Travel review: Roxbro House, Warkworth, Northumberland

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Luxury and grandeur are words that don’t immediately spring to mind when considering bed and breakfast digs.

A cheap and cheerful room with a comfy bed ­– coupled with the promise of a greasy fry-up the following morning – are the most obvious boxes to tick when booking a short break.

Stylish Roxbro House, in the picturesque medieval Nothumberland village of Warkworth, does not, however, fall in to the cheap and cheerful category.

Owners Clare and Stu Metcalfe are celebrating their tenth anniversary at Roxbro House – a unique bed and breakfast, which is a cut above more run-of-the-mill establishments.

It has been designed as a romantic retreat for discerning couples seeking luxurious surroundings when escaping the rat race for a few days.

Claire, 51, said: “We have had quite a few men who have brought their partners here to propose.”

Claire was a long-haul air stewardess for 18 years and stayed in some of the best hotels in the world.

She said: “Although they were five-star they were soulless, there was nothing unique about them. Every bedroom was the same as the next, nothing was different.”

So when she started her own bed and breakfast, Clare was determined it would stand out from the crowd.

It is decorated in Victorian style and every room features antique furniture.

Clare said: “If you don’t like antiques and lavish surroundings then Roxbro House won’t be the place for you. “

One of the two bars at Roxbro is a whisky bar. It has the feel of a smart gentleman’s club and features four Chesterfield wingback chairs.

The full English breakfast is on the menu alongside a wide choice of other options including Craster Kipper with a poached egg or salmon and scrambled eggs.

And for those not wanting to venture out on an evening, there are room picnics available.

Guests can choose from options including hearty stews with crusty bread or soup and sandwiches.

Indulgent treats can be booked including a special ‘Romance Package,’ which includes chilled champagne on arrival, handmade chocolates and room service breakfast served with Bucks Fizz.

We found the village of Warkworth, which is around a mile from the coast, to be an excellent base to explore Northumberland’s historic towns and villages.

Roxbro House itself was built in the shadow of the 12th century Warkworth Castle, which is maintained by English Heritage and is open to visitors.

The castle is well worth a visit and features a largely intact three-storey keep.

First fortified in 1139, the castle was home to the Dukes of Northumberland for 600 years.

Other sites worth exploring in Warkworth village include St Laurence’s Church, one of the most complete Norman churches in Northumberland. It features five Norman windows in its nave and a rare 14th century stone spire.

Warkworth is only around a 10 minute drive away from Alnwick Castle and Gardens.

Alnwick Castle is one of the largest inhabited castles in Europe and is renowned for its starring role as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry in the first two Harry Potter films.

However, we spent the majority of our stay exploring the pretty coastal towns and magnificent beaches from Craster in the south up to Holy Island in the north.

Craster, which has a picturesque harbour, is home to the historic smokeries where the famous Craster Kipper is prepared.

Just north of Craster is another of Northumberland’s historic sites, Dunstanburgh Castle, which is also well worth a visit.

From Dunstnaburgh, we enjoyed a walk across the sands of Embleton Bay to Low-Newton-by-the-sea, a favourite destination on one of our previous trips to Northumberland.

Low Newton, which is widely regarded as one of the most picturesque villages on the Northumberland coast, is an 18th century fishing village which is now owned by the National Trust.

It is a classic picture postcard scene and consists of an open-ended square of idyllic cottages looking out to sea across a vast sweeping beach, which stretches out as far as the eye can see.

There is also an excellent pub in Low Newton, the Ship Inn, which boats a recently installed micro brewery with ales on offer including Sea Wheat, Sand Castles at Dawn, Dolly Day Dream and Ship Hot Ale.

A short drive up the coast brought us to Bamburgh, with its imposing castle overlooking one of the most impressive beaches in the north of England.

No trip to Northumberland would be complete without a visit to Lindisfarne, otherwise known as Holy Island.

The island has a serene atmosphere and has something to interest the whole family. Highlights include quaint bays along with sandy beaches and a rich variety of flora and fauna.

The island is famous for its early religious settlement and associations with St Cuthbert.

Its main attraction is the remains of the 13th and 14th century monastery.

The Holy Island Visitor Centre tells the story of St Cuthbert, Lindisfarne Gospels and the threat posed to the religious community from Viking raids of 793AD.

TRAVELFACTS

Rooms at Roxbro House range in price from £90 to £140 per night for bed and breakfast.

An offer is available until May 31 to take advantage of reduced rates of £99 a night, excluding weekends, for any room or suite.

To book, or for more information, call Claire Metcalfe on 01665 711416 or e mail info@roxbrohouse.co.uk or go to www.roxbrohouse.co.uk

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