09:00 – Warkworth
After an early meet at the Inntravel offices, Laura, Jonathan and Verity set off for Northumberland, arriving in historic Warkworth just in time for breakfast. No time to pause for the local speciality of smoked kippers, though, as they were expected at the Warkworth House Hotel, a former coaching inn set on the village’s main street. As one of our longstanding regional specialists, Jonathan has seen his fair share of Inntravel hotels, and he described Warkworth House as “a cosy pub”, much more spacious than you might expect from outside, and with well-decorated bedrooms and “a calm, collected and friendly staff.”
10:30 – Greycroft, Alnwick
After a quick amble around Warkworth Castle, it was time to continue north to Alnwick, where we offer a choice of hotels. The first of these is the family-run guesthouse, Greycroft, which surprised Verity with its quiet location: “Alnwick can be a really bustling town and so to find some tranquillity (with a beautiful garden, too) was so lovely.” Verity also remarked on the hands-on hosts: “We were greeted by Audrey, and then by her son Tom, who arrived in his sports car and talked us through his impressive breakfast menu, explaining that the last Inntravel customers had devoured all his homemade vegan sausages!”
11:00 – The Cookie Jar, Alnwick
“This was a complete surprise for me, personally.” said Jonathan, of our upgrade option in Alnwick. “For some reason, I expected a small guesthouse but The Cookie Jar is a boutique hotel that has enjoyed a no-expense-spared refurbishment and which is set right next to the imposing Alnwick Castle.” The hotel has been a real hit with Inntravel guests this last year, and it seems the feeling is mutual, with owner Debbie Cook keen to tell us that all the Inntravellers we have sent them “have been delightful.”
12:00 – Lunchtime
By midday stomachs were definitely rumbling. So after stocking up on provisions in Alnwick – from the excellent Farm Bakery – the Inntravel trio drove to Craster to eat outside on the sunny harbour wall. A particular highlight for Verity was buying a small tub of crayfish from the renowned local fishmonger – her parents used to bribe her with snacks from here before any long walks along the coast! Craster has always been a favourite with Laura, too; she loved seeing its quaint cottages once again, and said the smell of the kipper house brought back vivid memories of fishing for crabs further along the coast as a child.
13:00 – Craster to Beadnell
One of Laura, Jonathan and Verity’s main reasons for coming to Northumberland was to sample some of the walking enjoyed by Inntravel customers, and so after lunch they left bustling Craster behind and set off north in glorious sunshine, beckoned forward by “wide sands, briny sea and further castles” as Jonathan put it. Laura loved the varied scenery on the walk: they crossed open moorland, skirted the edge of Dunstanburgh Castle, stumbled up and down sand dunes, zig-zagged around beach chalets and hugged the small estuary river before finally reaching Beadnell and its white beach.
16:00 – Beadnell Towers, Beadnell
Appropriately enough, the day concluded with a visit to the final hotel on our walking holiday, Beadnell Towers. Jonathan was only too happy to confirm that this hotel is nothing like its namesake, ‘Fawlty’ – immediately on arrival they were offered a drink on the sun-drenched terrace followed by a short tour – including of a gorgeous bedroom with two inviting copper bathtubs. Although everything in Northumberland had run like clockwork, road closures closer to home meant it was almost 9pm before they made it back. However, all three agreed it had been “the best day”, a brilliant opportunity to catch up with colleagues and to visit a very special Inntravel destination.