Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.


North Country, England

Rolling Through England's North Country
Spectacular Scenery Awaits


Landscape of The Dales
Landscape of The Dales

DAY 2

Check out of the hotel and grab an early, traditional breakfast at The Station Inn in Hexham before driving to the multifaceted Kielder Water & Forest Park—a serene spot near Scotland's border. Located 30 minutes from Hexham off of the C200, it's home to England's largest forest and man-made lake, making it an ideal place to bike and hike. Kielder's Leaplish Waterside Park also offers waterskiing, sailing, and windsurfing, while the Kielder Water Cruise allows visitors to observe the grounds from another vantage point. Traveling with kids? Be sure to stop by the Kielder Play Garden and play a round of miniature golf. Nature-lovers can get their fix at the Birds of Prey Centre, ground zero for hawk walks and viewing one of the area's largest collections of winged creatures.

Viaduct carrying the settle to Carlisle Railway
Viaduct carrying the settle to Carlisle Railway

Throughout the grounds, art and eye-catching architecture abound. One of the highlights of this open-air gallery is Skyspace, an installation located on top of a hill. The circular room challenges the viewers' concept of time, space and light. But can also simply serve as a place from which to view the clouds through its cutout, circular ceiling.

When you're ready for a bite to eat, head over to the Boat Inn. A waterside location notwithstanding, its appeal lies in the kitchen's connection to local farms. Daily specials veer from the norm, so don't be surprised to find dishes like chicken rogan josh. If you decide to stay the night here, know that the property's private two and three-bedroom lodges—each one different from the next—are top-notch.

The Wetheral Priory
The Wetheral Priory

After lunch, make your way to Carlisle Castle, a nine-century-old medieval fortress in the town of Carlisle. Visit the dungeons and touch the "Licking Stones," wall formations named after thirsty Jacobite prisoners who licked the walls while desperate for moisture. The castle is home to the Border Regiment Museum, which chronicles the history of Cumbria's County Infantry Regiment, the Border Regiment, the King's Own Royal Border Regiment, as well as local militia.

When you've gotten your fill, make your way to the Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery, an interactive, all-ages spot where you can fire a Roman weapon, climb a life-sized section of Hadrian's Wall and ogle at their collection of local minerals. Walk through the beautiful grounds and picture-perfect gardens before heading into town.

After touring the city, spend the night nearby at The Crown Hotel. Situated on a quiet lane in the quaint village of Wetheral, it's an ideal spot to unwind in luxury—especially if you opt to book an appointment in the spa.

Fantails Restaurant
Fantails Restaurant

The town of Wetheral itself dates back to Roman times. Among its proudest sites is the notable, photo-op-worthy Railway Eden Viaduct. Perched above the River Eden, it was built in the 1830s as part of the Carlisle-Newcastle railway.

Come dinnertime, walk a block to Fantails Restaurant, a one-time village blacksmith's shop that now serves memorable, contemporary English cuisine. Lit with tables emanating with a glow from twin fireplaces in the main dining room, you might call it downright romantic—as long as you can tune out the owners' penchant for cranked 80s American pop music. Ask to see the specials, which are printed on a small blackboard and emphasize local ingredients, and enjoy an after dinner drink before calling it a night.

Continue to Day 3

MORE NORTH COUNTRY INFORMATION

Hadrien's Wall

* Landscape of The Dales and Viaduct images by www.britainonview.com.

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