The Battlesteads Hotel has 22 guest rooms in total, so I was a bit surprised when I rang them to book in the middle of November that they only had one room left!
From the outside, the hotel looks much like any other village pub, in a stone built English village.
From the moment you walk through the front door however, it’s obviously a lot more than your average village pub.
The owners, Richard and Dee Slade are passionate about green issues and their efforts have attracted numerous national and regional awards. They are committed to providing the greenest possible environment, without scrimping on comfort, and have invested heavily in a woodchip burning biomass boiler which supplies heating and hot water for the entire hotel, using sustainable fuel from a forestry down the road. The surplus heat is used to heat pollytunnels in the garden, managed by their daughter Kate, which supplies fresh herbs and salads for the restaurant, even in the winter months.
The Battlesteads Hotel is unique in being the only hotel in England to have an observatory for guests and the public to view the stars in the best possible conditions, under the guidance of a distinguished astronomer.
But enough of the scientific stuff.
On both nights, we had a couple of drinks in the small, but cosy bar before dinner. The wood fire was particularly welcome, as the temperature outside had suddenly dipped close to freezing.
The leather chairs and sofas were extremely comfortable; we weren’t rushed with our menu choice, and the staff were quite happy for us to move to our table in our own time.
The Dining Room has obviously been extended over the years with the addition of a large conservatory which overlooks the garden at the rear of the building. This garden is designed to attract our feathered and furry friends and there are binoculars for guests to get a closer look.
The Head Chef Eddie Shilton has been here for a number of years, and boy does he know how to tickle your taste buds. On our first night we chose the hotels speciality, the 8 course Taster Menu.
If you are particularly adventurous, you can choose to have a wine package that is matched to each course, “to enhance the experience”, but we chose to share a reasonably priced Chardonnay instead. On the second night we went for a ribeye steak with French fries, accompanied by a Caesar salad, infused with parmesan, which was to die for. Taste buds were well and truly satisfied.
Breakfast was equally good, and it is so nice to be served instead of lifting those heavy container lids at a self-service buffet.
Our accommodation was in one of the new luxury lodges at the rear of the main building which I thoroughly recommend. The bed and bedroom with underfloor heating are huge, as is the bathroom with its jacuzzi bath, walk-in shower and twin wash basins with waterfall taps.
Each of the lodges has its own floodlit balcony with glass topped table and chairs. Just the job for those who still enjoy a quiet cigarette, and one of the lodges has a ramp to meet the needs of the less mobile. Two of the guest rooms in the main body of the hotel have been refurbished for the disabled but some of the passageways are quite narrow, especially around the reception area, but there are alternative ways to access all areas.
This was a very pleasant way for my wife and I to spend my birthday weekend.
Battlesteads Hotel & Restaurant
Wark on Tyne
Northumberland NE48 3LS