Stop by the Lavender Tearooms in Etal, where you can sit in the pretty garden with a slice of their famous lavender cake, or try The Milan, which offers everything you can expect from an excellent Italian: great pizza, pasta and antipasto. Curry fanatics will love Spice Village, where the curries pack a heat punch and the naans are super fluffy. The close-knit village of Milfield, just a few miles away, is home to The Red Lion Inn – if you’re looking for hearty classics, well-kept ale and a friendly atmosphere, this Northumbrian pub is a top pick.
The Collingwood Arms, a 200 year-old former coaching inn boasts a cosy bar, together with a rod room, gun room and kennels (for gun dogs!). For something more modern, book into the new No1 Hotel & Wine Lounge which recently opened in a quirky old building on the High Street. The rooms are cosy and luxurious with roll-top bathtubs, twinkling fairy lights and ultra-thick white duvets, and your four-legged friends are even welcome to stay for an extra £5 a night.
The Old Dairy is the epitome of a hidden gem. The cluster of charming dairy buildings have been converted into an assortment of shopping destinations: a treasure trove of vintage finds, architectural antiques, retro textiles and French fashion magazines from years gone by. There’s also a cute tearoom, an al fresco champagne bar overlooking the Cheviots and a large dining room, where you can watch Aga demonstrations and sample the homemade fare. In Wooler the Design Room Art Gallery is an art-lover’s haven; its walls are adorned with work by local artists celebrating the surrounding area.
Around the Corner
With over 12,000 acres of countryside to explore, the College Valley is one of the most rugged and unspoilt areas in Northumberland National Park, from the top of Cheviot and the Border ridge to the ancient hill forts just begging to be explored. Pack a picnic to enjoy next to the trickling streams, hike through the glorious hills, or even book a mini-break in one of the luxury holiday homes.
There are some fascinating historical landmarks in the area. The site of Flodden Battlefield, you will also find the 14th century Etal Castle, Duddo Standing Stones and Heatherslaw Cornmill, the only working water-driven cornmill in Northumberland. No matter how old you are, we recommend a trip on Heatherslaw Light Railway, a steam railway running to Etal village and back.