We decided to have a last minute night away in Northumberland, and after looking around, we chose to stay at the Cottage Inn at Dunstan, just outside Craster on the rugged North East coast.
It’s in a fantastic part of the county – close to the ruined splendour of Dunstansburgh Castle, in easy reach of a number of quality golf courses, plus it’s just a stone’s throw away from where the famous Craster Kippers are produced.
The room rate was a very reasonable £75, including a Full English breakfast. It was a bonus to discover the Cottage Inn is dog friendly, so accommodating our Chow Chow Rosie wasn’t a problem.
We arrived early in the afternoon and were allocated room one, which was handy to get in and out to let the dog into the ample walled space at the rear of the hotel. This area is populated with mature trees and borders with a play area for children. Numerous seats allow you to sit and enjoy the sunshine – if there is any! All 10 bedrooms rooms are situated on the ground floor, providing easy disabled access to the accommodation as well as the bar and eating areas.
We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon sampling drinks from the Inn’s comprehensive selection of lagers and real ales. There is also a good and reasonably priced wine range behind the bar.
We opted to eat in the conservatory area rather than the Harry Hotspur room and an afternoon picking away on nuts and pork scratchings meant we decided against starters and went straight for the main event.
My partner chose the chicken tikka mossala from the main menu and I opted for the venison steak on the specials board. Both dishes were served promptly, and the quality was as strong as the service.
The curry was as good as you’d find in an Indian restaurant and was served with a poppadum and a nan bread. My venison was amazing: perfectly cooked and served with a port and shallot jus with whole sweet baby carrots and potatoes. The portions were well sized; in fact, we struggled to clear our plates.
But there’s always room for pudding. I chose two scoops of Doddington’s double ginger ice cream and my partner opted for the caramel cheesecake from the sweet menu. The ice cream was fabulous and the size of the cheesecake was almost scary. I had to help my partner finish it, and almost wished I’d chosen the same.
After a great night’s sleep in a comfortable bed, we awoke to the sound of birdsong from the gardens.
Breakfast was served in the Harry Hotspur room, which is decorated with frescos telling the tale of the Medieval Northumbrian hero. Along with our impromptu history lesson, we enjoyed the Full English option: fresh free range eggs, bacon, black pudding, sausage, beans and fried bread.
It was the perfect end to our overnight getaway, at a cosy village inn where you’ll find great facilities, superb food and friendly staff. And what’s more, it won’t break the bank.
You can visit The Cottage Inn online via their website www.cottageinnhotel.co.uk or give them a call on 01665 576658 to check availability and book.