The Lord Crewe Arms, Blanchland hotel review: Old-world charm and a cosy Northumberland escape

This picturesque spot has timeless features, unique character and feels straight out of a storybook, finds Helen Wilson-Beevers

Tuesday 02 April 2024 10:59 BST
This historic hotel dates back to the 12th century
This historic hotel dates back to the 12th century (Lord Crewe Arms)

In a nutshell: A quaint, rural Northumberland bolthole complete with old-world charm, cosy rooms and hearty food and drink, set amongst rolling countryside.


The Lord Crewe Arms is the jewel in the crown of Blanchland village in Northumberland. Situated around 10 miles from popular market towns Corbridge and Hexham, it’s well-positioned for dining, shopping and country pursuits while also being surrounded by rolling greenery. You can get to Durham or Newcastle in under 45 minutes, and while guests can only reach the hotel by road, rail links are available at these nearby northeast England cities.

Aside from the hotel, there is little more than a church, tearoom, post office and gift shop to explore, with Blanchland’s overall ambience akin to stepping back in time to a simpler era.

The village is surrounded by fells, moors and the North Pennines, with charming features including cobbles and timeless pale brick buildings found throughout. This picturesque place feels straight out of a storybook, with a gentle, country atmosphere and bold views which offer an escape from fast-paced modern life.

The Lord Crewe Arms is located in Blanchland, 20 miles from Newcastle upon Tyne (Lord Crewe Arms)

The vibe

The main hotel building dates back to the 12th century, with nods to this medieval history throughout. Expect rustic, exposed brick walls, dark wood and stone floors and steps, combined with original fireplaces and windows. It overflows with character and drama, while also serving up a quiet homeliness.

This is the perfect go-to for a romantic break, while also being somewhere off the beaten track to visit with family (including four-legged friends). With phone signal non-existent in the village itself, there is wifi, but a stay offers an ideal excuse to switch off from digital distractions for a while.

The service

The entire team have an attentive, yet non-invasive approach which helps guests feel right at home. From the warm welcome provided at reception, to the knowledgeable dining staff, you’ll experience genuine Northumbrian warmth and friendliness. There’s an appealing laid-back edge too, with team members on hand to help in any way, without hovering around unneccesarily.

Bed and bath

There are 26 bedrooms in total. I stayed in one of the ‘canny rooms’ in the building across the road, which has a Nespresso machine, maps of the area and binoculars to use, as well as a fireplace, blankets and books piled up by the bed for hunkering down. Think plush comfy pillows, decorative headboards and super-soft sheets for sinking into after a long walk in the surrounding countryside. Plus, the bathrooms are filled with luxurious Noble Isle toiletries.

I enjoyed a view of the beautiful scenery from the bedroom window, highlighting the remote location. You can also choose between smaller ‘cosy rooms’, champion rooms and suites.

The rooms offer thoughtful touches, including binoculars and books (Helen Wilson-Beevers)

Food and drink

Enjoy hearty, warming dishes at The Lord Crewe, with options for breakfast, lunch and dinner including The Bishop’s Dining Room at the top of some stone stairs, and The Hilyard below with its dark beams and roaring fireplace. Alternatively, head to The Derwent to tuck into afternoon tea. Begin or end your meal with drinks in the unique and slightly hidden Crypt bar, which has family crests on the curved, brick walls and a secret cave-like atmosphere.

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We were pleased to see a wide variety of gluten-free and vegetarian options on the menu, which is also rich in locally sourced produce. Standout (generously sized) starters and mains include beetroot and goat’s cheese arancini; celeriac, truffle and wild mushroom pithivier; and roasted local grouse. Homely desserts include the likes of sticky toffee pudding and chocolate mousse. Meanwhile, alcoholic and non-alcoholic spirits join an array of wines and real ales at the bar, and drinks from The Crypt can be brought to your table when eating at one of the restaurants.

Breakfast includes a buffet and freshly cooked options, and the banquet hall-style Bishop’s Dining Room is as impressive the morning after a candlelit evening meal.


A garden at the rear of the main hotel building is the perfect space to play outdoor games and it also backs onto private parking for guests. If you fancy soaking up the Northumberland skies after dark, pre-planned evening events include stargazing with an expert. The Lord Crewe is a popular wedding venue and can cater for both small and big bridal parties, with there also being the option to take over the entire hotel.

You’ll find exposed brick walls and dark wood throughout, as a nod to the hotel’s medieval heritage (Lord Crewe Arms)

Disability access: There are portable steps available to navigate the level changes within the main building and a disabled toilet is located off the reception area. The Hilyard dining area is found off the main lobby and doesn’t have steps. While there is no lift within any of the hotel buildings, ground floor bedrooms are available in the cottages located within the village square.

Pet policy: You’ll find 16 dog-friendly rooms, and it’s £20 a night to bring your pet pooch. This charge includes a bed, towel and treats. Dogs are also welcome in the Crypt Bar, Hilyard and Derwent rooms, reception area and garden.

Check in/check out: Check in is at 3pm and check out is at 11am.

The cosy interiors include original features and plush decor (Lord Crewe Arms)

Family-friendly? Yes, the hotel is family-friendly and features menus for kids and garden games to entertain little ones. There are suites available if you’re seeking more space.

At a glance:

Best thing: Its picturesque location.

Worst thing: As the building is old some of the steps are steep or uneven.

Perfect for: A dog-friendly stay or countryside escape.

Not right for: Those seeking a buzzy break.

Instagram from: The Crypt Bar, while hunkering down for the evening.

Prices start from £204 per night for B&B.

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