The joy of travel is the unexpected beauty that pops up nearly everywhere. Peterlee in Durham springs to mind, a mainly charmless modern town with some of the best coastal walks anywhere.
Spennymoor looked a bit more challenging, a mining town without the scenery further west, and without much in the way of interest based on a speculative drive through some years ago.
It met that expectation yesterday, with the two notable exceptions below. The town is basically one long road and every cheap supermarket you could want. There’s plenty of solid Victorian buildings, and some decent pub windows (no Sam Smiths up here though).
The new Beer Guide tick is the Spoons conversion of the cinema, another really attractive and individual place, and again soaking up the dining trade.
One of the friendliest Spoons around, and also cheapest, which made up for a half of Samson (80p) being a bit end-of-the-barrel (NBSS 2.5%). The welcome here was genuine and immediately put this Spoons near the top of my list. The Allendale tap takeover next week looked very tempting.
The welcome at the Town Hall’s art exhibition was just as good, and I spent an hour in one of the best small art galleries in the UK.
I can’t do justice to the exhibitions here, of course, but the overall impact was on a par with the Lowry, and a superb effort by a small, enterprising council.
As in Retford, the nice man at the Town Hall gave me a look round the impressive ballroom and meeting rooms, a real gem. Thanks for that.