NORTHUMBERLAND GEM IS A SUPER PLACE TO MILL
The following article was published in the
Sunday Post on 6th December
WITHIN a few minutes we can totally see why Mill
House in Guyzance, Northumberland was a silver
medal winner in the local tourism awards.
And why the B&B is one of literally a handful
shortlisted as the best in the whole of the
north of England.
Itís a gem, the sort of home from home that
instantly makes you wish your abode really was
And that owner Karen was your neighbour (when
snow trapped everybody in a few years ago she
dragged supplies on a sledge up hills to
The house wins us over just as much as this
delightful one-woman force of nature.
Itís a 16th Century cottage, formerly part of
the Guyzance Hall Estate and home to mill staff.
We read about one of the workers, Fred Ė he also
served in the local Dadís Army during the Second
World War Ė in a personal testament Karen points
out in the gorgeous sitting room, original beams
catching the eye.
Itís the cosiest of country hideaways and every
single thing has been done to the highest
possible standard. Some, we learn, by Karen
herself who donned dust masks to sand
floorboards and hunted for period doors.
A former teacher, we wonder if thereís anything
she canít do. Will breakfast disappoint perhaps?
Donít be silly. Itís simply sensational. All
cooked on an Aga and with attention to detail
youíd struggle to beat in the most high-end
Everything is perfection, from the porridge with
honey and coconut milk to the full English, with
the tomatoes marinated overnight. If thereís a
better start to the day anywhere, I havenít
Mill House is the sort of place you could just
settle down with a book in the garden to watch
the deer on the hillside.
But itís just a few miles from Amble, which hugs
the estuary of the Coquet, the river that
actually runs right by the B&B.
Seafood has always played a massive part in the
pretty little town and one of the most recent
additions is the Harbour Village with its chic
huts and fab foodie choices.
Itís a lovely place for a seaside stroll and
A short drive away, on the other side of the A1,
Run by the National Trust, it was the
extraordinary Victorian home of Lord and Lady
Armstrong. It stands in 1000 acres of grounds Ė
brilliant for a peaceful walk Ė that look as
though they have been like that for hundreds of
The reality is that the landscape was designed,
like the house, to the taste of the inventor,
engineer and businessman who was a massive
figure far beyond the north east.
Seven million trees were planted, lakes created
and sweeping drives laid out (we take the
six-mile Estate Drive as we leave).
Cragside was the first house in the world lit by
hydroelectricity and standing in the very room
where people marvelled at this wonder, you can
feel the sense of history wash over you.
Thankfully, we werenít in a hurry. This isnít
really a pop in and have a quick peek place,
thereís so much fresh fascination round every
corner that hours passed in a flash.
And when it comes to there always being
something new to discover, thereís Alnwick and
Bamburgh Castles, two of Northumberlandís
greatest and grandest attractions.
Alnwick Castle, right in the centre of the
glorious market town, is famous for both being
the real home of the Percy family and the
fictional one of Harry Potter, as Hogwarts in
the smash-hit films. We learn some of the
behind-the-scenes stories by joining one of the
fun location tours Ė a Downton Abbey Christmas
special was also shot here Ė before exploring
the magnificent house.
And surely there canít be a castle that
dominates the coast more spectacularly than
Itís gloriously intact and we discover that we
have our old friend Armstrong to thank for that.
It was his deep pockets that brought it back to
life after he bought it in the late 19th
It took a decade and more than a million pounds
Ė a massive fortune back then Ė to reverse
hundreds of years of neglect.
We canít help but feel that if he needed some
know-how in bringing a building to brilliant new
life, Karen would have been just the lady to
Mill House has single occupancy from £80,
doubles from £90, bed and breakfast.