Plenty reasons to plan a stay in Northumberland

What could be better than making plans for some well earned time away, and no matter what you’re looking for Northumberland will be sure to fit the bill. It never fails to impress all who visit this northern most County of England.

The coastline – Northumberland has an unrivaled and magnificent coastline with castles, coves, dunes, wildlife, bird life and with more than 30 miles of beaches to choose from it’s difficult to pick a favourite spot. The beaches are the widest, cleanest and most picturesque you will find in the UK.

The landscape – There aren’t enough words to describe the landscape here, it’s beyond dramatic, it’s inspiring, it’s beautiful, it’s vast, it’s ever changing. Northumberland can take you from harsh and rugged to pretty and idyllic within such a short space of time, but please don’t just take our word for it, it has to be seen to be believed.

History – We’re just bursting with it, whether it’s Kings & castles, battles & riots, stately homes, mining heritage, museums or the Romans and a certain famous Wall you can’t help but be in awe of the facts, the discoveries and the often bloody history steeped almost everywhere you look.

Gardens – Each and every garden you discover in Northumberland is unique and each has it’s own story to tell. Some have a wealth of history embedded in their walls or running through their borders, some are grand and stately whilst others are more modern and full of ambition and quirkiness. Whichever ones you choose to visit you will not be disappointed.

The people – Northumberland is home to only 316,000 people and is so sparsely populated that 97% of it is classed as rural. There may not be many of us Northumbrians but we are the friendliest of folk, happy to chat, happy to take time with you and you will always feel welcome here.

Our produce – We’re producers and we’re proud of it. Our butchers, farm shops, bakers, restaurants, cafes, pubs, dairies, markets, chefs and our farmers will ensure the produce you find in Northumberland is something you will always remember. If it’s produced in Northumberland it’s produced with passion!

Our dark skies – A winter stay is spectacular in Northumberland, we have the darkest starriest skies and can even boast that our International Dark Sky Park is the largest protected Dark Sky area of night sky in Europe. 

If you’re still unsure whether Northumberland is the place for you, then just take a look at what other have had to say about their stay, we promise you won’t want to leave.

If you’d like to book a stay with us and enjoy some 5* luxury then please head to our availability page on our website or you can contact us directly…we look forward to hearing from you.

Produced in Northumberland

You can’t visit Northumberland without realising the passion and dedication that goes into producing our local goods and products. Whether we are the ones to grow it, nurture it, care for it, rear it, produce it, harvest it, bake it or be the ones to lovingly prepare and serve it, we are dedicated to ensuring everything Produced in Northumberland is a source of pride to our County and a source of enjoyment for our visitors and residents.

Many of our restaurants, cafes and pubs actively source and promote their use of local produce, Barrasford Arms, The Carts Bog, The Angel of Corbridge, The Beaumont Hotel in Hexham and The Lord Crewe Arms in Blanchland to name but a few, all include locally reared or locally grown produce on their menus.

Some of our local establishments have gone a step further to ensure the freshest of ingredients are used, where home grown produce is quite literally taken from garden direct to your table. Restaurant Hjem in Wall is supplied by a specialist grower in Northumberland and The Battlesteads in Wark have their own garden from which they take their own home grown fruit, vegetables, salads, flowers and herbs. What could be better than freshly home grown produce with zero food miles?

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Restaurant Hjem ensuring the freshest of produce is served to your table
Image Restaurant Hjem

We know many of our guests like to shop local and find that their time away gives the opportunity to enjoy preparing and cooking a relaxed and special meal. A quick trip to Hexham or Corbridge and you will find local butchers, bakers and independent local farm shops. The Corbridge Larder, Halls butchers and Grants bakery in Corbridge together with The Grateful Bread bakery in Hexham, Robsons and Cranstons butchers in Hexham along with Ridley’s Fish & Game offer the finest ranges of locally sourced produce. Our local butchers strive to offer the best quality meat with the highest level of traceability, so feel free to ask where your meat is from…it might even be from St Oswald’s Farm!

‘If it’s Produced in Northumberland it’s produced with passion’

If you’re lucky enough to be staying on the 2nd or 4th Saturday of the month be sure to head to the award winning Hexham Farmers’ Market where you will be spoilt for choice, with cheeses, meats, breads, oils, chutneys, jams, fruit, vegetables, honey, fish, beer, spirits, confectionery, gifts, biscuits, pressed juices, coffee and that all important cake….well you are on holiday after all. I don’t think anyone has ever been known to leave Northumberland feeling hungry!

Hexham Farmers’ Market is on in Hexham Market Place from 9am until 12 noon on the 2nd & 4th Saturday each month. Look out for guest producers, live music, competitions and during the autumn months you can take the opportunity to press your own apple juice…you can’t get fresher than that. (images HFM). Further information on current producers can be found on their website.

Some producers across the County are part of the local Produced in Northumberland accredited scheme and it is easy to spot the associated brand and labeling with the distinctive Northumberland flag on many of these products.

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Northumbrian Bakehouse biscuits

As a visitor to Northumberland you will without doubt come across some of our growers, our farmers, our farm shops, our butchers, our brewers, our restaurants, our cafes and our highly talented chefs. We very much hope you are able to sense the passion and commitment in ensuring that you are able to enjoy the very best of Produced in Northumberland.

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Enjoy our own fresh farm eggs when you stay at St Oswald’s Farm

If you’d like to discover Northumberland and enjoy all we have to offer in our amazing County we would love to welcome you here to St Oswald’s Farm. All details of our accommodation together with availability and prices can be found here.

Northumberland Coastal Path

The Northumberland Coast has to be one of the most stunning in the UK and with it’s own dedicated Coastal Path it couldn’t be easier to enjoy and offers some of the most spectacular walking in Europe.

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Northumberland Coastal Path – Image Gavin Duthie

As you would expect there are huge expanses of gorgeous sweeping beaches but the path takes you on a journey to discover so much more. Ancient castles, spectacular cliffs and rocky outcrops, wild sand dunes, secluded coves, friendly villages and fishing ports, a national nature reserve and the opportunity to take in the wildlife and bird life and undoubtedly has an unspoilt yet majestic beauty.

The 62 mile linear route through the Northumberland Coastal Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty runs from Cresswell in the South to the historic border town of Berwick Upon Tweed in the North. It is well signed and a mainly flat walk with only a few steep climbs giving you the opportunity to concentrate on the constantly changing landscape around you.

The whole route is broken into 6 stages with many of the stages taking in some of our Northumbrian highlights. Section one enjoys Druridge Bay, Hauxley Nature Reserve, views of Coquet Island before arriving in Warkworth, a picturesque village sitting in the shadow of its impressive Castle and Hermitage.

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Warkworth Castle

Section two visits Alnmouth and Boulmer before reaching Craster where an obligatory visit to the smokery is a must and perhaps refreshment at The Jolly Fisherman! Section three takes you past the dramatic ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle and onto Embleton Bay and Low Newton which offer a haven for birdwatching & wildlife before the route continues on to the fishing port of Seahouses.

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The fishing village of Craster
Image Gavin Duthie

Section four takes you from Seahouses to Belford and section five from Belford to Fenwick both only a short 6-7 mile walk with the final leg of this magnificent walk taking you 12 miles to the border town of Berwick Upon Tweed.

The Coastal route isn’t just for those wishing to complete the whole walk, there is a bus service that enables you to enjoy shorter sections and there is a helpful video about the X18 Coast and Castles which services the route of the Northumberland Coastal Path between Amble and Berwick. It’s ideal if you’d like to enjoy short linear routes and return to your starting point.

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The impressive ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle

Also ideal for day visitors are the circular walking routes, choose from 4 miles routes from Craster to Howick Hall (famously the home of Earl Grey Tea) or Craster to Dunstanburgh. If you have a little longer to spend then there is a walk of just over 10 miles from Belford to St Cuthbert’s Cave which is reputed to be where the monks of Lindisfarne brought St. Cuthbert’s body to rest for a short period in AD875.

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Enjoy a cup of Earl Grey Tea at Howick Hall

To enjoy the circular trails it is well worth obtaining the trail leaflets from a local Tourist Information Point and the Northumberland Coastal Path Official Guidebook & Path Passport can both be purchased from Northern Heritage.

Northumberland has no end of fantastic walking opportunities, each one as unique and diverse as its neighbour. We hope that when you visit you get to enjoy some of our walks and the see the very best of our lovely County.

We’re always happy to recommend walks and days out to our guests and there are books and guides in the cottage to help you choose. For all details of our accommodation here at St Oswald’s Farm and our current availability please go to our website

We look forward to welcoming you here and sharing our walks and our magnificent coast with you!

Discovering our Museums – Vindolanda

St Oswald’s Farm is so well placed for days out in Northumberland and there really is so much to see and do across the County and the whole of the North East. So whether you stay for a weekend, a week or two weeks you won’t be short of places to visit and enjoy. If you like to soak up the history and enjoy discovering museums during your time away then you most definitely won’t be disappointed!

The wealth of museums is endless from the Aviation Museum at Bamburgh Castle to the National Trust property Cherryburn which was the birthplace of artist Thomas Bewick, to Blyth Battery, the Grace Darling Museum and of course the many museums along Hadrian’s Wall boasting more Roman artefacts than you can begin to imagine. The Ferryman’s Hut in Alnmouth is said to the be the country’s smallest museum and the nearby town of Hexham boasts the oldest purpose built Gaol in England with the market town of Morpeth holding claim to a dedicated bagpipe museum!

Of course any trip to Northumberland wouldn’t be complete without delving into our vast Roman history and we are lucky enough to have the Roman Vindolanda Fort & Museum only a short 20 minute drive from St Oswald’s Farm. This is one of Europe’s most important Roman archaeological sites and is situated on the Stanegate Road, one mile south of Hadrian’s Wall and is set in a stunning landscape which really allows you to feel and connect with this inspiring historic site.

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Vindolanda – Nine forts over nine centuries

Vindolanda comprises of nine forts built on top of each other over nine centuries with the visible stone fort dating back to the third century. The site includes a modern world class museum which tells the vast and interesting Roman story and the museum is constantly updated and changes with annual archaeological finds added as a result of the ongoing excavation programme.

The Vindolanda tablets are perhaps Vindolanda’s greatest discovery and have been voted as ‘Britain’s Top Treasure’. These delicate, wafer thin pieces of wood covered in spidery writing were were found in the oxygen-free deposits in the floors of the deeply buried early wooden forts at Vindolanda and are the oldest surviving handwritten documents in Britain.

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Replica Roman Temple at Vindolanda

The Vindolanda Excavations take place every year between April & September and attract hundreds of volunteers from all over the world and visitors are welcome to watch the excavations as they take place, you might be lucky enough to be there when the next major Roman artefact is discovered and dug up from the ground. Of course if you want to get stuck in yourself you can book to take part in the excavations but they do book up quickly. More details can be found here with the 2021 dates released at the end of this year.

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Excavations underway at Vindolanda Image credit :Vindolanda

You could easily spend more than half day embracing all that’s on offer at Vindolanda and with an on site café offering a range of hot and cold drinks as well as snacks, lunches and afternoon tea it’s the perfect way to spend a day out come rain or shine! 

Whatever your interest you’ll be sure to find so much to see and do in Northumberland and of course if you need any help or guidance on where to visit you just need to ask and we’ll be happy to help.

For all availability and details of Heavenfield Cottage please go to our website. We hope to see you soon.

The most famous tree of all!

It’s thought to be several hundred years old and is one of the most photographed trees in the country, Sycamore Gap is undoubtedly a instantly recognisable landmark and is one of the most iconic places to visit whilst in Hadrian’s Wall Country.

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This famous Sycamore tree or Acer Pseudophatanus to give it’s official name, was catapulted to fame in 1991 when it appeared in the blockbuster film ‘Robin Hood Price of Thieves’ and is only a 20 minute drive west from St Oswald’s Farm and a considerably longer way from those White Cliffs of Dover! Don’t let Kevin Costner fool you!

The tree itself, which was crowned ‘Tree of the Year’ in 2016 by the Woodland Trust, is set a dramatic dip in the landscape with Hadrian’s Wall stretching up both sides away from it and is near to Milecastle 39 otherwise know as Castle Nick.

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Sycamore Gap can be reached on foot and is only a 15 minute walk from Steel Rigg car park and with Housesteads and Vindolanda both only a short 5 minute drive away it’s the perfect destination for those perhaps on a shorter stay or for who would like to only spend a day seeing some of the highlights of Hadrian’s Wall!

The landmark is cared for by The National Trust and Northumberland National Park and there is a young replacement sapling sycamore tree planted nearby within a protective circular wall and this is to ensure the locals (sheep) don’t nibble it!

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This is a spectacular walk and a stunning destination with dramatic views and whatever time of year you visit the surrounding countryside is rugged yet wildly romantic! If you can plan to be there on an early autumn evening as the sun starts to go down then you will be lucky enough to see something that resembles the whole of Northumberland bathed in a golden glow!

Of course no walk is complete without refreshment and if all our lovely Northumbrian air leaves leaves you with an appetite for either a light bite, dinner or just a quiet drink by a warming fire then The Twice Brewed Inn is perfectly situated just a stones throw away from Sycamore Gap. Here you will find seasonal menus of hearty home-cooked meals and their own superb selection of ales, brewed on site in the Brew House. There is also the opportunity to see how these ales are created with a tour of the Brew House itself. Full details of opening times and tours can be found here

Book your stay in Northumberland and at St Oswald’s Farm and discover the true beauty of England’s most northern county. We can’t promise you Kevin Costner but we can promise you a relaxing, peaceful, scenic, breathtaking and the most memorable of stays! We look forward to welcoming you here.

We love where we live

We spend a lot of time promoting the place that we call home. St Oswald’s Farm is the place we live, the place we work, the place we have chosen to bring up our daughter and the place our grown up Sons come ‘home’ to. It’s also the place we spend more or less every waking moment and the place we feel so passionately about, that we want to share it with our guests. We love them to see what we see here at St Oswald’s Farm and in the surrounding Northumberland and to enjoy what we are lucky enough to enjoy every day.

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St Oswald’s Farm

So what is it exactly that we love? It’s all very easy to say we love something, but the why we love something is a bit more personal.

Perhaps it’s just the sheer beauty of where we live, the vast views, the open countryside and the peace and tranquility that that brings. I have lived here for over 10 years and John has lived here all his life but yet we’re continually astounded by the views, John still comes into the house from being outside checking the stock with a new photograph he’s taken, frosty, dewy, misty, snowy, sunny, clear, eerie, cloudy, starry….”look at this photo”! We never tire of it!

St Oswald’s Farm not only sits in a beautiful location but a very unique one, we are right in the middle of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, our farmhouse and cottages sit on top of Hadrian’s Wall itself, one of our fields is an old battle site and a preserved hay meadow and within that field sits a church, St Oswald’s Church. Hadrian’s Wall National Trail runs along the front of our property, we are surrounded by a vast history, and it makes where we live even more special and we love that!

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Hadrian’s Wall National Trail at St Oswald’s Farm

Although we are in the open countryside, we are only a short drive away from so much, 10 minutes from our nearest town of Hexham and in less than hour we can be in Newcastle or Durham, the North East coast, Cumbria and even be into the Scottish Borders or on the edge of the Lake District.

Maybe we love where we live because we love watching the seasons unfold, watching them develop and change. Each season brings a new pattern, a different daily routine and each season prepares for the next, whatever that may hold.

Each season can bring challenges but the seasons also remind us very much of our connection with the land, with nature and with new beginnings. Who wouldn’t love that!

Our Sons had, and now Isla enjoys a 217 acre playground, go-kart racing, football playing, tree climbing, camp building, mud plodging, bike track building, chicken feeding, log chopping, lamb holding sort of upbringing. They also have seen new life come into the world and seen when a life leaves. They know where food comes from and the work that goes into producing it and we think that’s important.

St Oswald’s Farm was bought by John’s Mam & Dad over 50 years ago and that brings with it a huge emotional attachment and we feel privileged to have a family legacy to carry forward. Farming is without doubt challenging in many ways, it has to be one of the most difficult, all consuming, tying, stressful, emotional, unpredictable and very often lonely ways to make a living. We have no idea what the future holds for farming and that can feel scary, but when we look around St Oswald’s Farm, at our tiny little piece of Northumberland, and take in what we have right here right now, we wouldn’t have it any other way!

If you’d like to stay in Northumberland and stay in Heavenfield Cottage
we’d love to welcome you here and you will see for yourself what we love about where we live!