Written by Gemma Hall
Battlesteads Hotel & Restaurant Wark NE48 3LS; 01434 230209; www.battlesteads.com. The reason you’re most likely to stay in this old farmhouse with impressive green credentials (once crowned Green Hotel of the Year in a national competition) is for the restaurant which is exceedingly good. Those interested in astronomy should go online to book special events held at Battlesteads’ very own observatory. Wark – a pleasant country village – is also well situated for trips into Kielder Forest, Redesdale and to Hadrian’s Wall. Rooms are modern but pricey (over £100 for a standard double) and some may find the décor a bit dated. To the rear of the hotel, next to the observatory, is a selection of contemporary, self-catering pine lodges. Wheelchair accessible.
St Mary’s Inn St Mary’s Park, St Mary’s Ln, near Stannington, Morpeth NE61 6BL; 01670 293293; www.stmarysinn.co.uk. Large, spotless B&B housed in an early 1900s former asylum a few miles south of Morpeth (and therefore a good option for those touring up the A1); modern and stylish with feature antiques, stripped floors, wrought-iron beds and a splash of colour in furnishings. Very good on-site restaurant.
The Hytte Bingfield (five miles north of Corbridge) NE46 4HR; 01434 672321; http://thehytte.com. This Norwegian-inspired Gold Award timber cabin just off the A68 has a turf roof, sauna and hot tub and gets booked up far in advance. It’s an unusual self-catering lodge (sleeps eight) set in over an acre of wildflower meadows and lawn. The Hytte is rated ‘exceptional’ for accessibility by the National Accessible Scheme and is very welcoming to wheelchair users. The price works out reasonably for large groups.
Shieldhall Wallington NE61 4AQ; 01830 540387; www.stayatshieldhall.co.uk. You can see the National Trust’s Wallington Hall from the gardens of this 18th-century farmhouse. The surrounding countryside is like stepping into parkland laid out by Capability Brown, which is fitting because the great landscape gardener’s family used to live here. Within Shieldhall’s ten acres, there’s a lovely meadow walk. The self-catering Cabinetmakers Suite (a barn conversion) is decorated to a very good standard with solid wood furniture (some pieces handcrafted by the owner and his son who have a cabinet-making business at Kirkharle). Homemade are available dinners on request
Southlands Farm Cottages Gunnerton, south of Wark NE48 4EA; 01434 681 464; www.southlandsfarmcottages.co.uk. Three stone cottages (side by side so good for large family groups) in a hamlet surrounded by hills and farmland. All cottages are furnished to a high standard (modern décor and fittings with a touch of the old) and are very cosy with wood-burning stoves and underfloor heating, hence the slightly above-average prices. The ecologically minded owners have rare-breed cattle, pigs and free-range hens. Help yourself to veg (with permission) from the organic kitchen garden. A welcome basket of fresh produce is provided on your first day.
If you want to find out more about accommodation options in Northumberland, check out our guide: