the world. This year’s key beneficiary is once again Hospice at Home Carlisle & North Lakeland, and to date the Awards have raised over £270,000 for palliative care around the world.   For more information about the Marmalade Awards visit www.marmaladeawards.com  
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16 April 2021

Tourism bosses welcome new era in astrotourism

NEW branding to promote one of the finest Dark Sky Parks in the country will hopefully lead to thousands more visitors heading to the North East once the pandemic is over. The new logo was designed by Drummond Central for Northumberland’s International Dark Sky, Park, one of the first in the country and still Europe’s largest Gold Tier Dark Sky Park. It reflects ambitions to develop a new era in astrotourism and capitalise on Northumberland’s first Dark Sky Festival. Tourism bosses said they were looking forward to welcoming visitors back to Northumberland and building on pre-pandemic figures, which showed that dark skies tourism was worth more than £25m per year to the county, generating around 450 jobs. Maureen McAllister, acting director of visitor economy at Visit Northumberland, said: “Dark sky tourism continues to play an integral role in Northumberland’s tourism strategy. It’s been fantastic to see businesses collaborating to successfully deliver the first Northumberland Dark Sky Festival. “We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors back so they can experience our spectacular dark skies for themselves.” Catherine Johns, CEO of Kielder Observatory, which attracts thousands of visitors a year to beautiful Kielder Water and Forest Park, said: “Like so many industries, tourism has been hit hard by the COVID pandemic. By working together, we see a real opportunity to grow Northumberland’s reputation as the best place in the country for astrotourism.” Northumberland has already gained a national reputation for the excellence of its dark skies, and new events are being planned as the branding is launched which will boost its astrotourism offering. It includes building on the Northumberland Dark Sky Festival held last month, where more than 4,600 people logged on to 13 live streamed events, such as an Introduction to Astro Photography and Chasing the Northern Lights. Roy Alexander, director of Battlesteads Observatory worked with Kielder, Twice Brewed and Stonehaugh Observatories to organise the Dark Sky Festival. He said: “I was really proud of our inaugural Dark Sky Festival which brought together all of the Northumberland observatories to share our passion for astronomy. Looking to the future, Northumberland will no doubt continue to lead as a Dark Sky Park, not just nationally but globally. I’m excited to be part of a new era of positivity and collaborations that will engage more people and see even more visitors come and see us.” Duncan Wise, visitor development and tourism officer for Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “During the pandemic we have all reconnected with nature whilst we stay at home and there’s a sense of humility about standing underneath a beautiful dark sky. By engaging with people online, more people have been able to experience Northumberland’s dark skies, many for the first time. As restrictions on movement start to ease, people will want to come and see themselves what Northumberland has to offer. We now have four observatories in and around our Dark Sky Park and we’re collaborating to support growth in our astrotourism offering. We look forward to welcoming people back for some unforgettable experiences.”
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13 April 2021

Dizzee Rascal to send Lindisfarne Festival goers into a spin for 2021

Organisers of Lindisfarne Festival have revealed a smash hit Friday night headliner for the event’s longed-for return at the end of the summer. BRIT Award and Mercury Music Prize winner, Dizzee Rascal takes his place at the top of the Friday line-up for the much-loved camping Festival, which will pitch up in glorious style once again at Beal Farm, Northumberland from September 2-5, 2021. The celebrated rapper, producer and pioneer of Grime music, Dizzee made his name in 2003 with debut LP, Boy In Da Corner, which caught the ear of Mercury Prize judges. Since then, he has released a raft of chart-topping singles including Dance Wiv Me and Bonkers and a crowd of platinum albums, cementing his place as one of British music’s finest. Lindisfarne Festival founder, Conleth Maenpaa, said: “We couldn’t be happier to be adding Dizzee Rascal as our Friday night headliner. He’s someone we’ve been chasing for a while, so it feels amazing to finally see his name riding high on the festival poster.” Small but beautifully formed, the independent Lindisfarne Festival has been growing in popularity year on year since its debut in 2015 and has built a reputation for being the ultimate end of summer party for grown-ups (the event is strictly over 18s only). Dizzee joins Grammy Award-winning British electronic music duo – and Lindisfarne Festival headliners - Groove Armada at the top of the bill for this year’s three-day music and arts extravaganza. “To have Dizzee Rascal and Groove Armada performing does seem brilliantly ridiculous,” added Conleth. The sixth Lindisfarne Festival will once more see 5,000 good-time seekers descend upon one of the UK’s most stunning festival settings, overlooking the majestic Holy Island on the Northumberland coast. “It’s hard to believe it has been six years since our first event,” said Conleth. “Having such big hitters heading up the bill really does feel like we’re moving up a gear. And if there was ever a year to do it, I think it’s this one.” Along with the rest of the UK festival industry, Lindisfarne Festival had to shelve plans for the 2020 event when the Covid-19 pandemic took hold. Thankfully, the vast majority of acts were rebooked for the 2021 dates including Alabama 3, From The Jam and Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club. They will be joined by an array of acts spanning a rainbow of musical genres. Fabio and Grooverider, Showhawk Duo, Dutty Moonshine Big Band, Zion Train, Shades of Rhythm, We Are Champion, Lancashire Hotpots, DJ Rap, Letz Zep, Rachel Croft and Backyard Rhythm Orchestra are just some of the 200+ musicians and performing artists taking to the Festival’s 10 distinct stages. Alongside the music, there will be a diverse programme of creative workshops, stand-up comedy, spoken word, yoga and holistic therapies on offer as well as luxury glamping packages for those not so keen on the camping bit! Conleth says he and the rest of the team are feeling excited and optimistic as everything starts to take shape. He said: “We were incredibly grateful to be awarded a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund, which will help to make this year’s event the best yet and give us the confidence to grow in ambition for years to come.” “Like everyone else, the whole team here are absolutely buzzing about the prospect of being able to get together with people again and soak up that special festival atmosphere, which you can’t get anywhere else. We can’t wait.” Lindisfarne Festival tickets are on sale now via www.lindisfarnefestival.com/tickets with monthly payment plans available and 3-day festival passes priced at £105, including camping. Keep an eye on the Festival’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts for updates.
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26 February 2021

TV's Julia Bradbury steps up

Television's queen of walking Julia Bradbury has stepped up to back a pub group that's encouraging people to enjoy being outdoors with new, self-guided Walk Inn breaks. Celebrating the nation's rekindled love for walking - and its fondness for the great British pub - The Inn Collection Group's Walk Inn breaks combine the best of an idyllic inn stay with self-guided walking routes in some of the UK's best-loved walking destinations. Television presenter and co-founder of online resource The Outdoor Guide, Julia Bradbury is famous for sharing her enthusiasm for walking, which, she says, goes hand in hand with pubs. Said Julia: “Pubs and walking – they're two great British institutions and together are a match made in heaven. “Now that there's an end in sight to travel restrictions with UK pub stays set to resume from May 17th, we're all looking forward to a change of scenery and what better way to experience this than pulling on your walking boots and setting off to explore some of the best scenery the UK has to offer – while staying in a pub. “I can't wait to be heading out on a trail which will end at a welcoming, family friendly pub, where I know grand grub and my favourite drink will be waiting for me – just the perfect combination after a day's walking. She added: “With light at the end of the tunnel for lockdown restrictions easing, now's the perfect time to plan where and what we'll be doing when we can. Local businesses like our pubs and the network of food and drink producers who supply them need our support right now, which is why I'm delighted to be stepping forward with The Inn Collection Group and their Walk Inn breaks.” With another staycation boom on the horizon following lockdown restrictions lifting alongside Brexit, many of us are already planning an outdoor adventure in the UK. Data released by VisitEngland[1] in their latest COVID-19 consumer sentiment tracker wave revealed a further rise in the number of people intending to take part in outdoor activities such as walking or cycling when travel restrictions ease. It also showed an added uplift in people's intentions to visit outdoor areas including mountains, beaches and trails. Kate Bentley is rooms director for The Inn Collection Group. She said: “We have seen a surge of demand for outdoor breaks which market intelligence from VisitEngland also confirms. “People are looking forward to being able to enjoy the freedom and wellness benefits of being outdoors and experiencing somewhere new once travel restrictions are lifted. “Walking ambassadors like Julia, along with our newfound connection to walking built through lockdown, has rekindled a love of the outdoors and walking for so many of us. “Our Walk Inn breaks will encourage people of all walking abilities to discover new places and scenery that is literally on the doorstep of our inns when domestic pub stays resume from May 17th, with the reassurance of our flexible cancellation policy and full refund guarantee so people can book with peace of mind knowing there is nothing to pay until they arrive. Our 'Inn Safe Hands' policy includes no quibble, full refunds within seven days as a result of closure.” She added: “We have a such a diverse collection of pubs in locations handpicked for their USP – whether that's on the sea front in Northumberland, close to vast moors in North Yorkshire or surrounded by magnificent fells in the Lakes. One thing they all have in common is their access to an array of walking routes that are suitable for all ages and abilities.” Running until 31 October 2021, Walk Inn breaks include a welcome drink on arrival, two-course dinner on your first night, two night's bed and breakfast, a pack of 20 Ordinance Survey walks plus a hearty packed lunch as well as the reassurance of free cancellations, nothing to pay until you arrive and a full refund within seven days in the event of closure. Also included is a free boot clean or access to wash down, drying and cleaning facilities. And if you're planning to take a four-legged friend, dogs stay free of charge on Walk Inn getaways[2]. Prices start from £125 per person for two nights, based on two sharing a double or twin room, offering a saving of up to £40 per person. For more information visit www.inncollectiongroup.com
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19 February 2021

Great News for Ad Gefrin and the People of Wooler

Today the team behind Ad Gefrin announce that they have now received the final go ahead for the highly anticipated visitor experience and bespoke whisky distillery development in North Northumberland. There could not be a better start to 2021 for all involved and the Wooler Community! Despite all that has happened in the past year, the core Ad Gefrin team has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure that when this moment came, they could hit the ground running. This means that work on Ad Gefrin can start immediately, and North East contractors Brims Construction Ltd, have now moved onsite. This will make Ad Gefrin the first project in the Borderlands Programme for Northumberland to break ground. Ad Gefrin has received £3m from the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal which is funded through the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and has also received £1m from the North East Rural Growth Network – Strategic Economic Infrastructure Fund (SEIF) through the North East LEP, and £600k through Northumberland County Council. These successful funding bids show the project has gained supporters with the promise of a resurgence to Northumberland tourism, an exporter trade boost, and environmental considerations integrating the site into the surrounding landscape. Located in Wooler on the edge of the Northumberland National Park, this exciting and innovative multi-million-pound regeneration project plans to deliver economic growth to the local and wider communities of Glendale. Those living within, passing through or visiting this outstanding area of the county will see the new visitor experience start to take shape during 2021 with the opening expected in Autumn 2022. Commenting on the exciting news, Eileen Ferguson said, “We have never doubted that we could fulfil our vision to create a world class visitor destination in this beautiful county. The people of Glendale haven’t doubted either. Throughout everything we have continued to be overwhelmed by everyone’s good wishes – even when it looked on the surface as if progress was slow to the point of coming to a halt. We can’t thank everyone enough. “We really want to thank all those who have worked so hard to get us to this point. We especially wish to thank Northumberland County Council and their officers who have given so much support to the development of Ad Gefrin. We hope this news lifts everyone’s spirits and means we can all start 2021 on a real high looking forward to much better times ahead.” Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP said: “It’s fantastic that work can now begin on a new multimillion pound visitor centre and distillery at Ad Gefrin – a hugely important site showcasing Northumberland’s heritage.”  “The new centre and distillery, backed by £3 million investment from the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, will provide a magnet for tourism as well as an important export boost for the region.” “We’re levelling up across the country by investing in projects which create jobs and drive economic growth, making our regions great places to live, work and visit.” Also delighted, Glen Sanderson, Leader of Northumberland County Council commented: “This is extremely welcome news which will bring more jobs, investment and visitors to this beautiful part of our county. We’ve worked so hard behind the scenes to support this fantastic project and we’re looking forward to seeing construction start imminently and hopefully open for business by the end of next year.” With the ambition to create upwards of 50 FTE new jobs, this funding approval will help revitalise the rural economy in the Glendale valley and couldn’t have come at a better time to support a COVID-19 recovery. Tourism is a key economic driver for Northumberland and will likely be boosted by the expanding market for UK staycation tourism.  Ad Gefrin will showcase Northumberland’s unique Anglo-Saxon heritage and celebrate its ancient hospitality alongside the very best arts, crafts and produce the county offers today, as well as re-awakening a 200-year-old local tradition for whisky distilling, bringing a much-needed boost to the valley’s economy and wider region come 2022. Helen Golightly, Chief Executive of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Ad Gefrin is one of the most important economic and tourist developments for many years in North Northumberland and will undoubtedly boost economic activity in Wooler and the wider Glendale community.  “I am delighted that funds from our Local Growth Fund have been invested by the Rural Growth Network into a second iconic development on the fringe of Northumberland National Park, complementing The Sill, on Hadrian’s Wall. The development team are congratulated on their vision and commitment to deliver this unique scheme on this highly visible gateway site into Wooler and The Cheviots. Tony Gates, Chief Executive of Northumberland National Park, responded to today’s announcement: “This is exciting news for North Northumberland and for tourism and heritage in the county more generally. “To have a new visitor destination which will foster rural economic growth and which reflects the rich heritage of our landscape at a key gateway to Northumberland National Park is a significant boost for the area. The Ferguson family’s vision and passion for the landscape and heritage of Glendale will come to life at Ad Gefrin, symbolising the unique qualities of Northumberland in more ways than one. I wish the project every success and we in Northumberland National Park look forward to working closely with Ad Gefrin to showcase the best of this special place.”
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04 February 2021

The Lindisfarne Gospels to Return

Northumberland County Council has today welcomed the exciting news that the Lindisfarne Gospels are set to return to the region in autumn 2022. The world-renowned Lindisfarne Gospels will travel from the British Library in London to the Laing Art Gallery (part of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums) in Newcastle for three months as part of a cultural programme across the North East. The Gospels were created on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne in Northumberland in the 8th Century and are one of Britain’s greatest artistic treasures. Cllr Glen Sanderson, Leader of the council, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news for the region and for Northumberland. We fully supported the bid to bring the Gospels back to their home region and the Laing Art Gallery will be a spectacular venue for the exhibition. “The Gospels hold a special place in the art, heritage and culture of Northumberland. This exhibition will allow residents and visitors to experience this unique opportunity and discover for themselves these wonderful, world-class treasures which celebrate our region’s contribution to the world. “This exhibition, along with the 1900th anniversary of Hadrian’s Wall also being celebrated next year, means that 2022 is set to be a very exciting year for Northumberland, making us a must-see destination for visitors.”
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27 January 2021

Restaurant Hjem is Northumberlands star attraction in the 2021 Michelin Guide

Inspectors from the world’s most prestigious restaurant guide have declared a shining new North East star on the UK’s fine dining landscape. Restaurant Hjem has put Northumberland on the Michelin Guide map after being awarded a coveted star by the illustrious restaurant bible for its 2021 edition. Less than two years since welcoming its first guests, Hjem - located in Wall in the heart of Hadrian’s Wall Country – is already a destination restaurant, attracting food lovers from all over the North East and far beyond thanks to its exquisite tasting menu and unique atmosphere. Having attracted the attention of Michelin Guide inspectors just weeks after opening in May 2019 – resulting in commending Michelin Plate entry in the 2020 Guide – Hjem, which combines the best local produce with Scandinavian values and cooking techniques, will now join fellow star recipients Newcastle’s House of Tides and The Raby Hunt in Darlington at the North East’s top table. Head chef Alex Nietosvuori from Sweden, who runs Hjem with his partner, Northumberland-born Ally Thompson, said: “It’s such a fantastic honour to be given this recognition and we could not be happier. “As a chef, this is one of the achievements you aim for… which makes this a day for big celebrations!” The announcement was made during a digital but nevertheless emotional launch, presented by TV personality Davina McCall and Michelin International Director, Gwendal Poullennec. Speaking at the launch, Mr Poullennec, said: “This has been a hugely challenging period for the hospitality industry and our thoughts remain with all those who have suffered from the pandemic and by the restrictions that have been put in place. He continued: “We were heartened by the number of chefs who called us during the year to ensure we were still going ahead with the Guide and our yearly awards. The Michelin Guide is about so much more than recognising those at the top of their profession; it is about promoting the hospitality industry as a whole and we want to shine a light on the hard work, tenacity and commitment of chefs and restaurant teams.” Ally, who along with Alex, was watching proceedings from the comfort of Hjem’s elegant 24-cover dining room, said: “We are absolutely over the moon and can’t quite believe it. “It’s fair to say this has been the worst year for hospitality anyone can remember, so to get this news is such an amazing boost for the whole Restaurant Hjem team, who work so incredibly hard – and of course our wonderful North East suppliers. “We couldn’t be prouder to be Northumberland’s only Michelin starred restaurant and look forward to being able to open our doors again to celebrate with friends and guests.” Like the rest of the UK hospitality industry, Restaurant Hjem has been operating under a range of Government restrictions throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and is currently closed due to lockdown. Alex, who lists some of Scandinavia’s most celebrated restaurants on his CV including Maaemo in Oslo (3 Michelin Stars) and Daniel Berlin Krog in Skåne Tranås (2 Michelin Stars), added: “The past 10 months have of course been very frustrating and uncertain, so to get a Michelin Star during such a challenging time is truly wonderful. “It makes us even more eager – if that’s possible - to get back in the kitchen!” Hjem, which is typically booked up three months in advance, is now a member of the most exclusive of culinary clubs who can boast the coveted Michelin Star, and Ally and Alex are looking forward to receiving the all-important plaque and chef’s jacket in the coming days. Based on five criteria: quality of the ingredients used, mastery of flavor and cooking techniques, the personality of the chef in his cuisine, value for money and consistency between visits, inspectors can award between zero and three stars. Ally said: “We’re so pleased the inspectors visited Hjem during the few months when we were able to open in 2020. We felt like we had come such a long way since their first visit in 2019 and could not be more thrilled that they seem to agree. “On a personal note, I’m also pretty excited as Alex always said he’d propose when he got a Michelin Star!” In normal times, Restaurant Hjem serves a tasting menu for £85; with wine and juice pairing options. There are also Dinner B&B packages available. To find out more and to be the first to hear when bookings will reopen, visit www.restauranthjem.co.uk or keep your eyes on Hjem’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts
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27 January 2021

The Inn Collection Group overcomes pandemic adversity with a hat-trick of award shortlists

The Inn Collection Group has confirmed its status as being among the best in the country after being revealed as a finalist in a trio of national awards.The Northumberland-based pubco features on the shortlist for three categories in the prestigious Publican Awards, which champion the very best operators in the pub industry. In the running for Best Accommodation Operator and Best Managed Pub Company, the group is also looking to retain the sought-after title of Best Pub Employer, an award the group has held for a record two consecutive years.Sean Donkin, managing director of The Inn Collection Group said: “It’s pretty amazing being shortlisted for these awards. To reach the finals in three categories is a real boost in these difficult times, as the sector continues to be hard-hit by the ongoing pandemic.“More so, it’s a fitting tribute to the extraordinary team we have at The Inn Collection Group who display time after time their resilience, passion to succeed and agility to adapt, evolve and deliver. “It’s down to each and every member of our team that the company continues to overcome adversity and that we push together to be the best as one, without losing sight of the reason why we do what we do – and that’s giving our customers the best possible experience when they eat, drink, sleep and explore from our inns.”He added: “We will continue to reinvest in our staff with the latest innovations in training and supporting their well-being throughout these difficult times. We are continuing to carry out exciting refurbishments and upgrades across our inns and investing in the environments and communities we operate within, so we emerge from lockdown in a strong position that is ready to go from the outset – hopefully with some premium new silverware in the cabinet, too.”Ed Bedington is editor of The Morning Advertiser which organisers the event. He said: “While the awards are certainly going to be different in 2021, following a year of almost total shutdown, the aim remains the same, to celebrate some of the excellent work that operators have been doing despite the challenges.“Ours is a sector that has been battered long and hard by the storm of the crisis with limited support that continues to tail off. Yet despite that, we’ve seen some fantastic responses from operators in the trade and these awards, as ever, aim to recognise that excellence, as well as shining a light on how our sector continues to push onwards, despite the difficulties it faces. “It’s been inspiring to see some the entries this year despite everything and I look forward to celebrating your successes down the line.”A panel of judges made up of leading industry experts will start the second stage of the rigorous judging process, conducting virtual head office visits to assess finalists before Dragon’s Den style panel interviews conclude the judging process. An online evening awards ceremony on Tuesday 30 March will replace the usual Publican Awards ceremony at Battersea Evolution in London. The Alchemy-backed group has venues across Northumberland, County Durham, Cumbria, Yorkshire and Lancashire while a 40-bedroom, new-build site on Sunderland’s seafront at Seaburn is currently under construction. Its Eat, Drink, Sleep and Explore pubs-with-rooms brand includes all day, every day food service and affordable accommodation.
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27 January 2021

All the King's Horses

- A weekend of Roman riders at Chesters Roman Fort-The most intelligent and well paid soldiers with the most beautiful grey horses from northern Spain - Chesters Roman Fort was home to 500 horses and prestigious soldiers from the Roman Army and over the weekend of 17 and 18 August visitors can experience mounted cavalry and gain an insight into the late Roman period, the time of the myth of King Arthur.Feel the pounding of the horses underfoot, wonder at the ability and agility of the horses, five riders will display some of the techniques and elaborate manoeuvres this elite cavalry would be involved in.Comments Jon Hogan, Events Manager English Heritage;“An event with horses is always an exciting and thrilling one. Visitors can really sense the speed and precision with which these warriors performed and we are welcoming them to Chesters to step back in time and learn more about this fascinating period.”“The all-mounted ‘alae’, like the one based here at Chesters, contained the elite cavalry of the Roman Army, they were best-suited for large-scale operations and battle and were heavily protected, with chain-mail or body armour. Their weapons included spears, swords, javelins, bows and arrows and also the kontos - a very large double ended spear, all of which can be seen at the event next week..”There will also be hands on activities fun with children’s Archaeology Detectives, based at the site throughout the weekend.http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/events/king-arthurs-cavalry-crf-17-aug/Admission:£6.50/ £5.50/ £4.50 £1 extra admission per child for the Time Travellers Go…activities.EH Members free
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27 January 2021

Battlesteads shines with second Three Star Rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association

Battlesteads Hotel and Restaurant in Wark, near Hexham, is delighted to have been crowned a Three Star Sustainability Champion for a second year by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA). The hotel’s restaurant is one of only five restaurants in the North of England to have achieved the title of ‘Three Star Champion’, the highest accolade bestowed by the SRA and demonstrates the hotel's continued commitment to an ethos of green credentials and a responsibility to the local community and environment at large. To become a Three Star Champion, Battlesteads Hotel received a rating of over 75% in three core sustainability areas; sourcing, the environment and the community.Multi-award winning Battlesteads Hotel and Restaurant is renowned for its superb food, welcoming hospitality and outstanding ‘green’ credentials. In fact, it’s widely recognised as one of the UK’s top sustainable tourism destinations.Originally built as a farmstead in 1747, the stone-built pub, hotel and restaurant features a cosy open fire, sunny walled beer garden and conservatory. The food is prepared using only fresh, local produce, much of it grown on site. The bar offers a great choice of organic, Fairtrade and biodynamic wines plus four cask ales, including two from local micro-breweries. The SRA is a not for profit organisation that helps restaurants become more sustainable and aids diners in making informed choices of where to dine. Their star ratings system enables restaurants to be independently judged by an SRA representative across 14 key areas of sustainability and benchmarked against a One Star, Two Star or Three Star rating. A Sustainability Champion Star Rating Badge is the hallmark of a restaurant that goes the extra mile to achieve sustainability, with a highly commended status rewarded by Three Stars. Mark Linehan, Managing Director of the SRA, said: ‘Attaining an outstanding Three Star Sustainability Champion award for the second time is an exceptional achievement for Battlesteads. The restaurant demonstrates outstanding standards across all areas of the business, exemplified in its total commitment to sourcing quality local and seasonal produce. Consumers tell us they want to eat in restaurants that share their values. Battlesteads is meeting that demand and setting an example for other restaurants in the area to follow.” Richard Slade, owner of Battlesteads Hotel adds: ‘Sustainability is a word we hear banded around often, but true sustainability is seen through commitment, hard work and a dedicated drive to make positive changes to your business. We’re delighted to have maintained our Three Star Rating and through initiatives such as our ‘Responsible Visitor Charter’ and promotion of our environmental policy, we can help inform guests of the big steps we are making so our business makes a small one on the environment.’ ‘This isn’t an award you can win on your own, and huge thanks must go to our fantastic local suppliers, our invaluable staff and the Hexham and Northumberland community at large, who we continue to engage with and who have offered us great support over the years.’ Sustainability is an on-going focus for Richard, Battlesteads and the team, with plans for further eco-development of the hotel and restaurant in the pipeline for 2014.For more information and to book a visit to Battlesteads Hotel & Restaurant please email [email protected] or call 01434 230209Other awards recently won by Battlesteads Hotel and Restaurant:* Sustainable Restaurant Association 3 Star Rating 2012* Green Tourism Business Scheme Gold Award 2012 and 2013* Your Northumberland Guide Best Sunday Lunch in Northumberland December 2011* Green Hotel of the Year in the 2011 Hotel Cateys* Best Accommodation for the Environment in the 2011 Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards* Pub Wine List of the Year in the Academy of Food and Wine Service Awards for Excellence 2011* Considerate Hotel of the Year 2010/11 by the Considerate Hoteliers Association* Silver in the Sustainable Tourism category of the 2011 EnjoyEngland Awards for Excellence* Great British Pub of the Year 2010 also Green Pub of the Year in the same awards run by The Morning Advertiser
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27 January 2021

ntergalactic Invaders Expected as Schools Break up for Summer

As the schools break up for the long summer holidays, parents and grandparents everywhere are looking for inspiration for entertaining days out that won’t break the bank. Woodhorn has some great activities coming up that are perfect for the whole family. Every day (Woodhorn’s open Monday and Tuesday during the holidays too) from Saturday 20th July until Sunday 1st September, insect nets and crib sheets will be at the ready as Woodhorn hosts prepare to lead popular bug hunts. The free mini safaris in search of creepy crawlies around the Woodhorn site take place at 2pm each afternoon. Between noon and 3pm each day families will be having fun in the Ashington Group Gallery and taking A Closer Look at the Pitmen Painters. They will search for hidden objects, recreate sounds and re-enact scenes from the paintings in this free sensory exploration of this famous art collection. At 11am, 1.30pm and 3pm there’s a chance to find out more about this fascinating historical site as a host guides family groups around the former colliery buildings. The tours are also free. If you would like to discover the historic and contemporary buildings in your own time, why not pick up a special trail sheet and discover some wonderful textile work made by North East group Stitch in 9 as you explore. The members of Stitch in 9 have been inspired by the people, places and history of Woodhorn to create this exciting new collection of work. But it’s an out-of-this-world event that really kicks of the summer fun at Woodhorn. Sunday 21st July will see the site buzz with excitement as visitors from outer space make a return visit. The Intergalactic Invaders may have travelled across time and space, but the Northumberland museum is becoming a firm favourite for them. Come along and meet a host of science fiction characters ranging from Daleks to Doctors, Jedis to Jawas and many more! The day is jam packed with fun activity too. (This is a charity event with all proceeds raised during the day going towards Dreamflight and the Woodhorn Narrow Gauge Railway.) For full information on the events and exhibition programme visit the website: www.experiencewoodhorn.com You can also keep up to date with the latest news on the Woodhorn Facebook page.
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15 December 2020

Coquet cottages wins prestigious british travel award

Coquet Cottages has been announced as the winner of the Gold award for Best UK Cottage Holiday Company in the prestigious 2020 British Travel Awards. Usually a live event, this year’s Awards were announced by TV presenter Alex Jones, at a virtual ceremony, broadcast live from London on 14th December.Coquet Cottages is a family-run letting agency based in Northumberland with over 110 luxury privately-owned holiday properties. With a happy team of highly-knowledgeable locals we pride ourselves on offering a personal and friendly service. After winning bronze in 2018, and 2019 we’re delighted to win for the third year in a row – this time the top award of Gold!British Travel Awards’ chief executive Lorraine Barnes Burton said: Coquet Cottages is to be congratulated on winning Best UK Cottage Holiday Company in this most difficult year for the travel industry.“The winners of the British Travel Awards are decided by votes from the travelling public and despite many people being unable to take a holiday this year some did manage to, before and between lockdowns. We also asked voters to show their support for companies they had a good experience with, paying attention to customer service – recognising companies who had helped them with re-bookings, refunds and cancellations. The British Travel Awards is still the largest consumer voted awards in the UK and congratulations to all the worthy winners. We’re looking ahead and forward, all being well, to travelling again soon.”
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