Special Focus: Northern lights

Join us on a foodie tour hugging Northumberland’s coastal route

When did you last put on your sun hat, get in the car (or on the bus/train/coach) and take a tour of the fantastic foodie destinations which make every holidaymakers’ trip to Northumberland special? We ask because most of us are guilty of not venturing further than the end of our street (okay…village or town) when we go out. But if we were on holiday, we’d go further wouldn’t we? So, in the spirit of the staycation adventurer, we recommend you head out on a food tour of the region. We started ours in Northumberland, hugging the coastal route for a trip up from Blyth to Amble, a little inland to Alnwick and back to the coast to pop in at Beadnell before enjoying a beach walk at Bamburgh. Depending on the size of your appetite, you might not do it all in a day, for there is plenty on this little trail to tickle your tastebuds, and that’s before you venture inland. So, take your time, try some new tastes, and enjoy the coast and countryside at the same time. Stop over if you can (then you get to do breakfast and dinner), and work up your appetite with a walk in the spectacular Northumbrian landscape. And when you’ve done all that, tag @appetitemaguk on social media with your eating out tips and pictures. We look forward to hearing all about it!

Our journey through Northumberland starts in the south east of the county at the mouth of the River Blyth. Caboose at Blyth Boathouse, a riverside bistro with huge picture windows overlooking the water, is home to great local produce, expertly prepared and served in a light contemporary space. Hearty breakfasts are followed by brunch and lunch, from eggy bread sandwiches to burgers and posh fish and chips. In the evening the menu features North Sea fish and shellfish, chicken and halloumi kebabs, and more to suit every appetite. You can also indulge in afternoon tea, while Sunday lunch is served weekly in grand style.
Caboose at Blyth Boathouse, Quay Road, Blyth, NE24 3PA, tel 01670 359 851, www.caboose-group.co.uk/blyth

Kings Head Café
Kings Head Café is a perfect stopping point for breakfast, lunch or a top-notch coffee and fabulous cake. Housed in a former pub, which has been converted into a gallery space and café, it is open daily 8am-4pm and serves local produce from the likes of Bamburgh butcher R Carter & Son and the Original Bakehouse in Gateshead. Be sure to pick up a Bamburgh banger sausage roll when you visit.
Kings Head Café, 85 Bridge Street, Blyth, NE24 3AE, Kings Head Café on Facebook

The deserved winner of multiple awards, this relaxed ice cream parlour and coffee shop is devoted to the love of homemade ice cream starring local seasonal flavours, sundaes and sorbets, decadent cakes and excellent coffee. Ice cream doesn’t get better than elderflower and ginger, coconut and lime, or macadamia. Name your favourite flavour and the team is highly likely to have made an ice cream using it. A tub or cornet always hits the spot, while a knickerbocker glory or hot choc fudge sundae is always to be celebrated. When the weather allows, the tables and chairs spill outside so you can enjoy the sunshine.
The Old Chandlery, Coquet Street, Amble, NE65 0DJ, tel 01665 710 890, www.spurreli.com

The Plough
This beautiful Victorian former coaching inn has been lovingly restored to create a beautiful retreat with seven cosy bedrooms and an excellent restaurant and bar. The robust breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner menus all star local produce, expertly executed and served in comfortably stylish surroundings. The well-stocked bar features some 40 excellent gins and a warm welcome is waiting for all.
The Plough, 24 Bondgate Without, Alnwick, NE66 1PN, tel 1665 602 395 or 01665 522 311, www.theploughalnwick.co.uk

Turnbull’s Northumbrian FoodHall
A local institution, this sixth-generation family butcher founded in 1880 is home to quality local meats, homemade sausages and burgers, home dry-cured bacon, pies and pastries, home cooked meats and ready meals. Building on generations of butchery expertise, the team’s award-winning produce at Turnbull’s Northumbrian Foodhall sits at the heart of a wonderful space where the butcher’s counter sits among a huge selection of products from the best artisan producers. A must-visit!
Turnbull’s Northumbrian Food Hall, Willowburn Retail Park, Taylor Drive Alnwick, NE66 2DJ, www.turnbullsfood.co.uk

One of Rick Stein’s original food heroes, Swallowfish is a traditional smoker and fish supplier with both on-site and online shops. The range includes smoked mussels, lobster, salmon, and haddock. There’s crab, seabass, Lindisfarne oysters, potted shrimp, kipper and smoked salmon pates and more, including selection packs and gift vouchers. Owned and run by Patrick Wilkin, the business is based at the Fisherman’s Kitchen in Seahouses, where the smokehouses have been in operation since 1843.
Swallowfish, South Street, Seahouses NE68 7RB, tel 01665 721 052, www.swallowfish.co.uk

Beadnell Towers
The beautifully refurbished Grade II-listed Beadnell Towers is home to 22 bedrooms and beautifully presented, locally sourced food. The kitchen is led by Paul Johnson, who spent three years in Cornwall working for double Michelin-starred Nathan Outlaw before returning to Northumberland. Visit for breakfast, lunch and dinner featuring the best local produce, from Lindisfarne oysters and Northumbrian beef to North Sea fish.
Beadnell Towers, The Wynding, Beadnell Northumberland, NE67 5AY, tel 01665 721 211, www.beadnelltowers.co.uk

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