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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Craster Reach - A cottage from Sykes cottages in Northumberland

There are some things on my life bucket list that seem so far out of my reach that I wonder if I'll ever tick them off? (African safari, soak in the Icelandic Springs, walk the streets of Hong Kong...I do wonder when I'll EVER be able to save for these sort of trips). There is one thing on my list that is a little closer to home however and that was to stay in a cottage in Craster, Northumberland.


Craster is only about about one hours drive from our home but it feels like you could be at the other end of the country. It is a small fishing village and community famous for it's smokehouse and Craster Kippers. Craster is so small in fact that they don't even have a proper shop (although you can buy food from the Smokehouse shop and cafe). Craster is home to a lovely local pub, Smokehouse, Cafe, Art Gallery and tourist information centre and is hugely popular with walkers year round. The coastal walk from Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle is something that everyone should complete at least once in their life. A huge thanks to Sykes Cottages who helped to make my dream come true (sorry if that's cheesy but that's how it feels) with a stay at Craster Reach cottage for my birthday this December.

Craster Smokehouse

Craster Reach Cottage


Family time in Craster


Craster Reach Cottage was the perfect spot to enjoy some proper quality family time. The cottage sleeps up to 6 people and has 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms over 3 floors. There was more than enough room for our brood to spread out and relax. Firstly I will say that my 9 year old was ecstatic to find decent wifi that actually worked throughout the whole house so he could still watch netflix in his bedroom. We definitely earned extra brownie points when he discovered this. Not that the whole holiday was about watching tv mind!




The open plan lounge/kitchen/dining room was the heart of our holiday. We loved the selection of board games, DVDs and jigsaws and as it was December the cottage had been decorated for Christmas which was a lovely touch. Our kids are huge chess fans and watching them wake up every morning to run downstairs and start a new game really made a welcome change (why don't they do this at home??)


The oversized distressed wooden dining table really encouraged us all to eat together as a family every evening rather than a TV dinner or kids eating separately to us which happens more often than I'd care to admit at home.



Craster harbour was literally on our doorstep and we enjoyed our daily walks watching the fishermen and exploring the cove. More often than not we would have the whole place to ourselves and it was like our own little secret.  





The Jolly Fisherman pub is just a few doors away from Craster Reach Cottage and welcoming to both dogs and children. We enjoyed a few drinks and light lunch after one of our afternoon walks over the weekend of our stay. Children's meals are maybe a little on the expensive side at £6.75 for one course excluding drinks but the food was delicious and the price wouldn't deter us from visiting again. Steve recommends the honey roast ham sandwiches.


Fabulous homemade chips from The Jolly Fisherman



Our nights were spent drinking mulled wine (us - not the kids!) reading stories and watching DVD's snuggled by the fire before heading to our very comfortable bedrooms. 



Time as a couple in Craster


As we were only an hour away from home (and it was my birthday) my parents kindly offered to have the kids overnight at their house one evening which meant that Steve and I could enjoy a drink or two (and we had a break from getting up super early for the school run).

We started our child-free afternoon with a trip to The Joiners Arms in Newton-by-the -sea which is around a 10 minute drive from Craster. We have wanted to visit here FOREVER and were not disappointed. Although parking can be an issue sometimes, the food, service and ambience more than made up for it. Think real fires, twinkling lights, cocktails, real ales, very good local food and attentive service with a smile. We were given 50% off food vouchers to use in January so we will be returning soon and will write a proper review then. Two HUGE and tasty sandwiches, two sides and two drinks was only £25 which we thought was very good value.


We then headed back to Craster and spent the afternoon in The Jolly Fisherman by the fire listening to local tales, chatting to walkers after their trek to the castle and drinking lots of beer. It was heaven! I was disappointed that the pub don't serve food on a Monday evening and the restaurant at the Smokehouse was closed for winter meaning we had to head back to the cottage for dinner when I probably would have preferred to stay out. Just a minor niggle though.



Back in the cottage and time to relax with a glass of champers and a good book.......




The glorious views from our cottage


The main talking point during our break was the simply stunning views. There isn't just one room with a view either, the cottage has been designed to make the most of it's spectacular position from EVERY room. You can look out to sea as you are loading the dishwasher, look over the sea, harbour and Dunstanburgh Castle with the sheep grazing in the surrounding fields from every bedroom and even take a shower looking out to coast should you desire. The best views were most definitely from the master suite on the first floor. Truly awesome.



Taken from the master suite.

Our double bed was underneath a skylight and one evening we climbed into bed and realised we hadn't closed the blinds. This was a lovely surprise though as it was a wonderfully clear evening and the dark skies meant that we could spot so many stars. The sky was filled and it was definitely one of the best Northumberland dark skies experiences we've had to date! No photos but a memory I will always treasure. We decided to keep the skylight blinds open after that evening.

A private chef in Craster


As there aren't too many dining options in Craster, we decided to treat ourselves to a private chef in our cottage. Paul's Private Dining costs around £30 per person and can provide a bespoke dining menu for 2-8 people. He'll even do most of the washing up! We were served warming parsnip and ginger soup, locally sourced Cumin spiced lamb and winter berry cheesecake. It was such a treat and if you are staying in the North East I would definitely recommend booking Paul's Private Dining as a special treat.



Why we loved Craster Reach Cottage

  • Fantastic customer service from Sykes Cottages - from the phone call from the site manager asking how we'd like our beds made up to the welcome pack emailed in advance and the selection of local products on the table on arrival.
  • Beautiful location and views.
  • Large, spacious rooms with modern family bathrooms. 
  • A 20 second walk to the Sea, Smokehouse and Pub (I recommend buying kippers for breakfast from the Smokehouse shop).
  • A fantastic base for Northumberland with easy access to Alnwick Castle, Alnwick Garden, Holy Island and the more rural beaches in the area.
  • Home from home environment with board games, dvds, books and jigsaws provided. There is even a dishwasher, washer-dryer and iron should you need them.
  • Beautiful and modern kitchen.
  • Parking for 2 cars and outdoor space with furniture to the front and back garden.
  • Free (and decent) wifi throughout the whole property.



Thank you Sykes Cottages for a wonderful December break at Craster Reach Cottage. We had such a lovely time and did seriously consider what would happen if we never left (yes we even went as far as googling squatters rights one night - haha!) 

Sykes Cottages have a variety of cottages available in Northumberland from only £199 for a one bedroom cottage apartment in Jedburgh to Stately Homes that sleep 24. Craster Reach is available from £595 for 7 nights. 










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27 comments

  1. Wow what a gorgeous little holiday, the cottage looks so snuggly. I think everyone should do at least one staycation a year, there's so many beautiful places right on our doorstep!

    PS so impressed at your skills getting you all in a selfie!

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  2. I love travelling around the world, but the UK is just amazing and I really don't spend enough time exploring our beautiful country. I would love to rent a cottage for the week.

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  3. That looks like a gorgeous little holiday cottage, I may have to set up a trip for myself! xx

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  4. What a stunning place to visit, we love idyllic little fishing villages and that cottage looks perfect for a relaxing time away x

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  5. A safari and visiting Iceland are two of the things we want to do as well. I have never heard of Craster but looks really lovely and love the cottage.

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  6. What a gorgeous cottage and that chef was a great idea. I shall have to look into a cottage (or stately home) for a special birthday next year

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  7. What a stunning cottage. I can imagine doing a beautiful photoshoot here that would be a lot of fun!

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  8. What an absolutely beautiful cottage in such a gorgeous place! The views are amazing. I don't think I would ever want to leave. x

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  9. I love a great staycation. Sometimes I think being on familiar territory means you enjoy a place even more. The cottage looks beautiful and the place is certainly somewhere I'd love to visit one day x

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  10. Wow, the photos look gorgeous! This looks like such a Christmassy place! :)

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  11. This sounds like my idea of heaven. Secluded yet still with the internet :) Funny having an Art Gallery, but no shop. Looks gorgeous x

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  12. It looks so amazing! I really want to go there now! I need to check up prices for the area :)

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  13. The view from the master suite has me totally sold, how beautiful x

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  14. This looks like a stunning place to spend some quality time with the family. Britain is such a beautiful place and it's great to read your experience. Makes me want to book :-). Cheers for sharing

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  15. What a stunning place to visit! I love visiting different places in Britain, can't beat a staycation!

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  16. This cottage looks so homely and adorable. I really want to take a cottage break next year x

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  17. Oh I love the look of this cottage - it is gorgeous! The pub and private chef sound fantastic too - sounds like a lovely break for you. Kaz x

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  18. I need to travel different places in Britain, looks like a lovely getaway place.

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  19. Sounds like you had a lovely time. The snugly, mulled wine filled evenings sound lovely! x

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  20. Iceland is beautiful and can be pretty cheap sometimes if you look on sites like Wowcher. I loved it so much there. I've never really traveled around the UK but these cottages look pretty great, I'd love to visit and see what Northumberland has to offer.

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  21. What a gorgeous weekend. I am getting more and more tempted to just book a trip to Northumberland and the cottage sounds lovely. Craster sounds exactly as I always imagine the coast to be around there.

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  22. Those views are breathtaking and it sounds like you had an amazing time!
    #lovenortheast

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  23. I love the area round there. We used to pop up after work at least one a week before we had kids. I think we need to revive the habit!
    Your photos look fab. Did you visit the Ship in Newton?

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  24. I love the area round there. We used to pop up after work at least one a week before we had kids. I think we need to revive the habit!
    Your photos look fab. Did you visit the Ship in Newton?

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  25. It looks like you had a great time. The cottage looks so cozy and an ideal place to stay for a break especially around Christmas time x

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  26. This looks amazing - I've never gone on a 'staycation' before but I definitely need to, your trip sounds so fun! x

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I always love reading your thoughts and comments - Sam x

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