For the longest time, I’d at all times wished to go to Northumberland. Come to consider it, I bear in mind the precise second when travelling to school in Scotland from London. It was the primary ever journey to Scotland by prepare and boy was I in for a deal with.
I nonetheless bear in mind whizzing by stunning cities like York and Durham earlier than making it to the northeast coast of England and Northumberland. I will need to have taken that prepare tens of occasions throughout my years at St Andrew’s however every time I’d do the identical factor.
As quickly as I’d attain the Northumberland shoreline, my eyes have been immediately glued to the window pane (often with my Thermos of tea in hand). Alongside the way in which, I’d see spots like Berwick-upon-Tweed, Holy Island and the shoreline round Dunstanburgh Fortress. Throughout these prepare journeys (when let’s be sincere, I used to be most likely purported to be revising), I promised myself that I’d go exploring Northumberland at some point.
And you already know what, that is precisely what we did!
With a nifty little bit of planning and grabbing our prepare tickets, we have been all set to go out on our microgap to Northumberland. You see, it felt like the proper county to go to for a microgap and never simply due to these prepare journey views. In any case, Northumberland is nicknamed ‘fortress county’, which immediately caught my consideration.
After hopping on our prepare, we arrived into Morpeth to select up our wheels and head throughout the moorlands. Now, the prepare itself took a bit of over three hours from the centre of London however really feels one million miles away. Not least as a result of Northumberland is the least populous county in all of England, which, if I’m sincere, is immediately noticeable when arriving from the hustle and bustle of London.
By the point we jumped in our automobile, my tummy was a hungry rumbling mess. 😄 Now, I’m not liable to rational thought once I’m hungry (yeah, I’m a kind of those that will get hangry actually fast), so Yaya made some preemptive plans to discover a lunch spot earlier than any sort of Jekyll and Hyde situation got here into being! 😉
After a bit of jaunt within the automobile, we arrived at St. Mary’s Inn (in Morpeth) which was a comfortable pub that appeared in style with locals. Now, that is at all times signal to me, particularly when travelling.
You see, with guests, pubs and eating places solely need to please you as soon as – you’re solely there briefly in any case and can be changed the subsequent day/week/month by one other customer (which is essentially why eating places in vacationer entice areas have a tendency to not be that nice – there are exceptions, in fact). For these catering to locals, nonetheless, they need to be good time and time once more in any other case they run the danger of getting no clients.
Because the pub was stuffed with locals, I immediately knew we’d made the appropriate alternative.
For starters, I went for the mackerel pate with pickled fennel and sourdough, which was so tasty. And Yaya determined upon the crispy king prawns which he refused to share! 😉
For mains, Yaya went for a juicy steak and I grabbed myself a do-it-yourself steak and ale pie with mash. It was a kind of heartwarming meals that go away you so full you wanna be rolled out of the door.
That being mentioned, Yaya discovered room for a serving to of sticky toffee pudding, which I insisted he ordered with two spoons this time! There’s no manner he was having this one alone.
After filling our tummies, we thought it greatest to truly work off a few of these treats with a bit of stroll across the space.
That is after we stumbled upon Belsay Home and Gardens.
Perched within the countryside, about twenty minutes from Morpeth, Belsay Home was house to the Middleton Household for over 700 years. In truth, there have been data going again to round 1270 when Richard de Middleton was Lord Chancellor to King Henry III.
Now, with all that historical past, I simply knew we needed to go discover the grounds and home. As quickly as we arrived, we headed straight for the newer (however nonetheless over 200 years previous) Belsay Corridor.
That’s the factor you begin to realise, ‘new’ is such a relative time period, particularly when there’s a lot historical past that goes again hundreds of years in Northumberland.
Apparently, Belsay Corridor was in-built a Grecian type after a Greek honeymoon that Sir Charles Monck took upon his marriage. As we headed inside, we shortly noticed how spectacular this is able to have been as a house.
The Pillar Corridor is simply unbelievable and just about the point of interest of the corridor itself.
After a bit of stroll across the corridor, we head straight out into the gardens themselves.
Now, we Brits have some fairly unpredictable climate and it will probably truthfully really feel like 4 seasons in at some point at occasions. That being mentioned, we lucked out on this event with some beautiful sunshine which was good for exploring the gardens.
As we headed by the grounds, we discovered ourselves within the Quarry Gardens.
It completely felt like a misplaced world which has been forgotten for hundreds of years, particularly as there was no-one else round.
While strolling by the quarried walkways, I immediately remembered what the English Heritage employees had been saying. The gardens of Belsay Corridor have a novel little micro-climate.
This made good sense! It virtually felt like summer season strolling round. There have been timber and vegetation I didn’t even know may dwell this far north. It felt virtually tropical… effectively, for England a minimum of! 😉
After about twenty minutes, we got here throughout a clearing that led us to the historic house of the Middleton’s, Belsay Fortress.
Many a whole lot of years earlier than Belsay Corridor was constructed, the fortress itself was the household house.
Now principally in ruins, it virtually feels eerie strolling round. Nearly as if it was deserted and caught in a second of time when the household left.
Even inside, you may nonetheless see the unique fireplaces and nooks that have been as soon as a part of the rooms of the fortress.
Now, I really like a little bit of historical past like this, particularly when the fortress dates again so many a whole lot of years. That being mentioned, with solely myself and Yaya right here, I positively acquired a couple of shivers as we walked round.
Personally, I don’t imagine in ghosts or something like that, however If somebody instructed me this place was haunted, I’d have believed them straight away. It actually was fairly spooky – particularly when nobody else was there. 😉
After a bit of wander throughout the grounds, we determined to name it a day at Belsay Fortress and head to our lodgings to verify in.
We determined to remain at Newton-by-the-Sea, on the Joiners Arms. It was a kind of beautiful village pubs that you just see nestled into the countryside.
As quickly as we stepped foot inside, I knew we’d made the appropriate alternative. The rooms have been beautiful. (I’m a sucker for uncovered timber! 😄)
It’s simply the kind of place that makes you’re feeling immediately welcome. Somebody playfully described it as a five-star inn – with a hug and I’ve to agree!
Plus, what made it much more scrumptious was the cocktail making package that was left within the room every night time! Gray Goose vodka, Chambord and loads of contemporary raspberries, which made for the proper nightcap.
That being mentioned, the nightcap must wait, as dinner was calling. There’s one thing in regards to the sea air that makes me extra hungry and although we have been a couple of miles from the seashore, I used this as an excuse for us to go straight for dinner.
Now, Northumberland is thought for its tasty seafood, so we headed straight for the shoreline and over to Craster for some grub on the Jolly Fisherman.
Perched a stone’s throw from the working harbour, it was a beautiful little spot to spherical off our first day.
Nicely over 150 years previous, I can nonetheless think about all of the 19th-century fisherman stumbling out of right here after days spent fishing within the North Sea. Other than my concepts of tipsy fisherman, not a lot else has modified over the past 150 years.
The fish and seafood are nonetheless caught domestically and sometimes comes from the native fisherman from the harbour itself, the views are simply as superb with the village virtually feeling prefer it’s been frozen in time.
After a fast dabble over the menu, I ordered the mackerel Scotch egg for starters. It was a kind of Scotch eggs that come out good and operating, which I devoured instantly.
Yaya, however, when for the contemporary scallops and cured salty meat.
For mains, we each went for the native lobster that was from the harbour itself. It was so yummy, particularly slathered in a lot of butter. I’m a sucker for something dipped in butter and this was simply superb.
Crammed to the brim, we determined to name it an evening and head again to the Joiner’s Arms for some well-earned relaxation (and our nightcap).
If right now was something to go by, I knew we have been gonna love Northumberland.
Learn Day two in Northumberland, beneath
Visiting The Lovely Bamburgh Fortress And Farne Islands, England