LORD CREWE ARMS, BLANCHLAND - SLEEPOVER REVIEW BY KISS THE MOON
We've found a new favourite hideaway in the countryside and wanted to tell you all about it. The Lord Crewe Arms is maybe the perfect place for lunch on a sunny Sunday, and as you are there, why not stay the night? As it's in our neck of the woods (Kiss the Moon HQ is just over an hour away) - we couldn't wait to check in and see how it scored on our 'lovely places to sleep' survey. We're delighted to say it didn't disappoint.
Nestled in the northern moorland hills, just on the border between County Durham and Northumberland in the ancient village of Blanchland, this stylish hotel has charm aplenty. It's set in a medieval building dating back to 1165 that was used as a hiding hole by monks from neighbouring Blanchland Abbey for centuries. The place is a twist of higgledy-piggledy stairways and stone-flagged floors. Now dedicated to serving top level, locally-sourced food and offering northern hospitality to all who pass by. It's a northern sister to the lovely Calcot Manor and Barnsley House in the Cotswolds - so our expectations were high.
Here's what we found...
COMFORT LEVEL – 8.5/10: We were a little spoilt to be honest as our stay coincided with my birthday, so we pushed the boat out and stayed in one of the two suites. (Both are dog-friendly so the pooches were delighted to come along with us too by the way). Our room(s) were set over the ground floor of two old miner's cottages in the village (though many of the bedrooms are the main building). This meant we had oodles of space - a comfy sitting room with its own giant stone fireplace and a nice airy bedroom and free-standing bath. We also had a nosey in a couple of other rooms and can vouch for the fact that all the home comforts you'd hope for are at your fingertips. From the welcome gift of locally made fudge, to the invitaion to 'press '0' and we'll pop round with anything else you need' . We know other places say that but somehow, it felt like the team at the Lord Crewe actually mean it. Furnishings fit the country setting and are good quality and squishy. Just what you need after filling up on chef Simon Hicks (ex-head chef at Mark Hix’s place in Soho) and his team's delicious food. It's one of those places that make you relax as soon as you walk in the door. The only thing we'd change in our room was the shower (a little short for us, but then it's set in an old building, so what can you do?) There's rumours of a spa opening next year. We're crossing our fingers as this would be the icing on the cake. Meanwhile, take a good book, some decent walking shoes and be ready to brush up on your Scrabble skills. It's that kind of a place.
NOISE LEVEL – 8/10: Unless you are bothered by the chorus of blackbirds you should't have any noise problems here. The village is reassuringly sleepy and, while the hotel is always bustling and there are deliveries and local traffic to consider, by night it's steeped in the kind of quiet you only get out in the sticks. Make the most of it and plan a lie in.
LIGHT LEVEL – 10/10: Well made blinds and curtains shut out every last inch of daylight. Our room had a good selection of bedside lights and task lights dotted around. Nothing flashing or bleeping at us from the far corner (our pet hate). So nothing to worry about on this score.
TEMPERATURE LEVEL – 9/10: We visited in mid-June, but it's the North of England so we didn't mind when the heating clicked on for a bit in the evening. The radiator made a few strange noises (that got the dogs very confused until we sussed out where they were coming from) but that was easily sorted. Proper windows that open to let you get some of that lovely fresh air and a door you can prop open and say hi to the neighbours. We bet it's a perfect place to hole up on a wintery night -we'll be back to get that wood burning fire going.
CARE LEVEL – 9/ 10: Charming, quietly capable service and lots of cuddles for the dogs (who didn't want to leave by the way). The food was delicious and cleverly thought through. Nothing was too much trouble, but in a nice relaxed way rather than over the top sycophantic. Just the way we like it. Another big tick for the friendly northerns we think.
TOTAL SCORE 9/10: Cool, clever, warm and welcoming. We suggest you book yourself in immediately. We promise you won't be disappointed.
Lord Crewe Arms, The Square Blanchland, Consett, County Durham, DH8 9SP Tel: 01434 675 469 E: email@example.com
PS/ Check out our Sleepover Review of sister property Barnsley House in the Cotswolds.