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Places to Eat

Good Food is very subjective. For some people it is the size of the portions, for some the cheap price, for some it is the ambiance of the surroundings, and for others it is the quality of the cuisine.

There are plenty of places to eat - we still have not tried them all - but these are some of our favourite places:-

Restaurant Meals / Extra Special Meals (birthdays, anniversaries, etc)

Langley Castle (photo above) is a bit expensive (~£45/person for four courses & drinks) and is about half an hour by car (near Haydon Bridge) BUT it is well worthwhile and it is our automatic choice for our birthdays and anniversaries. The setting, in a castle, is superb, the ambiance in the lounge and restaurant is welcoming and relaxing, the service is friendly & efficient, and the food is EXCELLENT.



The Pavilion, at Consett, is probably the best chinese restaurant in the North East and is our favourite. It is about an hour by car from here so we tend to go there only when we are in the area anyway. It is not far from Beamish Museum or Durham Cathedral. Our favourite dish is Turbot with Ginger and Spring Onion. It is at Iveston on the road between Consett and Durham - ask us for directions or set your SatNav to DH8 7TE

Artisam at Corbridge is an excellent chinese restaurant (we would go as far as to say it is as good as the Pvilion). There are some original dishes on the menu. It is closer than The Pavilion - about 40 minutes by car.

The Golden Dragon at Hexham is a good chinese restaurant. It is good for lunch if you are visiting Hexham.

Alston House, opposite the new Spar supermarket (which is still being built) in Alston has a nice bistro style restaurant. The food is excellent, and the restaurant has a nice ambiance. Good value - about £25 per person for a good meal with drinks.

Bouchon, in Hexham is an excellent French Bistro (the owners are french). There is a very good, reasonably priced Early Bird menu (order must be taken before 7pm). If in doubt, try the 'Steak & Chips' which is excellent and very different from any steak and chips you have had anywhere else! Gordon Ramsay has recently discovered it, and on the 'FWord' Bouchon was voted the 'Best Local French Restaurant in the UK'


The Overwater Lodge Restaurant in Nenthead is only a couple of minutes by car, or about a 20 minute walk. The food is OK but it is rather expensive. The restaurant can be cold - wrap up warm.Children are not welcome there unless they know how to behave in a restaurant, and have a sophisticated palate - there  are no burgers, chicken nuggets or chips!

Good Meals / Bar Meals

For many people, it is important whether the pub is 'dog friendly' (see dogfriendlypubs ) We know the Miners Arms in Nenthead and The Cumberland in Alston are dog friendly. We will check up on the other local pubs to add to the list.

The Miners Arms in Nenthead is only a couple of minutes by car, or about a 20 minute walk. It serves excellent bar meals and the Black Sheep beer is good ( Click for the story about Paul Theakston, the 'Black Sheep' of the Theakston brewing family who started his own brewery after the rest of the family sold Theakstons to Scottish & Newcastle). They have a pleasant conservatory/restaurant - better for children than a bar. It is nearby, good food and a good price. They are also 'dog friendly'

Alston Pubs - there are plenty of pubs in Alston serving food

Carts Bog Inn, on the road from Alston to Haydon Bridge, is very popular. The bar meals are good. The name is believed to be because carts used to get stuck in the boggy ground

George & Dragon, in Garrigill, is very convenient if you are doing the walk to Ashgill Force or go for a swim at St Johns Pool.
We have not tried it since it reopened. Guests report it is good at lunchtime.

The Crown at Catton is owned by the local Allendale Brewery.They serve food as well as excellent beer!



Lunches / Snacks / Cafe Meals

The Village Bakery at Melmerby (about half an hour by car on the road to Penrith) is THE place to stop. It is organic, cooked in sustainable wood fired ovens. (They have gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, etc). It is expensive (motoway service station prices) but good value (not a rip-off like service stations!). It is a bakery and a cafe.

The cafe at Hartside Top has superb views of the Lake District. Food is basic, and good value. Can be crowded with motorbikers!


Out & About

These are places that we stop at when we are out somewhere.

Hexham is a nice town with some good shops and a nice Abbey. Best place to park is Tesco's (free for 3 hours) and they have a reasonable cafe. Up in the town, by the Abbey & Marketplace there is a good fish & chip restaurant, Paxtons. Under the archway and up the road there is Bodyworks - an interesting shop and centre for alternative therapies - tucked away at the back is an excellent cafe, the Cornmill, that does a lovely range of cakes and some original lunches. There is an excellent French Bistro, Bouchon. Outside Hexham is The Rat Inn - a pub with a good restaurant.

If you go over to the Lakes, it is difficult to find somewhere to park and a good place to eat that is not a rip-off.
In Keswick we like the cafe at Booths supermarket. They have a car park and the food is very good.
In Buttermere, Syke Farm makes its own ice cream and has a tea shop. We always have an ice cream! even though the scones look lovely. Set your SatNav to CA13 9XA

If you go to Barnard Castle, the best cafe is at the Bowes Museum. You can go to the cafe without paying to go in the museum.

If you go to Newcastle, Chinatown (Stowell Street) is the place to eat. We think the best is King Neptune. However if you like eat as much as you like buffets then Lau's Buffet is very good.

At the Metrocentre, there are several quite good places - Ping On for Chinese, Chiquitos for Mexican, Nando for Portuguese style chicken. Just outside the Metrocentre there is IKEA which has a very reasonably priced restaurant that often has some unusual and very tasty dishes (as well as Swedish meatballs!)

In Carlisle, the best place to eat is the cafe at Linton Tweeds. A bit pricey, but excellent (and they have a car park at the back. There is also a good chinese buffet restaurant, Shanghai Shanghai opposite the cinema.


Driving Home

These are places about an hour from here that we stop at:

If you are heading South down the M6, the Westmorland Services at Tebay are good but we always go on a few miles to the services at Killington Lake where there is a Costas Coffee Lounge with a lovely view of the lake. It is quiet & peaceful there as most people have already stopped at Westmorland Services.

If you are going South down the A1, we suggest you take the B6277 past High Force, right turn in Middleton, skirt Barnard Castle to the A66. Just before Scotch Corner there is a lay-by on the right with a kiosk, picnic area and loos. The large bacon rolls are not to be missed! (Note: Now a dual carriageway and you cannot turn right - you have to go right round the roundabout and back a little way along the A66). Further down the A1 there are two good chinese restaurants near Colsterworth in what used to be 'Happy Eater' family restaurants.

If you are going North to Scotland, follow the road to Brampton to get to the A69 and head towards Carlisle. At the roundabout take the second turning to Scotland and Carlisle North. Just before the motorway there is the large Houghton Hall Garden Centre with a nice Cafe, or you can go over the motorway roundabout, then turn right to get to ASDA to fill up with cheap petrol and go to their fairly good cafe. Alternatively go north a little way to Gretna Green where there is an out of town shopping village - Costas, Thorntons, Subway etc and plenty of seconds/factory outlets (including Marks & Spencer)

If you are going north to Edinburgh up the A68, there is an excellent cafe/restaurant at Otterburn Mill. We did not know until we stopped there that the expression 'on tenter hooks' comes from drying and stretching the fabric by hooking it on to Tenter Frames.





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Paul & Carol Huish, Rock House Estate
Valley View, Nenthead, Alston, CA9 3NA

01434 382 684
0797 469 4703

info @ Rock House Estate.co.uk