Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Christmas at the Laundrette, Newcastle

Anyone else beginning to feel like they might be starting to resemble a Christmas pudding? Festive feasting in our house has well and truly begun and with a diary packed with nights out and Christmas meals, I'm fully prepared to get out my stretchy pants!

If there's one place in Newcastle where stretchy pants are always a must it's The Laundrette, famed for its cocktails and carbs it is the perfect place to host your Christmas night out this year - because who cares about overindulging at Christmas time? Luckily all of my friends love cocktails and carbs as much as me so a group of us headed to The Laundrette for a night of fizz and feasting off a fully loaded Christmas menu.

Christmas at the Laundrette, Newcastle

If you're already a little bit bored of the turkey dinners and mince pies then The Laundrette offer something a little different this Christmas with their tasty carb loaded dishes served with plenty of seasonal fun. Here are a few of my recommendations to make your mouth water!

The Small Load Starters start off the merriment and for the ultimate treat I loved the Dough Balls served with a dipping smoked truffle cheese fondue.  I always drown myself in cheese over Christmas and these ticked every box.

Christmas at the Laundrette, Newcastle - Dough Balls

The meat lovers will enjoy the Wild Boar Meatballs in spiced tomato sauce topped with Grana Padano and Fried Sage. Delicious!

Christmas at the Laundrette, Newcastle - Wild Boar Meatballs
Is it really Christmas time if you don't indulge in pizza? I love the pizzas at The Laundrette, they always have such a fantastic variety of toppings unlike anything else you can find in Newcastle.  I loved the Pulled Pork Pizza with Salami, Pepperoni and Caramelised Onion on a BBQ Base with Mozzarella and the star of the show, Pork Crackling.

Christmas at the Laundrette, Newcastle - Pizza

If you wanted to save some room for dessert (always important!) the Prosciutto Wrapped Cod served with Tuscan Bean Broth, Grana Padano and Polenta Chips offers a slightly lighter alternative.

Christmas at the Laundrette, Newcastle - Menu

The highlight of the night for me had to be the massive slab of Salted Tequila Lime Cheesecake with Dark Chocolate Whipped Ganache.  Can you believe the size of it?  Even a professional pudding pundit like me couldn't quite polish it off.  I think I'll have to go back and try it again, I hate that it managed to beat me!

Christmas at the Laundrette, Newcastle - Salted Tequila Lime Cheesecake

My other favourite on the Delicates Desserts menu was the Burnt Caramel Apple and Panko Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream.  I love crumble in the Winter time and the Laundrette offering is delicious.

Christmas at the Laundrette, Newcastle - Apple Crumble

Of course all of this festive feasting is thirsty work so I happily guzzled a fair few glasses of "Absolut MILF" - Absolut Vodka Mint, Fresh Strawberries and Lychee Syrup, Topped with Apple Juice which has had a bit of a Christmas makeover - I love its little dusting of snow!

Christmas at the Laundrette, Newcastle - Absolut MILF
I rolled out of the Laundrette with my ever growing Santa belly feeling very happy (it's in for a shock in January let me tell you!) and I'm already wondering if I can squeeze in another visit before the festivities are over.

Festive Lunch at the Laundrette offers 2 courses for £23.00 or 3 courses for £25.00 and Festive Dinner is 3 courses for £28.00.  The Laundrette are offering 25% off the Christmas menu on week days for those who pre book and have some freebies for those attending this year's pantomimes or staking at Life. Redeemable Sunday to Thursday until 25 December if you show your same day ice skating or pantomime ticket you'll get a free children's meal or a glass of Prosecco with the purchase of any adults main course dish.

We were treated to a night of complimentary food and cocktails - all opinions are my own. 

For loads more Christmas inspiration follow New Girl in Toon on Facebook and Instagram.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Newcastle Pantomime 2017 - Snow White Review

What is Christmas without a visit to the Pantomime?  This is exactly what I said to my husband as I convinced him to join me at the press night of the Tyne Theatre and Opera House Pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He wasn't too sure, not being one for audience participation I think he was a little worried that he'd end up being dragged on stage, but I convinced him and as we headed off to Newcastle I promised him an evening of great entertainment!

I love the Tyne Theatre and Opera House, it is a beautiful cosy theatre and I always feel very at home.  I've been lucky enough to see a couple of shows there since moving to Newcastle and seeing their Pantomime for the first time was going to be a real treat.

Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Newcastle Pantomime 2017 - Snow White ReviewPhoto c/o Tyne Theatre and Opera House

This year's Pantomime ticks a definite box for me with an appearance by the North East's very own Michelle Heaton, the Liberty X star provided me with a "star from my youth" that I have to admit I love in a panto. Other local faces in this year's panto include Geordie comics Charlie Richmond and Lewis Denney as well as ITV Tyne Tees presenter Rachel Sweeney.

As the curtains lifted and the tale of Snow White began I realised that the Tyne Theatre and Opera House Pantomime is full of classic gags and much loved tradition.  From wobbly sets to silly songs it transported me straight back to my childhood and to the things that I had long forgotten.

I loved reminiscing with my husband about our favourite pantomimes as children and as each scene unfolded we began to remember the classic jokes and sketches. From ghosts kidnapping characters to screaming "He's Behind You!" at the top of our voices, if we'd been playing Panto bingo we would have had a full house within 10 minutes.

The star of the show for us was the brilliant Charlie Richmond as Muddles whose Geordie jokes had my husband wiping tears away he was laughing so hard. Muddles' interaction with the children in the audience was spot on, and his cheeky jokes were very much appreciated by those of us who have never really grown out of being very silly!

Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Newcastle Pantomime 2017 - Charlie Richmond

Photo c/o Tyne Theatre and Opera House

Michelle Heaton impressed us as the Wicked Queen, and I particularly loved her evil laugh which boomed across the theatre each time she'd carried out an evil plan. The Liberty X fans in the audience also got a little treat when she gave us a little performance of one of the group's biggest hits, Little Bit More.

Britain's Got Talent fans were in for a treat with appearances by Matt Pagan, one fourth of 2014 winners Collabro, as the prince and comedian and impressionist Danny Posthill as Dame Dotty Donut. Having never watched Britain's Got Talent I have to admit I had no idea who either of these guys were but I was left very impressed by their talents and am now wondering if I should have been watching the show!

Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Newcastle Pantomime 2017 - Michelle Heaton

Photo c/o Tyne Theatre and Opera House

Snow White played by the beautiful Robyn McEnaney was charming and sweet and offered some much needed sensible relief when everything on stage got a bit silly.  The local actress and performer was fantastic in the lead role and it was a joy to watch some great North East talent on the stage.

With plenty of familiar songs to sing along to, loads of audience participation and a good dose of Geordie humour, despite the panto being very much aimed at kids (there weren't many gags for the adults) we thoroughly enjoyed our evening at the Tyne Theatre and Opera House and would highly recommend a trip to see Snow White.

Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Newcastle Pantomime 2017 - Snow White

Photo c/o Tyne Theatre and Opera House

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is on at the Tyne Theatre and Opera House in Newcastle until 31 December - check out the website for further information and to buy your tickets.

We attended the Pantomime on Press Night and received complimentary tickets for review purposes.

Monday, 11 December 2017

The North East Christmas Gift Guide

While the internet may be full of Christmas Gift Guides I doubt you'll find too many like this! I love to share my favourite North East finds at Christmas time and buying your loved ones gifts inspired by or created here in the North East is such a great way to help the local community and purchase some truly unique and special gifts.

I hope you enjoy this year's North East Christmas Gift Guide (if you want even more ideas check out last year's guide here!)

The North East Christmas Gift Guide

Make your own single at Cluny Studios 

Anyone else love warbling along to Mariah Carey "All I Want for Christmas"?  Chances are you'll know someone that's always wanted to be a popstar so this Christmas why not give them the most amazing Christmas gift with the chance to record their own track in a proper recording studio!  A one hour session at the Cluny Studios costs £50.00 and includes your own engineer to mix your track and make it perfect.  Your experience is valid for 12 months and you'll even get 5 CDs with your track to give out to your friends!

A Cosy Winter Break at the Lord Crewe Arms

We discovered the Lord Crewe Arms a few months ago and it is one of the most beautiful places that we have ever stayed.  If you're looking for the ultimate gift for someone special in your life then a gift voucher for the Lord Crewe Arms will tick every box.  You can treat your loved one to a foodie voucher, a Gatehouse Event voucher (read my review of the Gatehouse here) or a stay over voucher.

You can buy a Lord Crewe Arms voucher here.

North East Christmas Gift Guide - Lord Crewe Arms

Starbucks Newcastle Mugs

If you're a regular visitor to Starbucks you may have spotted their brilliant limited edition Newcastle mugs that are currently available. Featuring some very familiar Geordie landmarks, the mugs are perfect for any Starbucks fans and will look great on display in the kitchen.  Not available online, you can find them in the local Starbucks stores (and why not treat yourself to a festive coffee while you're there!)

The 21 Hospitality Group Taste Tour

Before I'd read Sam's wonderful review of the 21 Hospitality Group Taste Tour I had no idea that it existed! For £45.00 you can buy a voucher that offers you the best foodie experience in the Toon.  Restaurant hop between three of the 21 Groups best locations and enjoy bar snacks at the Broad Chare, Mains at Caffe Vivo and then dessert at 21 Newcastle. I have been hinting very heavily to Santa Simon that I'd very much like a voucher for Christmas!

Buy your 21 Taste Tour Voucher here

North East Christmas Gift Guide - 21 Taste Tour

Cheeseboard from the Grainger Market

Find me a foodie who wouldn't love the gift of cheese! Matthew's Cheese Shop at the Grainger Market sells over 200 different types of cheese so it's THE place to go to create the foodie's perfect cheeseboard this Christmas.  A great present for the cheese lover in your life, Matthew's Cheese Shop can help you create a truly unique and special cheeseboard that's beautifully presented all ready for your loved one.

Find out more about Matthew's Cheese Shop here

Pampering at All About You

All About You has become my favourite beauty salon in Newcastle, I love popping in for a treatment and a gossip with the lovely ladies.  I'm slowly working my way through their menu of treats and have so far enjoyed a pedicure, manicure and waxing (I'm definitely booking myself a post Christmas facial next!)  The beautiful little spot below the Grey Street Hotel is the perfect place to treat your Mam or best friend this Christmas and their gift vouchers make a great present!

Discover more about All About You here

North East Christmas Gift Guide - All About You

A Bottle of Durham Gin

2017 has definitely been the year of gin for me and I know that I'm not the only person who has become a complete ginthusiast!  If you want to grab a gin inspired gift from here in the North East why not check out Durham Gin.  I've got my eye on their Durham Damson, Blackbery and Ginger Gin Liqueur (how good does that sound?) - another hint to Santa Simon!

Buy your Durham Gin gifts here

Local Produce from the Fenwick's Food Hall

I love pottering around the Food Hall at Fenwick's at Christmas time and there are plenty of local gifts that you can buy the foodie lovers in your life. How about a bottle of Noveltea (the perfect Christmas tipple) a Rafi's Spicebox Curry Kit (great for the budding chef), some Gingerbread Mam goodies (for your friend with a sweet tooth) or, of course, if you're feeling extra generous you can create your own Fenwick's Hamper!

North East Christmas Gift Guide - Fenwick's Food Hall

Geordie Gifts

I couldn't write a North East Christmas Gift Guide without mentioning Geordie Gifts could I? This year buying your presents from the cheeky Geordies is even easier with their pop up shop at Grainger Market. I love their hilarious tote bags and their coasters are perfect stocking fillers. I've already bought up half their shop and there are a few Geordie Gifts sitting under my tree!

Buy your Geordie Gifts here, or pop down to their shop at The Grainger Market

12 Deals for Christmas at Matfen Hall

Personally I love to receive a gift experience at Christmas and if you love the idea of treating your loved one to something really special this year check out the range of gift ideas available at Matfen Hall in their 12 Deals for Christmas.  They have 12 special gift ideas all available at a reduced rate over the festive period. From Afternoon Teas to Weekend Breaks and Golf Experiences, there's a gift for everyone!  Vouchers are valid January - March 2018, giving your loved one something to look forward to in the cold Winter months!

Check out the 12 Deals for Christmas here

North East Christmas Gift Guide - Matfen Hall

I would love to hear about any North East Christmas gifts you've bought this year! I still have a few more people I need to buy for!

For plenty more Christmas inspiration check out New Girl in Toon on Instagram and Facebook

Friday, 8 December 2017

Christmas at the Botanist Newcastle

Christmas at the Botanist in Newcastle is something I look forward to every year, for me it's always the official start of Christmas - a chance to snuggle up with some close friends, enjoy a few tipples and chat festive plans.

Earlier this week I spent the evening with six of the loveliest ladies I know at The Botanist and after a night of mulled wine, over indulgence and plenty of giggles I'm definitely feeling very lucky to have such wonderful friends to share my Christmas time with.

Christmas at the Botanist Newcastle

A Winter Wonderland - The Roof Terrace at The Botanist

Our night of celebration began on the roof terrace which is the perfect place for a cosy Christmas with a few of your closest mates.  We were lucky to have a really clear night where it was mild enough to sit outdoors for a short while but still nippy enough to treat ourselves to mugs of hot cider and cover our knees in cosy blankets.

Christmas at the Botanist Newcastle - Roof Terrace
Whilst you might think that the Botanist Roof Terrace is just for those Summer days it's definitely somewhere that I love most at Christmas time. The wooden huts seem extra beautiful with their little fairy lights, the bar is decked out in giant baubles and the hidden corners and snuggly blankets gives you those apres ski vibes without having to actually get cold and do any ski-ing - perfect!

A great place to people watch, we spent a fair amount of time watching the Christmas Market at Monument down below. The Newcastle lights look extra special from the roof of the Botanist!

Christmas at the Botanist Newcastle - Roof Winter Wonderland

Keeping Warm with the Budweis Mule 

When our tummies needed a little extra warmth we lined up at the bar, eager to try out the Botanist's latest creation, the Budweis Mule (£7.95).  A twist on the classic Moscow Mule the "Hoptail" is the perfect way to convince the beer lover in your life to join you on cocktail night.  Traditional ginger beer is replaced with Budweiser Budvar original and fresh ginger is then mixed with Tanqueray gin and Cointreau. It's pretty damn special as The Botanist is the only bar in the region to serve Budweiser Budvar, brewery fresh tank beer from the Czech Republic.  I have to admit I'm not a huge lover of beer but with the nice subtle sweet hit in the Budweis Mule I could definitely manage a pint!

Christmas at the Botanist Newcastle - Budweis Mule

The Christmas Menu at The Botanist 

Fingers, toes and tummies warm from our Winter drinks we headed indoors and up to the new Mezzanine level to sit down for some Christmas food, the Mezzanine is the perfect place to host your Christmas party this year - nicely tucked out of the way with the most amazing views over the bar and that famous tree!

Christmas at the Botanist Newcastle - Mezzanine

The Christmas menu at The Botanist is available through December with Lunch for £22.75 per person and dinner for £27.50. When the festive menus started doing the rounds I have to say that it was the Botanist menu that caught my eye - with so many of my seasonal favourites featuring it was the only place I was adamant I had to try this Christmas.

Christmas at the Botanist Newcastle - Menu

Christmas Starters at The Botanist 

There are three choices of starter at The Botanist this Christmas with dishes to suit every taste.

First up, the Smoked Salmon Rillettes with avocado salsa, homemade chilli jam and olive oil croutons.  The perfect light starter if you want to be sure not to get too stuffed before the main event.

Christmas lovers will love the Curried Cauliflower and Coconut soup with toasted almonds and curry oil, the perfect Winter warmer.  Served with a delicious squishy bread roll, perfect for dunking - no need for table manners when you're out with your friends!

Christmas at the Botanist Newcastle - Curried Cauliflower and Coconut Soup
My personal favourite Christmas Starter of the evening was the Roast Jerk Ham, Celeriac and Apple Remoulade with Honey Mustard dressing.  We always have ham at Christmas at my parents house so it will always remind me of cosy festive evenings back at home.

Christmas at the Botanist Newcastle - Roast Jerk Ham

Christmas Main Course at The Botanist

Back by popular demand, would it really be Christmas without the Turkey Hanging Kebab with Spiced Cranberry Glaze? Served with a tiny pot of gravy (I have to admit being the only southerner at the table I didn't really understand the gravy debate that was happening at the table!), the kebab hangs above a dish of seasonal veg and is such a fun way to enjoy your Christmas dinner.

An alternative to the traditional, we all loved the Backed Cod in Herb Crust with a Chorizo, Tomato and Butterbean Stew - although I love a full turkey dinner it's great to have a menu with plenty of delicious alternatives.

Christmas at the Botanist Newcastle - Baked Cod

For the meat lovers the Sirloin Steak with Braised Spiced Red Cabbage, Smoked Bacon and Thyme Sauce went down a treat. I have to say it wasn't served rare enough for my liking (I like my steak to be crawling off the plate) but everyone else wolfed it down.

My favourite of the night, and the dish that had my mouth watering when I first saw the menu, was the Roast Butternut Squash and Mushroom Wellington with Goat's Cheese, Chestnut, Sage and Roast Cherry Tomatoes.  I love a classic Beef Wellington and this veggie version worked so well, I was supposed to be sharing but I will admit I polished most of this off myself.

Christmas at the Botanist Newcastle - Butternut Squash Wellington

Christmas Desserts and The Botanist

As a huge lover of Bakewell I was very intrigued by the first dessert at our table, the Christmas Bakewell Tart with Orange Brandy Custard, it was so lush and I'm now thinking about having something similar on our Christmas table at home.

The Cranberry and Raspberry Meringue with Poached Pear and Eggnog Cream was the other dish that had me excited to book a table at The Botanist, I am an eggnog obsessive so am in my element at Christmas time.  The eggnog goes so well with the perfectly chewy meringue.

Christmas at the Botanist Newcastle - Cranberry and Raspberry Meringue

The first dish to be completely cleared at our table was the Chocolate Fudge Brownie with Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream which we all attacked with such enthusiasm I'm surprised there wasn't an argument.  So delicious I definitely suggest you tuck into one of these bad boys on your own and don't even attempt to share it with anyone else.

Christmas at the Botanist Newcastle - Chocolate Fudge Brownie

We loved our evening at The Botanist and I'm definitely planning a few more visits before Santa arrives!

Is anyone else planning a Christmas night at The Botanist?

For more Christmas inspiration follow New Girl in Toon on Instagram and Facebook.

We were treated to complimentary food and drinks at The Botanist in exchange for an honest review of their Christmas offerings.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Celebrate Christmas Eve in the North East

How do you usually spend your Christmas Eve? Let me guess! Frantically wrapping pressies? Trying to get the kids to sleep before Santa arrives? Weeping into the pile of veg that you have to prepare? Christmas Eve can be more than a little chaotic and often leaves me feeling frazzled!

So this year I thought it might be nice to make Christmas Eve a bit more of an event, I'm going to work extra hard to get all of my jobs done first thing so that we can enjoy a more relaxing day and get ourselves feeling super festive and ready for Santa!

There's plenty going on in the region and here are just some of the special ways that you could celebrate Christmas Eve in the North East this year.

Celebrate Christmas Eve in the North East

Christmas Afternoon Tea at Jesmond Dene House

The Christmas Afternoon Tea at Jesmond Dene House is so special and is the perfect way to relax before the big day. This Christmas Eve you can enjoy a very special Champagne Afternoon Tea in the Great Hall with seasonal live music.  Tickets cost £38.00 per person and the menu includes Roast Turkey and Stuffing Sandwiches, Cranberry and Citrus Scones and Sweet Mince Pies.  Jesmond Dene House looks so beautiful at Christmas and is guaranteed to make even Scrooge get into the Christmas spirit.

Click here for full menu information and to book your tickets!

Celebrate Christmas Eve in the North East - Jesmond Dene House

Sparkling Brunch at The Factory Kitchen

This event at the Factory Kitchen at The Biscuit Factory was what made me first realise that I should plan a more relaxing Christmas Eve.  How amazing does a bottomless bucks fizz brunch sound? We love the food at Factory Kitchen and with some amazing festive treats on the menu including Gingerbread French Toast (yes please) this would be the perfect way to kick off your Christmas celebrations. Tickets cost £15.00 per person for bottomless brunch which is served between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.

Click here for full menu information and to book your tickets!

Pantomime Fun

Nothing shouts Christmas quite like a trip to the Pantomime.  I really enjoyed my trip to see Peter Pan at the Theatre Royal but there are plenty of Pantos all over the region to choose from. Going to the theatre on Christmas Eve would be such a treat and would definitely get me more than ready for Santa!

Celebrate Christmas Eve in the North East - Pantomime

Skating at Life

Nothing will get you more into the festive spirit than a whizz round the ice at the Life Centre in Newcastle. So grab your nearest and dearest, put on your Christmas jumper and get ready to impress with your best skating moves. Tickets cost £9.00 for adults and advance booking is highly recommended.

Click here for information and to book in advance

Christmas Burgers

We love Christmas Burgers and booking a table at one of our favourite burger restaurants to feast on their seasonal menu is one of the highlights of our festive calendar.  If you still need to do some last minute gift purchasing on Christmas Eve then why not tie in your visit to the city with a much needed post shopping burger treat?  Our favourite festive menus this year are The Turk Diggler at Fat Hippo, The Fromagemas at Byron and The Saint Nicholas at Burger.

Celebrate Christmas Eve in the North East - Christmas Burgers

It's a Wonderful Life at Tyneside Cinema

For a lot of people living in Newcastle, a trip to the Tyneside Cinema to see It's a Wonderful Life has become a Christmas tradition.  There are three screenings on Christmas Eve and hiding away in the Tyneside with my love and some festive treats to munch on sounds heavenly!

Click here for more information and to book your tickets

The Snowman at the Sage

The Snowman was one of my favourite Christmas movies when I was a kid, despite the fact it always left me bawling my eyes out at the end (and still does!) it was a film I had to watch each year. The Snowman fans can enjoy the best Christmas Eve treat this year by enjoying The Snowman on a big screen with the score performed live by the Royal Northern Sinfonia - a definite goosebump moment!

Click here for more information and tickets, but be quick - tickets are booking fast!

Enjoy a Walk at Wallington

The National Trust properties in the North East are beautiful at Christmas time and what better way to escape the madness than a nice long walk out in the countryside at Wallington. Escape the chaos and clear your head with some fresh air and beautiful views - don't forget to take a flask of hot chocolate with you!

Click here for more information and opening times

Celebrate Christmas Eve in the North East - Wallington
Let me know what plans you've made for Christmas Eve this year or if you have any traditions in your family.

For plenty more Christmas inspiration follow New Girl in Toon on Facebook and Instagram.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

A Luxury Stay at The Pentonbridge Inn - Review of The Best Hotel in Cumbria!

I've lived in the North East for over four years now but there are still some areas that I'm yet to explore. Hadrian's Wall to the west of the region, heading up to Cumbria and to the Scottish boarders is somewhat of a mystery to us, so when the Pentonbridge Inn invited us for a luxury stay in Cumbria we couldn't resist making the trip west and, I don't like to brag, but I think we've found the best hotel in Cumbria!

The Pentonbridge Inn has only been open 6 weeks but was creating a bit of a buzz long before its first customers arrived. Opened by husband and wife team, Jack and Cassie White - ex chefs at the two Michelin-starred Marcus at the Berkeley in London, the Pentonbridge Inn promises somewhere very special for foodies in the north of England as well as nine luxury bedrooms and a cosy pub for locals and visitors.

A Luxury Stay at The Pentonbridge Inn - The Best Hotel in Cumbria
You'll find the Pentonbridge Inn tucked away in the tiny village of Penton. Sitting pretty in the Cumbrian countryside, it's a few miles north of Carlisle and so close to the border that a short stroll over the local bridge will take you from England into Scotland. Ideally located for visitors to explore the Lake District and Hadrian's Wall country, the Pentonbridge Inn is a little slice of heaven reminding you how perfect life is in the north.

We arrived at the Pentonbridge Inn on a very wintery Saturday afternoon with slightly cold feet after the first real icy spell of the season. We were so thankful when we walked through the front door and were greeted by a friendly smile and a toasty warm reception. Instantly feeling at home, we eagerly made our way up to our room for the night, the beautiful Grayme.

A Luxury Stay at Pentonbridge Inn - The Best Hotel in Cumbria

The bedrooms at the Pentonbridge Inn are beautifully decorated, each taking inspiration from the surrounding Cumbrian landscape and are the perfect combination of comfort and style.

The Pentonbridge Inn is the kind of place you can go to truly switch off and escape. With limited phone signal (bliss) it's possible to switch yourself off from the bother of every day life although, if like me, you can't help but share your staycation on Instagram there's amazingly fast wifi through the Inn.  In fact, the Pentonbridge Inn is not only super cosy it also has all of the gadgets you could possibly need to make your stay perfect.  Simon loved the remote control that made a TV pop up at the foot of our bed and the computerised system that operated the window blinds - he's definitely going to want both for home now!

Pentonbridge Inn - The Best Hotel in Cumbria

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria
Eager to enjoy our lovely room, we decided to have a bit of a relax before dinner and hibernate for an hour or so. The Roberts Radio by the bed was set to Classic FM and we found ourselves enjoying listening to the soothing sounds of classical music as we settled down in the comfy chairs and made ourselves hot cups of coffee with our very own Nespresso machine.

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Coffee

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Coffee Time
It wasn't long before we stumbled across a very interesting looking drawstring bag that had been left on the side for us along with a note welcoming us to the Inn, as soon as Simon saw it was labelled "salted caramel" he had his nose in there. He loves anything salted caramel and was over the moon to discover some very lovely looking chocolates. They were amazing! Delicious naughty chocolate with a runny caramel centre, just thinking about them makes my mouth water and I would honestly go to the Pentonbridge Inn again just for more of those treats!

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Coffee Time

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Bedrooms
I would happily have spent hours and hours sitting in those comfy chairs, but the explorer in me was eager to get changed for dinner and head downstairs a little early for a bit of a nose. When your bedroom is beautiful there's a pretty strong chance that the pub and restaurant is going to be pretty special too!

We made our way down to the pub and I was thrilled to discover two fires, loads of cosy corners and, amazingly, the place to ourselves.  We must have timed it just right as by the time we'd settled into the best seats in the house (right by the cosy fire of course!) the bar had begun to fill up.

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Open Fire
As I sat sipping my fizz and enjoying the lovely warm fire on my face I amused myself with a spot of people watching. The pub was full of locals all greeting each other with big hugs and happy smiles and exchanging stories of their weekend adventures. They chatted happily between themselves and I couldn't help but smile, their high spirits were infectious and I commented to Simon that I wished our local was as lovely as the Pentonbridge Inn.

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Fizz by the Fire

As we neared the end of our drinks our waiter appeared with the food menu for us to take a look at ahead of our reservation. This is always my favourite way to enjoy dinner, I love being able to properly look at the menu without any time pressure and it's so nice to head to the table knowing that our orders are already with the kitchen.

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Fizz Fire

The Pentonbridge Inn offer an a la carte menu as well as a five course tasting menu with both changing daily offering the very best seasonal and local produce. With a lot of their ingredients coming from their Victorian walled garden at nearby Netherby Hall, the fruit and veg served at the Inn is fresh.

We decided to go for three courses (£40.00) and with orders placed we were shown to our table with a prime spot overlooking the kitchen.  I have to say I love having a good nose in a kitchen when I'm eating out, being an awful cook I'm always curious to watch the experts create their dishes and watching them put together something that looks amazing always leaves me stunned.

Our meal began with a huge chunk of freshly baked bread, still warm from the oven it arrived with salted butter inside a copper dish that I immediately became obsessed with. I never knew it was possible to fall in love with a butter dish, but just look at it!

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Bread
Nothing beats fresh warm bread smothered in butter and I was in heaven as I tucked in, we fell silent as we polished off the lot - if there's one thing I perhaps love more than chatting to my husband it's eating bread!

Our evening meal at the Pentonbridge Inn was one of amazing discoveries and we were off on an amazing journey right from the start with our little taster, the Pentonbridge's twist on pease pudding; a northern obsession that I have never understood until now! I've tried pease pudding many times since relocating to the north but this is the only time I've actually enjoyed it. Served piping hot the crisp coating was delicious - this is the way to serve pease pudding!

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Appetiser

It's not often we go all out and enjoy three courses but we couldn't resist at the Pentonbridge Inn.  We both chose the same starter - Hen egg, Jerusalem artichoke, cured Tamworth pork and Puy lentils. I loved the different textures of the dish and the flavours were beautiful.  Wiping my plate clean I started to feel a little sad that this lovely little place is quite a drive from our home. Newcastle to Cumbria isn't too far to go for dinner is it?

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Menu

With a small menu to choose from I picked something for my main course that I would never usually order. Lamb. I've never really got on with it and as a child I always whinged if Mum served up a roast lamb dinner.  Served with violet artichoke, potato terrine, Ragstone cheese and olives, the lamb was served pink and I immediately realised where I'd been going wrong for all these years. It was full of flavour, so tender and by the second mouthful I was declaring that I loved lamb!

Second shock of the night, I despise olives, yet when I tried them with the Lamb dish they really brought an extra something to my meal and I eagerly ate the lot! I honestly couldn't get over how delicious the food was and how the Pentonbridge Inn had made me change my mind about foods I'd thought I didn't really like.

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Evening Meal

For dessert we both ordered the Apple Tart Tatin served with little pots of vanilla ice cream.  It arrived whilst Simon was away from the table and I have to admit a little part of me was quite tempted to eat his as well as my own as it was so delicious.  I'm a big fan of hot fruit dishes in the Winter time and this was the ultimate Winter warmer.

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Evening Dinner

Although it was tempting to crash out in the cosy pub for another round of drinks we decided to head back up to our room. All of that food had made us feel very sleepy and the temptation to snuggle up in bed with that amazing TV was too much to resist. As we settled down for the night it wasn't long before I was out for the count and I had a fantastic night's sleep in our huge bed and didn't wake until my alarm went off the following morning.

Showers were a joy in the morning, the bathroom was lovely and warm and I loved using all of the complimentary Noble Isle toiletries.  Once I'd finished having a good pamper I wrapped myself up in a huge fluffy towel and then spent a little while wondering if I could just go down to breakfast in it, I was that comfortable!

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Bathroom

Clothes finally on, we made our way down to breakfast where we settled down at a table offering the most beautiful views of Scotland. Staying at the Pentonbridge Inn really made me realise how close we are to Scotland and how we really should make more effort to visit.

Breakfast at the Pentonbridge Inn was incredible! We have enjoyed a lot of breakfasts in our time, but the one we had that morning was on another level and I don't think we'll ever find one as good, they really did get it spot on.

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Breakfast Juice

Perfect for the foodie, a never ending flurry of surprise dishes arrived at our table from the kitchen and we loved that each table got something different.  Just as we'd find ourselves looking enviably at something our neighbours had been given a moment later something even better would show up at our own table.

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Breakfast Dish

Our feast began with homemade granola and fruit salad served with Greek Yoghurt and fresh juice. Each table had a different juice and ours was a deliciously zingy grapefruit juice. I've never found the thought of fruit at breakfast overly exciting but the Pentonbridge had managed to cram all sorts of goodies into the bowl including pears, raspberries, passionfruit and blueberries all topped off with some Greek Yoghurt it was the perfect start to our breakfast and left me thinking that I might recreate it at home.

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Breakfast Menu

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Breakfasts

Settling down with our cups of coffee we had a little chat with a lovely couple on the table next to us.  Celebrating their ruby wedding anniversary they had treated themselves to a weekend stay at the Pentonbridge Inn and were excitedly telling us about how the Pentonbridge had gone out of their way to make them feel special and that their tasting menu the night before had been the best food they'd ever had. I was so happy hearing their stories, I love when a hotel goes out of its way to make each guest feel welcome and special.

It wasn't long before our next course arrived at the table, French Toast hot from the kitchen with a jug of sticky syrup.

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Breakfast French Toast

We knew what was coming for our third course as we'd chosen our cooked breakfast the night before. There's no breakfast menu at the Pentonbridge Inn so you can choose whatever you fancy! The kitchen have decided they don't want to restrict guests and so, as long as they have the ingredients, they will whip up whatever breakfast you fancy!

I decided to go for smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on toast and Simon went for a Full English.  The portion sizes were so generous, in fact they were the biggest breakfasts we'd ever seen.  Don't ask me how but I managed to polish mine off and sneak a few pieces of black pudding off Simon's plate, he's not a fan and as it was the best black pudding I'd ever had I wasn't going to let him waste it.

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Breakfast Salmon

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Breakfast Full English

You'd think after all that food it would be time to finish but there was one final treat to come from the kitchen.  Toast served with salted butter and homemade marmalade that was still hot!  Wow! 

I could honestly write an entire blog about how amazing the marmalade was, it was my first time trying proper homemade marmalade and I could suddenly understand why Paddington Bear is such a fan!  Despite being ridiculously full I had to eat both slices of that toast just because I wanted to eat every last bit of that delicious marmalade.

Pentonbridge Inn Cumbria - Breakfast Marmalade

Our perfect staycation at the Pentonbridge Inn was over and we were both feeling so sad.  We've stayed in a lot of really lovely hotels this year and both agreed that The Pentonbridge Inn was one of our favourites.  There's no doubt that we will be back - our stay was so good and we really loved the food and our chats with the staff.

As we checked out and gathered up our bags, the lovely receptionist gave us a parting gift - a very generous jar of marmalade with compliments of the kitchen. The Pentonbridge Inn like to give their guests a gift for the road and it seems my love for the marmalade had been noticed.  Such a lovely touch!

If you're looking for a picture perfect stay in the Cumbrian countryside I highly recommend you book a weekend at the Pentonbridge Inn!

Find the Pentonbridge Inn at:

Penton, Carlisle, CA6 5QB

01228 586 636

We were guests of the Pentonbridge Inn and received a complimentary night's stay with dinner, drinks and breakfast in exchange for this honest review.