Explore the Hidden Gems of these Hot Spots in Northumberland
Explore Rothbury, Wooler and Ford and Etal
Ford & Etal have a great selection of tearooms where you can enjoy tea and scones. In Etal check out The Black Bull (Northumberland’s only thatched pub), and don’t miss The Red Lion down the road in Milfield, where you’ll also find the popular Café Maelmin. Milan in Wooler is a local favourite (make sure you order a pizza), or just down the road stop at Doddington Dairy’s Milk Bar for breakfasts, light bites and (of course) fabulous ice cream and milkshakes. In Rothbury, head to The Turks Head for proper pub grub, La Mensa for Italian classics, or Bewick’s Kitchen for modern British dishes. For traditional takeaway fish ’n’ chips, Rothbury Fish & Chips is a gem.
In Wooler, 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, or take a room at the 17th century Black Bull Inn on the High Street. In Rothbury, several of the pubs have cosy rooms on offer, while just outside the town Tosson Tower Farm offers award-winning B&B accommodation as well as self-catering cottages. In the unspoilt countryside near Whittingham, escape to Huts in the Hills. These unique shepherd’s huts are set among rolling countryside under dark skies, and offer a little slice of luxury whichever one you choose, with features such as antique outdoor baths, secret star-gazing dens, woodburners and power showers.
Ford Forge is home to Ravn Clay, where you can see the potter at work, take part in hands-on workshops and browse their gorgeous handmade stoneware pottery. In Etal, Madcap Gallery showcases the colourful artwork of Peter Blood and Julie Blood. Discover gifts, jewellery and homewares at Breeze Gifts, art and antiques at Gallery No6 and interiors at Stephanie Louise, all in Wooler. In Rothbury, Pots & Paws is a firm favourite where you’ll find an ever-changing array of unique and quirky homeware and gifts; Flair is a friendly ladies boutique; and Elements is a cooperative owned and run by local artists and craftspeople.
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Situated between the Scottish Borders and the Cheviot Hills, Ford and Etal are two small villages packed to the seams with history. Ford & Etal Estates is home to 20 must-see attractions – kids will love to take a steam trip on the Heatherslaw Light Railway, and you can meet the heavy horses, visit the water-powered mill, and discover a Victorian school room. Don’t miss the chance to explore the historic site of Flodden Battlefield (now an eco-museum). Walkers won’t want to miss Simonside and the Cheviot Hills, and a trip to the beautiful and remote Upper Coquet Valley never disappoints. For history buffs, The Maelmin Heritage Trail, near Wooler, allows you to trace thousands of years of archaeological history in a relatively small site.
Around the Corner
Fancy yourself a budding ghost-hunter? Head to Chillingham Castle, which is reputed to be one of the most haunted buildings in Britain. If you’re brave enough (and no shame if you aren’t!) book yourself onto one of their night-time guided tours and see if any paranormal beings make an appearance… If you’re more into the corporeal, don’t miss the chance to see ‘the wild beasts of Chillingham’ – these wild cattle are the sole survivors of the herds that once roamed Britain’s forests.