This much-loved inn on the Durham/Northumberland border is an extraordinary building with an extraordinary history – a 12th-century former abbot's lodgings that dominates the impeccably preserved village of Blanchland, tucked under the local moors. Inside the main building, it's all stone corridors, soaring ceilings, heraldic shields, hidden nooks and majestic fireplaces – including one that hides a secret 'Priest's Hole', where Jacobite rebels once sheltered. There are guest rooms in the old abbot's residence and the restored miners' cottages that flank the adjacent cobbled square, and while no two are the same, you can count on a certain updated country-chic style. They're classed as 'Cosy' (the smallest), 'Canny' or 'Champion' (the best), though all feature king-sized beds, robes, aromatherapy toiletries and carefully selected art and furniture. The Champion rooms and the two suites also boast Nespresso machines, while the suites are particularly lovely, especially Blackdene, an utterly charming cottage duplex with an open log fire and a winding staircase to an upstairs boudoir. Colours throughout are earthy and muted – restful in other words, just like the peaceful surroundings, where the loudest sound you'll hear in the morning is the birdsong. Breakfast is a sophisticated and restful start to the day, with home-baked bread, locally smoked salmon, eggs benedict or the full fry-up to set you up. Drinking in the medieval Crypt bar and eating in the Bishop's Dining Room is as atmospheric at it sounds, while grassy gardens back onto the old priory church. The hotel is a perfect place from which to explore either County Durham or Northumberland – it's over the lonely moors either way, to Stanhope in Weardale or to Hexham and Hadrian's Wall. They're a bit of a venue for country sports and outdoor activities, too, whether it's shooting and fishing, or just enjoying the local walks and bike rides. It would also make a pretty sensational wedding venue, summer or winter, with its private gardens, palatial rooms, roaring fires and traditional air.
The Owner Says
Built in the 12th century as an Abbots Guest House, The Lord Crewe Arms has been the local ‘inn’ in Blanchland, since the 1700’s. After 2 years of careful refurbishment, we reopened as part of Calcot Health and Leisure Hotel Group. We are a 21 bedroom Inn offering cosy ‘country’ rooms, two restaurants; The Larders and The Bishops Dining Room, serving proper ‘country’ food by Simon Hicks formerly of Hix Soho, and a pub ‘The Crypt Bar’ which has a good range of local ales (including our own) and good wines.
Why stay with us?
Built by monks, our building is most definitely quirky, our pub is a medieval vaulted tunnel where meats were once cured, our downstair restaurant features an open fire place once hidden in by a runaway Jacobite and now showcasing our French spit and grill on which our chefs cook ‘fireside food’, our private dining room even has its own medieval guardarobe (a medieval toilet!) and our gardens showcase the 12th century cloisters to the Abbey next door we unearthed during our 2 year restoration effort. Our décor is country, but high quality, designed to be as sympathetic to the building as possible and cosy to our guests that come through the door. We are all about our smoke house, garden kitchen, and our soon to arrive chickens!
ReviewsAdd Your Review
We spent the most wonderful weekend here - prepare to enter a luxury cocoon of wonderfulness! The surroundings are idyllic, the rooms beautiful and the food fantastic. If you get the chance to try the spit-roasted chicken, dive it - it's delicious!