Everything You Need to Know to Explore Rothbury & Wooler
We all know North Northumberland is home to some stunning scenery, but that's not all that's on offer
In Wooler, Italian restaurant Milan is a real favourite with locals – call in for pizza, pasta and a warm welcome – while Doddington Dairy’s Milk Bar does breakfasts, light bites and (of course) fabulous ice cream and milkshakes. We’ve heard good things about the new bistro at Ad Gefrin too (it’s open for brunch, lunch and afternoon tea). Heading south, it’s worth making a detour to Eglingham to visit The Tankerville Arms, a traditional (dog-friendly) coaching inn. In Rothbury, you can find proper pub grub at The Turks Head or Newcastle House, and traditional Italian dishes at La Mensa. Our pick is the relaxed Bewicks Kitchen & Coffee House, which serves upmarket modern British cuisine – think dressed oysters, home-smoked salmon or slow-braised pork belly with Northumbrian leek and nettle cheese pudding.
Take a room at Wooler’s 17th century inn, The Black Bull, which sits on the High Street, or choose No 1 Hotel, which is just across the road and offers quirky rooms and good food. For something a little quieter, rest your head at a former working flour mill at the superb Old Mill B&B, just a few steps away from St Cuthbert’s Way. In Rothbury, several of the pubs have cosy rooms and there are some great farmhouse B&Bs nearby too (including Thistleyhaugh and Tosson Tower Farm). If you really want to get away from it all, escape to Huts in the Hills. These unique shepherd’s huts are set in the unspoilt countryside near Whittingham, and offer a little slice of luxury surrounded by nature.
In Wooler, discover gifts, jewellery and homewares at Breeze Gifts; while Wooler Wool Shop is the place for yarn, haberdashery, clothes and cards. In Rothbury, Pots & Paws is a firm favourite where you’ll find an ever-changing array of unique and quirky homeware and gifts; JR Soulsby & Sons is an Aladdin’s cave of a toy shop where the shelves are piled high with toys, games and puzzles; and Sweetie’s is a traditional sweet shop which has all your favourites and also offers tea, coffee, cakes and ice cream slushies. Flair is the place to go for women’s fashion and accessories, and Elements is a cooperative owned and run by local artists and craftspeople.
Having opened earlier this year (after a £16 million development) the museum and whisky distillery Ad Gefrin is putting Wooler on the cultural map. Discover the untold story of the Anglo-Saxon kings and queens of the ‘golden age’ of Northumbria in the museum, then take a tour of the distillery to see the first Northumbrian single malt whisky being made. Just outside Rothbury, Cragside was the country’s first ‘smart-home’, filled with Victorian gadgets for modern living – make sure you have time to explore the grounds too. If ghosts are your thing, head to Chillingham Castle, which is reputed to be one of the most haunted buildings in Britain.
Around the corner...
Situated between the Scottish Borders and the Cheviot Hills, Ford and Etal are two small villages packed with history. Ford & Etal Estates is home to 20 must-see attractions – kids will love to ride the steam train, stroke a heavy horse, learn how the power of water is used to produce flour, and visit a Victorian schoolroom. On the way back to Wooler, don’t miss the chance to explore the haunting site of Flodden Battlefield, and walkers won’t want to miss Simonside and the challenging Cheviot Hills.