Published on December 14, 2016 | by Alastair Gilmour0
The Northumberland Arms, Felton
All countrified stonework and warmth
To a stranger it’s difficult to pinpoint where Felton ends and West Thirston begins (where the pub actually sits). Let’s assume they’re on opposite sides of the River Coquet that divides them. Nevertheless, this is as an idyllic setting as you’d find anywhere, even in the Lake District.
The Northumberland Arms, originally an 1820s coaching inn, is the quintessential village hub and once you’ve worked out how much of the stretch it occupies on The Peth, prepare to be amazed. The interior goes on forever.
Greeting visitors on arrival is line-up of handpulls proudly displaying beers from the North East – Allendale Black Grouse, Alnwick Amber Ale, Hexhamshire Shire Bitter, Hadrian Border Coast to Coast, Wylam Angel, with Anarchy Blonde Star waiting in the wings, take your pick. Bar manager Jake Castleman is an enthusiast in the beer, wines and spirits department, so he’s the man for advice, should you need it.
The lovely large L-shaped bar with its flagstoned floor and stoves glowing in large fireplaces invite customers to sit, sup and graze here all day. It’s all countrified exposed stonework and warmth – dog friendly with accommodation too. Dining rooms lead off the main bar and back the other way is a timber-framed conservatory for extra dining space and special functions (the pub is a renowned wedding venue). A wall full of framed tourism awards underlines its credentials.
And even on winter days, you can make an excuse for relaxing in the beer garden that’s perched high above the River Coquet, a fly-fishing idyll.
Fiercely local in its offer, five ever-revolving handpulls enjoy regular changes simply by use. Not a pint goes down the drain. Sit here long enough and taste everything local from Acton ales to Wylam beauties with beer from Stables, Allendale and Hexhamshire breweries in between. The back bar’s wine and spirits selection is also well worth chasing.
Menus suit every pocket and every occasion, but a “specials” selection starts with dusted whitebait with lemon wedge and aioli dip or heritage tomato and mozzarella salad. Mains include pan-fried lamb’s liver, black pudding, onions, crispy prosciutto, buttered mash and green beans. In-house oak-smoked 10oz flat-iron steak served medium-rare with a rustic salad.
Where is it? The Northumberland Arms, The Peth, Felton, Northumberland NE65 9EE. Tel: 01670 787370. www.northumberlandarms-felton.co.uk One mile from the A1, midway between Morpeth and Alnwick. Well signposted.