Category Archives: Brinkburn Priory

It’s not too late to book your 2017 dream wedding at Brinkburn Northumberland!

Our dedicated wedding team can help create the wedding of your dreams in 2017 with their Late Availability packages.

What’s included;

Exclusive hire of Brinkburn Northumberland, including their fabulous reception tipi’s 3 night’s accommodation for up to 16 guests in the Five Star, Gold Award Winning Stables, Priory Cottage and Bel House 3 course wedding breakfast 1 glass of fizz per guest for reception drink 1 glass of fizz per guest for toast ½ bottle wine per guest during the wedding breakfast Evening munchies for up to 150 guests

Pop along to our Spring Open Weekend. 25th & 26th February 2017, 11am - 3pm or to discover more, organise an alternative viewing date and provisionally book your perfect date please call 01665 570 870 or email and chat with Suzette.

Photography @KatyMelling

Flowers @BellsFlowers

‘Enjoy dog holidays with bracing walks, ball fetching and beach scampering’ at Brinkburn Northumberland

No need to leave your four legged friends behind when you book a holiday with us

Not only are all of our houses dog friendly we also have 35 acres of fields and woodland to explore and rivers to jump in - if you and your pooch are brave enough!  To check availability click here As featured in the new Sawday's Special Places to Stay Dog Friendly edition    

‘A page full of dreamy peachy loveliness’, Sarah & Chris at Brinkburn

Katy Melling Photography

Katy Melling Photography

Brinkburn is a rustic, idyllic venue set in the Coquet Valley (Northumberland) with the spectacular Priory as the ceremony venue and quirky tipis for the reception – it really was the best of both worlds, a touch of tradition with the added festival feel we were looking for. All of this thrown in with an unbelievably organised wedding coordinator was truly a dream come true! Brinkburn is a rustic, idyllic venue set in the Coquet Valley (Northumberland) with the spectacular Priory as the ceremony venue and quirky tipis for the reception – it really was the best of both worlds, a touch of tradition with the added festival feel we were looking for. All of this thrown in with an unbelievably organised wedding coordinator was truly a dream come true!' Excerpt from Rock My Wedding. Read the full article here Brinkburn Northumberland is hosting a wedding open weekend on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd October 11am-3pm both days. If you would like to find out how you too can make Brinkburn your perfect venue then call 01665 570 870 or email to book an appointment or simply pop in on either of those days

Winter preparation at Brinkburn

We have just been speaking to Lee from Henzell.  They are the local agricultural contractors, this means that they have lots of big tractors and diggers.   If it snows they do quite a bit of work for Northumberland County Council. keeping the roads clear and safe. snow contractors At Brinkburn we have 800m of private drive between the main road and The Stables and need to ensure that guest and couples can get in and out particularly when it snows. Brinkburn in the snow is really magical but it is always nice to know that you can leave when you want.  So now we have Lee on standby I know we can check that box.river coquet in the snow You can find out about the local weather conditions here We also have Priory Cottage available for Christmas if you want to experience winter Brinkburn first hand.

‘ This is absolutely my biggest venue crush right now’ Emma Hla Coco Wedding Venues

      Emma Hla has put together the most amazing wedding directory for Exclusive Wedding Venues across the UK, and this week she has featured Brinkburn Northumberland. Emma Hla We really like the way you can build up a search using geography and some style terms Bohemian Beats, Classic Elegance, Rustic Romance, City Chic, Modern Vintage finder-bohemian-beats finder-rustic-romance You can find our more here as-seen-on-coco-wedding-venues  

I am at peace, I am calm, I am nourished…


Get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and book a luxurious Relaxing Brinkburn Retreat. Relaxing retreat for groups of 6 Guests – 9 Guests (in five different bedrooms) for 2 night weekend stay or 3 night midweek stay with yoga, nutrition, meditation and massage in a unique and tranquil setting. Brinkburn-40 What’s included:
  • Luxury Accommodation for two weekend night – or three midweek nights for groups of six people.
  • One and a half hour yoga session followed by a 1 hour mediation session after lunch with Lucy Maresh. ‘Lucy Maresh has worked with therapeutic massage and yoga since 2004, serving individuals and families from all walks of life.’
  • Nutritional advice from Catherine Riley with morning juices, smoothies and lunch. ‘Sample uplifting juices and nourishing wholesome soups made in a mindful way just for you’. Cath will be here for you to share her knowledge and thoughts on mindful cooking and the difference it can make to how you eat, what you eat and how nourished it makes you feel.
  • One Hour tailored Massage with Josie, ‘Josie Donaldson is a fully qualified clinical aromatherapist, kinesiologist, counsellor, nutritionist and shamanic healer. She is an internationally renowned therapist.”
  • Two Breakfast hampers, plus dinner hampers for arrival night and second night.
  • And not forgetting some serious me time.
  Available Dates: January 2016 Monday 18th – Thursday 21st Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th Monday 25th – Thursday 28th Friday 29th – Sunday 31st   February 2016 Monday 1st – Thursday 4th Friday 5th – Sunday 7th Monday 8th – Thursday 11th Friday 19th – Sunday 21st (Arrival is from 4.00pm & check out is by 4.00pm) Price £220 per person The Brinkburn Team Brinkburn, Northumberland Tel: 01665 570 870 Email:   Brinkburn-63Brinkburn-49

Bees at Brinkburn, and the art of making the perfect hive.

Ever since I was a kid we have had bees at Brinkburn and they have always been kept in the walled garden.
The Walled Garden

The Walled Garden

I have vivid memories of my elder brothers and his friends sitting on the wall and persuading me to bombard the hives with apples.  We were scrumping.  The consequences were to be expected the bees were not happy and came straight for me with an unexpected ferocity.  I took off at a pace screaming and trying to bat away the bees.  This just provoked them more.  I ran along one side of the wall out of a gate through the potting shed and back along the other side of the wall.  The thing about the walled garden at Brinkburn is that it is quite a long wall,  particularly for a seven year old.  All the time I was running and batting away the bees, I could hear my brothers and friends on top of the wall hooting and laughing and cheering me on my way. Ever since then I have a great respect and not a little wariness when it comes to the hives.  They are kept along the open side of the garden and sit on top of a ha-ha, the other three side being walled .  This is a mysterious garden feature basically it was a hidden boundary, a sunken fence, separating park from garden on an estate.  It meant that when you stood in the garden you could not see the boundary between you and the landscape beyond; however no animals were able to overcome the barrier and so the garden was secure from sheep, cows, or any other roaming beasts.  The ha-ha at the walled garden is now a little dilapidated and this secret barrier is an easy hop skip and a jump for any agile sheep.  But the platform it creates is also a great place to keep the beehives. As you may be aware bees have been having quite a difficult time over the last decade with the hives being devastated and are currently declining.  The cause or causes of the losses are not yet fully understood but it's believed that a number of factors have contributed. The four most significant are: Environmental changes such as the extensive use of pesticides, specifically insecticides, in farming. The loss of the flower-rich habitat on which bees depend for food. Natural habitats such as hedgerows, hay meadows and chalk grassland have all depleted over the past 70 years as a result of the intensification of agricultural systems. Disease is another serious concern. Varroa is an external parasitic mite that attacks bees and spreads viruses to the bee. A serious mite infestation will lead to the death of an entire bee colony. Changing climate. Recent wet summers have prevented bees from doing what they do best, searching out pollen. So keeping bees is never easy and the constantly being inspected, fed, and cosseted.  Pigeon Bill is the great font of knowledge when it comes to bees.  He dresses in an ex Bio chemical suit from the Gulf War claiming that the charcoal impregnated trousers are the most effective deterrent against bee stings.  Pigeon Bills second claim to fame is his home made beehives.  Now this is a serious business.  He claims no design education and yet he seems to be pushing the boundaries when it comes to hives.  I have seen the traditional, the tower block and his latest the beehive bungalow.
The Traditional Beehive

The Traditional Beehive

Brinkburn Beehive Bungalow Style

Brinkburn Beehive Bungalow Style

Towerblock Beehive

Towerblock Beehive

Whether it has any effect on the taste of the honey I will let you know as we are starting to get some honey return now from these architectural endeavours.

Rocking Up and Down the Valley

We have just passed a fantastic weekend with the performers and audience at the Brinkburn Music Festival. We have been running a friends and Patron’s area in the White Room.


The music festival takes place over the first weekend in July and has had a focus on Baroque Choral Music since its foundation twenty years ago.  This year with a new board and artistic director the quality and sound was the same but the team wanted to make more of the ‘festival’ aspect of the event and so had a greater number of shorter concerts, a Q+A with one of the composers and some beer tasting from the VIP Brewery. The Queen’s Six performed traditional choral music as sung in The Queen's Chapel in Windsor Castle as well as arrangements of more popular songs. Mahan Esfahani played his harpsichord in a programme with a soprano voice and trumpet that included works by Scarlatti and other Baroque composers, and on Sunday the Dean of Durham Cathedral preached, with music from the choirs of Durham Cathedral and the Northumberland Church of England Academy. Next week will see the start of the Rothbury Traditional Music Festival  with a focus on folk music.


Whilst there is a main stage in the high street,and competitions, the pubs and halls are filled with pints and players playing impromptu sessions.  Last year I spent a happy afternoon watching and listening as one player would strike up a rhythm and gradually another would join in until you had twenty or so different players on a variety of instruments creating music.


There are competitions, open mic spots, ceildh, and much more singing and dancing. Earlier on in the summer there was also the Coquet Creek Music festival This is a truly out of the way event at Linbrig.


 It is a festival containing a lot of confederate flags and bands such as the Diesel Cowboys, The Hanks, and The Good Old Boys. The line dancing sessions are legendary and all under the cover of a lambing shed.


For a place with such a small population and over a large area we have a wide variety of musical events mixing up the styles and approaches but all thrilling the audiences.

And a River Runs Through It

Brinkburn is blessed by many natural assets, the woods, the topography, the location and the views; however its most striking feature has to be the River Coquet.

Coquet Map

 The River runs 40 miles from the Border of Scotland to the sea at Amble.  The entire river valley from source to sea has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest  (SSSI).  This means that it is in farely pristine condition, and full of relatively rare plants and animals The river starts near the border amongst the Cheviot Hills in the National Park  near my favourite Roman Site Chew Green

Chew Green

 If you manage to make it here then you have done well because this part of Northumberland is a long way from anywhere.  You need to be careful when you are up in this part of the valley because you are on the live firing ranges of Otterburn, check all the signs and a red flag is flown when the ranges are in operation. First stop downstream from here is Alwinton and then Harbottle with its ruined Castle.  By now the river is well defined fast flowing pools and meanders across a broad valley floor.  Followed by Sharperton and Holystone.  If you visit Holystone you will find the   Lady’s Well where St Paulinus converted and baptised 3000 Northumbrians including King Edwin on Easter Day 627. The Valley at this point contains examples of fortified bastle houses, pele towers, neolithic and iron age sites, ring and cup stone carving, carved roman gods.  You name it and if you know where to look you will be able to find it.  The entire area is called Upper Coquetdale.  Once you get to Rothbury and passed the Thrum mill

Thom Mill

the river and landscape starts to change and mellow the valley is still step sided but with more woodland, and farms. Brinkburn sits in a giant loop in the river with the Priory, Manor House, Stables, Priory Cottage and The Mill all at the top of the loop and an Iron Age promontary fort closing the neck of the loop. From the banks of the river on occasions we are able to sea Salmon, Otters, King Fishers, Oyster Catchers, and a whole lot more.   Once past Brinkburn the river flows down to Weldon Bridge and the Angler’s ArmsFrom here you can follow St Oswald’s Way, a long distance foot path from Holy Island to the Roman Wall, down to Felton.  The walk follows the course of the river as it continues to meander down to the sea.  Once at Felton there are two worthy places to visit The Running Fox a coffee shop and artisan baker and The Northumberland Arms.  Between Felton and the river mouth at Amble you feel that the landscape flattens and you are on the coastal plain.  But the valley has a couple of great historic surprises. Warkworth Hermitage

Warkworth Castle

and Warkworth Castle


Both sites are run by English Heritage.  The final point where the river meets the sea is Amble.  At the mouth of the river on the North Bank you have the most glorious sandy beach which runs North uninterrupted to Alnmouth


 and on the south side you have the harbour, fish and chips, The Boat House  a restaurant right on the harbour taking the catch from the sea and cooking it, and also the ice cream parlour Spurrelli. So in a way the Coquet Valley goes from source to sea from Ancient Rome to modern Italian.

Champagne season is here again.

Since I came back to Northumberland in 2007 I have been keen to get going with my foraging.  The simplest thing to forage is the blackberry They are easy to identify and easy to prepare and when the girls were small we had great pleasure in heading out for the hedge rows and bringing the back for a crumble. This lead to me to discover a good place for Sloe berries.  Once again they are easy to identify and simple to process.  It was whilst I was doing this that I started discussing brewing recipes with my local squirrel hunter a true country man currently dedicated to keeping the Grey Squirrels at bay.  He had a recipe for everything, blackberry whisky, sloe gin , and cider.  He introduced me to the ‘hooky stick’ for reaching the best pickings at the top of the trees.  All these are autumnal brews and require a bit of time to mature before they can really be appreciated.  A nearby farm cracked open their cider to celebrate a 40th birthday last weekend, and it wasn’t bad but any earlier in the year and it can be pretty tangy. However if you are looking for something quick and summery the only thing to brew is Elderflower Champagne. Brinkburn Elderflower I had three goes at it before I got to something drinkable. The first attempt I depended upon the natural yeast in and around the flowers.  Nothing seemed to be happening and I think my mum then took it upon herself to introduce some yeast into the process.  What came out can only be described as a cross between slime and glue.  The second attempt I picked the flowers too late and ended up throwing everything away.  I had produced a stagnant pond stew.  Each time Squirrel Hunter gave me the benefit of his years of experience after he had tasted the filthy brews. Last year I had an epiphany.  As we run a wedding business one thing which is not in short supply is empty champagne bottles.  I sourced some new cages and corks and alongside the internet page I saw and advert for some champagne yeast.  I watched the elder trees come into flower and picked as early as I could around the first week in June.  The recipe I used was very simple 34 elder flowers, 2 kilos of sugar, 10 lemons, 4 tablespoon of vinegar, 20 litres of water, and the champagne yeast. What a vintage 2013 was.  I managed two brews 52 bottles of elderflower champagne, and it was a success.  Opening a bottle was a mixture between diffusing a bomb and standing on the winner’s podium at a Gran Prix.  The alcohol content was deceptive, the taste incredible, and the last of the summer wine was finished in March. I have another week before we start bottling, and we will be drinking it in mid july.  I saw Squirrel Hunter yesterday and he hasn’t even got the brew bin out.  Can I steal a march on him?  Let’s wait and see. elderflower3