Big Beds and Big Appetites
Huge, well–furnished rooms and excellent roast lunches at St Mary’s Inn, Morpeth outweigh the slightly under resourced service at this local favourite
Review by Catherine Ferguson
St Mary’s Inn told us that their rooms are designed with one aim: “to give you a good night’s sleep.” They boast eleven large, light, airy rooms, each named after a different Northumbrian landmark or area. You could get lost in the enormous bathroom and the beds are as big as a small country. The décor is a hotchpotch of modern, clean lines and huge antique furniture, which works well with the vastness of the rooms. Apart from the man on the phone underneath our bedroom window animatedly trying to sell his car at 1 o’clock in the morning, I couldn’t argue that the scene was set to give any weary traveller a great night’s sleep.
A well-sited stop-off for southern travellers heading North of the border, the team at St Mary’s Inn welcome the whole family, including any four-legged friends. We didn’t think Elvis, our little black cat, would fancy the trip so I’m afraid we couldn’t test the pet beds and bowls that can be installed in the rooms. Still, we saw plenty of happy looking pooches in the bar sampling the dog beer and popcorn.
Situated in a former 100 year-old county asylum in Stannington near Morpeth, we were a little surprised to find ourselves navigating our way through a newly built housing development to get there. I’m reliably informed that the site of the Inn has been carefully planned to put it at the heart of a new community, along with a cricket pitch. Two years down the line, they haven’t reached ‘Heartbeat’ or ‘Trumpton’ status just yet, but propping up the bar with a crossword and a glass of Prosecco, I did meet plenty of locals dropping in for an afternoon pint or Sunday dinner.
Whilst the B&B rooms are great and the hearty local breakfast was wonderful, many of St Mary’s Inn online reviews lament the restaurant’s service. The Sunday dinner was one of the best I’ve eaten in a pub: the pink roast beef really was perfectly cooked, the veg was al dente, the roasties were crispy and the Yorkshire pudding was simply epic. True, the bar and restaurant were under-resourced and the staff’s knowledge of their food and drink was limited, but if truth be told, their Sunday afternoon footfall was exceptionally high and that can only be a testament to their high quality produce and chefs.
St Mary’s Inn wasn’t quite the luxury, quirky Inn I was expecting, but for a reasonably priced Sunday dinner, I couldn’t fault them and, despite our local used car salesman, it offered a great place to fill our empty bellies and rest our weary heads.
Enquiries: St Mary’s Inn, St Mary’s Lane, Stannington, Morpeth NE61 6BL / 01670 293293 / www.stmarysinn.co.uk/