Things to do and see in Allendale holiday cottages

Things to do and see in Allendale

Courtney Kelly 22 July 2022

The village of Allendale in Northumberland may be small, but it has plenty of personality. Meaning ‘valley of the shining water’, you’ll find this quaint stone-built community in the heart of the Allen Valleys in the south-west corner of the county.

These valleys offer so much for the intrepid outdoor enthusiast, with meandering rivers, cascading waterfalls and sweeping moorland rich in wildlife. But there’s more than just these natural wonders; the spring May Fair and other regular festivals tell the tales of the village’s history and heritage, and the end-of-year Tar Bar’l celebration, which has been occurring since 1858, is a fiery sight not to be missed.

Add to this the shops in Allendale centre and the fact that you’ll be so close to the charming market town of Hexham, and you’ve got yourself a Northern England trip to remember.

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Things to do and see in Allendale

Thorngreen Lime Kilns

Thorngreen Lime KilnsPhoto © Mike Quinn (cc-by-sa/2.0)

These fascinating Grade II-listed lime kilns near Allendale town are built into the side of a mound, aptly (at the time anyway) named Slag Hill. The kiln was so useful and hard-working that the awesome heat it generated often lead to large fissures in its external walls. This meant that it had to be regularly rebuilt.

Luckily, conservation experts who wanted to keep its appearance authentic came up with the ingenious idea to fill fabric mesh socks with an expanding grout to secure the structure’s integrity. Now the kiln is strong enough to park your car on (FYI, the car park is on top of the kiln!)

  • Location: Allendale Town, Hexham NE47 9JQ

Killhope Lead Mining Museum

Killhope Lead Mining Museum on a grey day

Visit the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and you’ll be taking in not only the wild beauty of the natural landscape where rare red squirrels can be spotted. You’ll also be able to drop in on the multi-award-winning 19th-century mining museum, Killhope.

Admission is free and you can stop off in the café before donning your hard hats and wellies, picking up your lamp and embarking on an unforgettable underground adventure, learning all the while what it took to be a Victorian lead miner.

  • Opening times: 1 April to 30 October, Monday – Sunday 10am until 4.30pm (last admission is 3.30pm)
  • Location: Upper Weardale, County Durham DL13 1AR

Mr George's Museum of Time

The inner workings of a watch

When visiting Hadrian’s Wall country, be sure to make time for Mr George’s Museum of Time, a family-run watch and clock museum with a gift shop and even a repair workshop.

You can run your eyes over the marvellous collection of timepieces, parts and tools dating from the 18th century to the modern day. In the gift shop, there are handmade cuckoo clocks and weather houses or for the discerning horologist, vintage and restored watches can be found here too.

  • Opening times: Tues, Thurs and Fri 10am- 4:30pm; Wed and Sat 10am – 2pm
  • Location: Haydon Bridge, Hexham NE47 6ET


Vindolanda Roman ruins

The Roman fort of Vindolanda is an extremely history-rich site; even after the Roman occupation was abandoned, it continued to be used for over 400 years, only finally being deserted in the 9th century.

Built before Hadrian’s Wall went up, it became an enormously important garrison for the wall, and you can admire all its glory on a guided tour or wander the museum which constantly adds to its collection as the excavation programme continues. Why not marry this trip with a visit to the Roman Army Museum to find out what it was like to be in the Roman infantry?

  • Opening times: 10am until 6pm (last admission is 5pm)
  • Location: Hexham NE47 7JN

Hexham Old Gaol

A padlock on a prison door

Another attraction steeped in history, albeit slightly more recent history, Hexham Old Gaol was the first-ever purpose-built prison in England. Located in the Tyne Valley, the Gaol was built in 1333 using stone from the Roman town of Corbridge just 3 miles away.

Place a loved one in the stocks or just learn about medieval history, including how the most dangerous criminals of the day would share the same prison space with those who merely found themselves in debt. Visit the Border Library Collection and learn all about the Border Reivers families and how they influenced our modern language with words as common as ‘bereaved’, ‘blackmail’ and ‘surname’.

  • Opening times: Wednesday – Sunday 10am – 4pm
  • Location: Hall Gate, Hexham NE46 1XD

Walks in and around Allendale

Allendale Walk

River East Allen at Allendale Town

If we’re talking about Allendale walks, it’d make sense to start with one in Allendale centre. When talking of the best walks in Northumberland, you might think of Bamburgh or Kielder Forest (and rightly so) but a community that was twice voted Village of the Year is bound to have a lovely walk or two.

This one, in particular, is a circular walk that takes you along the River East Allen and through gorgeous countryside to the village of Catton. After taking in the village, rejoin the river to the south and head back to Allendale. Reward yourself after this 6-mile hike with a drink at The King’s Head, a dog-friendly pub.

  • Location: Allendale Town, Hexham NE47 9BD

Allen Banks and Staward Gorge

Allen Banks and Staward Gorge

This waterside walk is in a National Trust-managed area in the spectacular North Pennines AONB. A stroll designated as easy, it takes you along the River Allen and through an inviting wooded gorge on well-maintained and waymarked paths. The walk takes you through a nature reserve, so be on the lookout for kingfishers, heron, roe deer and otters.

You might also pass a handsome waterfall if you take the route past Raven Crag. Dogs are welcome along the walk; the river and woodland paths are ideal for man’s best friend – just be sure to keep them on leads in areas where farm animals graze.

  • Location: Bardon Mill, Hexham NE47 7BP

Isaac's Tea Trail

Sign pointing the way to Isaac's Tea Trail

If you fancy a longer and more challenging walking trail, why not strike out on this 36-mile circular ramble that starts in Allendale Town? If you did, you’d be emulating the legendary tea seller Isaac Holden as you wander towards England’s highest town, Alston, whilst also taking in romantic hamlets like Ninebanks along the way.

The hidden valleys and wild moors you’ll come across are spectacular and you may well get to see some wildlife too. If taking on this walk in one go is too much, it can be broken up into four segments and done at a more leisurely pace. Make sure you take a flask so you can toast Isaac with a delicious cup of tea along the way!

  • Location: Allendale Town, Hexham NE47 9BD

Places to eat, drink and shop in Allendale

The King's Head

A nice pint of ale on an outdoor pub table

The aforementioned King’s Head is located in Market Place, making it extremely convenient when stopping off for a drink or a bite to eat before or after one of your walks in Allendale. The pub is dog friendly and is renowned for its friendly atmosphere, with travellers often returning due to the welcome they receive from the staff and owners.

Grab a glass of something chilled and enjoy the sun on the outdoor benches during warmer months. Or relish the hot chocolates and cosy up in front of the fire when it’s chillier. The pub does food either to eat in or takeaway and they often have live events on so keep your eyes peeled.

  • Opening times: Sunday – Thursday 12pm – 12am, Friday – Saturday 12pm – 1am
  • Location: Market Place, Allendale Town NE47 9BD

Allendale Forge Studios

An artist choosing a colour palette for her ceramic mug

Stay in Market Place and enjoy a unique morning or afternoon when you visit the Allendale Forge Studios. Wander the gallery and appreciate all manner of pieces including textile art, painting, prints, photography, ceramics and mosaics. The Forge provides a variety of events, exhibitions and workshops, and at many of these, you can meet the artists in question.

A lot of the pieces on show have been replicated in the gift shop so you can purchase whatever took your fancy from a great selection of northern artists. You’ll even be able to speak to the artist personally when buying your jewellery or ceramics, as the artisan makers run the shop themselves. Finish off in the Allendale Forge Café and indulge yourself in some homemade cake or some lunch.

  • Opening times: October – March, Forge Cafe 9am – 4pm (10am – 4pm Sundays); Gallery & Gift Shop 10am – 4pm. April - September, Forge Cafe 9am – 5pm; Gallery & Gift Shop 10am – 5pm
  • Location: Market Place, Allendale Town NE47 9BD

The Golden Lion Hotel

A pint of beer and some salted potato wedges on an outdoor pub table

Also known as the Allendale Lion, this early 19th-century tavern and hotel boasts 200-year-old flooring and a Grade II-listed staircase, so the interior grabs your eye as soon as you enter. Being such a historical establishment, the Lion has been the hub of the community for many years and today serves gourmet food alongside a great selection of real ales, craft ales brewed on the premises, and wines.

Grab a bite in the saloon bar or book into the 1839 Steak and Brew House for a more intimate dining experience. With regular quiz nights and live music, the Lion is another spot in Market Place where you could easily while away an evening or two.

  • Opening times: Every day 12pm – 12am
  • Location: Market Place, Allendale Town NE47 9BD

The Spice Valley

Delicious-looking Indian food

As you’ve seen already, there are some great places to eat in Northumberland, and in Allendale in particular. For something a little different, head to the Spice Valley, located about 1 mile from the centre of Allendale Town. A beautiful fusion of Bangladeshi and Indian food awaits in a quaint, wooden beamed restaurant where the staff are friendly and the prices won’t break the bank.

The portion sizes are good here and you can even bring your own wine, which helps to save that little bit extra. If you haven’t got time to sit in, fear not, they do a takeaway service as well, meaning you won’t have to miss out on that authentic Asian cuisine.

  • Opening times: Wednesday – Monday 6pm – 9.30pm
  • Location: Unit 2, Allen Mill NE47 9EA

Coffee and Kuriosities

Take away coffee cup with scattered beans and a portafilter

Allow your curiosity to get the better of you and find that it’s not just the indulgence of freshly ground beans that awaits you when you pop into Coffee and Kuriosities. This dog-friendly café also sells upscaled and bespoke furniture, as well as adorable small items hand-turned by the owner.

So come and grab a milkshake, frappe, ice cream or a flat white and browse the collection of wooden items including bowls, pots, pens, wine racks and other rarities such as intricate homemade felt toys. Or be spontaneous and buy some grand oak furniture like the dressers and tables and chairs on show at this Allendale shop, before deciding on which homemade cake to take away.

  • Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm
  • Location: Unit 2, Allen Mill NE47 9EA

Where to stay near Allendale

All three of the properties below are at the same location and can therefore be booked together if you are planning a large-scale getaway with friends or family.

Blacksmiths Shop | sleeps 4 | 5 miles from Allendale

Interior and exterior at Blacksmiths Shop

Sleeping four guests, this 5-star retreat offers the perfect accommodation for a family or two couples looking to explore the Northumberland countryside. A barn conversion that comes with its own private hot tub, this rustic home from home has wooden beams, exposed stone walls and skylights which allow the light to flood in.

Blinkers Stables | sleeps 8 | 5 miles from Allendale

Interior and exterior at Blinkers Stables

With fabulous social spaces, dual-aspect rooms and a cosy wood burner, you and your extended family or group of friends will have no trouble relaxing when you stay at this 5-star barn conversion just outside of Allendale. In the afternoons, sizzle up some dinner on the BBQ and as the evenings draw in, have a sundowner in the private hot tub or gaze through the telescope to make the most of your Dark Sky Reserve location.

Milkers Byre | sleeps 14 | 5 miles from Allendale

Interior and exterior at Milkers Byre

Completing the list of properties near Allendale is another 5-star barn conversion, this time sleeping 14 guests. With five of the seven rooms located on the first floor, most of you will enjoy waking up to stunning countryside views. And those on the ground floor will have direct access to the garden and private hot tub. All bedrooms have en-suites so there are no queues for the bathroom here, and whilst the chef of the group starts up the BBQ, why not rack up a few games on the pool table upstairs?

Self-catering cottages in Allendale

For more choices of accommodation in Allendale, Northumberland, browse all of our cottages in or around Allendale.

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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