The Second Coming

Issue 77

Admittedly, it wasn't my first stay at The Northumberland Arms. I first visited in November 2020 on the eve of Lockdown 2.0 and whilst hugely impressed, vowed to return when the venue was back to its bustling best.

The 5* Inn sits at the heart of the Northumberland village of Felton and offers an alternative to larger hotels in the area. Being an avowed lover of pubs, this was right up my street – combining the beloved feel of a proper countryside local with deluxe accommodation and award-winning dining. Easily accessible just off the A1, the venue is thereby perfect for a stylish gastro-getaway.

On a quiet Sunday in the bleak midwinter, I ventured up with my wife Lisa to sample the full Felton experience. The handsome stone building offers luxury en-suite guest rooms overlooking the River Coquet and all furnished to that top class standard. This is a venue rich in history, originally built in the 1820’s by Hugh Percy, 3rd Duke of Northumberland as a coaching inn where his coach horses, family and visitors could take refreshment before journeying on to Alnwick Castle.

Today, the venue has been lovingly restored with a chic and rustic appeal and a classy gastro pub as its focal point. Fortunately, hotel owner Stuart Young has pedigree in managing such a venture and is also behind the Blackbird Ponteland which has witnessed a real renaissance in recent years. T

The hotel’s individually-decorated guest rooms capture the spirit of Northumberland and are all tastefully appointed with tartan rugs, Bergere sofas, plush bedding and heavy drapes. Bathed in a countrified colour palette – all greens, browns, purples and mauve – ours was a haven of comfort and tranquillity with a beamed, vaulted ceiling adding real character.

Our ‘New Moor Tower’ guest suite was also equipped with a grand oval Victoria and Albert bath tub sitting comfortably in the middle of the bedroom with an adjacent walk-in shower also next door. After a brisk unpack and change of dress, we headed down to the bar restaurant area for a late lunch in a venue which really comes into its own throughout the Winter months.

Many guests are active folk making the most of the area’s many walks, hikes, cycle routes and other attractions available on the doorstep with the bar area a lovely place to kick back and bask in the afterglow of the day’s outdoor pursuits.

Lisa and I applied similar endeavour to an excellent bottle of warming Malbec which we sipped on whilst tucking into a sharing plank of fresh sourdough with olives and whipped butter. Next up, from The Northumberland Arms’ dedicated Sunday Lunch Menu, came the wasabi salmon with sweet soy, wasabi aioli and pickled ginger, not to mention the chicken terrine with pickled celery and sourdough croutons.

Following on, we picked a cracking couple of Sunday roasts: the traditional roast topside of beef for yours truly and the lemon and thyme roast chicken for Lisa. All came served with roast potatoes, creamed cabbage, swede mash, a selection of seasonal vegetables, a pillowy Yorkshire pudding and pan juices.

After lunch we spoke to owner Stuart Young who said that both venues had come out of lockdown in great shape and were busier than ever. We can certainly understand the hype.

The following morning, we were in for another sumptuous feast at the breakfast table. Smoked salmon & scrambled eggs and a superbly cooked Full English set us up nicely for the journey home.

My return to The Northumberland Arms had certainly been a long time coming, however I would highly recommend it for a country escape – be that for a springtime staycation or new year’s resolution worth sticking to.

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