Author: Jackie Forsyth

alnwickgardencascade

The Alnwick Garden

The Duchess of Northumberland had the vision of creating a garden open to all, which would reinvigorate the historic gardens at Alnwick Castle. Opened in 2001, the Alnwick garden reflects the glory and spirit of the earlier gardns on the site. Using the talent, expertise and technology of our time, the Garden – while mindful of its predecessors – is not a slavish recreation of the past, but a garden for the 21st Centry using state of the art technology to control The Grand Cascade.  It is a place of beauty and learning, relevant to future generations as well as our own. It is a garden for the community as well as a high provile tourist attraction and is evolving over time. To find out more about the garden and its facilities go to www.alnwickgarden.com The garden is open daily – see website for times and prices. and the What’s on Guide for events Only assistance dogs are permited in the Alnwick Garden. Tickets to visit the Alnwick Garden include admission to the walled garden, the …

IMG_1426 2

Possibly the shortest and crumbliest Shortbread……

and no its not made by Carlsberg. More new additions to our guest welcome packs, this time Laura Hindmarsh, Head of Housekeeping has been on the look out for the sweet treats for our packs this year. She’s been busy over the last few weeks which have seen deliveries of all sorts of tempting things pass through the office. – We are now all on pre-summer diets because of it. So we’ve tried cakes of all shapes and sizes, tray bakes and biscuits – odd flavours, new flavours, and strange flavour combinations, some really really lovely chocolatey, gunky, gooey and mouthwateringly great things to tempt our lucky guests.  But when all came to all, an old favourite triumphed, but goodness what a lovely sweet treat we have instore for arrival days from Alnwick based “This little Farmer”.  A traditional family shortbread recipe, baked at home to order.  These biscuits just couldn’t be crumblier, tastier, or more tempting, you can’t just have one, and accompanied by a lovely cup of Northumberland tea, just majic, well done Laura …

Pilgrims4lisajonny

We’re Roasting in Northumberland

We love meeting our suppliers and finding new ones is a great adventure.  General Manager Lisa Herbertson, has been looking out for some new items to put in our welcome packs for guests, something local, something useful, and really tasty.  Last week she turned her efforts to finding some great coffees.  Gone are the days of leaving our guests sticks of Nescafe instant, or even a jar of Dowe Egberts – we want to provide something that’s been lovingly sourced and produced locally. Step up to the plate Jonny and Andy, the guys run their roasting rooms out of Pilgrims Cafe on Holy Island, and following a bit of detective work, Lisa sussed out that the boys actually import coffee beans, roast and blend, package and despatch all from their Yurt in the grounds. We’ve learnt that its actually a skilful art to get that great cup of coffee, the right quantity of grounds, the exact amount of water carefully drizzled over the top at just the right temperature. Jonny and Andy are both pationate about …

LynOld dairy

Golden Delight

Neil and I often take a Sunday afternoon trip out into Northumberland, we live and work on the coast so its nice to take off for a couple of hours inland for a change. Last weekend we headed for the village of Ford.  Its a typical “Northumberland estate village”, beautiful stone houses, with manicured gardens, a Castle, a post office, and a couple of artisan shops, plus the Lady Waterford gallery. Just on the edge of the village is where we wanted to head – to visit The Old Dairy concept store, and take afternoon tea in their fabulous coffee shop – a bit of a contradiction in terms there but you know what I mean. Its an eclectic mix of old furniture, bric a brac, and reclaimation finds, its all for sale, and in the coffee shop, bone china mis-matched cups and saucers, traditional old flatware, and just a total bombardment for the senses, with so much to look at, great food, the aroma of delicious italian coffee, and Keith’s dulcet tones in the background telling …

alwintonshow

Alwinton

  If you’re serious about walking or genuinely want to “get away from it all”  then a holiday in & around Alwinton will be ideal for you. The village is located at the head of the Coquet Valley on the edge of the Northumberland National Park and the Cheviot Hills, probably the last largely unexplored area of England. Alwinton is the intersection of a number of ancient drovers roads which linked England and Scotland and is the last village in Upper Coquetdale,  surrounded by rolling hills and is a great starting point for walks or cycling in the Border country.

gallery_75_prop1897

Craster

A small fishing village on the North Northumberland coast, this pretty place is famed for two things, the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle situated about a mile walk along the grassy outcrop above the sea,  and the art of transforming the shiny silver herring to the shimmering gold of the Kipper.   Now a popular holiday destination the village thrives on its visitors.  Those who rent one of the pretty ex-fishing cottages, or boutique style conversions, and stay a while,  or those that visit for the day. Either way  – walk to the castle, wonder a while at the stunning views and the beaches of nearby Embleton Bay with a picnic, or lunch at the Jolly Fisherman with its quaint garden fish and chip shack, Robsons for fish to take home, or Shoreline Cafe for a tasty quick bite lunch inside or out on the deck if its fine. Or, take a look at the view through someone elses eyes – visit Mick Oxley’s art gallery, his images are a master class of colour and vision, …

kyloe_hills_2_20111120_1452226857

Lets go North…

There are such a vast number of places to visit in Northumberland, many folks head to the North of the County and get as far as the beautiful coastline scattered with its castles along miles of sandy beaches, little fishing fishing villages, great walking, and a wonderful selection of spots to stop off for a drink and a bite to eat.  But, travel just a few miles further north and there’s another world to visit, stay and explore and accommodation here can be a few % more kind to your pocket too. Only five or six miles north and a little inland is the old coaching town of Belford.  Once a frenetic stopping off point on the North/South journey from Edinburgh to Newcastle and beyond, it is now bypassed by the modern day A1.  A death nell for the town, some may have thought, but this market town has retained many of its features from its former life, the old coaching inns, cobbled market square, impressive stone structures reminicent of more affluent times, and is building …

4

Garden Room Garden Party

Tea anyone? What a cracking day for the owners of Garden Room in Whitley Bay to have chosen to host their fund raiser event in aid of the Parkinsons UK. They opened their garden, including the garden of the Garden Room, to stalls of all denominations – cake stall, bric a brac, children’s raffle, adults raffle, bouncy castle, live music, tombola as well as home made hot dog & burger stall, all made for a great day out. The Garden Room hosted the afternoon teas, tables were laid with linen table cloths, china tea cups and an array of sandwiches and cakes took you back to the days where afternoon tea in the orchard was the “done thing”, and demonstrated just how versatile this little gem of a self catering holiday let this is. To sample the Garden Room and its quintessential English charm, they accept short breaks and longer stays click here

2

Farne Islands

The Farne Islands are a spectacular venue….. for birdwatchers and photographers, its great to take the kids they won’t come any closer to wildlife than here especially if you take a landing trip. Often at the end of March the first Puffins have already arrived and are inspecting the burrows in readiness for the breeding season (photo courtesy of the Farne Island Rangers) and our friend Andrew took this fantastic video of the guillemots coming back around the same time, so from then on there’s lots to see on the Farne Islands, and as the breeding season progresses, a variety of other birds take up residence, pufflings hatch and the guillemot jumplings launch themselves from the cliffs for their first swimming attempt if you are there to witness this event you wonder how so many of them survive.   Find out just what wonders await beneath the waves with this 10 minute video from our friend Ben Burville – an officionado of all things underwater at the Farnes, he often consults with BBC, and other …

1

Best of the best Holiday Cottages

2016 is the year where our British Olympians once again go for gold this time in Rio.  But achieving Gold isn’t just restricted to elite sports personalities. Its been a busy time here at Stay Northumbria HQ, you’d think that post Christmas the workload would quieten off, but no – not only is it peak booking season,  its general maintenance time, and quickly followed by Visit England’s annual inspection of properties. Visit England is the body which grants the coveted star ratings to self catering holiday cottages. So visitors to our inspected properties are assured of minimum criteria being met depending upon the star rating being displayed, of course it goes without saying that the minimum criteria is often surpassed and those properties which demonstrate that kind of committment to guest comfort and service strive to achieve a Gold Award.  So 5 Star with a Gold Award attached being the best of the best. This year we have some newcomers to our portfolio who have been assessed for the first time – so congratulations to the following …