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The Old School Hall

Norham, Northumberland

Stay amid the bustling border village of Norham, below its ruined castle and above the River Tweed.

The Old School Hall

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Overview

Stay amid the bustling border village of Norham, below its ruined castle and above the River Tweed.

Where children once studied you can now slumber, enjoying airy upside-down living and a snug garden.

Norham wasn’t always so idyllic. Right on the border with Scotland, this charming Northumberland village was labelled “the most dangerous place in Britain” in stories which inspired Sir Walter Scott’s epic war-themed poem, Marmion. Scott begins at “Norham's castled steep”: a fortress whose vital, ford-guarding position above the River Tweed enticed frequent, bloody Scottish besiegements.

Today, happily, peace reigns, including at The Old School Hall. As its name suggests, children once studied here, and their classroom now forms the open-plan living space. That’s on the first floor, with this home thus offering an unusual living arrangement; come bedtime, you go downstairs, not up.

A benefit of that is how much light fills that ex-classroom by day; its exaggerated height, stretching up to original rafters, also helps. There’s a neat, tiled kitchen in one corner, beside the four-person dining table, while sofas frame an open fireplace. The convivial open-plan layout lets designated chefs partake in conversations as they cook.

This floor also contains a snug and a cloakroom. Below, you’ll find the bedroom – a king-sized double, plus the separate bathroom. Allied with mahogany furniture, floral curtains and cushions lend a restful air to the sleeping quarters.

Outside beckons your garden: fully-enclosed and decidedly peaceful. Sit quietly and birds will soon use the feeder. Two parking spaces abut the garden.

Open fields descend to the River Tweed, from whose far bank begins Scotland. Impressing on the house’s other side is St Cuthbert’s Church, a 12th-century construction wherein Cuthbert’s body supposedly rested as Holy Island’s monks fled Vikings. The remains of Ceolwulf – a "most glorious king", according to the Venerable Bede – are also reputed to lie in the yard here.

Surrounding Norham has good amenities: an excellent butcher (its fly-fishing section explained by the owner being a keen angler; buy permits here), a catch-all shop, a green, a pub (of course), even a gunsmith. As for that Norman castle – a JMW Turner painting of which hangs in London’s Tate Britain gallery – its now-ruined bailey walls sit photogenically atop a grassy mound.

From the house, a no-through lane runs down to the Tweed. Walkers will find an extensive network of local footpaths; history buffs are very close to Flodden's decisive battlefield. It’s eight miles to the shops, restaurants, galleries and ancient walls of Berwick-upon-Tweed, and scarcely further to Holy Island or Bamburgh’s sandy beach and own castle. Edinburgh is about 45 minutes by train from Berwick.

Property details

Ground floor

Front door opening into hall. 

Bedroom one with king size bed, large, fitted cupboard with hanging space and shelves, chest of drawers, DAB digital radio.

Bedroom two with twin beds, side table and storage space.

En-suite shower room consisting of a walk-in shower, basin and WC.

Sperate bathroom with bath with handheld shower, basin WC, underfloor heating and heated towel rail.

Utility room with washing machine, fridge with icebox, sink, pulley drying system and door to garden.

First floor

This floor benefits from two living areas and a cloakroom.

Open plan living area formed from the former school room with seating area with three-seater sofa, two-seater sofa, armchair and open fire (three baskets of logs are provided).

Dining area with dining table and chairs for four guests.

Kitchen area with double electric oven, four-ring gas hob, dishwasher, fridge with icebox, Nespresso coffee machine (new model for use with Vertuo 230ml capsules), cafetiere and microwave.

Snug / study with desk, books and two-seater sofa.

Cloakroom with WC and basin.

Outside

The Old School Hall sits in an enclosed, private garden with small lawned area and outside dining furniture.

Parking

There is private off-street parking for two cars (one behind the other) adjacent to the garden.  Please note this is relatively narrow and is not suitable for larger vehicles.

Babies & Children

Sorry, babies and children under the age of 12 years are not permitted at The Old School Hall.

 

Dogs

Sorry, dogs and other pets are not allowed.

Guest amenities

The beds feature high quality, 200 TC bed linen and feather duvets and pillows. White Company bath sheets and hand towels are provided along with a hairdryer in each bedroom and Noble Isle guest toiletries.

Wi-Fi & mobile coverage

The house has broadband. Vodafone coverage is good, the reception is poor on other networks, although it improves outside. The broadband is suitable for Wi-Fi calling.

Heating

There is gas central heating throughout the property along with an open fire in the main living area (three baskets of logs are provided). 

Guest privacy

The Old School Hall sits within the village of Norham on a quiet lane that runs down to the river.  The property is semi-detached; the accommodation is arranged to maximise privacy and much of the garden is surrounded by a hedge.  The property overlooks the Church, churchyard and open fields to one side and the other aspect is across the village to the castle.

Low Occupancy Discounts

From 6th October 2022 a low occupancy discount has been made available for one/two guests who only require the use of bedroom one and the separate bathroom. Bedroom two with en-suite will be locked and unavailable if this discount is applied. If two guests require the use of both bedrooms and bathrooms, please enter your occupancy as 3 guests when placing your booking. 

Location

The Old School Hall sits in the heart of Norham Village. This historic border village has plenty to offer alongside its own castle with a village shop, bakery, gunsmith and the popular Foreman’s Butcher where you will find a fantastic selection of quality produce including locally-sourced meats, pies, bread, and fine wines.

The Mason’s Arms is the hub of the community in Norham, serving real ales and tasty food as well as hosting social events. The fish and chip van visits the village each Thursday evening for those who wish to enjoy a traditional British take-away. Alternatively, if it is fine dining you are looking for, The Collingwood Arms at Cornhill-on-Tweed is just 6.7 miles away, or cross the border to The Cross Inn at Paxton (7 miles).

The Elizabethan walled town of Berwick-upon-Tweed is eight miles away offering more extensive amenities. The town has a mix of high street and independent shopping, as well as three large supermarkets, a Marks & Spencers food outlet and a good selection of cafes, pubs and restaurants. You will also find a theatre and art galleries within the town.

The Old School Hall is an ideal base for exploring Northumberland's Heritage coastline and countryside with easy access to the Scottish Borders. The charming, ancient towns of Duns and Kelso are also nearby, and Edinburgh is an easy day trip either about an hour by car or 45 minutes on the train from Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Activities

Guests can enjoy some wonderful walks directly from the house on peaceful riverside trails along the Anglo-Scottish border, taking in the ruins of Norham Castle famously depicted in the iconic paintings of J M W Turner as early as 1797. Upstream the Norham Bridge and Milne Graden Walk is a scenic loop of 6.5 miles, or a leisurely walk downstream will take you to the superb Union Chain Bridge which spans the Tweed, once the longest wrought-iron suspension bridge in the world and now the oldest of its type still in use today.

From here you can explore the beautiful house and gardens of Paxton House with its child-friendly activity programme, or visit the attractions of the nearby Chain Bridge Honey Farm. You can take a fun boat trip from the jetty at Paxton House to Berwick with stunning views across the estuary, or walk and wander the perfectly preserved fortifications of the historic old town before exploring the rich architecture and seascapes which inspired the paintings of the great artist L S Lowry on his many visits to the area.

For sightseeing, the property is an ideal base for exploring the wider area with its magnificent countryside steeped in a turbulent and romantic history, punctuated by imposing castles, including Floors, Bamburgh, Dunstanburgh, and Thirlestane; the evocative ruins of abbeys at Kelso, Melrose and Dryburgh; and the grand stately homes and gardens of nearby Paxton, Manderston and Mellerstain.

The stunning heritage coastline is just a short fifteen minute drive with miles of pristine sandy beaches, jolly pubs serving the freshest fish and chips, and picture postcard coastal villages with charming galleries and gift shops. Birdwatchers, walkers and photographers will delight in the stunning cliffs and coves of the Berwickshire coastline where you will spot thousands of seabirds and seals around the St. Abbs Nature Reserve or cross the causeway at low tide to the very beautiful Holy Island of Lindisfarne where you will experience nature at its very best. Further down the coast, the stunning beach at Bamburgh is a perfect place to take a picnic where you can walk for mile upon mile on white sandy beaches or watch soaring wind surfers and kite surfers across the bay.

The property is an ideal base for exploring with an abundance of family-friendly activities to keep all ages entertained. Pack a picnic and head to the outstanding heritage coastline which offers mile upon mile of golden sands where you can relax and dabble in the rock pools or try your hand at surfing, bodyboarding, kitesurfing, coasteering or kayaking on the many gentle bays and coves with qualified accredited instructors.

Bike or hike on the coastal paths or through the pretty fishing villages, watch soaring windsurfers on the stunning beach at Bamburgh, voted Britain’s top picnic spot in 2013, before heading further down the coast for a little broomstick training at Alnwick Castle! Further inland, Ford & Etal Estates offers a great day out with over 20 family attractions including riding, canoeing, cycling, climbing, and a charming 15” gauge steam railway.

Serious walkers and cyclists can link into a number of long distance routes including St. Cuthbert’s Way, the Berwickshire Coastal Path or the Sandstone Way where you will experience breathtaking scenery, exceptional nature reserves, spectacular castles and grand stately homes as you pass on through. Alternatively the vast open spaces and heather-clad hillsides of the Northumberland National Park provides endless trails, iconic landmarks and big sky views, giving way to forests and rolling Parklands with plenty of cosy pubs and picturesque villages for a much deserved rest stop at the end of a busy day.

Children and families

Children and families

Here at Crabtree & Crabtree, we like to think we’ve pulled together some rather nifty ideas to keep tots to teens happy and entertained during your stay.

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Fishing

Fishing

Welcome to the realm of the king of fish, the mighty River Tweed. Every year thousands of Atlantic Salmon make their way up river, an annual odyssey that is one of nature's miracles.

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Classes at your holiday home

Classes at your holiday home

Enjoy art, cookery, photography, flower or chocolate classes or whisky tasting in the comfort of your own holiday home...

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Historic houses and castles

Historic houses and castles

With more stately homes, castles and historic sites here than you can shake a proverbial stick at, visitors are quite simply spoilt for choice.

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Wildlife

Wildlife

Our region is home to outstanding scenery which boasts emerald forests, pristine lochs and rivers, heathery hillsides, sweeping moorlands as well as a picture perfect coastline.

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Horse riding

Horse riding

Horse riding is intrinsically linked to the history and heritage of the area and goes right back to the 13th and 14th centuries where townspeople would ride the clan’s boundaries to protect their common lands. Thankfully our riding pursuits today are not quite so dramatic!

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Shopping, arts and crafts

Shopping, arts and crafts

We are extremely fortunate to have a region where independent shops are king, and to have an area flowing with creativity through its talents in arts, crafts and textiles.

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Walking

Walking

From the lush green uplands to shimmering sea, the area boasts a hugely diverse and enticing landscape that is perfect for exploring on foot. From gentle rambles to long-distance hikes, there are a vast array of trails and waymarked routes for newbie walkers or experienced alike.

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Golf

Golf

There are 40 golf courses in Northumberland, and another 21 in the Scottish Borders offering visitors an incredibly wide and varied range of golfing options.

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Adventure Sports

Adventure Sports

If you love a challenge or just crave a little excitement away from the day-to-day bustle of working life, we have lots to offer - whether it be watery pursuits, muddy blasts or thrill seeking, adrenaline-charged adventures.

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Cycling & mountain biking

Cycling & mountain biking

Whether you ride fast or slow, on-road or off-road, there is something uniquely special about enjoying some outdoor time on two wheels. Here in the region we have something for everyone from high-energy mountain biking blasts to gentle forest paths the whole family can enjoy.

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Shooting

Shooting

For sheer variety alone Northumberland and the Scottish Borders are irresistible to any gun.

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Ancestral history research

Ancestral history research

Crabtree & Crabtree know that tracing the history of your family can be a wonderful journey of discovery. Here are our top tips for starting your family tree.

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Spas and beauty treatments

Spas and beauty treatments

Everyone needs a little time-out to relax and for many that may involve a little pampering, the chance to experience new therapies, or simply some dedicated ‘me time’ to enjoy or practise disciplines which bring a sense of well-being and good health.

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Services

Cooks and chefs

Cooks and chefs

Make your stay hassle-free with your own personal cook

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Additional housekeeping

Additional housekeeping

Award yourself a real break and let us provide a pair (or more) of helping hands.

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Wine delivery

Wine delivery

Crabtree & Crabtree have teamed up with Corney & Barrow one of the longest established independent Wine Merchants in the UK to offer a bespoke service.

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Beauty and spa treatments

Beauty and spa treatments

Everyone needs some pampering, whatever the occasion.

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Nannies and babysitters

Nannies and babysitters

Relax, explore the local area, enjoy a long lunch or a romantic evening out by hiring a fully qualified registered and experienced nanny or babysitter to come to your house.

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Fresh flowers

Fresh flowers

Fresh cut flowers delivered to your holiday home.

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Holiday photography

Holiday photography

Family holidays, reunions and honeymoons kindle priceless moments that deserve preserving.

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Reviews

Location In the village of Norham.
Dogs
  • Sorry, dogs are not allowed.
Adults & older children - only property
  • Children age 12 and over are welcome
Low Occupancy Discounts
  • Available for one/two guests who only require the use of bedroom one and the separate bathroom. Please see Property Details for more information.
Arrival / Departure
  • Typical arrival day: Saturday during high season. Short breaks: 2 nights Sat to Mon, 4 nights Mon to Fri or 5 nights Mon to Sat.
  • Arrival time: 5pm
  • Departure time: 11am
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The historic ruins of Norham Castle on the banks of the River Tweed in Northumberland
The little things we love...
"Seeing Norham Castle’s ruins at sunrise – as painted by Turner – or sunset, as described by Scott in Marmion, is oh so romantic."
Victoria, owner of The Old School Hall
email us or give us a call on 01573 226711 for details.

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