A super B&B in Belford, Northumberland
We arrived at the Market Cross Guest House in Belford, Northumberland, after a long drive north, and were given a warm welcome by Zoe, the housekeeper. She showed us to our room and asked if we would like cake. Who would refuse? Whilst we were fetching our bags from the car – there is parking on the road immediately outside the guest house – she brought two slices of lemon drizzle cake to our room, which were delicious, a great start to our stay.
We were staying in the Red Room, one of four guest rooms, each named after a colour. The Red room is beautiful, light and bright, with lots of space. There are two comfy armchairs arranged facing the huge television on the wall, with an electric log burner effect fire below, giving the feeling of a cosy lounge. The king-sized bed is at the other end of the room, with good quality bedding and is very comfortable. The ensuite bathroom has an excellent electric shower, and is immaculate, with lovely White Company toiletries. Amanda and Steve, the owners, have thought of everything; there is a fridge on the landing, which the four rooms share, where a mini bottle of fresh milk is left for each room daily, as well as local mead for guests to sample for a nightcap. Fresh biscuits baked by Amanda are provided in a pot in the room every day, there are USB charge points for electrical devices, coffee machine and kettle, free Wi-Fi and a handy information book.
After we settled in, we went for a walk around the village. The guest house is on the edge of the village centre where the market cross is situated, and there is a pretty church opposite. There is a handy Co-op just around the corner.
When we returned, we were able to chat with Amanda and Steve, who had arrived back after attending a wedding. They are lovely people, who are clearly passionate about providing the best experience they can for their guests. Not only did they provide everything that we needed for a lovely stay, but they were very helpful with advice about what and where to visit.
Breakfast is a very organised affair. Each day you are given a sheet to fill in, to choose what time you would like to have breakfast next morning and what your choice would be of hot food from the menu. Breakfast times range from 8-9am and there are six choices on the menu. Not being early risers, we chose 9am every day, and it seems that the other guests were similar, because we all met in the breakfast room. This set a nice atmosphere in the room and we enjoyed chatting with the other guests and exchanging tips on what to visit.
On entering the breakfast room each day, we were greeted by Steve, who took our order for tea or coffee, and toast (although by the fourth day, he knew what we would like). He left us to help ourselves to the cereal and freshly prepared fruit provided. After an interval, our cooked choices were brought in. All the food is well cooked, freshly prepared by Amanda. The full English was excellent, the home-made baked beans unusual and tasty, and the blueberry pancakes, my personal favourite, delicious, especially with maple syrup to pour over.
The location of the guest house is excellent, with places to visit in all directions, making it easy to travel to the coast, to visit such places as Bamburgh and Seahouses, or west to the Cheviot Hills in the national park, and close to the A1, if visits north to Berwick-on-Tweed or Scotland, or south to Alnwick or Newcastle are desired. There is also a bus route with a stop immediately outside the guest house for those preferring not to use their car.
All in all, Market Cross is a fantastic place to stay, which I would recommend wholeheartedly, and which we will certainly return to again, should we get the opportunity to revisit Northumberland.
Mandy stayed as a guest of Amanda & Steve at Market Cross.