THE ALNWICK MYSTERIES

27th January. Soon be February. That’s Spring, isn’t it ? Spring brings Easter, Easter brings Summer, Summer may bring a review that leads to a tentative plan for pubs to return in an entirely unattractive manner.

How am I passing the time ? Hoovering, washing, reading great literature. Well, only if you count BRAPA in that 3rd category.

I’ve been exploring Alnwick virtually.

Famous for the Harry Potter castle, before the author was cancelled (I read that on Mumsnet), and a wonderful garden featuring a treehouse that ought to be a micro.

It’s the Southwold of the North, or perhaps its Barnard Castle. A middle class playground, its appeal tarnished slightly by the case of the boy who sank into the pavement.

Don’t worry, he probably popped out the other side, somewhere near Stamford.

The real mystery of Alnwick is the near permanence of the two GBG entries. The Tanners Arms and John Bull have been in the Guide since Roger Protz was in shorts.

But I’ve no interest in those two, not when I can look inside the Craft Union pub.

You can stay in the Queen’s Head, in a proper pub rather than a tired Best Western, and actually get to go to the GBG duo which never seem to open during the day.

The 360 company who took the indoor photos seem to have caught it on a quiet day.

There’d normally be a queue a dozen deep for the exotic local guest beer.

Bench seating, bar stools, TV screens and juke box. Hopefully they’ll have taken the local beer off and put Doom Bar on before you get there.

You’re still worrying about the lad in the yellow puffa jacket, aren’t you ?

20 thoughts on “THE ALNWICK MYSTERIES

  1. Interesting you match Alnwick and Southwold. I love Southwold and was a bit underwhelmed by Alnwick. We did have a phenomenal breakfast at our B and B there though.

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    1. When you combine it with the Northumbrian coast, perhaps. I mean more that it’s a real middle-class day out with those gardens, the castle and expensive tea rooms. Perhaps I need an overnighter there.

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      1. We also were there on Tuesday which wasn’t a great night to be in town from a pub perspective. Loved the coast, Alnmouth and Seahouses.

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      2. Seahouses had loads of older folk on day trips from Newcastle, like a mini-Great Yarmouth. Alnwick and Alnmouth get the educated southerners staying up for a week in expensive self catering cottages. I rarely see anyone further inland toward the Scottish Borders.

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    2. It’s a long time since I was there, and it may have become more touristy since due to the H**** P***** factor, but I have to say I found it a rather dour and insular place.

      And surely you can’t write about Alnwick without a mention of the Dirty Bottles, although I see it has now been turned into a trendy modern pub.

      Also the famous statue of the Percy Lion by the bridge, which unfortunately suffers from a tendency for vandals to break off its tail.

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  2. Had a good laugh at this: “The Tanners Arms and John Bull have been in the Guide since Roger Protz was in shorts.” –Now you’ve got me wondering if Roger had an interest in pubs even when he was a wee lad. “Mum, instead of the ice cream shop, can we go to The Hare and Hounds?”

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  3. “That’s Spring, isn’t it ?”

    Ahem. March 21st… a day after you want pubs to open in Northumberland. 😉

    “I’ve been exploring Alnwick virtually.”

    I’ll be doing that with my better half if she goes oop north to work for a few months without me. 😉

    “and a wonderful garden featuring a treehouse that ought to be a micro.”

    Or home to the Keebler cookie elves.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keebler_Company#Keebler_Elves

    “its appeal tarnished slightly by the case of the boy who sank into the pavement.”

    I shan’t believe any more of your photos are real. 😉

    “You can stay in the Queen’s Head, in a proper pub rather than a tired Best Western,”

    But, you still couldn’t go to the pub bit, right?

    “You’re still worrying about the lad in the yellow puffa jacket, aren’t you ?”

    I’m becoming wise to your ways.*

    * – or at least suspicious of nefarious photoshopping or some such.

    Cheers

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    1. No, you still couldn’t go the pub as a hotel resident. I think the only loophole for getting a pint is/was going for an international flight and using the Wetherspoons after departures; and then not getting on the flight.

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  4. I somehow missed the John Bull on my only visit so far to Alnwick. Was not impressed by the Tanners Arms, and the Dirty Bottles is pretty poor. If I want to see dust and cobwebs, there’s a cupboard in my kitchen which will save me a long and at the present time illegal journey to Northumberland.

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    1. You Sheffield folk are so posh ! Most craft beer is made of cobwebs, isn’t it ?

      I’m inclined to agree that the 2 GBG entries left little to no impression on me 20 years ago, and I’ve never found them open since. Ale Gate (you guess what that is) has just joined them in GBG21, but of course we only had 2 weeks to visit new GBG21 pubs before they closed again.

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