Our villages may be less well known than our main visitor attractions and some may be small, but they are oh so perfectly formed with plenty of charm, character and they are ideal for a quieter and a more relaxed day out. A visit to any of the villages dotted around our remote countryside will offer the opportunity to see the affection with which these villages and hamlets are held and give you a glimpse into Northumbrian life as these small local communities go about their everyday lives.
The pretty stone built village of Allendale lies in the heart of The Allen Valleys in the breathtaking Northumberland AONB. The area is perfect for walking and enjoying the beautiful countryside, take in a stroll along the tranquil River Allen and relish in the sights of waterfalls, stunning moorland and the resident wildlife. The village itself is set around a Market Square with St Cuthbert’s Church tucked in one corner, country pubs, a tearoom and a small selection of shops including the very lovely The Allendale Forge Studios which is an Art and Media Visitor Centre where visitors can meet local artists, shop, enjoy exhibitions and workshops and enjoy delicious home-cooked food. If you’re a sci-fi lover this sleepy little village even boasts it’s own Sci-fi Museum with over 200 original props, costumes & artworks from classic SF film & television. Pack a picnic and head to the river for a relaxed lunch or The Square is perfect for sitting with a coffee and watching the world go by…but keep your eye out for daleks!
For a small and quiet village Allendale holds a few surprises and none more spectacular than the annual Allendale Tar Bar’l which is Northumberland’s New Year’s Eve ceremony that has been celebrated here since 1858. This weird and wonderful tradition involves forty-five local men (known as guisers) that carry whiskey barrels filled with burning hot tar in a procession through the town. The men dress in colourful fancy dress and have soot-blackened faces. Locals and visitors alike flock to the town for this night of revelry as music and dancing fill the small streets. At midnight, they arrive at the Bar’l fire in the centre of the village. The test of strength and courage ends in spectacular fashion as the guisers toss their barrels onto the ceremonial Bar’l bonfire to welcome in the new year as everyone shouts “Be damned to he who throws last!”
Allendale is a relaxed 30 minute drive from St Oswald’s Farm passing through the prettiest of scenery and if you happen to visit towards the end of August you’ll be met with a landscape of heather in full bloom. Northumberland holds so many hidden surprises for it’s visitors and the sleepy village of Allendale is no exception. Book now to enjoy all Northumberland has to offer, or perhaps book to stay with us for New Year 2023 to enjoy the most elaborate New Year celebration you may ever encounter, it really does have to be seen to be believed!