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“Terrible service, expensive overrated food at the cafe.” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Kirkharle Courtyard

Kirkharle Courtyard
kirkwhelpington | Northumberland, Newcastle upon Tyne NE19 2PE, England
01830 540362
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Type: Landmarks/ Points of Interest, Outdoors
Attraction details
York, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Terrible service, expensive overrated food at the cafe.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2014

My partner and I went to Kirkharle today and we left very disappointed indeed. Most of the shops were closed despite a sign saying shops open and another saying business as usual from the 2nd of January. Despite this, we had a look at the shops which were open and some of them had interesting items for sale at reasonable prices.

However, as you can see from the title our main gripe was the cafe. The actual room itself is very pleasant, bright, clean and welcoming. We sat down and waited, as it was table service. It wasn't busy but it took a staggering TEN minutes before anyone came over.

We ordered 1 coffee and a water for drinks and 2 Traditional British platters which came to £17.50, absolutely extortionate. The high prices were across the menu too, sandwiches were about 7 pounds each and scones were 3 pounds.

The coffee and water took another 10 minutes to arrive. I'm sorry but that is completely unacceptable, especially considering it wasn't busy. Then it took ANOTHER 15 minutes before the food arrived, baring in mind that it was a cold platter. Absolutely terrible and what was more annoying was there was no apology for the time it took. The food was decent but was no where near worth the money.

I would strongly advise against going in the cafe unless it is completely empty and you have money to throw away. The only reason I haven't put terrible is because the room was nice and the food was average.

Visited January 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Katharine A, Owner at Kirkharle Courtyard, responded to this review, February 6, 2014
Dear Sir/Madam
As owner and manager of Kirkharle Coffee House I was distressed and dismayed to read the review you gave of your visit on 2nd January. I am glad that you enjoyed the ambiance of the coffee house but shocked to hear that the service was so poor. As you say it is totally unacceptable to have to wait so long to be served – this is a point that we constantly stress in the course of ourstaff training – I can well imagine your frustration. While this is no excuse, that day was in fact unexpectedly extremely busy in both dining areas in comparison to the other days around New Year. I myself was called in urgently to assist with service. I have already drawn your comments to the attention of all our staff.
With regard to costs our freshly prepared sandwiches are competitively priced at £5.15 (NOT £7.00 as you stated) and our daily homemade scones are just £1.90 (NOT £3.00).
Re. the shops – The ‘business as usual from 2nd' January signs were on the Coffee House doors under the heading ‘Kirkharle Coffee House Xmas & New Year opening’ so clearly was referring to our business. I hope that you can appreciate the workshops are all small independent businesses who, from necessity do not all follow the same opening hours as us. This is clearly stated in all our marketing material.
I sincerely apologise for your disappointing visit and hope that you will come again so that we can treat you to a much more enjoyable experience.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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48 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Curate's Egg”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2013

Kirkharle is close to home and on the road to Wallington Hall, so we have dropped in many times over the years and seen the changes. After three recent visits, the latest today, I would say that there are a few excellent small businesses situated around the courtyard and in the converted farm buildings, but also some that could do with a good kick.

Best and most consistently good is the Vintage Cloths shop. The owners are so keen and hard working, and have a great eye for the interesting and unusual so there is always plenty to enjoy and entice.

The two potters are very good, as is the silver jeweller.

The cafe ought to be excellent. In fact the food is good. But oh the long faces of the man who must be the boss, and the staff who seem to be affected by his attitude. He is not unpleasant, but there is no welcome, no smile, and when you leave if you say thanks he and his staff don't bother to look up. Someone ought to tell the proprietors of the cafe that customer service is about making the punters feel valued and welcome.

When the cafe first opened, many years ago, the proprietors were enthusiastic and friendly, if a little unprofessional. Now the place is charmless.

There is also an 'antiques' shop which contains such a strange assortment of goods one wonders whether they were all chosen by the same person. Beautiful hand-made wooden desks support arrangements of peeling electro-plate cutlery that even a charity shop wouldn't bother trying to sell. The room was full this afternoon when the keeper told one customer in a frazzled voice 'We usually shut at four!'

So, a curate's egg. Whoever is in over all charge ought to intervene and, as other reviewers have said, up the standard in some of the shops to make the most of the opportunity and draw people out into the countryside.

Visited November 2013
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Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“My favourite little afternoon hideaway”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2013

Found this place by accident on the internet and decided to have a trip in. Excellent find and many more visits have followed usually when I fancy an early finish from work and somewhere to get away from it all.

The surroundings are beautiful, very tranquil. The staff in the coffee shop are all lovely and provide excellent service. The food and coffee is always delicious. In the nicer weather it is lovely to sit at the outside tables and watch all the birds flying in and out of their nests in the walls of the converted farmhouse, trying to catch the crumbs from your plate.

Very good choice of gifts, etc in the shops around the courtyard and all within easy walking distance.

Beautiful gardens to walk round on the finer days and all disability friendly.

Highly recommended.

Visited October 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kerikeri
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Nice food, good service”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2013 via mobile

Visited for lunch with friends in the cafe. Really nice food and good service. Interesting artisan shops to browse while there.

Martin & Susie
New Zealand

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
northumberland
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“Local artists in a stunning location”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2013

Kirkharle courtyard is in a beautiful setting made famous by Capability Brown. There are numerous local artists making pottery, jewellery,sculptures, furniture etc. A lovely coffee house to enjoy a little nibble or a meal. Only 20 minutes from Morpeth heading for Kirkwhelpington there is also a lakeside walk and a visit to one of the oldest churches innNorthumberland. Well worth the visit to see professionals at work and to purchase the reasonably priced exclusive gift or something for your home or garden. Really different from out of town shopping centres.

Visited August 2013
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