Celebrating 11 years of marriage with a potter around Alnwick

We celebrated 11 years of marriage this weekend and decided to spend the day in Northumberland. Having visited Wooler, Seahouses and Beadnell over summer and being regular visitors to Craster and Amble, we settled on Alnwick for our little jaunt. We normally stick with Alnwick Garden, Alnwick Castle and Barter Books when visiting the town so decided to use this opportunity to explore the town a little further.

Steve and Harry wanted to buy some new books so Barter Books was indeed our first stop. This dog and child-friendly second hand bookstore has a magic all of it's own. There's an honesty tea and coffee bar by a roaring fire, thousands of books to discover and a quirky station cafe. The children's section is lovely too with a play train and ride-ons. Don't forget to look up and spot the trains on the tracks above your head too.

We could spend hours in here. The prices aren't as cheap as say a charity shop but they are cheaper than buying new. Our 5 books and a special Barter Books re-usable bag set us back £10.

Heidi was at her friend's house for the day so we decided to make the most of not having her around by eating at somewhere super meaty (Heidi's not keen on meat). Steve's colleague and a few people on Twitter had recommended Dirty Bottles to us. If you walk through town in the opposite direction of The Plough Pub you'll find this gem. It's bar with self-serving taps and smokehouse. I don't think I've been to anywhere that screams Hipster more than this place does. Which is probably why we loved it. 

We were there for opening (12 noon on a Saturday) so were able to bag one of the special booth seats. These seats have tablets where you order your food and drink from and your own beer and cider taps for you to pull your own pint. How cool is that? This system worked seamlessly and I especially loved that we could easily order the kids another drink using the tablet half way through our meal rather than hanging on to try and catch someone's eye.

You can also buy a beer card which you insert into this machine to pour yourself an even a wider selection of beers. There are other beers, cocktails and wines available from the bar too and if tablet ordering isn't your thing you can order from a server as normal too.

The food here is super reasonably priced. Kids meals are £5.95 for a main, side, drink and ice cream - both boys loved their cheese burger and house nuggets. Then there's the option for smokehouse meats and burgers for grown-ups. I ordered the smokehouse special - £11 for 2 meats and 2 sides. This was just fantastic value as there was SO much food. I went with the brisket and pulled pork which although nice was a little dry but thankfully there were plenty of sauces on the table which I helped myself to and these really elevated the meal. Smoky Bacon Mayo with my chips and Sticky Japanese BBQ Sauce with my meats. Honestly divine! The mac and cheese was a little on the watery side for me - I prefer it with a thick sauce but it was still a good effort. The chunky chips were a perfect 10/10. I was actually gutted I couldn't finish them all! For £11, I really can't recommend this place enough.

Steve went for the 80s cheesy burger and really enjoyed it. I loved the presentation too! 

Lunch for the four of us was around £40. We honestly felt like we needed to roll out of the door as we were all stuffed to the brim! We decided to have a little potter around the town and market to try and walk off our lunch a bit. The market is small but there's a fair bit of choice ranging from baked goods to plants, Matthew's Cheese and fruit and veg. We bought the Guinea Pigs a bag of Kale and a big cabbage (2 for £1.50). The shops in Alnwick are lovely and perfect for browsing. Lots of independent boutiques alongside a few chains. I especially loved the Taste of Northumberland shop and there's a Joules too!

We spent around 3 hours in Alnwick and could have easily spent longer. There were plenty of tearooms and pubs we could have popped in if we hadn't have been so full up from lunch. There's definitely more to this town than the gardens and castles and we'd definitely recommend as a place to visit if you fancy a morning or afternoon out somewhere.



  1. Now we've got our cottage in Seahouses for new year, Sam, I'll put Alnwick on the list especially Dirty Bottles. We can't wait x

  2. Looks like you've had the perfect day!! I think Matty would love Dirty Bottle, wonder if it's dog friendly and if there's anything I can eat? Katie x

  3. Congrats on your anniversary! sounds like a brill day-have passed by the dirty bottles but it def didn't look like this inside then!

  4. Barter Books is my absolute favorite place in the world. I bloody love it up there.

    I've never been in the Dirty Bottles! I hope you caught a glimpse of the actual dirty bottles in the window. I was fascinated with that story when I was little.

    Katie xoxo

  5. Dirty Bottles looks amazing, I've walked past a couple of times but never been in! It's actually been a long time since we last went to Alnwick so I feel like we need to visit!

  6. I love Alnwick, I haven't been for a few years though. Dirty Bottles sounds a fab place to dine, good value too. x


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