Since we're in that odd not-quite-Christmas, not-quite-New-Year period, we thought this weekend might be a nice time to visit Rothbury, a small market town in Northumberland, around 30 miles North of where we live. Rothbury is a really pretty place with lots to do if your an outdoorsy type of person - walking, cycling, fishing, plus the National Trust property Cragside, which was the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity, is very close by. The river Coquet runs through the centre, and there are lots of quaint, pretty buildings that look like they haven't changed much since the 1800s.
We had intended to have a (short) walk in the surrounding hills but when we arrived it was so cold (yes, I know; December, Northumberland = obviously freezing), that we decided a few drinks in a cosy, warm pub would be a better idea. Rothbury is a really small place with only a handful of shops along the main street - some are quaint, local businesses selling arty things, toys or local produce, but there's also a Co-Op, an outdoor shop and - oh yes - a Boots. It's only a tiny pharmacy Boots, yet walking past I noticed the unmistakable pink and red of Soap and Glory's logo, and peering through the window I saw they had a few gift sets in the half price sale. Now, I've resisted actually going to any sales so far this Christmas, ordering stuff online instead. I actually ordered a fair bit from Boots.com on Christmas Eve, but these were there, in front of me. So, I bought one of everything they had: a large Ted Baker smellies set down from £20 to £10, a smaller Ted Baker box reduced to a fiver, and a Soap and Glory kit for eight quid. For presents, I insisted to the Husband. (For myself, I added silently).
|Rothbury's main street|
A couple of doors down I noticed an Otterburn Mill store, so we nipped in there for a look. Ten minutes later we emerged with the Husband having bought me the softest, warmest pure cashmere scarf reduced from £60 to £12.50. Bargain! Also, it's purple check, and I'm totally having a purple moment right now.
|Even in a tiny Northumberland market town, I have the urge to shop|
The Husband was determined to buy a mince pie to bring home for Sunday lunch, so we popped into Tully's to pick up some yummy local produce including black pudding (which I think is yuk, but never mind).
Needing fuel after all that hard shopping, we stopped for a cuppa and huge slice of chocolate cake at Tomlinsons which is a friendly café in the centre of town.
Finally we made it to the Newcastle House pub where we had a few drinks before venturing outside and over the river to the Coquetvale Hotel, a grand nineteenth century house, where we were staying the night. We were in a loft room, right at the top of the hotel which was nice and modern, although there did appear to be a ghost operating the dvd player who seemed insistent that we watch the movie Evan Almighty (the dvd turned itself on and wouldn't turn off). We had dinner in the hotel which was lovely, and a few glasses of wine which made me very, very sleepy, so off to bed we went.
This morning we had a hearty Northumbrian breakfast in the hotel before leaving to drive the 40 minute journey home in time for lunch. When we got home I was thoroughly exhausted from all that - ermm, shopping, eating and drinking in the countryside - I love the outdoors, especially around Northumberland, there are some truly beautiful places. I'll just gear myself up for the next visit. Maybe when it warms up a bit, though. Until then, it's on with the pjs and a repeat of Scandal on the V+ player.
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