Local Area Information

Old Mill is located in the small hamlet of Branton which is about 1 mile from the village of Powburn which has a welcoming pub which serves food, and a petrol station with a small supermarket. The village of Glanton is about 2 miles south of Branton, which also has a pub that serves good food. Alnwick is about 15 minutes drive away. In fact, you will pass our favourite local pub, the Tankerville arms, en route. Alnwick is a beautiful market town dominated by Alnwick Castle, the seat of the Duke of Northumberland, and the wonderful Alnwick Gardens, not forgetting the tree house. There are numerous places to eat, independent shops as well as Sainsbury's and Morrisons. The Playhouse serves as a local theatre and cinema, and hosts a number of arts festivals. Whether books are your thing or not, Barter Books, a huge secondhand book shop set in the old railway station, is well worth a visit. Wooler is a small town about 10 minutes north of Old Mill. It offers a small Coop, banks, places to eat, a library and tourist information as well as an excellent butcher and a great deli- The Good Life. It is also known as the gateway to the Chevoits; a great place from which to set off into the hills. There are also many country pubs and bistros in the area which serve great food. Try the Barn at Beal for lovely meals overlooking Holy Island.

Northumberland is littered with castles reflecting more unsettled times. Apart from Alnwick, there are castles at Lindisfarne, Bamburgh, Etal near to Flodden field, Warkworth, the ruined cliff top castle at Dunstanburgh, the eccentric Chillingham (and do not forget the wild cattle!)... and no doubt others we have not discovered yet. There is also the National Trust property, Cragside near Rothbury, one of the first houses to be lit by electricty. The gardens are extensive and beautifully landscaped. Brinkburn Priory is also close by.

The coast is stunning, with miles of dramatic sandy beaches and sand dunes. In fact, a number of links golf courses have taken advantage of these. Bamburgh beach stretches for miles from Seahouses to north of the castle towards Lindisfarne. Embleton beach is also stunning with Dunstanburgh castle at the south end and the Ship Inn set into fishermans cottages at the north end; it has it's own microbrewery. There are companies that offer coasteering, as well as sea kayaking. Kite surfers as well as surfers are a common site. From Seahouses, there are boats to take you out to the Farne Islands. There is still a lighthouse there, although not the orginal one which Grace Darling set out from on the famous rescue. In the spring, the islands are full of nesting eider ducks, puffins and arctic terns. There is a Grace Darling museum in Bamburgh. The Copper Kettle is a lovely tea room close by.

Holy Island, Lindisfarne, is about 40 minutes drive. There is something extraordinarily romantic about driving across the causeway (only open either side of low tide so do check the tide timetables). The ruins of Lindisfarne Priory, the home of St Cuthbert, overlooks the harbour with the castle at the other end. The village has some great pubs, tea shops and gift shops. The old coastguard post is now a lookout set out to sea and towards the mainland. Northumberland has a rich heritage of ancient Celtic Christianity, reflected in the final destination of 2 long distance walks, St Cuthbert's Way and St Oswald's Way. There are many beautiful old churches which are worth visiting and some of them host music festivals.

There are lots of opportunities to walk. There is beautiful countryside within yards of our door; farmland gives way to the heather clad Northumberland moorlands. There is even a coffee shop, Muddy Boots, en route. Linhope Spout, a waterfall with a 60ft drop, is within striking distance. The reminants of Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements are scattered over the valley. Red squirrels are found in the area. Northumberland, in fact, has a rich and diverse wildlife. You can walk for miles along the beaches. There are great options for high level walking in the Cheviots. You can also pick up some of the long distance paths such as St Cuthberts and St Oswalds Way.

Inland adventure opportunities include fly fishing on a number of local lakes, clay pigeon shooting at Bywell, and horse riding (also on the beach). As already mentioned, there are a number of local golf course that welcome vistors. There are a number of antique shops and other small independent boutiques and craft galleries in the local area.

Northumberland has been designated an international dark sky park. There is fabulous star gazing close to the cottage.

Further afield, Berwick upon Tweed is less than an hour away, as is Newcastle. Edinburgh is about 1 1/2 hours away (or get the train from Alnmouth or Berwick).