Riding Mill is a small village close to the A69 in Northumberland and incorporates the ancient hamlet of BroomHaugh which is where the fabulous stone cottage, Yew Tree is situated.

Opposite the Methodist Church, you can’t fail to notice the large Yew Tree growing in the front garden, pruned to ensure it doesn’t take over the street! The lintel over the front door dates back to 1699; this cottage has a real back story.

When you walk straight into the main sitting area from the front door, the open floor living space comprises the lounge and kitchen. Super comfortable and very traditional, my favourite spot had to be right in front of the very large fire place on the seat in front of the fire! The kitchen leads out into a really sweet yard, which in the summer I expect will be a lovely suntrap.

Upstairs, the master bedroom is wonderful. A large king size bed (comprising of 2 beds together with a mattress topper so no divide in the middle!) made for a really comfortable sleep. I’m normally woken up at 6am by the staff going to start their shift in the food factory near by, so the peace and quiet was wonderful.

There is another really amazing fireplace in the room and the high ceiling and beams make it a unique and comfortable space.
The en-suite bathroom has a powerful shower and is actually a ‘Jack and Jill bathroom’ meaning there is also a door leading to the other single room.

This is a really comfortable cottage. Recently awarded a Gold Award from Visit England, we stayed in all evening playing backgammon with the fire on. Mike’s response when I asked him what he liked most; ‘historic, comfortable, quiet and cosy’ and Yew Tree Cottage is all of those things.

If you’re in Northumberland to explore there are loads of fabulous towns close by. Corbridge was 6 minutes on the bus, Hexham is 10 minutes away on the train, Newcastle about 25. The train also goes straight over to Carlisle which means really easy access to the Lake District.

But we really love the Northumberland Coast. A 40 -45 minutes drive and you’ll be plodging in the North Sea.

Even though the cottage is only 30 minutes drive away from our house we really enjoyed our stay and would love to return.

Check availability and prices on the YewTreeCottageRidingMill website and follow Sheila Bull, the owner of Yew Tree and Apple Pie Cottages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too.

Menu
This weekends coffee and cake stop was the beautiful Bradley Gardens . This destination lays 4.7 miles from my mum and dads home where I lived for 30 years but it was so well hidden behind an 18th century walled garden that I have only fell upon it one other time but that was only in 2015.

The current owners, Mr Crichton-Jones and Mr Robinson have done a fabulous job of bringing the establishment back to life and in turn giving a je ne sais quoi that seems to be ever growing, just like the garden. 

As I mentioned this is my second visit to Bradley Gardens as I fell in love with it the first time round. My daughter and I were on the hunt for a new place for our mummy and daughter dates when I saw signs for Bradley Gardens and I followed them without any understanding of what we would find. Emily even rolled her eyes when I said we were visiting a garden.  ‘Boring’ was her reply.

You enter the gardens via the car park and are greeted with a nursery and a very cute shed like shop. The path then leads further towards three boutiques which unless you are nosey like me could be missed. The first is the small but perfectly formed Bradley Cook-shop, then there is the Garden Room a jewellery and gift store. When you come back out turn left and enter the next building a most gorgeously inspiring interior design boutique named the Bridgewater Home-store. This was flourished in Neptune bespoke furniture .

Next came the restaurant aptly called ‘Glass House’. We were very pleasantly surprised.

The restaurant was bustling with a great atmosphere but after selecting our goodies we actually sat outside and enjoyed the weather.

Whilst watching my little girl frolic in the grassed area next to our table, collecting dropped apples from the apple tree a smile then a little tear welled. The tear was because I could see that this would make an excellent wedding reception venue. Relaxed but not too relaxed, pretty but not too pretty. formal but not too formal. I asked there and then if it was possible but alas at this point no private hiring is on the cards. Maybe one day?

garden1

Fast forward to visit two, Mother’s day. Since becoming a mother myself and of course having a partner who is close to their mother, Mother’s Day has become a little stressful ensuring everyone is left happy including myself. My morning was spent with my daughter and the afternoon with my mum.

I asked Emily where I should take Momar for the afternoon she whispered in my ear so daddy didn’t hear, “You can take her to our special date place mummy, don’t mind”. This is quite a big deal for her as she likes to keep our secret places ‘secret’.

I collected mum and whisked her off. I hadn’t booked a table, this could have been an epic fail as the Glass House was heaving with many parties of mummies with their families. All of the vacant tables had reserved signs, oh no (especially when mum suggested going to the Metro Centre instead)! The lovely staff came to the rescue and found us a table that was available for the next 90 minutes which is the perfect amount of time for coffee and cake.

Bradley Gardens

As a creature of habit I chose the coffee and walnut cake which I shared with Emily on my first visit and it was moist and yummy and neither flavour outweighed the other. Mum aka Maureen chose a cheese scone which she had warmed with lashings of butter and home made chutney. Both of us had a huge glass of water and two lattes. There was a special Mother’s Day menu alongside the traditional menu and everything that was being brought to the tables was received in delight.

Tummy’s were sated and shopping bug satisfied this is a definite place to revisit but I can’t bring daddy, that’s an order.

You can find Bradley Gardens on Facebook , Twitter  and Instagram. 

I’m looking forward to visiting for a restaurant evening very soon and I’m sure I will tell you about that too.

Love from Suzanne x

The Carriage HouseEmbracing the peace and tranquillity of rural Northumberland in a property situated close to Morpeth in the village of Ulgham, The Carriage House is five star rated for self-catering accommodation and it proved to be a delightful home away from home, the perfect base to walk, cycle and explore.

On arrival, our host Dawn showed us into the large kitchen, dining and living space. With plenty of homemade fruit cake, tea, coffee, wine and fresh flowers on the bench, we knew we’d picked a great place to stay!

Dawn made sure we knew everything there was to know about the cottage and the appliances; we’ve reviewed many a place to stay over the last seven years, but can count the personal introductions on one hand. It makes a huge difference, no guessing how everything works and knowledge that there’s someone close by if you need anything at all.

Checking out the remainder of the cottage, we found two lovely bedrooms, both ample in size and both en-suite.

Carriage house bedroom

The master bedroom has a king size sleigh bed, ample hanging space and a spacious en-suite bathroom donning a lovely jacuzzi corner bath and a shower. Bedroom two can be either a twin or super king size bed which is handy depending who your travel companions are.

With leather sofas in the living room, TV, DVD player and digital satellite, there was plenty of space for two couples to settle down to entertain themselves in front of the lovely open log fire.

CArriage House lounge

Outside, there’s plenty of space to sit on a fine day and the fabulous hot tub is a unique addition – although during our stay it was a little too cold but maybe we aren’t as adventurous these days.

Everything you could possibly need is supplied in the accommodation, just pack your bags!

The Carriage House is the perfect base to explore the Northumberland beaches (read our walk along Druridge Bay to Amble), the Cheviot Hills, the market towns of Morpeth and Alnwick, and dozens of stately homes and castles.

We’d definitely recommend Barter Books in Alnwick, an old converted railway station and second hand bookshop. The village of Ulgham itself is small, but you’re on the coast within a five minute drive.

And if it’s lively you’re after, the cottage is around a 30 minute drive from Newcastle, the capital of the North East with extensive shopping, restaurants & nightlife.

Europe’s largest shopping centre, Intu Metrocentre is close by in Gateshead and drive a little further south to explore Durham with its’ simply magnificent cathedral.

Prices, availability and more information can be found here.

Nic x

 

Who wouldn't want to go walking here?It’s January. Everyone hates January. The darkness. The wet. The short days. I could go on. I think we have to search for things to enjoy in January, so I’m sharing a favourite beach of ours.

This picture, full of winter sunshine, was taken at Druridge Bay, Northumberland in late December 2015 and it couldn’t have been more glorious. Cold, bright and beautiful.

For all of us living in the North East, we’re definitely spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches, walks and getting out into the fresh air. And mostly, they’re not overcrowded.

Druridge Bay is simply stunning. And at seven miles, is long enough to really get out and stretch your legs. We parked the car at the Country Park and set off for lunch at Amble. On this particular walk, we passed cyclists, surfers, a couple of horse riders (and the horses) and a few people surfing the sands which looked like awesome fun.

You’ll come across sections of the beach that are black; in the 19th century coal was mined nearby and some of it is still there on the sand. You’ll see anti-tank blocks and pill boxes too, on the coast to help ward off a German invasion during World War II.

 

Coal on the beach, Druridge Bay, Northumberland

From the Druridge Bay Country Park to Amble it’s 3.5 miles and should take about 70 minutes, depending on how many times you stop to take pictures, collect shells and mess about!

The Old Store House, Amble

After about 3.5 miles, you reach the little town of Amble. You’ll see the caravan park on your left so be sure to come off the beach there. The sign is wonderful; Amble, The Friendliest Port!

A couple more minutes along the road, you hit The Old Store House. We’d never been in so we decided to give it a go.

Perfect for walkers, the floor is stone… no worry about the mess. The pub is light and friendly (as are the staff) and the food was perfect for us hungry pair.

Mike chose the Northumbrian cheese platter, which for £8.75 was about the best value, largest platter we reckon we’ve had. And for me, some sweet potato wedges, £3.75 and creamy garlic mushrooms on lovely toasted rustic bread £5.75, enough carbs to power us back along the beach.

We’d definitely recommend The Old Store House and you can see what you’d fancy on their menu.

If the sun does come out in the dreary old month of January, the blue sky on this beach gives a different meaning to January Blues.

Nic x

 

LoveNorthEast

self catering cottage

Most of us don’t know what delights we have on our own doorstep and that certainly was the case with Ryehill Farm.

And it’s amazing that even one night away, just a short drive from your front door, can feel like a real break.

If you like the thought of staying on a real working farm, look no further Ryehill Farm, Northumberland. No matter your taste for accommodation, Ryehill has something for everyone; the option of bed and breakfast, self catering cottage and a small camping and caravan field (weather permitting). Self-catering for me, is the best of both worlds. You stay dry in the wet with comfy beds, but complete privacy to come and go as you please.

The self catering cottage at Ryehill sleeps up to seven people. This is a traditionally styled cottage, if you’re looking for designer furniture that you’re scared to sit on, Ryehill isn’t for you!

The amply spacious lounge and kitchen has plenty of seating area for all and a large family dining table perfect for hosting your own parties. It’s stocked with everything you could possibly need for your stay, an immense amount of cutlery, crockery and drinking vessels along with a dishwasher to clean them all.

The space is comfortable and everything you’d imagine a working farm cottage to be like; heavy pine table and chairs, and stone tiled flooring. There is no worry about spillages or muddy boots in this space. Simply sweep up and clean away.

There’s a gas fire (pretending to be a real log fire) in the lounge which, should you need it, adds extra warmth, but the heating is set to keep away all chills. The patio doors open to a private seating area which faces onto the barns which currently house the horses and the lambs that need to be hand reared in the Spring. Children are welcome to explore, but don’t forget, this is a working farm.

One of the major plus point of this self-catering cottage is that it’s been designed to be totally inclusive. The doors are extra wide – perfect for wheelchairs, the tiled floor makes access downstairs easy for all and the ground floor bedroom (with two single beds and cracking view) has ample space and a walk / wheel in shower.

Ryehill Farm self catering cottage bedroomUpstairs, there are two more double rooms, one with a further single bed and both are well-appointed with their own en-suite shower and bath.

As we had a choice of rooms, we chose the smaller but more cosy of the two. White linen was beautifully crisp and the bed was comfy. A television was available in the room we chose and drinks facility were provided in all three rooms.

The cottage is adjoined to the B&B accommodation, so if you are a very large party, there is scope for the other six rooms to be filled at the same time.

Ryehill Farm gardenYou’re welcome to explore the farm itself, sit in any of the many benches provided, check out the small allotment area (where Elizabeth grows most of the food for her guests) and the kids will love Skittle Alley, the dedicated children’s barn.

The nearest village, Slayley, is about a mile away and there are three pubs within walking distance (one if you’re an experienced walker!). The pretty Roman villages of Corbridge and Hexham are both within a 15 minute drive.

If you love meandering around towns and cities, Newcastle and Durham can all be reached within 30 to 40 minutes drive on a good day. And if it’s shopping on a LARGE scale you’re after, you can get lost within the Metrocentre on your first visit.

There is so much to explore in Northumberland, I’d not even know where to begin, but Hadrian’s Wall, the Cheviot Hills or the stunning Northumberland coast line would be good places to start.

We’re very lucky, we have all of this on our doorsteps. We’d encourage you to visit and find out more for yourselves.

And many thanks to Elizabeth for her home-made bread, flap jack and banana bread, all lovely additions to our party food.

For more information and prices go to the Ryehill Farm website and follow Ryehill Farm on Twitter and Facebook too.

Nicola x