We are really enjoying the mild, sunny weather here in Hexham. The birds are in full song, the crocuses and daffs are in full bloom. Walking through the Hexham parks and woods we see clumps of dwarf daffodils and snowdrops through the dappled spring sunshine and we take a deep breath and hope the worst of Winter is over with!
The Perfect Time for Spring Breaks in Northumberland!
Spring is our favourite season in Northumberland, we suffer the long dark winter, perfect for star gazing but not so good for the school run! Once the milder weather arrives and the bulbs start to bloom we are filled a renewed purpose and the hope of a Summer like last year! The Sele Park in Hexham is a great place to spot all the colours of Spring with the stunning backdrop of the majestic Hexham Abbey. Strolling through the park past the Victorian bandstand to Seal Cottage today, its hard not to smile at the bright blooms and children rolling down the vast Sele Field. Only a few weeks ago they were sledging down! The dogs are chasing each other and catching balls with energy and zest for life that we could all do with a bit of and their owners are passing the time of day and chatting in a way that Hexham folk do!
Seal Cottage – Hexham – Perfect Spot!
It’s a joy to be at the Cottage preparing for guest arrivals today, opening the windows and letting in the mild air. We can finally buy Spring flowers in the Market Square and and their colours dress the cottage kitchen table perfectly. Vicky and I busy ourselves with bed changing, chatting on about our respective lives, our parenting and relationship challenges and comment on how good our hospital corners are becoming! Guests are arriving from France this week and it looks like the lovely weather will hold for them. We have had lots of European guest bookings this year coming to walk Hadrian’s Wall and visit the many Roman sites a stones throw away from Hexham. Other guests travel to meet Scottish friends at a central location with lots to offer. Some visit to see friends and family or attend weddings at local venues. Others just simply want to explore Hexham Abbey and further Northumberland. We love to hear about what our guests adventures entail!
Great time to book a Spring Break in Hexham!
With a few remaining weekends left in March, we are offering new and previous guests 15% off all March stays at Seal Cottage so they can share the Northumberland Spring sunshine with us!
Book here and use the code SPRING for the 15% off!
https://i2.wp.com/www.woodenstarcottages.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Crocuses.jpg?fit=4032%2C3024&ssl=130244032Samantha Perkinshttps://www.woodenstarcottages.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/webuc_logo4_white.pngSamantha Perkins2019-02-26 14:19:292019-02-26 14:21:46Spring Breaks in Northumberland - Late Availability Offers!
We were delighted to Welcome “For the Love of the North” as Guests at Seal Cottage recently!
Here’s what they had to say about their adventures around Hexham!
On a cold January Saturday we waited at Central Station for our train to take us along the beautiful Tyne Valley to our weekend getaway in the lovely surroundings of Hexham. We love a little jaunt away, especially in the doldrums of winter and always enjoy a cosy cottage to snuggle up on the sofa and indulge in a good spot of reading with a mug of hot chocolate. Well we got just that with our very kind invitation to stay at Seal Cottage for a couple of nights. Seal Cottage is one of the holiday homes under the umbrella of “Wooden Star Cottages” managed by Sam Perkins and Vicky Collingwood who in their own words are “two busy Mams who wanted to continue to be around for our young children whilst working in the areas we are hugely passionate about, interior design and hospitality”. With that ethos in our minds we were very much looking forward to staying in the cottage.
As always the train journey along the Tyne Valley is a delight whatever the time of the year and in winter it makes you even more excited for embracing a spot of Hygge away from it all. As both being non-drivers we are often limited by choosing accommodation that is relatively near to a train route and after we disembarked from Hexham railway station it was just a ten minute tootle with our luggage up towards the magnificent Abbey. Through the beautiful park where the birds were signing, we caught our very first sight this year of snowdrops, magic. It was a beautiful stroll to Seal Cottage and down the steps we reached a lovely secluded terrace upon which our cottage was to be found. It certainly looked so inviting and in a lovely location, we excited entered…
That ethos of Sam and Vicky was immediately evident as soon as you walked through the door. A lovely welcome package awaited us on the kitchen table, prosecco, filter coffee, tea bags, crisps and biscuits. The kitchen was a very well equipped affair and even milk and orange juice in the fridge. We enjoyed exploring our new home and the living room certainly ticked our box for the place to enjoy a cosy read. There is a lovely view onto some shared gardens from the window which was a bird spotters paradise. Upstairs we went and the carpet was one of the cosiest you could ever walk on. There are three bedrooms, two double and a single so the cottage can accommodate a good group. Their are lovely touches in each room with lovely views overlooking the gardens, super comfy beds and a couple of welcome chocolates to enjoy. Wherever we stay Paul is always fascinated by chairs situated upon landings and wonders who would actually sit on them. Well Seal Cottage has one in a lovely cosy nook where you would happily sit in it and read away for a good while.
There is a sizeable bathroom with wc and shower and also a downstairs loo adjacent to the kitchen. There has been so much thought into making your stay as enjoyable as possible catering for all ages with its fabulous collection of children’s toys and reading material to the information filled welcome book which has all sorts of recommendations to really make the most of your stay in the area. We were more than happy to spend Saturday afternoon just enjoying being in our lovely cottage and did indeed enjoy immersing ourselves in a couple of good reads and taking advantage of the welcome packages tea bags and biscuits. As the daylight faded our minds started to focus on where we would venture out for dinner. The welcome book certainly offers plenty of choices and our chosen venue was a place we have been very looking forward to visiting.
Through the park we walked and were greeted by the wonderful sight of it all lit up, who said that January is full of darkness. We were heading to somewhere that offered a touch of France right in the heart of Hexham, Bouchon. It is an absolute gem of a restaurant which proudly offers straightforward country style French cuisine. We had booked our meal for 6:15pm and had the choice of the early bird price fix or A la Carte menus. Paul was in heaven and from the early bird menu chose the salmon mousse, guinea fowl and true to form, the cheese board to finish. Lucy was seduced by the vegetarian options of the a la Carte menu, cheese souffle, vegetable pithiviers and mango and lime sorbet. Accompanied with a bottle of the house white the meal was absolutely faultless and as always a wonderful ambience and excellent service. It is so wonderful that Hexham is home to this restaurant that transports you to Montmartre for a couple of hours.
It was very rare for ourselves to be out on a Saturday night so thoroughly enjoying the delights of Hexham we walked the short distance further down Gilesgate to the Tannery. We enjoyed a lovely couple of hours in very comfortable surroundings and enjoyed a good chat with the bar staff about the supreme talents of Mr Jarvis Cocker.
We had loved our night out in Hexham and so back through the wonderfully illuminated seal park to Seal Cottage. The night sky was clear and the moon shining. It was lovely and toasty back in the cottage and time for bed and what a lovely and comfortable nights sleep we enjoyed!
Sunday morning came and you could hear the birds happily chirping away in the gardens, the sky was blue and it was a gorgeous winters morning. The bells from the Abbey sounded glorious and it was certainly a day to enjoy the winter sunshine. We enjoyed exploring the town thanks to a handy book of town trails we had brought with us. As our trail took us down Gilesgate past the Tannery it seemed rude not to pay a visit. And what a treat was in store as the bar was filled with music as upon this Sunday lunchtime it was playing host to the “Tyne Valley Folk Train” whose members had followed in our footsteps along the Tyne Valley to spend an afternoon of music and song. A lovely warm and welcoming atmosphere was rife and we could have happily stayed all afternoon. But on with the trail we went and it was lovely to see the array of thriving independent businesses that Hexham has to offer. There is such a sense of pride in the shops and the shop fronts are so beautifully painted and lovely displays to attract the attention. Anyone who love supporting independents and shop local should really pay a visit to the town. Another welcome stop was enjoyed at the Heart of Northumberland and a glass of mulled cider most enjoyed.
We wanted to make the most of our stay at Seal Cottage so back we went to cosy up and continue our reading. We fully took advantage of its well equipped kitchen to prepare our evening meal and felt very at home in the kitchen. Being self employed has many pros and cons but a definite pro is that you don’t get that depressing Sunday night feeling as the weekend draws to a close and it was a lovely feeling settling down in Hexham for the evening and enjoying that Sunday’s new episode of our favourite North East detective Vera.
It was a crisp and clear night and perfect conditions to as you do nip out in the middle of the night to enjoy the splendour of the Blood Moon. The stars were glistening and the moon so clear but sadly the camera on our phones failed miserably to do the moon justice.
Monday arrived and it was time to leave. We had thoroughly enjoyed our weekend in Hexham, there was so much to see and enjoy and our cottage was the absolute perfect place to stay. Thank you Sam and Vicky, you both really having something special there.
Just for info – we were invited to stay at Wooden Star Cottages with purpose of reviewing Seal Cottage for the purpose of this blog. We’re rather thrilled that we enjoyed it as this blog really is about places we love in the North East and couldn’t have written a blog about it if couldn’t honestly recommend it. Luckily we had a fab time and it’s a place we wholeheartedly recommend. For more information and to book please visit https://www.woodenstarcottages.co.uk/. Alternatively follow Wooden Star Cottages on Instagram or Facebook.
https://i2.wp.com/www.woodenstarcottages.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Screen-Shot-2019-01-28-at-21.52.36.png?fit=372%2C379&ssl=1379372Samantha Perkinshttps://www.woodenstarcottages.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/webuc_logo4_white.pngSamantha Perkins2019-01-28 22:07:142019-01-28 22:07:14The Adventures of Seal Cottage Guests Around Hexham!
Looking for a Northumberland Wedding Venue? The Matfen Hall Wedding Open Day is the perfect opportunity to check out this popular setting!
The Matfen Hall Wedding Open Day – The best place to start your venue search!
Matfen is the perfect spot for a wedding, with the beautiful scenery, picturesque surroundings and luxurious interiors, you can start your married life off feeling like royalty! Recently refurbished, the venue is incredible and beautiful images will be captured in this stunning setting so you can treasure your day forever! Add your own personal touches and get help along the way with the wedding coordinator who will oversee any queries you have, up-to and on your wedding day.
There’s a golf course within the grounds that will surely entice the men or ladies in your life! With packages to suit your budget and views for miles around. However, it’s the Spa that really interests us! The pool, the treatments and the atmosphere are divine! Perfect place for a girly day before the big day to test out the surroundings and get pampered. You’ll thank us I’m sure! The gym is a temptation for the guest who likes exercise, it’s your choice to bring the gym gear if you fancy a workout. There are Spa offers and packages to purchase, find all the deals here
The Shellbraes Farmhouse
The Hotel can of course accommodate you and your guests for the evenings before and after your big day. However many couples are choosing The Shellbraes Farmhouse, just a 5 minute drive away from The Matfen Hall Wedding Venue, to extend and personalise their wedding celebration. Here you can create a more relaxed and informal gathering where the bride can get ready at leisure with make-up artists and hairdressers coming to The Farmhouse. The florist can deliver all the flowers and everyone can get ready together in a celebratory atmosphere!
The Shellbraes Chef!
The day after the wedding is becoming a really popular day for family and friends to get together reminisce about your wedding and bring the celebrations to an end with a big brunch and last glass of fizz. The Shellbraes Chef can step in here and provide a final luxurious touch to start married life with a bang!
Visit This Weekend!
Why not visit The Matfen Hall Wedding Open Day this Sunday and get a feel for the venue, you won’t be disappointed. With a glass of fizz when you arrive and your chance to sample the delicious canapes. You don’t need to register and entry is free. Meet the team and view your potential venue. Start planning the biggest day before you start the journey into wedded bliss.
The next wedding event is this weekend, so head there and start planning your big day this festive season.
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Going away for the weekend doesn’t have to just be about you and your significant other, (although we have the perfect spot for that too with our Studio at Shellbraes!) Getting the girls together is always a treat too, here at Wooden Star Cottages, we’ve come up with some alternative weekends away.
Have a read and let us know what you think and if you could add anything to our list!
Use the Shellbraes Farmhouse a base for catching up on all the gossip. It saves cramming everyone in and getting out the spare shed chairs, we’ve all got them haven’t we? You don’t have to do a big tidy and wonder where everyone is going to sleep!? Taking this stress away and gathering on neutral ground provides more chance to make incredible memories.
What could be better than getting all your friends around and creating some craft items, get your WIP’s completed and have a natter at the same time? All you need is your weekend bag and your haberdashery stash. If you’ve forgotten anything, there is a little treasure trove in the form of Denize Designs in Hexham who will no doubt have something to take your fancy.
Artist Inspiration Retreats
The idyllic surroundings can inspire your blank canvas. Whether it’s the beautiful scenery or animals that are roaming the fields. Sometimes getting fresh air and a remote spot can completely regenerate those creative vibes that are often hiding away.
Create characters and synopsis with peaceful surroundings. Use the comfy chairs, the roaring fire and copious amount of tea to go with the flow and let your words take shape.
Staff Weekend Away
When you’re working, you don’t often get the chance to catch up ad have a good old gossip. Well here is the perfect opportunity, few bottles of vino or local gin and you’ve got yourselves the ultimate get-away from work. Peace and quiet, luxury surroundings. If you don’t want to cook get the catering team in from Vallum Farm to provide anything from a hot drop brekkie to a three course meal with waiter service!
Get the girls together for a relaxing weekend away, create some mocktails and some fun games and let the cottage be the base for your journey into motherhood.
Here at Wooden Star Cottages, we love the festive season, cosy knits, Christmas markets, cheese boards, mulled wine and mince pies and let’s not forget the roaring fires! So we have put our heads together and come up with a list of our top picks for the 2018 festive season.
Kielder Winter Wonderland, (Weekends only, booking essential) 17thNovember through December
Whether you head there for the weekend or a day trip. Follow the trail and meet Santa’s helpers. Make a toy in the Elves workshop, listen to music in the forest and much more. This is a childhood delight and for adults it’s a step into a fairy tale with the added bonus of a Baileys hot chocolate.
Wrap up warm and wear extra thick socks as it’s certainly a chilly day!
Hexham Christmas Market and Abbey Fair 7-8thDecember
Only a short stroll from Seal Cottage, this is a beautiful event which sees Hexham folk come out in their hundreds. A gorgeous mix of stalls and there is something for everyone. You can get a great start on your Christmas shopping and even pick up a treat for yourself, well, it’s only fair isn’t it?
Father Christmas’ grotto is set up in the Trinity Church and there are little crafts whilst you wait to keep the little folk busy. Father Christmas has even brought some of his reindeer along for the journey and you’re invited to give them a treat or two.
Beamish- The Living Museum of the North
We adore Beamish all year round, however, something magical happens at Christmas. The snow that appears, the sights and the smells take you back to a world of wonder. Buy a ticket and it gets you access all year round. Worth the pennies and travel, that’s for sure. See what they have planned for Christmas 2018 here.
A window? We hear you ask! Well, this isn’t just any window. Each year the department store impress us with a full story/ fairy tale in moving/ animated animals and objects. This is a delight and a surprise each year! It’s always on our Christmas list of fun places to visit. Keep eyes peeled for their big unveiling!
There are so many more, Alnwick Gardens, Gibside, the Lake District too. It might be cold, but with it comes the beauty of the dark skies, fires and the beauty of making memories to cherish for life.
You can find a list of exciting Northumberland events here
Have you got any exciting plans for this festive season?
https://i1.wp.com/www.woodenstarcottages.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Screen-Shot-2018-11-04-at-08.28.21.png?fit=1010%2C718&ssl=17181010Samantha Perkinshttps://www.woodenstarcottages.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/webuc_logo4_white.pngSamantha Perkins2018-11-04 08:30:092018-11-04 08:30:09Our Picks For The Festive Season
Hexham’s annual and very popular Christmas Market and Hexham Abbey Fair 2018 is back for it’s 11th year! Our three bedroom self-catering holiday property, Seal Cottage is still available on these dates! Seal Cottage is a beautifully presented highly reviewed and scored holiday home, just a stones throw away from Hexham’s Christmas Market and Abbey Fair.
Special offer on two nights self catering accommodation and a bottle bubbly too!
Book Seal Cottage for Friday 7th December and Saturday 8th December for a the lower price of £198. That’s a saving of 15% on the normal total booking price. The cottage sleeps up to 5 people. As well as the normal welcome pack of goodies we provide, this offer will also include a bottle of our favourite organic prosecco!
Seal Cottage is situated beside the open expanse of Sele Park where there are views towards the magnificent Hexham Abbey. From the cottage you can stroll through the park and past the Victorian bandstand. This brings you out straight onto Beaumont Street into the centre of the Christmas Market.
Hexham Christmas Market and Abbey Fair 2018
Wander the 70 stalls and shop for gorgeous gifts, unique arts and crafts. You will find fabulous food sellers and maybe a glass of Northumbrian Mulled Wine. Beaumont Street will be lined with colourful jam packed stalls. The twinkling fairly lights that adorn the parks trees in December will provide a gorgeous festive backdrop for Santa’s reindeer and our magnificent Abbey.
Dates and Times
Friday 7thDec – 2pm-7pm (Market only)
Saturday 8thDec – 9am-3pm (Market and Abbey Fair)
What better way is there to celebrate the start of your Christmas Shopping than in beautiful Northumberland!
To take advantage of this offer use promo code CHRISTMASFAIR book direct at…
The short term forecast the weather in Northumberland is looking fantastic! Sunny, mild and clear skies- Perfect Wall Walking Weather! We have late availability on Seal Cottage in Hexham and Shellbraes Farmhouse and Studio in Great Whittington ideal for larger walking groups or two in the studio! Both perfect bases to explore the wall from!
It’s a short but stunning drive from Hexham to The Sill Discovery Centre. Here you can park and use the amenities. You can have look at the exhibitions, displays and local arts and crafts. Take in the view from the grass roof terrace and have one of the best bacon butties ever before you set off!
Route – Once Brewed, Roman Vindolanda and Housesteads. Circular route of 7.5 miles/4.5 hours. Harder walk with several steep slopes.
Leave The Sill, crossing the B6318 signposted Steel Rigg.
Join the Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail via the gate before you reach Steel Rigg car park. This route signposted Housesteads. Travel Eastwards towards Housesteads Roman Fort and Museum.
After a visit to the highly recommended Housesteads Fort and Museum, follow the tarmac road down to the B6318 Military Road, you will see an old farmhouse. Turn right and in only a few yards cross the road over a ladder stile with a sign for Crindledykes.
In just under a mile turn right onto a road.
Look out for a second road on the right marked Roman Vindolanda. Another attraction highly recommended. Continue on the single track road around the back of the site and back onto the Stanegate.
Turn right signed posted back to The Sill.
You have probably worked up a great appetite for lunch or afternoon tea back at the The Sill. Alternatively head along to the affectionally named “Twicey”. The Twice Brewed Pub for refreshments!
From here a you can take short drive to very special Walwick Hall. Although they have a formal restaurant the bar is informal and they have lovely terrace serving a range of meals, snacks and drinks. Afternoon tea is wonderful be must be booked ahead.
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