Wednesday 9 December 2015

St Mary's Inn; a Northumberland Country Staycation

Anyone else find this time of year a little too crazy? Frantically finding time to buy Christmas presents whilst juggling work commitments and visiting family, it's no wonder we all end up feeling a little frazzled!

Simon and I don't often take time out to just sit still and take a breath so when St Mary's Inn invited us over for a relaxing overnight stay in the Northumberland countryside we were over the moon.  Armed with our comfiest PJs and a collection of magazines we made the short journey up the A1 to our idyllic escape.

St Mary's Inn is no stranger to us.  We had a good nose round when the Inn first opened and had a delicious afternoon tea during our Summer staycation.  It's safe to say we've been longing to stay overnight for a while.

We arrived on a horrible rainy afternoon and stepping into the warming glow of the Inn was the best feeling.  Wet feet and cold noses were immediately forgotten as we were shown our home for the evening, the welcoming Catcleugh room.

St Mary's Inn has 11 beautiful yet simple bedrooms, perfect for an escape from busy life.  The rooms are light and airy with huge windows.  Minimally furnished with key pieces of antique furniture and soft carpets the room immediately made us feel relaxed.

Now I will admit that as much as I planned to settle down with a magazine, the super speedy wifi at St Marys was just too good to resist and before I knew it I had my laptop out to get on with some of my blogging work.  The little table in our room was the perfect work station and I found myself being far more productive than I ever am at my desk at home.

We were really happy to discover that the tea station in our room used our favourite local brand,  Ringtons.  So Simon made us a cuppa and then, taking advantage of me being quiet for once, settled down into a comfy chair for the afternoon.

It was a short stroll to the ensuite bathroom for a makeup touch up before we headed downstairs for dinner.  Our bathroom was a dream with polished marble floor and surfaces, fantastic lighting and a huge mirror.  If only I could do my makeup in this bathroom every day.

Our evening meal was booked for 6:30 pm so we made our way to the bar and were shown to our table.  I love the cosy corners of St Marys, it's a bit of a maze, but with so many lovely little rooms you're guaranteed an intimate dinner no matter where you sit.   I was so pleased with our spot right in front of the crackling fire.

We were really impressed by the variety of dishes on the menu and found it tough to pick out a favourite from all of the tasty food on offer.

For Starter I chose Craster Kipper and Potato Salad served with Poached Egg.  I love eating at St Marys as they are so passionate about locally sourced food, using fish from the Northumberland coastline and meat from local farmers.
Simon went for the House Air Dried Duck served with Apple, Turnip and Sourdough.  I was a little jealous when his starter arrived, it was seriously good and I only managed to get a tiny taste.

As our main course arrived so did our fellow diners and in no time the dining rooms at St Marys were full of happy chatter and friendly faces. It was lovely to see the Inn so popular and the atmosphere was brilliant.

I'd been craving fish and chips for a while so chose the North Sea Beer Battered Cod served with Thick Hand Cut Chips, Mushy Peas and Tartar Sauce.  The fish was huge and covered in the most delicious light and crispy batter. 

Simon had the BBQ Pulled Pork Bun with House Pickle, Coleslaw and Homemade French Fries.  The burger was crammed full of delicious flavours and even my Mr, burger eating expert, struggled to finish it.

By this point we were feeling pretty full which meant that browsing the dessert menu became a mission to find ourselves something that we could squeeze in.  Unfortunately we both love dessert too much to even consider saying no to it! 

The menu had so many of my favourite Winter warmers like Sticky Toffee Pudding, Steamed Orange Sponge and Apple Crumble but I knew I'd never be able to fit those in.  So instead I went for Custard Tart with Honeycomb and Vanilla Ice-cream. 

It was something I probably wouldn't have considered ordering so I'm very thankful for my full tummy tempting me to something different because it was so dreamy. One of the best desserts I've had in a long time, and definitely my new St Mary's Inn favourite.

Simon opted for the Chocolate Truffle with Mint Chocolate Chip ice-cream.  He wasn't expecting quite such a huge slab of indulgent chocolate dessert (we were a bit silly and didn't realise it came in the choice of two sizes!) so it was quite funny that he decided to pick this as a lighter option.  No regrets here though, he managed to eat it all and it was the perfect end to his meal.

Now usually when we've overindulged at dinner we have to attempt to fit back into our coats and then struggle to make our way home.  So being able to waddle upstairs to our bedroom was the best feeling.  We climbed up onto our huge bed and sleepily settled down to watch some TV.  Before we knew it we'd fallen asleep.

We both agreed the next morning that we'd had the best night's sleep.  The bed was so comfortable and absolutely huge meaning no arguments over the covers like we usually have at home!  Feeling awake and refreshed I was in the bathroom enthusiastically early but Simon was so comfortable I had to lure him out of the bed with the promise of a cooked breakfast.

Breakfast at the Inn is a feast that will set you up for the entire day.  The long "help yourself"  table had every food you could imagine.  Cereals, pastries, a cheese board and a "create your own yoghurt" bar that had so many jars of toppings I was in my element.

We ordered our hot drinks and toast which arrived in generous doorstops and which we quickly slathered in far too much butter and jam.  We didn't waste any time tucking in, enthusiastic to get ourselves to the table of treats. 

With the toast polished off we turned our attention to the "help yourself".  Simon opted for a cinnamon swirl from the pile of pastries which he enjoyed with his pot of tea and I decided I just couldn't resist those jars and so helped myself to a generous serving of yoghurt which  I topped with dried banana and almonds.

Breakfast didn't stop there and we also ordered ourselves some hot dishes off the breakfast menu to enjoy. 

Simon went for his favourite, Eggs Benedict, and was really happy that the Chef let him swap the usual ham for some smoked salmon.

I decided to really treat myself by choosing the Full English.  I don't often go for the largest cooked breakfast on the menu but the promise of sausage, bacon, beans, mushrooms, black pudding, eggs and fried bread was far too good to resist.

Feeling fully rested and with very happy tummies we reluctantly checked out and made our way back home to reality.  We loved our time away in Northumberland and St Mary's Inn captured our hearts so much that they will be playing an important part in our very special day next year!

Next time life is making you feel a little stressed, I would definitely recommend booking yourself a Northumberland staycation at St Mary's Inn.  

This post is part of the #LoveNorthEast Link up



  1. So pleased you had a lovely time. Your fish n chips looks amazing - I'm definitely going to other that on our next trip!

    1. I'm planning on working my way through the entire menu ;)

  2. This looks lovely. I never even thought about staying local but it sounds perfect to just escape for the night.

    Katie xoxo

    1. I'm hoping to do more staycations in 2016, the beauty is you can book to go out of season which means you can often bag yourself a great bargain

  3. It's the perfect time of year for a break and St mary's really does look lovely!

    1. I think I need to organise some more to tackle the Winter Blues!

  4. I've heard so much about St Mary's Inn recently, the food looks amazing, love the presentation of it all!

    As we have family that live up the A1 we probably wouldn't need to stop over but will hopefully get there for a meal :)

    Ami x

    1. It's definitely a great stop off point for some great food, it's gorgeous in the Winter with the lovely fires

  5. This looks amazing. I really must give St Marys a try next year.

    Katie x

    1. Put it on the list! It's not too far away from mine, so once we've got a car we'll take you x

  6. Ooo St Marys looks fab! The photos of the food have made me so hungry, it looks amazing! x

  7. Thanks for linking up this gorgeous North East gem to #LoveNorthEast - I think we might re-book for next winter, something to look forward to x

  8. Thanks for linking up this gorgeous North East gem to #LoveNorthEast - I think we might re-book for next winter, something to look forward to x

  9. This is on my bucket list this year, juts need to getbthe kids looked after so we can properly enjoy it!

    Thanks for linking with #lovenortheast


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