Lord Crewe Arms Pub with rooms in Blanchland, Co. Durham

Prices from:
£120 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Historic inn & timeless village
  • Stunning restoration
  • Supremely comfortable rooms
  • Seasonal food from the garden
  • Atmospheric cellar bar
  • Cloister garden with views
  • Mecca for country sports

Sticky FingersMuddy PawsGood for WalkingOutdoor PursuitsCandlelitClose to WaterPrivate Dining

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Overview

Lord Crewe Arms Blanchland, Co. Durham, DH8 9SP

The personal touch

Wild and remote, in a deep valley some three miles below Derwent Reservoir, Blanchland Abbey can trace its origins back to 1165, and the layout of its surrounding village remains unchanged to this day. At the heart of Blanchland stands the Lord Crewe Arms, one of England’s finest inns, set in a cloister garden that is a now an ancient monument. Named after Nathaniel, Lord Crewe – the 18th-century Bishop of Durham and one-time owner of the estate – the inn is now reaping the benefits of a makeover from Calcot Hotels. The result is a stunning blend of old and new spread across two restaurants, 21 bedrooms and an atmospheric vaulted bar. It feels informal, but with big gestures – so prepare to be wowed by ancient flagstones, heavy oak doors, chunky trestle tables, wall sconces and medieval-style chandeliers. Stone steps lead to a warren of rooms, while the chic upstairs restaurant has cracking views over the cloister garden to the valley below. The recently refurbished Gatehouse across the Square is now a foodie haven and the fabulous setting for chef’s table dinner parties and cooking demonstrations, replete with open kitchen. The Lord Crewe Arms is also a home-from-home for the huntin’, fishin’ and shootin’ set.

Muddy paws

Dogs are welcome in the bar and in 14 of the rooms (a £10 charge includes a dog bed and bowl).

Sticky fingers

Children are made to feel very welcome, with smaller portions from the menus and board games in the bar. Cots and Z-beds are available, and several rooms are designed for families. Baby-sitting can be arranged.

Alfresco

Eat and drink alfresco in the original Abbey cloister garden – a Grade I-listed space that comes complete with ruins and stunning views down the Derwent valley. There’s room on the grass for summer brollies, tables and chairs, plus boules, croquet and a giant Jenga game.

What’s the Damage?
18 doubles from £120, 3 suites from £164

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining facilities
  • Parking
  • Not suitable for the disabled

Gongs
Good Hotel Guide, Michelin

Sleep

Lord Crewe Arms Blanchland, Co. Durham, DH8 9SP

Do not disturb

Named after local fells and shoots, the inn’s 21 bedrooms are dotted around the original building, three neighbouring miners’ cottages and the village’s one-time Angel of Temperance inn across the road. Kitted out in contemporary country-house style, they are supremely comfortable with king-size beds topped with the finest linen and down, matching fabrics and blankets, antique furnishings, upholstered chairs or sofas (larger rooms), and modern tiled bathrooms. Some are beamed, most have feature fireplaces (three with open fires), and the ‘Champion’ rooms or suites have vast bathrooms with claw-foot baths and walk-in showers.

Creature comforts

Nespresso machines and homemade cookies; hot water bottles; cosy bathrobes; magazines, local maps and a map case; Aromatherapy bathroom goodies

Gadgets

Roberts radios; HD digital TVs; telephone (no mobile signal); Bose Bluetooth music station; free Wi-Fi throughout

Pampering

Drying room; boot room (with sink)

What’s for Breakfast?

Fresh fruit, freshly squeezed juices, yoghurts; croissants and pastries; Kilner jars filled with homemade jams and marmalades; cereals in posh labelled containers; eggs Benedict; cheesy crumpets; full English breakfast including home-smoked salmon, local sausages and bacon

What’s the Damage?
18 doubles from £120, 3 suites from £164

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining facilities
  • Parking
  • Not suitable for the disabled

Gongs
Good Hotel Guide, Michelin

Eat & Drink

Lord Crewe Arms Blanchland, Co. Durham, DH8 9SP

Mastering the menu

Having worked the stoves at several of Mark Hix’s London restaurants – notably Hix Soho – Aussie chef Simon Hicks escaped the city to set up the kitchen at the Lord Crewe, and hasn’t looked back. His food is robust modern British fare and he is relishing the rural location, taking full advantage of locally bagged game, top-quality meats and foraged ingredients – as well as pickings from the kitchen garden and the output of a smokehouse in one of the inn’s outbuildings. Daily menus are driven by the seasons and peppered with meaty cuts – hocks, shins, shanks, steaks and the like. Typically, expect to find venison salami, braised oxtail, lamb chops and delicious sharing platters (whole roasted Goosnargh duck) on winter’s evening. If you’re lucky, there may be a joint spit-roasting or a pot of stew bubbling away over the fire in the Hilyard Room. Indulgent, desserts hark back to the good old days, perhaps vanilla rice pudding or elderflower jelly with gooseberry ice cream.

On the menu

Braised oxtail with Willie’s crispy pease pudding
Lincolnshire onion tart, poached egg and fried chicken livers
Roast cod, braised lentils, vegetables and ham
Chargrilled venison, sweet-and-sour beetroot and ‘neep’ croquettes
Forced rhubarb and custard tart

Sunday Roasts

Lunch revolves around a sharing platter of three roasts, all served with Yorkshire puddings, vegetables, cauliflower cheese and spring greens – roast rump of Castle Bank beef; roast Swailbrick Farm chicken; roast collar of Yorkshire pork (2 courses £18; 3 courses £24).

Foodie Extras

The refurbished Gatehouse is now a foodie haven with open kitchen and the fabulous setting for cooking demonstrations from visiting top chefs, and it’s Simon’s impressive chef table, so a cool place to book a private party. Picnic hampers, shooting baskets and walkers’ lunches (12 hours’ notice required). Full shooting lunches are also catered for.

Time to Eat

Breakfast: 7.30am – 9.30am
Lunch: 12 noon – 2.30pm (3pm Saturday & Sunday)
Dinner: 6pm – 9pm (6.30pm – 9pm Sunday)

Local, local, local

Home-grown vegetables from the kitchen garden and greenhouse
Home-smoked bacon, salmon and sardines from smokehouse hidden in garden outbuildings
Venison and seasonal game from the estate shoots
Real ale – Wylam Brewery, Heddon-on-the-Wall (www.wylambrewery.co.uk)

Behind the bar

The medieval vaulted Crypt, sculpted by thick stone walls and lit by candles, is a really cosy and atmospheric place to enjoy a pre-dinner drink or nibble on some ‘bait bites’ (bar snacks). Very much the village rallying point, it often buzzes with locals bantering and supping Northumbrian ales – perhaps Wylam Red Kite or the Lord Crewe Brew (a traditional golden ale produced for the inn by Wylam). There are ‘garden cocktails’ too, plus a good range of gins and whiskies for spirit fans. Wine buffs have a choice of 14 by the glass from a decent list that includes an interesting ‘French and Serious’ selection – namely fine vintage Bordeaux that have been aged in the cellars at the company’s flagship, Calcot Manor in Gloucestershire.

Bar snacks

Duck egg with spiced buttered shrimps on toast
Jim’s grilled beef burger
Smoked haddock croquettes
Haggis ‘n’ neeps
Reggie’s duck bun

Time at the bar

11am – 11pm

What’s the Damage?
18 doubles from £120, 3 suites from £164

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining facilities
  • Parking
  • Not suitable for the disabled

Gongs
Good Hotel Guide, Michelin

Food Trail

Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.

Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – gabrielle@innplaces.co.uk.

1 Inn Location - Lord Crewe Arms

2

Bouchon Bistrot, Hexham NE46 3NJ

This authentic French restaurant was named 'Best local French restaurant in the UK' on Gordon Ramsay's The F-Word TV show a few years back. Expect Gallic classics such as snails with garlic butter, steak frites and duck confit.

3

The Dipton Mill Inn, Dipton Mill, Hexham NE46 1YA

Home to the Hexhamshire Brewery, this charming little 17th century country pub has a great beer garden. Beers such as Whapweasal and Devil's Water can be enjoyed with simple homecooked dishes like steak and kidney pie or mince and dumplings.

4

Brocksbushes Farm Shop, Corbridge NE43 7UB

Brocksbushes has evolved over the last 25 years from an acre of soft fruit with a tiny farm shop open eight weeks a year to a thriving farm shop, tea room, pick-your-own and garden centre. Visit during the summer and pick your own soft fruit. In spring, the farm shop sells its own asparagus, too.

5

Knitsley Farm Shop, Knitsley DH8 9EW

Current holder of Farm Shop of The Year 2015, this award-winning place also boasts its own butchery, bakery, deli and Granary Cafe restaurant serving sandwiches, a proper breakfast (featuring home-produced free-range eggs, sausage and bacon) and a must-book Sunday roast lunch with a selection of five roast meats.

7

Wylam Brewery, Heddon-on-the Wall NE15 0EZ

This award-winning brewery makes the Lord Crewe Brew for the Lord Crewe Arms. Located at South Houghton Farm, there isn't a shop as such but you can visit the brewery to buy bottled beers if you phone ahead and make an appointment.

8

Vallum Farm, East Wallhouses NE18 0LL

In the shadow of Hadrian's Wall, Vicky and Peter Moffitt and their team make award-winning ice cream and cheese and have a patisserie and delicatessen selling home-smoked meat, game and fish, heritage herbs and vegetables grown in the Vallum Kitchen Garden plus artisan breads, patisserie and pies made in the Vallum Bakery. You can also taste the produce in the Restaurant and Tea Room.

9

Rat Inn, Anick, Hexham NE46 4LN

Ranked in the Top 50 Gastropubs in the UK, The Rat occupies a stunning location overlooking the Tyne Valley and the village green. In summer, the sunny terrace is the place to be, but grab a seat near the log-burning cast iron range in the darker months. The award-winning food is matched by six hand pumps showcasing local breweries such as Wylam, Allendale and Geltsdale.

10

Hexham Farmers' Market, Hexham NE46 1XQ

This long established market in the heart of Hexham features producers from within a 50-mile radius of the town. Stock up on locally-reared meat, vegetables, bread, cakes, cheese, preserves, trout and smoked products.

11

J.D. Hall Butchers, Corbridge, NE45 5AA

In the upmarket town of Corbridge with its boutique shops and cafés, you’ll also find JD Hall Butchers, who supply the Lord Crewe Arms with its locally reared meat, much of the livestock bought directly from Hexham and Darlington markets.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - Lord Crewe Arms

Activities

2

Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club DH8 9PT

Only a couple of miles from Blanchland lies Derwent Reservoir, 3.5 miles long and consisting of 1,000 acres of open water. Devoted to sailing and windsurfing, this is the perfect setting for some exhilarating water-based activity.

3

Kielder Forest NE48 1ER

Kielder Water is Britain's biggest man-made lake, set within the 250 square miles of England's largest working forest. Acknowledged as the best 'tourism experience' in the country, this is the place for a day of fun and adventure. Among a whole range of great activities for both adults and children are fishing, birdwatching and geocaching.

4

Cloud Nine Ballooning, Blanchland DH8 0TB

Here's a fantastic opportunity to float silently over the magnificent landscape of Northumberland and the North Pennines. Get some great photographs while you're there too. The main launch site is near Blanchland.

15

Horse Riding, Barnard Castle DL12 9DG

What could be better than an exhilarating trek in the beautiful limestone country of Teesdale. The welcoming staff at Raygill Farm, near Barnard Castle, will work out a programme to suit your schedule and requirements.

Shopping

10

Durham Dales Centre, Stanhope DL13 2FJ

At the Durham Dales Centre, a few miles north of Romaldkirk, in the Weardale village of Stanhope, you'll discover a striking mix of gift shops and craft galleries. Shop for jewellery, clothing, cards and more.

11

Gaia, 3 Market Street, Hexham NE46 3NS

Gaia is Hexham's Fairtrade Emporium, full of quirky items and fantastic surprises. Expect an amazing range of new and recycled textiles, rugs, throws, hats, scarves, musical instruments and much more. The place has a friendly, welcoming atmosphere and customers come back time and time again. 01434 603360.

12

Durham DH1 1RH

A shopping trip to the beautiful city of Durham is much more than just trudging around the shops spending money. Here you can seek out independent retailers, boutiques and quirky craft traders in the shadow of the historic Cathedral. It's a great day out, not a chore.

13

Cogito Books, Hexham NE46 1NQ

Situated at the heart of the historic market town of Hexham, Cogito Books is an independent retailer run by knowledgeable booksellers with a huge range of titles for all ages, plus a great choice of cards, notebooks and classical CDs.

14

Dickinsons, Hexham NE46 3LZ

Based on Beaumont Street in Hexham, this well-established furniture, flooring and interiors retailer has the largest interior-design studios in the North of England, offering a one-stop shop for furniture, lighting, beds, carpets, curtains, blinds and accessories.

16

Zara Countrywear, Barnard Castle DL12 8NB

Located in Barnard Castle, Zara Countrywear stocks a broad range of menswear and ladies fashion, as well as accessories and clothes for children. Designer labels include Toggi, Hunter and Stetson.

Places to visit

5

Derwentcote Steel Furnace, Rowland's Gill NE17 7RS

Constructed in the 1720s, Derwentcote, at Rowland's Gill near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, is the earliest and most complete steelmaking furnace in the UK. Restored by English Heritage in 1990, this great landmark is also the last surviving example of cementation steelmaking in the north-east.

6

The North of England Lead Mining Museum, Cowshill DL13 1AR

Surrounded by dense forest and grouse moorland near Cowshill in Upper Weardale, the North of England Lead Mining Museum provides a fascinating insight into the lives of local miners and their families. The museum's most famous feature is the giant overshot 33ft-high water wheel, which powered the crushing machinery.

8

Gibside, near Rowlands Gill, Gateshead NE16 6BG

Situated just outside Rowland's Gill and created by one of the richest men in Georgian England, Gibside is gradually being brought to life by the National Trust after centuries of neglect. Expect a wonderful landscaped park, miles of walks and some magnificent views.

9

National Railway Museum, Shildon, Bishop Auckland DL4 1PQ

This is one strictly for steam fans. In the Great Hall you can wallow in nostalgia, marvel at some of the biggest and best-known locomotives and encounter history makers and record breakers. The museum is based near Bishop Auckland.

17

Hadrian's Wall & Housesteads Fort, Bardon Mill, Hexham NE47 6NN

One of the Roman Empire’s most northerly outposts, Hadrian’s Wall survives as a monument to the past. Learn all about the role it played during the Roman Occupation by visiting Housesteads Fort, between Haltwhistle and Hexham in the wilds of Northumberland.

18

Egglestone Hall & Gardens DL12 0AG

Situated in Teesdale, north of Barnard Castle, Eggleston Hall Nursery & Gardens are often referred to as ‘the jewel amongst the hills’. The nursery garden recalls the golden age of Victorian plant collectors, and a waymarked trail allows you to discover this hidden gem.

Walking

www.visitnorthumberland.com
www.visitkielder.com
www.exploreteesdale.uk
www.highforcewaterfall.com
If you’re planning to go walking during your stay at the Lord Crewe Arms, you might like to start off with something short and undemanding right on the doorstep. From the inn there are several waymarked walks that take you round this picture-perfect estate village and provide access to the spectacular moorland country surrounding it. There are also numerous trails to discover in Kielder Forest and Hamsterley Forest, but for one of the North of England’s great natural attractions, make for High Force – a spectacular waterfall on the river Tees. The artist Turner came to sketch the scene here in 1816.

Cycling

www.sandstoneway.co.uk
www.visitnorthumberland.com
www.visitkielder.com
www.woodnwheels.org.uk
If you’re looking for something with a real sense of adventure, you might want to tackle a section of the 120-mile Sandstone Way, which links Hexham with Berwick-upon-Tweed and was launched in 2015. There are 10 optional looped sections enabling riders to turn the trail into a series of circular routes that are ideally suited to families and the less experienced cyclist. Elsewhere, try a day or half day in the saddle within the wooded expanses of Hamsterley Forest or Kielder Forest. There’s plenty of choice in both areas and the chance to hire bikes.

Events

www.visithexham.net
www.thisisdurham.com
www.exploreteesdale.co.uk
Throughout the year, Teesdale hosts an assortment of festivals and cultural activities including walks, talks, family fun days and exhibitions. The Bowes Museum is a popular venue for many key events in the region’s social calendar. Elsewhere, look out for the Durham International Festival and the Bishop Auckland Food Festival. North of Blanchland, there’s plenty to entertain you too: the Hexham Book Festival sees appearances by many authors, while the town’s Spring Festival plays host to all sorts of events – from music and a teddy bears’ picnic to classic car displays and morris dancing.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road
Blanchland is located on B6306 between Hexham and Edmundbyers, signposted from the A68 west of Consett at Carterway Heads.

By Rail
The nearest train station is Hexham (11 miles) – a 4-hour journey from London King’s Cross (change at Newcastle upon Tyne).

By Air
One-hour’s drive from Newcastle airport.

Address:

The Square, Blanchland, Co. Durham, DH8 9SP

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