A Taste of the Good Life

Leaving the city behind for a weekend’s hibernation and a little fire-side escapism on a cold, rainy February this weekend, we arrived at The Collingwood Arms, a handsome country house hotel overlooking the River Tweed after a pleasant hour or so drive through snow dusted hills and crisp blue skies…

(Click images to enlarge)

As romantic retreats go, The Collingwood Arms ticked all of the right boxes for me; from the fairy-tale backdrop of patchwork countryside and view of the moody hues of the River Tweed from our window, to the elegantly appointed Resident’s Library with its cavernous roaring fire perfectly for curling up and watching the rain fall on the distant hills beyond…

Arriving mid-afternoon on Sunday to a pleasant and peaceful atmosphere, we soon made ourselves at home with the lucky locals who get to call the pub and brasserie their own. Ordering a pint of real ale for Richie and a warming cup of tea served with homemade biscuits for me, Richie and I sat by the fire with Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire for him, and the latest Country Life for me.

Bliss…

Playing Lady of the Manor is always my idea of fun and with this weekend being my 24th birthday I was thoroughly spoiled by both Richie and The Collingwood Arms. Retreating to our room, an immaculate, spacious and elegantly furnished room stolen surely, from a scene in the Farrow & Ball catalogue, I busied myself being a blogger and photographing the lovely little touches throughout our room while Richie made excellent use of the luxurious Molton Brown goodies, ran me a bubble bath in the deep roll-top bathtub and popped the cork of the bottle of Prosecco he somehow managed to keep hidden from me.

After a long soak, we headed downstairs and tucked ourselves away in one of the cosy booths for an informal dinner in the bar under a canopy of gentle spotlights and warm glow of candlelight. Supper is a foodie’s paradise at The Collingwood Arms with a range of locally-sourced and freshly prepared dishes on their a la carte menu. After a couple of pre-dinner cocktails, Richie opted for the warming sundried tomato soup served with homemade bread to start, while I tried the chicken teriyaki in a light tempura batter. We both had chicken kiev served on a bed of minted peas and garlic and rosemary potatoes before somehow managing to squeeze in a cardamom crème brûlée with dark chocolate biscotti for me and warm brownie and vanilla ice cream for Richie. A little birdie told our servers it was my birthday and I got to revel in the delight of being brought dessert with my own birthday candle to blow out (will that custom ever get old?)

Thoughtfully furnished nooks and crannies like wooden loveseats, dreamy fabrics and hunting prints certainly make the bar area more enchanting or you can dress up for dinner in the beautiful brasserie next door. With two lounge areas to choose from, spend a cold winter’s evening by the roaring fire in the Resident’s Library or enjoy a nightcap in good company in the informal lounge. Both are equally beautiful and thoughtfully furnished with sumptuous chairs to sink into and plenty of magazines, daily papers and books to flick through while you do.

We slept exceptionally well in our Deluxe Double Room with its Egyptian cotton bedding, luxurious feather quilt and super kingsize bed. Waking early on my birthday on the Monday, we lay and enjoyed the sound of silence before we reluctantly left our comfortable bed – knowing our stay would soon be over! Check out is deliciously late at 11am, meaning you have plenty of time for a hearty Northumbrian breakfast with all the trimmings, thick buttered toast and a cup of coffee overlooking the gardens and clusters of dainty white snowdrops on the terrace outside. We ate breakfast in the light, bright Brasserie – another seamless blend of classic country style and traditional features with modern touches that elevate the hotel into an elegant yet rustic retreat.

The Collingwood Arms proved to be the perfect choice for a romantic grown-up getaway and the epitome of cosy country style just far away enough from the hustle and bustle of city life without making you feel too cut off. You can cross over to the Scottish borders in less than a five minute drive, where tranquil views of the picturesque village green and babbling banks of the River Tweed are a natural playground to countless wildlife.

I’ve bugged Richie to take me for tea at the Treehouse in Alnwick Garden pretty much solid for the five years we’ve been together and finally got my dream date this weekend! Wrapping up warm, we braved the cold and headed off to Alnwick for a birthday tea – a perfect way to finish off our weekend and an unforgettable way to spend my birthday.

About The Collingwood Arms

The Collingwood Arms takes its name from the local merchant family which owned it up until 1955. There are strong ties with Northumberland’s 19th Century naval hero, Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, who served under Nelson around the time the hotel was built.

There are 15 elegantly appointed rooms to choose from, all delightfully named after ships from Admiral Collingwood’s flotilla. We stayed in Mars, a spacious, light, bright room overlooking the front of the hotel. They are HMS Royal Sovereign (Flagship), Bellisle, Mars, Tonnant, Bellerophon, Colossus, Achilles, Polyphemus, Revenge, Swiftsure, Defiance, Thunderer, Prince, Dreadnought and Defence.

The hotel has free wi-fi and flat screen tv’s, rainfall showers, roll-top baths and luxurious fluffy robes as standard.

The Collingwood Arms is just one kilometre away from the famous Border Bridge that leads into Coldstream, a 30 minute drive into Berwick upon Tweed and around an hour’s drive up to Edinburgh – making it an ideal location to explore North Northumberland and its national park or up to Scotland for the day.

There is plenty of parking on-site and a number of shops and tearooms to explore nearby.

The Collingwood Arms’ manicured gardens were asleep for the winter when we visited, but I’m told they come alive during the summer when afternoon tea is served al fresco beneath the trees – heavenly!

Award-winning architects collaborated with historians and local craftsmen to refurbish this family-owned hotel and restore this Grade II Listed Georgian building to its glorious current state.

A sincere thank you to The Collingwood Arms for having us,
I can’t wait to come back for another gorgeous getaway.

Fancy a taste of the good life for yourself? Sign up to their newsletter for your chance to win your own stay, or treat yourselves – prices start from just £115 per night!

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