A former hospital may not be your first thought for a relaxing weekend getaway, but St Mary’s Inn in Stannington is much more hospitality than hospital.
Built on the remains of a lunatic asylum – yes, really – the former hospital administration building is anything but cold and clinical.
Just two miles from the A1, and a little over four miles from Morpeth, it’s picturesque location is both stunning and practical - and we even saw a grazing deer a few metres from the entrance.
It’s an upscale country pub that boasts 11 rooms and top class dining, where the space has been cleverly divided into different dining rooms which manage to make it simultaneously intimate and open plan.
The rooms are a furniture-lover’s dream, and there were more than a few pieces I would have loved to have taken home with me.
The bedrooms are airy and bright, full of character and quirky period charm offering the perfect blend of modern and classic, high ceilings and incredibly comfy beds.
There’s also a slice of general manager Victor Castro’s Chilean roots in the exotic wall hangings.
After admiring the room we headed downstairs to the dining area that offers a warm welcome and hearty fare we have come to expect from a country pub.
The majority of the produce is sourced locally, and we tucked in to delicious plates of salmon and asparagus, flat iron steak, fish cakes, chocolate tart and sticky toffee pudding.
It’s pub grub but with flair, and the wait was justifiable for the creations that reached the table.
You can tell this is part of the Jesmond Dene House family, with the attention to detail and the knowledgeable staff.
This is a pub that is bursting with character, with locally drawn comic sketches dotting the walls interspersed with Norman Cornish’s artwork, and wire dog sculptures positioned around the Inn’s seven fire places.
St Mary’s Inn is a pub with its own quirky personality, and should certainly not be overlooked.
For details call (01670) 293293 or visit www.stmarysinn.co.uk