“ Address: Main Street / Corbridge / Northumberland / NE45 5LA / United Kingdom / Tel: 01434 632 119 „
The Angel Inn, Corbridge, is a country town coaching inn providing bars, bar meals, a restaurant and accommodation. In this review, I will be focussing on the accommodation facilities.
The debate over where to go for our anniversary dinner raged for weeks. Finally, the great decision was made. The Angel Inn has had a reputation for good food for a number of years so we decided to give it a try and the idea of staying in the lovely country town of Corbridge overnight added to the appeal.
The Angel, a coaching inn situated centrally in the town of Corbridge, is one of the oldest in Northumberland. Built in 1726 it is the oldest coaching inn in the town. In 2005 the inn underwent refurbishment after a change of ownership and in 2007 a re-modelled restaurant and bar were opened.
The inn offers a choice of bars: The Lounge Bar - which is decorated in modern style - for drinks; The Bar - which is fresh and bright but which has kept a rustic country style with large wooden tables and chairs and nostalgic pictures. The Bar offers meals which, from what we could observe, appeared interesting, appetising and hugely portioned. Finally, our choice, The Lounge, which is a traditionally styled, wood panelled room with comfortable seating and a very restful atmosphere. The restaurant is well known locally. Recently restyled, the dining room is airy, spacious and traditional (with its oak beamed ceiling and stone walls) but with a contemporary feel to the table arrangement and decor. The Inn also provides bed and breakfast accommodation.
The Inn offers a total of fifteen rooms - 6 in the original building and 9 in the refurbished annexe - The Angel Radcliffe - which is situated immediately across the road from the main building. The Radcliffe is decorated in modern country style and includes a spacious and comfortable dining room for breakfast and a very relaxing lounge for guests.
When I inquired about the price/room correlation it was explained to me that the larger the room, the higher the tariff. Wanting a little more space, we opted for something mid-ranged. We ensured we booked in the annexe as we were keen to have quietness and wanted to avoid staying in the same building as the bars and kitchens.
When we opened the door to our room, our first impression was that there must have been a mistake. This must surely be one of the smaller rooms. We checked, but it was correct. This was the 'larger' room we had booked. We soon settled in, however, appreciating the bright, fresh decor, the well stocked hot drinks tray (with generous supply of 'Bronte' biscuits) and the thoughtfully placed chair and table - situated next to the window to enjoy the lovely view over the beautiful Tyne Valley. At the time we stayed the Autumn colours were at their most glorious. I sat there for quite some time.......just looking. A selection of glossy magazines, mainly with a life-in-the-country theme, were arranged for our selection should we fancy a little light reading. A glass and a two bottles of mineral water (one fizzy, one not) were arranged at each side of the bed. The bed itself was disappointingly ordinary in size - I had expected something a little larger in a supposedly 'larger' room. It was comfortable however and the crisp, white linen was a joy to sink into. A double wardrobe and large chest of drawers were available for our use and a bedside cabinet with lamp were placed at each side of the bed. A flat screen, remote control TV was provided.
I felt somewhat underwhelmed when I opened the door to the en-suite shower room. I couldn't make any real complaint - everything needed was there; the toilet, the wash-basin and the shower along with adequate (but not generous) stocks of towels, paper and toiletries. Nonetheless I felt really disappointed. For me, a stylish bathroom is part of the enjoyment of a hotel stay. This very small, claustrophic en-suite offered necessities only. No hint of luxury there!
Despite having chosen the venue on the basis of the restaurant's reputation, we didn't eat there! We had thought of booking a table but were advised that it would not be necessary as we were staying mid-week. So when evening arrived we strolled across to the Inn, planning on a pre-dinner drink or two in that lovely Lounge. Settled with our drinks, we studied the menu. The list certainly reflected the chef's reputation for imaginative combinations and innovation. We looked at each other.......who was going to speak first and admit what each of us was thinking? We are both adventurous diners but the awful truth was that neither of us really fancied anything on that night's menu! Oops! (The problem was easily solved by strolling a few yards down the road to one of our trusty old dining venues!)
We can, however, vouch for the breakfast. A buffet table was well stocked with fresh fruits, juices, cereals and yoghurts. Porridge could be ordered too. The menu offered the choice of traditional cooked English breakfast (with inclusions or omissions as you require), omelettes cooked to order or smoked salmon and scrambled egg. Fresh coffee for him, tea for me ..... replenished regularly as was the supply of fresh toast. My husband is not English and is increasingly impressed by the range and quality of produce that the British Isles provide. The quality of ingredients used here was excellent and they were cooked with care. The ladies looking after us were friendly and helpful, a contrast to the somewhat clinical demeanour of the reception staff!
In my opinion, the room rates are far too high. The current tariffs range from £65 - £100 for a single, £105 - £140 for a double and £130 for a family room. My own view is that this is just too much. We asked about offers/discounts at the time of booking and were offered a fairly good reduction.
As mentioned previously, the ladies serving breakfast were very good but the lack of warmth from the reception desk was palpable. Definitely not service with a smile! There was nothing lacking in terms of practical assistance nor was any matter overlooked but a little more enthusiasm would have gone a long way!
How To Get There
For any country location a car is obviously the most convenient option but Corbridge is served by rail and bus so this hotel is accessible to visitors using public transport.
Driving: Corbridge is situated just off the A69, about 18 miles to the west of Newcastle. You will leave the A69 at a large roundabout and directions into Corbridge are clearly signposted. You will find The Angel on the corner where Main Street and Princes Street cross. There is a very small car park at the rear of the main building with access via a narrow alley.
Train: 'Cross Country' runs an hourly service from Newcastle Central Station to Corbridge. The fare is around £5 per person for a single ticket for this 30 minute journey. Additional services run in the late afternoon/early evening. The walk from the station to the town centre is cited by some tourist websites as being 5 minutes. I would say allow longer than that - the distance is about half a mile.
Bus: A convenient option may be the hourly bus service which runs Monday to Saturday from Newcastle to Carlisle ( No. 685) and takes about 45 minutes to reach Corbridge from Newcastle. (Run by Stagecoach) The bus stop for Corbridge is situated at.....the Angel Inn!
A Little About Corbridge
A settlement has been around since Roman times when a Garrison was established and supplied the troops building and later guarding Hadrian's Wall. A site of excavation five miles north of the town is open for public viewing. The present-day town was founded in Saxon times and has withstood turbulent times through the succeeding centuries. One visible testimony to this is the Vicar's Pele - a fourteenth century tower - thought to have been built as a fortress against the border raiders who terrorised families living in the region. (History lovers will find this town an interesting point to begin their exploration of the area - this would be a great base to explore Hadrian's Wall.)
Today you will find a very peaceful but lively village with a good range of interesting, unique and very stylish shops and an array of tea shops, pubs and restaurants for needed refreshment. Retail addicts may be pleased to know that Newcastle's department stores and shopping malls and also the famous "MetroCentre" - the largest indoor shopping and leisure centre in Europe - are within easy driving distance. If you are wanting just a peaceful spot for village strolls and riverside walks though, this will do just fine.
I am required by 'Ciao' protocol to state whether I would recommend this accommodation to friends. Well, after careful thought I would say, yes, it is a place to stay which I feel able to recommend but with some qualification. As I have stated already, we stayed in the Angel Radcliffe annexe. I have no experience of a stay in the main building so I can make no comment on that. I will state again that I felt the prices were out of proportion with the level of facilities on offer. That said, I would recommend requesting a room in the Radcliffe and enquiring about any current special offers.......you might just get a good deal.
(NB: this review appears on other sites under the names ALM1 and The Travelling Geordie)