Craster is a small coastal village situated midway up the Northumberland coast, reasonably close to the market town of Alnwick and, being situated as it is at the end of the only road leading to the village there is no through traffic to disturb its peace. The attractions of Northumberland’s many stately houses, its host of castles and its many other attractions, its glorious scenery, and its many coastal walks, for those so inclined, are all within an easy reach.
The cottage itself is part of a short, south-facing terrace on entry to the village. The table and chairs in the front garden, just outside the front door offer an excellent place to eat out of doors – weather permitting, of course! – but if you don’t want to eat, why not, on a sunny day just sit and relax, soak up the sun and just watch the world go by.
Parking in the village for non-residents is restricted to a car park on the outskirts but the cottage offers parking facilities right outside the front gate for one large, or possibly two medium-sized cars.
The owners are happy to welcome well-behaved pets which could, to some guests be a great boon.
I have visited the cottage on three occasions now and the owners have continuously and considerably improved the facilities offered so that they are now of a very good standard and the comfort and needs of the guests during their stay is thoughtfully provided for.
The kitchen offers a wide range of facilities which include a cooker, fridge, freezer, microwave, kettle, toaster, washing machine and, most conveniently, a dishwasher. A broad selection of cutlery and crockery is provided.
The lounge is an adequately sized room offering very comfortable easy chairs to relax in and there is a small dining table sufficiently large to accommodate four people comfortably. A good quality Freeview TV and DVD player are offered along with a CD player. Wi-fi is a recent addition to the facilities and a land-line telephone is provided with an “honesty dish” to pay for outgoing calls. (Why not give your friends the number so that they can call you instead?) The wi-fi and telephone are essential as reception for mobile phones is very patchy in the area. There is a bay window at the front of the room which offers the facility to sit and look seawards and, in the early morning, to see the impressive sight of the sun rising over the horizon. There is a bookshelf with a variety of books to read and also to be found are various magazines and some children’s games, all of which should help to provide entertainment if the weather is sufficiently inclement.
The main bedroom upstairs offers a very comfortable double bed with a convenient bedside table and lamp on each side and, in addition an en-suite facility which could be very useful if a family is staying but, as it is rather on the small side the main bathroom may be found more convenient to use. The second bedroom faces to the rear of the property and offers two, again very comfortable, but here, single beds with a bedside table and lamp between them. The bathroom is a decent size and offers all the usual facilities including a shaver point and heated towel rail. I would personally criticise the shower facility as it is not attached to the wall and the handset must be held all the time whilst showering to prevent water from splashing all around the room. [My own preference is for a wall attachment to hold the handset and with either a screen or curtain to protect the area outside the bath – others though may to quite happy with the current facility.] All three of the main upstairs rooms are of decent size and by no means cramped.
The central heating system keeps the whole cottage pleasantly warm for those times when the drops below comfort levels, sufficiently so that the log burning stove is unlikely to be needed.
The only other aspect that I can find to criticise about the cottage itself is the staircase. I find the stairs to be rather steep with not very deep tread and I tend to descend them more carefully than I would a more normally dimensioned staircase. Again, others may not find this to be an inconvenience.
There is very little in the way of shops in the immediate vicinity of Craster so it is worth considering stocking up or restocking supplies in Alnwick where there is, in addition to the usual range of shops in the market town itself, a large supermarket to the south of the town conveniently accessed just off the A1.
The bus stop, which is right outside the front door serves X18 and 418 buses travelling up the coast as far as Berwick or southward to Alnwick, the X18 continuing onwards on the coast route to Morpeth and then on to Newcastle. The downside though is that these services are not very frequent. Many walkers take the bus up or down the coast a bit and then walk back along the coastal paths – a clever way of not having to retrace one’s steps to where the car was parked!
I would have had no hesitation of offering this accommodation five stars but for the stairs and shower, and for these alone I must reluctantly deduct a star.
Overall, this is a most pleasant and comfortable cottage to stay in and in a most interesting and beautiful part of the country. Whether your interests are in exploring or walking or just relaxing I can recommend it as the base for a most enjoyable holiday.
Review collected in partnership with VacationRentals.com