Coquet Cottages is a family-run holiday letting agency now in its 21st year and was the Living North Award winner of Best Accommodation in the North East in 2016. Since then, they’ve continued to garner awards and over 70 percent of all their properties have now achieved Gold Award Standard from Visit England. The house where we recently stayed in Warkworth was itself a winner in the 2017 European Holiday Home Association Awards, beating off stiff competition from across the length and breadth of Europe.
Coquet View is in Warkworth village itself and we all, as a family group, appreciated the unique location. The property is a rare Warkworth jewel – a quintessential Georgian Grade-II listed house right in the middle of the village, affording, as the name indicates, beautiful views over the River Coquet with its ever-changing kaleidoscope of Northumberland wildlife – heron maintaining sentry-guard on a spectral twilight landscape, swooping Canada geese, gently cruising mallards and (very memorably for us) an off-piste seal (successfully) foraging upstream for local salmon.
If all this wasn’t enough to make our stay memorable, the interior of Coquet View is stunning in its own right. It’s an intriguing combination of Georgian grandeur, with many of its original features still on show, coupled with tasteful contemporary touches. There’s also an attractive quirkiness to the house which makes it truly individual.
From the outside, the house appears to stand square, majestically facing the river but actually, Warkworth village is built entirely on sand and so, when you venture up the higgledy-piggledy staircase to the three imposing upstairs bedrooms, you’re standing with a slightly disorientating lean to one side as you contemplate the view. Most of the houses in Warkworth are apparently askew – it’s not a structural problem, it’s just a fascinating idiosyncrasy of this characterful village.
Along with the quirkiness though, Coquet View has everything that you’d anticipate in award-winning accommodation. The original stone-flagged hallway runs the full depth of the house and leads in turn to a rear door into the patio garden. Doors lead off from the hall into both a spacious dining room and an extremely large, high-ceilinged Georgian drawing room, complete with those wonderful views of the river. There’s a cosy wood-burning stove in an inglenook fireplace surrounded by inviting sofas here, but what makes the overall space even more special is that the owners have also thoughtfully fashioned a separate reading area within the room, which also affords those beautiful river views but creates something of a private oasis for members of the party who might want to read, write or simply cogitate, while the rest of the family gravitate to the TV or a DVD.
Upstairs, there’s a luxurious master bedroom and a contemporary, pristine, ensuite bathroom. There were five of us in total staying over the weekend and we were all very happy with our respective bedrooms, furnished in French country-style, and the two front bedrooms enjoyed more delightful views of the Coquet and beyond.
Unfortunately, Northumberland weather in early April is nothing if not predictable in its greyness, and so although we loved our stay, we weren’t able to take full advantage of either the attractive private patio area (with its natural well) or the picturesque, enclosed garden, complete with summerhouse and BBQ which would be the perfect location for a preprandial drink or a lazy summer breakfast .
Nearby Warkworth Beach is great for dog walks and just clearing the mental cobwebs. It’s possibly even more unspoilt and unpeopled than the rest of the unpeopled and unspoilt Northumberland coast. A little further north is picturesque Alnmouth, whilst in Warkworth itself, there’s the imposing medieval ruined castle, and on the river bank and accessible only by boat, the remains of a chapel known as the Hermitage hewn out of the rock. The village has a great supporting cast of pubs, restaurants and shops too numerous to mention, but all worthy of a visit.
No trip to the coast for us is complete without the family dog – and inevitably ours enjoyed the weekend as much as anyone else. Importantly, the house, as with many Coquet Cottage properties is very ‘dog-friendly’ even to the extent of providing us with customised doggy presents in our welcome pack. A personalised ‘dog-sitting’ service is also available for a small extra premium.
It was a wonderful stay in a wonderful property in our favourite part of the world – and thoroughly recommended.
2 Station Road, Warkworth NE65 0XP