Gary Ramsay heads to the coast to enjoy an unexpected escape at Beadnell Towers
Recently re-opened after an 18-month, £3m refurbishment, Beadnell Towers is quite the place, so when our youngest announced she was going away for the weekend, we booked our escape.
It’s a while since we last visited Beadnell. We stayed on the campsite when the children were little, and I don’t remember anywhere of note to eat. In fact, I can only recall walking to Seahouses for fish and chips.
Things couldn’t be more different this time; installed in a luxury suite at the Towers and savouring a smart dinner, those campsite days seemed a world away. Certainly, every pound of that £3m has been well-spent on this Grade I-listed property, which has retained its character and comfort along with its stylish new looks, creating a welcoming atmosphere which means wellies and flip flops are as welcome as best brogues and high heels.
The Towers Kitchen restaurant showcases local produce in confidently executed, simple dishes served with excellent ales, bespoke spirits, good wines and a relaxed atmosphere which has this place buzzing with guests and locals, enjoying the theatre of the open kitchen and the elegant comfort of the new decor.
Local fish and seafood from Collingwood Seafood in North Shields stars in many dishes, and a sharing board of smoked fish and seafood with prawns, crab, hake goujons, oysters and langoustines proved a sublime choice. Sirloin steak from the excellent R. Carter & Son butchers of Bamburgh was simply chargrilled and bursting with flavour, while steamed smoked haddock served on chive mash with a poached egg and wholegrain mustard sauce was a triumph of texture and flavour.
Spiced apple crumble and crème brûlée cheesecake were delicious evidence of over-indulgence, which we considered thoroughly deserved. As, indeed, was our room – the Craa’s Nest – a suite at the top of the property with views of the sea on one side and the Cheviots on the other, lofty vaulted ceilings, huge free-standing copper bath and even a telescope to scan the horizon for ships.
Guests ranged from couples on weekend breaks to large family groups, the locals were in evidence, and there was a real buzz about the place. We were even lucky with the weather, catching the last sunny weekend before the chill of autumn descended.
We’re already planning a return trip with the dog, who will get to stay with us in one of the four dog-friendly rooms and no doubt make good use of the doggy bathing area at the hotel where she can get presentable after her adventures on the beach. Oh, we really do like to be beside the seaside…
Beadnell Towers, The Wynding, Beadnell Northumberland, NE67 5AY, tel 01665 721 211, www.beadnelltowers.co.uk