In the know: secret pleasures and places, selected by our cottage owners
With insider knowledge of Northumberland, the Scottish Borders and East Lothian, we asked a handful of our cottage owners to divulge their secret pleasures and places in our local area.
From Instagramable independent cafés to Northumberland's Dark Skies and perfect viewpoints, read on to discover their go-to ideas for your next stay with us.
Sam and Michael, owners of Beeswing House, Northumberland
"If you like a great walk with spectacular views, then it is well worth climbing the Simonside Hills in the National Park just south of Rothbury. We even managed to coax our children to the top when they were little as they kept on the lookout for Smarties amongst the rocks left by the 'Smartie Fairy'."
Mark and Lucia, owners of Brunton Burn, Brunton House, Mill Race and Stable Cottage, Northumberland
"Holidays here should include giving yourself time to sit down with some cake and coffee in a small, quirky, independent cafe. Follow a wonderful beach walk with a visit to Eleanor’s Byre near Embleton and The Stableyard near Craster. Both are special places, run by local friends of ours, where homemade cakes, gifts and plants are found in abundance. You’re also sure to meet Bobbie the Spaniel at The Stableyard, and Doris the donkey and Mabel the pot-bellied pig at Eleanor’s Byre!"
Simon and Karen, owners of Heritage Cottage, Scottish Borders
"One of our greatest pleasures is to step outside into the huge skies and see the sunrise which starts as a ribbon of Turkish delight. Sunsets flood Heritage Cottage with gold and vermillion, the night sky is clear and sharp, and skylarks and buzzards bring soaring song to these panoramic vistas. Alternatively, enjoy the expansive golden beaches of Bamburgh and Lindisfarne followed by lunch at a local inn. Days out at Abbotsford, Melrose, St Abbs or Edinburgh await those who are able to tear themselves away from the peaceful charm of Heritage Cottage."
Corinne, owner of The Bothy, The Barn and The Byre at Reedsford, and Barley Hill Cottage, No. 9 and The Smithy, Crookham, Northumberland
"My secret pleasure is the sense of rejuvenation this part of the world gives you. The sort of peace so rarely experienced in life today; the sort of space, so huge and uncluttered, that it will draw you in; the bird song, so clear; the light, so ethereal and extraordinary it will touch your soul. Our county – the least populated in England – is in no rush, it has no queue. Just step outside the door of your holiday cottage and look around you…
Juliet, owner of Overthwarts Farmhouse, Northumberland
"I love being able to see for miles and miles from the house and watch the sun setting over the Cheviot Hills. You can walk straight out of the garden down to a little burn at the bottom of the hill, then across fields to beautiful Edlingham Church and Edlingham Castle and back home over the old viaduct. Countryside perfection."
Martin and Sally, owners of The Haven, Northumberland
"Our favourite activities must be cycling the local Sustrans routes and quiet country roads with gentle climbs to one of the many breathtaking views over the border into Scotland and across North Northumberland. Follow this with a peaceful evening walk to the local Duddo Stones and enjoy pondering on their history at sunset. After a day of healthy exercise, we pop along to our local, The Red Lion at Milfield, where a warm welcome, a succulent local steak and indulgent ‘Surf and Turf’ await."
Neville and Viv, owners of The Barn & The Cowshed, Northumberland
"We love the remoteness here at The Barn & The Cowshed. The air is fresh and on clear nights you can see countless stars thanks to our position on the edge of the Northumberland Dark Sky Park. During the day we are fortunate to have plenty of red squirrels who enjoy visiting feeders located close to the Barns - one never forgets seeing a Red Squirrel for the first time!"