out of 10
- lovely cottage, beautifully renovated with lots of lovely ornaments, pictures, mirrors and a well equipped kitchen. The log burner was a god-send because we didn't have great weather - once we had worked out how to light it. The bedding was gorgeous and there was lots of space for our clothes and luggage. There was plenty of crockery and cutlery and a nice big fridge.
- description on how to find it was incorrect. Described as a detached property - which threw us because that's what we were looking for. It is, in fact, attached to a house.
- Overgrown hedge at the front make it very difficult to exit the drive on to a busy, busy road - although we got used to the noise from the road after the first night.
- Not so the noise from the squeaky bed that my husband and I shared. It creaked and groaned EVERY time I turned over and I am a restless sleeper at the best of times so that was pretty miserable.
- The main bedroom was described as having a king-size bed, which might have been true but the mattress was a regular double. This left a wide, and hazardous, gap which my elderly mother could not cope with. We had to stuff the gap with a spare duvet.
- I was told the cottage was suitable for disabled guests which is just not true. My parents both need an aid to walk and whilst the rear entrance through the garden was preferable to the 2 steep steps at the front (which they would not have managed), the gravel and slab path was not easy for my mum to negotiate with her walking frame. The bathrooms are not disabled-friendly either. The lovely stand alone bath in my parent's en suite looked very elegant but was totally impracticable so they weren't able to use it. The loo had no hand rails to help a disabled user but, just as important, the loo seat was not properly fixed and swivelled. In fact, none of the loos in the cottage (3 of them) were great. The one in the small bathroom we used was so poorly situated that when sitting on it, knees and forehead were on the wall opposite - which was not too bad for us but then we are not disabled.
- There were six dining chairs, which was handy because, being only four of us, it meant we had spares to replace the two when the backs came apart in our hands.
- There were lots of cobwebs which, personally, I don't mind but I thought the very dead Christmas arrangement by the fireplace should have been removed as should the crumbs and detritus under the cushions on the sofa.
- There was no welcome pack so we didn't know how any of the appliances worked - but, hey, we are not without some intelligence and we worked things out - except for the timer on the cooker but I feel that for the price we paid, we should not have had to. We also didn't know when the dustbins (which were nearly full) would be emptied, nor what the policy was on glass recycling.
- The owner had given me two recommendations for eating out but one pub was up for sale and was only serving Sunday lunch and the other one was not remotely suitable for people with walking sticks/frames. However, we found the most fabulous restaurant, The Duke of Wellington, just a couple of miles away at Riding Mill but not until half-way through out stay. When we arrived Saturday afternoon, after a long drive, it would have been great to know that that was within a few minutes drive but my husband and I spent an hour checking out the 2 recommendations we had been given and then driving to Hexham to get a take-away from Waitrose.
However, on balance, if the owner had spent less on 'dressing' the cottage and more on the two staples of comfort; good beds/mattresses and loos, it would be a first-class option for either a couple or a group of adult friends/family to spend a lovely, relaxing time. For me, the mezzanine balustrade would make it too risky for adventurous children. Oh, there is no pond by the way but there is a water butt up in the corner with a few goldfish in it.