Thursday, 30 June 2016

A Blissful Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - A Review

The South Causey Inn near Beamish in County Durham is a gem of a pub that you simply must add to your list of places to visit this summer. It only took us around 30 minutes to drive there from our home in Northumberland but it feels like another world. Quietly tucked away in the middle of Beamish Valley, you'd never believe you were only 6 miles away from both Newcastle and Durham city centre. This independent establishment is warm, friendly and an ideal place to spend an afternoon, evening or if you are lucky, a night away. 

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham

A Unique Overnight Stay in the Tree House Suite


There are over 30 bedrooms to choose from at South Causey Inn ranging from comfortable court yard rooms to the Hadrian's Wall Villa, a French Boudoir and even a converted London Bus. Last month we stayed in the Tree House suite which is a unique feature room with lots of luxury included. Honestly no expense has been spared and if you a looking for a luxury get away, I can highly recommend booking this suite.

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Tree House

Your 'shed bed' is not only quirky but also exceptionally comfortable and the perfect place to lie and watch the world go by. There is a hidden tv built into the four poster frame which is perfectly placed for snuggling up and watching your favourite movie with a loved one. 

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Tree House

The suite has it's own living area with lots of homely touches including a working gramophone, chesterfield sofa and traditional telephone. There is a wide screen tv in this room too and Steve was more than happy with this spot as a place to watch the England match. You can order room service food and drinks to be delivered to your room from the pub (prices were very reasonable) and there is free and decent wifi. Honestly they really have thought of everything here. 

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Tree House

Our bathroom was OH SO LUXURIOUS with his and her washbasins, a very fancy power shower and the piece-de-resistance a double jacuzzi bath complete with a waterproof remote control that operates the tv that is built into the bathroom wall. I think this is probably the first time I've ever watched The Chase lying in the bath! haha (TMI???).

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Tree House

The South Causey Inn have their own exclusive passport scheme - if you stay in a feature bedroom 7 times, you'll receive a complimentary 8th stay. This offer is very tempting and I already have my eye on a few bedrooms......

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Tree House


Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Tree House

As a special treat, if you are staying in a feature bedroom, the lovely staff will send over a few little treats once you have settled in with their compliments. I was undecided whether to include this in my post or not as it was such a lovely surprise and I didn't want to ruin it for anyone but I really wanted to show how the staff go above and beyond and look after you well. 

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Complimentary champagne and canapes

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Complimentary champagne and canapes

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Converted London Bus
I have my eye on staying in this converted London bus next.

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham

The beer gardens at South Causey Inn are sprawling and beautifully maintained. There is lots of outdoor seating and space for kids to play and I bet at even a hint of sunshine the tables start to fill up with happy customers. 

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Beer Garden Flowers

I only really started appreciating flowers and plants when I hit the age of 30, it's not something I was ever bothered about in my younger days however now I just can't get enough. It's funny what age does to you! The South Causey Inn brews their own gin using berries from their gardens and patrons are free to wander around their kitchen gardens. I would 100% recommend doing this as it is so peaceful and tranquil. A real escape from day-to-day life. Just look at the colours!

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Beer Garden Flowers

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Beer Garden Flowers


Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Beer Garden Flowers

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Beer Garden Flowers

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Beer Garden Flowers

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Mr Rip
Meet Mr RIP

The South Causey Inn is dog friendly (yeah). I may or may not have spent a good hour trying to capture a shot of the resident dog Mr RIP. OMG I wanted to take him home. He is so full of character. There were lots of other four legged friends around during our visit and dogs are allowed in the bar area and snug where food is served (this isn't an issue for us - in fact it's a plus). Dogs can stay overnight at a supplement of £20 and they may well receive a special goody bag when they check out too. 

Lunch at South Causey Inn


The lunch menu at South Causey Inn is available Monday-Friday from 12noon - 5pm and at only £9.95 for three courses is a REAL bargain. The inn is nice and cosy inside with traditional features, roaring fires and comfortable sofas. It's very welcoming and I was so content that I could actually nearly fall asleep in the bar after our lunch.


The staff are a real credit too and happy to chat to you about what you're up to and give beer recommendations if needed. 

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Lunch menu

Steve decided to go for one of his favourite treats - a big slab of homemade corned beef pie. Served with proper homemade chips, peas and a jug of gravy. It's fair to say his lunch was an epic feast. I can't believe the value (this dish is part of the three courses for £9.95 lunch special). The portion sizes were huge - so big in fact that Steve couldn't manage dessert. 

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Lunch menu

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Lunch menu Corned Beef Pie


I ordered a trio of burgers from the main menu (£10.95) which featured a Game Burger with my favourite Northumberland Cheese, a Lamb burger with feta and a Cheese Burger. Again, huge portions and I couldn't get enough of the homemade chips and onion rings they were served with. For me, nothing will ever beat a Fat Hippo burger but these versions were a pretty decent effort and I would order again. 



South Causey Inn Tuesday Markets 


Did you see my post about the South Causey Inn markets which happen every Tuesday from 10:30am-2pm? Entry is FREE and there are a wide range of local stalls, food items and crafts for sale. I am planning to visit in the summer holidays with the kids to show my support (always important to shop local) and I know my three will enjoy a children's meal in the pub afterwards (especially as they include a free slush drink). I can't wait to introduce them to  the resident South Causey animals.........

South Causey Inn Animals


Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Animals Pigs

A visit to South Causey Inn is like a trip to a mini farm but without the cost. There is a wonderful array of animals for you to say hello to including some very friendly pigs and their piglets who I think may be the happiest pigs I have ever met. 

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Animals Pigs

There's also a duck pond, chickens wandering freely, rabbits, a cockerel and more....... They're all located in the pub gardens and free to say hello to. I bet they are a real favourite with visiting toddlers. 

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Animals Geese


Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Animals Chicken

Retiring for the evening


Did I mention that most of the feature rooms come with their own private deluxe hot tub? Such a nice place to relax under the stars.

Overnight Stay at South Causey Inn | County Durham - Hot Tub





At night the Tree House lights up with twinkly lights and it all feels very magical indeed. 


Breakfast at South Causey Inn



Breakfast was included in our room rate and is served in the South Causey Inn restaurant. You can help yourself to as much tea and coffee as you'd like before moving onto a hot breakfast and then finishing with fruit and pastries. Some items did run out (we must have visited at peak time) but they were quickly replaced and one table were even told they could order a batch of croissants fresh from the kitchen oven if they waited an extra 5 minutes (rather jealous I ate too much and didn't have room to do this myself!)



A quick word about Christmas


Believe it or not, people have already been searching North East Family Fun for Christmas and Christmas at South Causey Inn sounds fantastic. As well as festive markets there will be Santa Sunday's, Choirs, Festive Brass Bands and more. Check out their full Christmas diary of events here.


As we checked out, the South Causey Inn were preparing for a wedding and it did make me rather jealous that I wasn't part of it (anyone else love a good wedding). We did have a few tiny niggles during our stay such as there still being a lot of building work being carried out finishing the new rooms during the day (which was rather noisy at times and not ideal when you are trying to relax in a hot tub) and the builders decided to use our private courtyard for their cigarette break before they aplogised and realised we were actually using the room. Hmmmm! This work is almost complete though so the noise and distractions won't be for too much longer. 

The South Causey Inn really is a wonderful place to visit and stay. It is warm, comfortable and filled with friendly, attentive staff.  I can't wait to return to visit their Tuesday market soon. 

Room Rates Vary. Check out the South Causey Inn Website for more information and give them a call for their best rates - 01207 235 555


Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

After reaching for one too many snacks over half term I was keen to get out and enjoy some exercise with the family. The walk from Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle is one of our favourites but not one we have ever attempted with the kids so we thought we'd give it a go.

There is only one car park in Craster (you can't miss it - it's well signposted just before you enter the village) and parking is £2 all day. Make sure you visit the loos here as there aren't any available at the castle.

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

We were lucky with the weather and although it was breezy we were blessed with gorgeous blue skies. If you include a walk around the castle walls, it is around 4 miles from Craster car park to Dunstanburgh Castle and back (2 miles each way). It is difficult to get lost - just follow to coast line.

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

The walk is flat (although a little rocky in places) and easy for little legs. There are a few places you can get right up to the sea and pause to throw a few stones/look for treasure. 

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Harry was delighted to find some washed up animal bones on the shore! 

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

 There are animals grazing on the fields you walk through - mostly cows and sheep, so it's very important to keep dogs on leads.

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Almost there.........

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Dunstanburgh Castle dates back to 1313 and I personally think it is well worth a visit. It is free to enter for both English Heritage and National Trust members or from £2.20 if not (see here for prices and opening times).


We stopped for a drink and snack (which we had packed in advance) on one of the picnic tables before taking a walk around the castle walls. There were ample chances to spot lots of wildlife from nesting birds to fields full of butterflies and some very hairy caterpillars! 

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

The views of the coastline really are breathtaking and some of the best in Northumberland (actually make that the world!). If you are a keen photographer there are plenty of places to take some snaps. 

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

The kids had fun running from the sea, searching for wildlife and playing games with each other - again, I am sure being inside a castle really inspired their imaginations. 

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

The views out to Low Newton were particularly stunning and Steve and I are keen to go further next time and will try the Craster to Low Newton walk (6 miles) after the summer. I think this may be pushing it if we take our 5 year old along. 


There was time to climb to the top of the castle tower and check out the views and castle features. Big Stevie Cool pointed out various points in the castle wall where hot oil would have been poured onto any intruders. 

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

We headed back to Craster and I was DYING for a drink. A proper drink I mean. We wanted to head to The Jolly Fisherman but unfortunately as it was a bright day there was no room for our party of 8. Instead, we walked into the village and set up camp in the park which overlooks the sea front. Grannie and Grandad popped to the Shoreline Cafe for some take out sandwiches but unfortunately there was a bit of a wait. Next time we really need to be more prepared and pack a picnic! 

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle | a four mile walk with kids

We headed home with our lungs full of fresh air and slightly tired legs. It wasn't long before H, H and J were asleep in the car - always a sign of a good day out!