“ Address: Beamish Burn Road / Stanley / County Durham / DH9 OLS / England „
Having taken Little Miss to a horse riding party here, we decided it was time to sample the food. This review is therefore mainly about the restaurant although we did have a good look around and so I can comment on other aspects of the hotel/restaurant.
The hotel is set in 100 acres in the Beamish Valley, 8 miles from both Newcastle and Durham city centres, although the hotel itself is in a completely rural area. The hotel itself is a stone built building with 15 ensuite bedrooms, all refurbished in 2008; I can't comment on these but photos are available on the website.
As well as the hotel and restaurant, there is a British Horse Society Approved Equestrian Centre which houses more than 100 horses and donkeys. Also on the site are the Beamish Lakes, which is a trout fishery, and which can be fished for a fee, and bicycles can be hired to explore the countryside.
First impressions of the restaurant are good. There are plenty of parking spaces and around the parking area are the stables with a large sculpture of a horse and rider in the centre. To the side of the parking area are some gardens complete with wooden tables and chairs. Guests can also have a wander round the farm which boasts Seamus, a champion donkey, alpacas, sheep pigs and chickens (hand sanitiser required!!). Children do Like this farm area and Little Miss and her friends had a great time having a look at the animals and generally chasing each other about- the place is very child friendly.
We entered via the main entrance which has a rather tasteful covered area for anyone wanting to be outside. Here there seemed to be several horse riders coming for a drink before going off to the stables. Once inside the restaurant, we were quickly seated although there weren't many tables left and this early Tuesday evening. The restaurant is separated into two rooms, accessed via an archway with the toilets at the back. The two rooms have tables of different sizes and types of wood and styles with comfortable retro and usually wooden chairs, and there are also small tables with arm chairs close to the fires which I think would be rather nice in the winter. All this olde worlde but strangely bright and modern feel finished off with oak floors and beams.
We were speedily brought two large bound menus, one a wine and one a food menu; the latter contained a children's menu at the back of the menu, so smaller portions are available. The menu has a large selection of appetisers, although given that I didn't want one, I didn't really check these out. Main courses are varied and are made using largely locally sourced ingredients- apparently the trout pate and fillet of trout are fish caught daily in the lake, and the garden produces the vegetables and herbs. The main courses serve a selection of grills- steaks, and mixed grills, chicken and fish dishes, vegetarian dishes, as well as chillis and curries. There is also the option to choose a lighter option, since it serves baguettes with a range of fillings from around £6. For some reason, we both chose steaks, although different types, and when these arrived, they were well presented, and thankfully came with steak knives. They were accompanied by thick cut "proper" chips, and whilst mine came with onion rings and mushrooms, hubby's came with a salad- he had clearly chosen the healthier option. The steaks themselves were very tender and I didn't have to hack at the meat as can sometimes happen when the meat is tough, and there was plenty of food- no way could I manage a dessert, although we were offered the dessert menu.
The bar serves locally brewed Real Ales, and the wine list is extensive. As well as this, the chefs will prepare fresh juices which having tried a fruit one, are delicious. I must mention here that although there is a separate bar, the restaurant as the out door area is very child friendly and there were several people with young children in high chairs (it was early evening)
Having now visited the place twice, once for a birthday party and once for a meal, I can honestly say that i would go again, and am already looking to book the Christmas Eve lunch where children ride the horses, we all eat and santa gives a present.
The food is delicious- fresh and ample portions without being ridiculous, and it's very reasonable, our meal being around the £30 mark including drinks and coffees. The service is unobtrusive and the staff are extremely pleasant and helpful, stopping to answer questions about the forthcoming events and ensuring everything was ok.
For anyone visiting the area, the location is excellent for Durham, Newcastle and the metro centre as well as for more "outdoory" attractions. The Causey railway Arch is within walking distance and open air beamish museum, is only 1/2 a mile away with guests of the Hotel getting discounted entry tickets. The Beamish Wild Experience, based at Beamish Hall Hotel is also within walking distance, and offers guests discounted tickets to the Bird of Prey Centre and High Wire Ropes Course.
For a meal and/or a stay I would definitely recommend this place. The ambience is excellent, the food tasty and there is plenty to see and do right on the doorstep.
Thanks for reading.