Pretty Northumberland Villages Outdoor Enthusiasts Will Love
There’s so much to see and do in Haltwhistle, Allendale and Alston
If you’re after pub classics and real ale head to Haltwhistle’s busy Black Bull, parts of which date back to the 12th century. Along the road, Bowes in Bardon Mill is a great village and community hub serving great food and beers (there are also six rooms here). In Haydon Bridge, The General Havelock has long been a local favourite for good food and a great atmosphere. The Golden Lion in picturesque Allendale is the place for reliably good pub grub – from steak and ale pie to freshly cooked pizza. In Alston head to Saddlers Bakery and Bistro for delicious homemade dishes, and the station café is also worth popping into while you are here. A little further west, The Shepherd’s Inn at Melmerby is a family-run pub at the bottom of Hartside serving good pub food, local beer and handpicked wines.
In Alston, Lowbyre Manor Country House is a warm and welcoming B&B with 11 ensuite rooms, and is also available on an exclusive basis as a self-catering holiday let. Nearby, Nent Hall Country Hotel near Alston is a country house hotel with beautiful gardens, and The King’s Head in the heart of Allendale has a selection of cosy and comfortable rooms to choose from and a homely bar area where you can try quality cask ales. North of Allendale, back in the Tyne Valley, Langley Castle is a stunning 14th century castle hotel, with luxury accommodation and a fine dining restaurant.
In Allendale, head to Allendale Forge Studios to browse local arts, crafts and exhibitions, and Gallery in the Mill, a fine art gallery in an historic smelting mill. Visit Allendale Brewery’s shop in Allendale to try their popular ales and seltzers. In Alston, visit Market Cross and Mellow Yellow for quirky gifts, and stock up at Alston Wholefoods, an ethical grocer and deli renowned for its great stock of speciality cheeses. The Nook is a farm shop, café and information centre on the Epiacum Roman Fort site just outside Alston and well worth a visit. Back in Bardon Mill, Errington Reay Pottery is where you can pick up beautiful, handmade British pottery, including collectors specials and unique garden water features, and head to Tim Foxall in Haltwhistle who sells his fantastic quirky spatulas which are all handmade.
The beauty of the area means it is a magnet for all outdoor enthusiasts. Check out some of the region’s best trails which include part of The Pennine Way and Isaacs Tea Trail, which links Alston with Allerdale and includes the hamlets of Ninebanks and historic Nenthead. Once you’ve checked out the Hub Museum at Alston Station to learn about the history of Alston and local transport, you can hop aboard one of the South Tynedale Railway’s vintage trains to enjoy the beautiful scenery from your seat (check out their website for the current timetable) or walk and ride as you can jump on and off the train, which stops at Kirkhaugh and Lintley on the five-mile journey north to Slaggyford. Sinderhope Pony Trekking Centre is situated in the heart of the once-famous lead and silver mining country and many of the treks follow paths once trodden by teams of pack ponies, each carrying 16 stone of lead over the moors to industrial Tyneside. It is true that many of the amazing panoramic views are best appreciated from horseback. Sci-fi fanatics need to know about the Museum of Classic Sci-Fi in Allendale which showcases the history of Doctor Who and science fiction through original props, costumes and artwork.
Around the corner
Killhope Lead Mining Museum is a fantastic day out for families – pull on your wellies and hard hat and explore the workings of the 19th century lead mines, and find out about the history of mining in the area at the museum here. At Nenthead you’ll discover an underground mining attraction which pays tribute to the area’s industrial heritage. Ashgill Force near Alston is a spectacular waterfall that is well worth visiting.