The local

The local's guide to Rothbury

Lauren 08 June 2023

The charming village of Rothbury lies in the heart of Northumberland and boasts a bustling high street, an array of independent eateries and a host of events throughout the year. If you are looking for a taster of Northumbrian town life mixed with countryside adventure, this is the destination for you.

Whilst Rothbury has a pretty quiet and uneventful history, it was first established as a market town around 1291 and it was the main centre for dealing cattle and wool for all of the surrounding villages. It also became an important town in the Coquet Valley as it worked as a crossroads on the ford creating connecting roads between Newcastle upon Tyne, Alnwick, Hexham and Morpeth. It is said that in the 1760s, the village had a small craft industry which included hatters – a handcrafted skill that is rare today.

Village of Rothbury, Northumberland

Read on to find out all about this spot's history and discover all the things to do in Rothbury.

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Attractions in Rothbury

Cragside House, Rothbury, Northumberland

Cragside House and Gardens 

Did you know that this house is the first in the world to be lit by electricity? Thanks to two talented individuals, Lord William and Lady Margaret Armstrong, Cragside House is referred to as Britain’s original smart home. Today the Victorian mansion is filled with the latest gadgets and inventions that you can come and enjoy and the gardens and woodland surrounding it are open to the public too. This National Trust property makes for a lovely day out in which the whole family can enjoy. Location: NE65 7PX 

Brinkburn Priory, Rothbury, Northumberland

Brinkburn Priory

Secretly tucked away into the woodland lies this gorgeous 12th-century priory, one of the best examples of early gothic architecture. It is worth a visit here just to see the spectacular stained glass windows, let alone the William Hill organ and ancient carved stonework. It is a sight to behold. The grounds around the priory make for peaceful picnics and the river is nice to visit – otters have been spotted playing on the riverbanks. Location: NE65 8AR 

Visit an art gallery when on holiday in Northumberland

Coquetdale Art Gallery

Running since 1975, this little art gallery and registered charity has celebrated local artists and local crafts over the years gone by. Pop along and view artwork by local artists and buy yourself something you can take home to hang on the wall, something that will remind you of your visit. Close to other shops and eateries in Rothbury, this makes for a nice, slow, cultural morning! Location: NE65 7TZ 

Places to eat in Rothbury

It’s important to plan in time for enjoying local food and cuisine during any holiday; it also gives you a nice break from the cooking. Here is a mixture of lovely places to grab a bite whilst on holiday in Rothbury, from tea rooms to fancy restaurants. Rothbury is well located for exploring further afield for food, however if you want something close to your accommodation, and a walk away, then here are some lovely options:

Enjoy a rest in one of Rothbury's lovely terarooms

Bewicks Kitchen and Coffee House

This is a lovely place to kick back, relax and enjoy some delicious lunch, heart-warming Colombian coffee or afternoon tea. If you have been out and about exploring, this is a nice pit-stop to rest the feet and regain some energy. Pick from a selection of large or small plates and sample the sandwiches and scones as part of afternoon tea. Visit their website.

Location: NE65 7UP

Enjoy Sunday lunch in a Rothbury restaurant

The Turks Head

This is a lovely traditional pub set in Rothbury where you can enjoy a filling meal in and a refreshing drink in the beer garden. Being family-friendly, their menu caters for kids too and you can expect to find everything from steak to lasagne, as well as lots of vegetarian and vegan options too! Whether you are in for a light bite, a full three-course meal or just a drink, there is something for everyone here. Visit their website

Location: NE65 7TE. 

The Running Fox

The Running Fox in Longframlington close to Rothbury, is one of four artisan bakery and coffee shops in this group across Northumberland. Catering for vegan and vegetarian palettes and with options that will delight the whole family, including your youngsters, there is also the option to takeaway if you're looking for a tasty meal on the go! The cafes themselves are dog friendly, with the Longframlington shop offering a wonderful dog friendly garden. Each offers a cosy, rustic atmosphere. They're also known for special seasonal snacks, including Halloween Spooky Cookies and Reindeer Brownies. Visit their website

Location: NE65 8EA

Newcastle House Restaurant

This is another option for a pub, set in the heart of Rothbury, overlooking the village green. During the day, you can expect to find traditional English meals on the menu, and at night a huge variety of Indian dishes, making this a really versatile place. There are also two bars, so you can sit all night sampling all the local beers and ales! Visit their website. Location: NE65 7UT

For more inspiration on how to enjoy the foodie scene in Northumberland, then take a read of our guide to the best places to eat in Rothbury. 

Beaches to visit from Rothbury

Most people who come to Northumberland have beaches on their mind. It is one of the best regions on Britain’s east coast for white sand beaches and beautiful clear water. Whilst Rothbury is set inland, there are some smashing beaches within a short drive away which can offer a lovely day on the coast for a bit of beach bum life! Here are some of our favourites:

  • Alnmouth Beach, Alnwick - (16 miles)
  • Amble Links Beach, Amble - (20 miles)
  • Bamburgh Beach, Bamburgh – (28 miles)
  • Seahouses Beach, Seahouses – (27 miles)

Alnmouth beach on Northumberland's coast

The coast of Northumberland is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and may of the beaches are set in an acclaimed nature reserve. The opportunities for spotting wildlife is immense here with thousands of sea birds nesting in the dunes and cliffs off the coast. If you are a keen twitcher, remember your binoculars as you will be glued to them for hours.

If you have time, make sure you potter around some of these harbour towns; you will often see seals bobbing around the moored boats. Sandcastles, dune jumping, surfing, and sea swimming are all on the cards too, keeping the kids entertained for hours. 

For more inspiration on how to enjoy the Northumbrian coastline, make sure you check out our guide on 10 things to do on the Northumbrian coast. 

Walks in and around Rothbury

With its picturesque trails, romantic riverbanks and bustling high street, walking is one of the best things to do in Rothbury. The River Coquet flows through the town creating a peaceful haven for the nature and wildlife that thrive on its banks. It flows through the Coquet Valley which provides a beautiful mix of wild meadows and moorland for you to experience. Walkers from all over come here to escape into the wilderness and soak up the surrounding beauty. Here are two walks worth trying during your visit to Rothbury:

Coquet River, Coquetdale, Northumberland

Rothbury riverside walk

This walk is extremely popular with families with children of all ages because, whether they are in a buggy or pottering about on foot, they are all bound to have fun. You can make this walk as long or short as you want, and starting from the Carhaugh car park in Rothbury itself makes it really easy. Along the path, you will be able to admire the yellow sandstone buildings of the town, as well as the old bridge, and make sure you keep an eye out for the ducks that dabble about here. There are a number of eateries along the river where you can pick up a hot drink or snack, or pack a delicious picnic and find a sunny spot to enjoy it in. 

Fontburn Reservoir, Northumberland

Fontburn Reservoir

Just a short 15-minute drive away from Rothbury, you will find the Fontburn Reservoir – a lovely place to stretch the legs! Whilst close to town, it feels like the middle of nowhere with lots of fields and woodlands surrounding you. There is a full circular walk around the reservoir which is about 3.5 miles long which can take about 2 hours if you have children with you. The terrain is mainly grass or bark and the surrounding wildlife is fun to spot on your way round - just remember the binoculars! There are many picnic benches dotted along the route and there is also a small shop selling hot drinks and snacks. All of this, along with the new play area complete with flying fox and climbing frame, makes for a great day out with the kids! 

Top tip: use the postcode NE61 4PL to get there. You will need change for the car park.

These areas and walks are all dog-friendly, but please make sure you pick up after your fluffy friends to keep the areas as nice as possible. Fontburn Reservoir is closed to dogs during lambing season, so make sure you check between the months of April and May. 

Rothbury sits on the edge of the Northumberland National Park which is an area rich in woodland, rolling hills and heritage, making it a lovely place for walking. Read all about this amazing area and what there is to see and do.

Places to stay in Rothbury

We are delighted to be able to provide great self-catering options for those looking to visit Rothbury and we have lots of accommodation in Rothbury for you to pick from. With everything from romantic boltholes with hot tubs, to large townhouses with charming gardens, we have something perfect for helping your group unwind after busy days exploring all the things to do in Rothbury. Here are some to keep in mind…

The Hide – sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

The Hide is a truly distinctive property, perfect for two and a small child, plus up to two canine companions. With quirky and characterful features, you're sure to feel the home-from-home atmosphere created by the exposed brick walls, welcoming wood burner and unique orangery-style summerhouse. Climb the steps from the summerhouse and you're out into the garden, kitted out with a lush lawn, chiminea and comfortable garden furniture. Being close to the eastern edge of the national park, The Hide is a great base for an adventure holiday and well equipped for unwinding on your return

Forest Edge Cottage, sleeps 4, Northumberland

Forest Edge Cottage – sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

This is an idyllic stone cottage which is sure to impress. Fully set up with a summer house, BBQ and wood-fired hot tub, it will be hard to tear yourself away from this holiday home! Inside you will find a lovely open-plan kitchen/dining room complete with Aga, and there is a lovely sunroom with views and doors opening onto the garden. There is also a cosy wood burner in the sitting room which is perfect for those cosy nights in. There is a secure bike storage shed too, making this the perfect cottage for cyclists! 

Simonside View – sleeps 6

This amazing holiday home is set over three floors and has a wonderful patio area and balcony to enjoy the epic views from. Northumberland is a recognised area for dark skies and this cottage is perfect for evenings stargazing whilst enjoying a glass of wine. Perfectly situated to enjoy the village as well as the walks and cycleways, this is a great base for all sorts of explorations. The house is bright and spacious, sleeping six, and there is even a sauna for those moments where you just want to chill out. Definitely keep this one in mind for your next break.

Make sure you check out our full collection of cottages in Rothbury and browse through what we have to offer. We have something to suit everyone and, whether you are looking for a last-minute break, romantic trip or a dog-friendly abode, you will find something here. Plan your trip to Rothbury today!

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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