In less than two weeks, I will be leaving the UK, for 8 months, to live and work in sandier pastures.
So these weeks that lead up to my departure have been critical for rearranging my life – resigning from jobs, saying goodbye to friends, planning how much Dairy Milk chocolate I can physically fit in my suitcase…
In the midst of all these preparations I managed to slip away to Northumberland for a weekend of doing nothing except relaxing, eating, and taking in the beauty of our country. And I personally think we nailed it!
After looking at larger hotels that were all booked up, our hotel search led us to this absolute gem in the small seaside town of Alnmouth. St Valery.
As peaceful as it is beautiful, the St Valery is an adults-only, luxury Bed & Breakfast that turns away kids, but allows well-behaved dogs – winner!
We knew we were in for a treat when we stepped into the beautiful entrance hall, that still keeps the charm of the family home it used to be.
As we were welcomed by Harvey (who recently moved from Harrogate(!) to set up the B&B) and shown around the breakfast room with the honesty bar, and a trendy back garden seating area, we could tell we’d picked a winner.
We couldn’t believe our luck when we stepped into our beautiful room – complete with a bathtub on its pedestal in the corner of the room. The room was gorgeously decorated, the bathroom was spotlessly clean, and the complimentary lavender oils left on the bed smelt like a dream.
And as promised, our bath robes were cosy and our towels were fluffy!
It was a hard job to drag ourselves out of bed over the course of the weekend; it was so comfortable! But, alas, after finishing off ‘Stranger Things’ on Netflix we decided that we may as well go explore the area… After a couple of cups of coffee and a hearty breakfast, all cooked by Harvey.
Alnmouth is along the Northumberland coast, and the St Valery is on the Main Street, making it a very short walk down the road to get to the beach.
Despite it being a drizzly day, it didn’t dampen our moods. We blissfully strolled along Alnmouth’s huge beach, eating ice creams, and admiring the coastal beauty.
The great thing about Northumberland is that you don’t have to share the beaches with thousands of other people, as they’re not as well known as big seaside towns, such as Scarborough etc. The only people we shared the long stretch of sand with were a handful of dog walkers and three horses and their riders.
In Northumberland a lot of towns are short drives from each other; each with their own views, and most with their own castles.
We started in Alnwick on Friday, admiring Hogwarts from the outside, then visited Dunstanburgh Castle on Saturday, braving our way across the long path through fields of sheep and cows to get to.
On Sunday we finished off our break with a trip to Lindisfarne, Holy Island, to check out the castle and it’s local pubs.
We enjoyed long walks along the coast, along with admiring the ruins of magnificent castles, and managing to grab some nibbles and drinks, in both Dunstanburgh and Holy Island in the space of a few hours. Perfect, as it didn’t take up most of our day and left the rest of the day open to exploring other places.
Oh, and I forgot to mention, we saw a seal whilst driving across to Holy Island!
If you don’t know, Holy Island is only accessible at certain times of the day as the sea covers up the road half of the day. So this little cutie either got left behind and was waiting for the tide to come back in, or just really enjoyed the attention he was getting that day. I like to imagine it was the latter.
Having heard about The Treehouse before, I was delighted to discover it was practically on our doorstep at the weekend. I promptly booked us a table for Saturday evening.
Upon arrival, we could see what the hype was about; the restaurant literally looks like a giant treehouse!
The walkway up to the restaurant is a long wooden bridge adorned with fairy lights, kicking off your visit with a magical feel. The interior doesn’t fail to extend the magic either, with tangled branches forming archways and decorating the ceilings, tall wooden chairs that look like they’ve been stolen from Lord of the Rings, and more fairy lights!
The menu is slightly more limited than your usual restaurants, and is a fixed price of 2 courses for £28.50 or 3 courses for £35.00, which may make it more preferable for adults than children (although I did see young children there so perhaps there is a separate kids menu).
The menu fits with the woodland theme with dishes such as Roast Wood Pigeon and Northumbria Lamb Rump, although there are slightly tamer dishes for the less adventurous, such as Steak, Gnocchi, and Wood Roast Chicken Breast.
The Treehouse is a dining experience, purely for the theme and atmosphere – it really has a magical feel. I can imagine Christmas parties hosted there are amazing!
Sometimes you don’t have to travel far for a mini break. Sure, it is nice to fly to somewhere warm and sunny to relax in your time off, but you don’t have to be lying on a sun lounger to rest.
The weather may not have been ‘Barcelona-worthy’ this weekend, but I still had a relaxing break, and enjoyed experiencing the simple beauties of the country we live in. The coastal views are humbling, and it isn’t too bustling so it remains tranquil.
If you’re looking for a weekend away, or even just a day trip (Northumberland is only a 2 hour drive from North Yorkshire), it is worth checking out Northumberland. Enjoy and appreciate the things your country has to offer.
‘Staycations’ all the way!
This post has been transferred from my old site dedicated to the North of England, northernlovin.wordpress.com, dated September 6 2016.