Sometimes city living can be hectic and you may be in need of a break from the hustle and bustle. Taking the two and a half hour drive from Manchester to the North Pennines, through the scenic route of winding roads, passed the blue sheep (not actually blue but marked blue by the local farmers) up through Durham and onto Blanchland, Northumberland is a quant village that offers the simple things in life.
You enter the village of listed buildings circling a cobbled courtyard. Blanchland consists of a tea rooms, church, farm shop and of course The Lord Crewe Arms. This 21 bedroom guest house sits proud and celebrates heritage but with a modern twist.
Approaching the honey stone building The Lord Crewe Arms advertises “This way to wet your whiskers” The Dungeon style pub (voted top 10 ultimate pubs by The Sunday Times) is crowded with local shooters, and hotel guests doing exactly as the sign ordered.
…everything is considered from a hot water bottle ready for the cold night, homemade crumbly fudge, maps and wellies available if you dare take a hike to examine the blue sheep closer.
From the icy Pennines air the open roaring fires hit you and you instantly feel at home, leave your wellies in the designated boot room, and grab a blanket from the basket claiming “Help yourself to a snuggle”. Anything goes here, bring your dog, open a bottle of wine but one order is relax.
The rooms are individually decorated and we were lucky enough to have a roll top bath… everything is considered from a hot water bottle ready for the cold night, homemade crumbly fudge, maps and wellies available if you dare take a hike to examine the blue sheep closer.
Open fires blaze through the dining room with open spit roasts showcasing dinner. Whether it be Northumbrian Chicken or a Thistleyhaugh farm duck, it’s all served with the freshest veg grown right there in the back garden of the “Crewe”. We started with Scallops in garlic butter and roasted squash with Longley Farm cottage cheese and toasted walnuts mopped up with thick doorstop bread with a fondue of salted and pheasant butter. Mains, I can fully recommend the baked grouse breast wellington with whipped tatties and a truffle gravy or if you want to keep it simple, the steak was cooked to perfection in a red wine jus and proper cooked chips. If you take one bit of advice then save room for dessert, taking you back to basics with classic comforts… you must try the Bakewell Tart! Wash it all down with a tipple of your choice from the extensive wine list.
The clientele is real mixed bag, young and old flock here for a hearty nights stay. Out the back is the extended family… the white tail doves sit in the acres of wilderness with a cute flowing river and the picturesque hills.
In the morning wake to breakfast fit for a king, from eggy bread to a full cooked English all served either in the comfort of your room or in the perfectly laid dining room.
Would be wrong to wrap up this review without a mention of the staff. It’s like one big family, where ever you go, someone greets you will a smile asking if there is anything further they can do…
Our simple reply is “pop another log on the fire and pour me a glass of red”.
Rooms start from £109 B&B
Tel: 01434 675469