Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, lived a beautiful old coaching inn called The Northumberland Arms.
It took approximately 3.2 seconds for me to fall in love with the Northumberland Arms ever since my first visit on a country escape earlier this year. It wasn’t until I took a long overdue trip to The Running Fox for afternoon tea that I realised the two venues were part of the same well-dressed, friendly family. After reading my review of The Running Fox, the Northumberland Arms kindly invited me back to Felton to visit them properly this week.
Prosecco and Pie visits The Northumberland Arms, Felton:
It was a busy Friday evening on my first visit, so I was intrigued to see whether the restaurant/local pub would still possess the same level of charm and excitement on an autumnal Wednesday afternoon. Happily, it did. The tree-lined roads and banks of the river Coquet that lie alongside The Northumberland Arms are in the midst of autumn’s kiss. Leaves dipped in toffee, treacle, burnt orange and gold tumbled gently onto the ground below as I parked, and the view entranced me from my seat all afternoon.
As we took a seat on a plush, dove-grey love seat, Amy and I decided to kick off lunch in style. Two glasses of the Wine of the Month (a fruity Arthur Metz Cremant d’Alsace rosé) soon arrived which we sipped by the fire. Our fantastic waitress Claire took us through the British and seasonally-inspired menu. Keeping it simple, the flavours speak for themselves. Cold, blustery days call for beer battered North sea cod and chunky chips, while autumnal afternoons go hand in hand with a plate of Bamburgh bangers and mash. Elevenses are elevated with an indulgent omelette (smoked salmon, roast ham and smoked haddock), while fresh soups and moreish melts hit the spot at lunch.
It was a toss up between ‘the rather large pie of the day’ (steak and ale served with a generous helping of seasonal veg and fluffy mashed potato) and the ‘Bamburgh bangers and mash’ for me, but eventually I opted for the Bamburgh bangers, while fellow foodie Amy chose the seafood thermidor gratin.
My Bamburgh bangers (sourced locally from Green Butchers in Longframlington I’m told) were the best sausages I have ever eaten. Ever. Rich, meaty and so moreish they were a perfect base for my dish, whose accompaniments of seasonal veg and fluffy mash were equally faultless. As my Nanna used to say when I was little, ‘our Chloe is a proper dinners girl’, and for the record The Northumberland Arms make an excellent ‘proper dinner’. Unable to resist a taste of Amy’s seafood gratin (served with slices of freshly-baked artisan bread from The Running Fox) was incredible. Creamy and delicate, there’s nothing quite like the taste of homemade bread, let alone doorstep-sized slices to mop up the juices. Both dishes were the perfect kind of heartwarming, ‘it’s cold outside’ comfort food.
Wildly impressed by everything we’d eaten so far, we just about made room for dessert. Fresh apple and berry crumble served with custard suited the season, along with something naughty and delicious like their mars bar mousse to keep the chocolate cravings at bay. Tangy chunks of apple and blackberries burst like bombs of flavour in your mouth, while the silky, vanilla custard swirled into the crunchy crumble topping. Generous portions meant we couldn’t quite finish the entire thing as we swapped our spoons for clouds of light mars bar mousse with an indulgent caramel centre.
(Am I making you hungry yet?)
After finishing our lunch over a coffee, Amy and I were treated to a sneak preview of the recently redecorated guest rooms…
Owner Kris Blackburn is responsible for the beautifully-furnished interior of the restaurant and bar below, and if that’s anything to go by then it’s little wonder the rooms have recently acquired four star status. Plump scatter cushions sit perfectly perched on top of sumptuous armchairs that look out to the picture-perfect view of the river below. Gigantic faux-fur throws that wouldn’t look out of place in Winterfell or The North (Game of Thrones fans will understand) beg to be snuggled into. If guests can manage to drag themselves out of bed, or away from the view, they simply need to relocate to the bathroom where they can enjoy their own sanctuary spa with a range of gorgeous goodies in showstopping travertine bathroom. The Northumberland Arms’ 6 guest rooms are everything you’d ever want, homely. stylish and sumptuous.
Beautiful, aren’t they?
After resisting the urge to kick off my shoes and climb into bed, Amy and I said our goodbyes to the Northumberland Arms, (promising that we’ll be back sooner rather than later), but not before peeking our heads into the brand new River Room. If I’m correct, a certain Earl of Grantham was spotted dining in here on his recent visit to the region when filming at Alnwick Castle for the new season Downton Abbey.
If it’s good enough for the Earl of Grantham it’s good enough for me!
To treat yourself to a stay at The Northumberland Arms you’ll find everything you need to know here, lunch is served from 12-5pm, dinner from 5pm-9pm and Sunday lunch from noon until 9pm. Special thanks to Head Chef Alan Baldwin and his talented team for making my dreams come true today.