The bedrooms are spruce and the styling chic, but there is still a medieval feel to the Lord Crewe Arms in County Durham. This remote 12th-century abbey (later a hunting lodge and manor house) is, with its vaulted crypt bar, rugged stone walls and roaring open fires, a very dramatic setting. Even the prettified upper-floor dining room is suitably dressed with tartans and antlers. Not far from Hadrian’s Wall, this is shooting, walking and cycling country.
What to eat Grab a table in the Hilyard Room, where Goosnargh chickens and ducks are rotisserie-cooked by the fire. Particularly on a Sunday, whole-table sharing feasts of roast pork, flat-iron steaks, duck fat roasties and endless vegetables give the Lord Crewe Arms a real buzz. Chef Simon Hicks will be using plenty of game in November – perhaps Weardale grouse with bread sauce and game crisps – but don’t miss his own ‘Crewe-cured’ salmon, served with black treacle wheaten bread.
The booze Highlights include Wylam Brewery’s Lord Crewe ale; home-infused vodkas paired with Fentiman’s tonics; and the house cocktail made with Northumbrian Jack Cain gin, elderflower and prosecco.
Star suppliers Butcher JD Hall in Corbridge and Ridley’s Fish and Game, while the Lord Crewe Arms’own kitchen garden is invaluable.
The bed The pub’s 21 bedrooms are spread between the main house, the Angel annexe and a terrace of what were once miners’ cottages. Bag the Bamburgh with its original stained-glass windows and awesome views, or the spacious Eggleston, which has a particularly lush bathroom.
The breakfast Homemade baked beans and JD Hall’s black pudding shine on the full English or opt for eggs benedict.
The bill Double rooms from £150 b&b. Mains from £14.85. (lordcrewearmsblanchland.co.uk).
Written October 2015
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