Riverside Cottage was built around 1895 by the Duke of Northumberland. The area surrounding West Thirston and indeed the whole of Northumberland is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Village of West Thirston is separated from the village of Felton by the River Coquet that runs in front of the Cottage, offering lovely peaceful riverside walks. Spanning the River Coquet are two bridges: Felton old bridge and Felton new bridge. The old bridge has now been pedestrianised and is scheduled as an ancient monument and as a building of architectural and historic interest.
There is no definite date for this old bridge, but it or an even older bridge may have existed here since the 13th century. Whatever the date, it is a fine old bridge of three arches, Grade 2 listed, and widened at some time on the upstream side, probably in the 1800s. The new replacement bridge was built in 1926 and although not considered to be as attractive as the old bridge, it is itself a grade II listed construction. Even the telephone box next to the old bridge is grade II listed!
The Village offers one of the best gastro pubs in the North-East, The Northumberland Arms has been stunningly renovated and transformed into a real culinary destination. Wholesome, locally sourced food is creatively presented by a talented team of chefs including the NECTA North East Chef of the Year Gabor Pusztai. The bar is dog friendly which is great for our four legged friends and the restaurant offers a more intimate dining experience. There's also a beer garden by the river for those sunny summer days.
On the opposite side of the river Coquet is the fantastic Running Fox Artisan Bakery. The best cafe in Northumberland? We certainly think so! "The Fox" as it's known locally is a fantastic place to get a hearty breakfast, enjoy lunch, afternoon tea or grab some delicious treats to take away. We are so lucky to have this local treasure so close to the Cottage.
Under The Running Fox is the wonderful micro pub The Foxes Den, serving the best local real ales, wines and spirits. A little further into Felton is Gallery Forty5, comprising of two wonderful exhibition spaces, eight artists studios, a gift shop and a cosy seating area where coffee and cake is served. The Village also offers a wonderful grocery shop and post office selling fresh produce and a great range of products.
Nearby local towns include:
Alnwick (9 miles)
The picturesque, historic market town of Alnwick is the closest town to the Cottage and is fast becoming one of the country's top tourist destinations. It is dominated by the Castle, which was used as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. Founded at the start of the second millenium Alnwick was originally held by the De Vesci family and was handed to the Percy family in 1309. The Percy family still live in the Castle to this day. Alnwick has a number of attractions and was recently voted the best place to live in Great Britain. With cobbled streets, bistros, restaurants, bars, shops, deli's, theatre and a packed history it's easy to see why.
Attractions: Alnwick Castle, Alnwick Garden, Market Square, Barter Books, House of Hardy Fishing Tackle Museum, Alnwick Fair, Alnwick Music Festival, Alnwick Food Festival, Alnwick Country Fair, Hulne Park.
Morpeth (10 miles)
Morpeth is Northumberland's historic County town and offers stylish shopping in its recently redeveloped Sanderson Arcade and has a rich history to explore. You can combine the old and the new with a walk around Morpeth's modern Wednesday market which is just a stone's throw from the 13th century Chantry that houses the town's Bagpipe Museum and Northumbrian Arts and Craft Gallery. You can wander along woodland paths in Morpeth's colourful Carlisle Park that offer river boating, tennis courts and bowls. The park is also the location of the Turner Garden, celebrating the life of William Turner, the father of English botany who was born and educated in Morpeth.
Attractions: Sanderson Shopping Arcade, Bagpipe Museum, Northumbrian Arts and Crafts Gallery, Carlisle Park, Turner Garden.
Warkworth (7.5 miles)
The ancient village of Warkworth is unspoilt by modern life. It is built on a rocky spur within a loop of the River Coquet. The village is dominated by Warkworth Castle, an impressive 15th century keep and courtyard. Warkworth offers an exceptional range of galleries, a post office, pubs, restaurants and gift shops to suit everyone.
Amble (7.5 miles)
An old fishing village on the coast with a good range of small shops including a Tesco express, butcher, bakery and take aways. There is an excellent Sunday market held here throughout the year which is especially good for its fresh fish. The views from the harbour are also excellent, overlooking the estuary and over to Warkworth Castle. Coquet Island is just a mile from the coast of Amble. This small island is a haven for over 60,000 birds and is an RSPB nature reserve.
Rothbury (11.5 miles)
Known as the Capital of Coquetdale, the traditional village of Rothbury is built on a sandstone hillside. It offers a good range of shops, pubs and tea rooms along with pleasant riverside walks. Close to Rothbury is Cragside House and Gardens.