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WHAT WE LOVE...

A mile from the glittering expanse of Kielder Water - the largest man-made lake in Europe - the family-run Pheasant Inn is a bastion of the best of traditional country inns: a fire-warmed bar, cosy dining areas, fuss-free bedrooms and food that fills after a day outdoors. The cooking is well above your average pub offering and non-residents need to book to be sure of a seat. Bedrooms, in converted outbuildings next to the pub and grouped around a courtyard, have a simple cottagey style, and are primarily aimed at people who want a comfortable base after a day of activity either in Kielder Forest or on the water. They're dog-friendly, too. This is a quiet spot that's good for star-gazing, with unpolluted skies and Kielder Observatory ten miles away, and wonderfully restorative.

Your expert reviewer

Helen Pickles
Travel and feature writer
Growing up in Yorkshire and with family holidays in the Lake District, Helen, who writes for several UK national newspapers, developed a love of walking and the big outdoors. When it comes to cities, and food, Italy has the edge – and her heart.

THE DETAILS

Location

Despite the popularity of Kielder, it's such a big area that people are absorbed and it still feels peaceful, the skies - official international Dark Sky status - are stunning.

You're well-placed to discover the sights of Kielder Water & Forest Park, as well as the observatory.
By car: under 3 hours from York, 3 hours 30 minutes from Manchester and 6 hours 30 minutes from London. Free parking on-site.
By train: trains from London Kings Cross to Hexham take around 4 hours. The hotel is a 40-minute taxi ride from the station. thetrainline.com

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Style & Character

Outdoors-lovers who want to make the most of this part of Northumberland and have a comfortable, friendly base with good, home-cooked food to return to will love it here. It manages to keep a welcoming traditional pub atmosphere without feeling old-fashioned or cluttered.

Service & Facilities

Coming back to a warming fire after a wild and windy day of walking was a high point of the day.

  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Garden
  • Family-friendly
  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi

Dogs are allowed in bedrooms, for a modest charge, but not in the main bar and dining areas.

Rooms

Those in the former cow-byres with exposed-stone walls and arched windows are the most characterful but the others have the best views across fields. Our favourite things about staying here are the peace and the starry, starry skies - two wonderful accompaniments to a good night's sleep.

Double, Twin, Family, Garden Cottage

Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with Gilchrist and Soames toiletries, tea and coffee-making facilities, TV, hairdryer, free Wi-Fi

Food & Drink

You can dine in either the main bar or in one of the smaller snugs, as well as the dining room. Do save room for dessert - the brioche and marmalade bread-and-butter pudding is deservedly famous.

The Pheasant Inn: traditional country pub, British cuisine, locally-sourced ingredients. Dishes include shoulder of lamb, fresh dressed crab and game & mushroom pie. All-day menu, open daily for dinner (Wed, Sat, Sun for lunch).

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