5 stunning holiday cottages that are perfect for an accessible holiday in Northumbria
With its rugged landscapes, remote seascapes, historical monuments and countryside trails, Northumbria is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled regions of the UK, and makes for a fantastic holiday destination. However, these features may also imply that it is not particularly well-suited as an access-for-all location – but this is not the case. Over the last decade and beyond, the county has been fully committed to making the diverse countryside terrain as accessible as possible, and has made great strides towards making this happen. An accessible holiday in Northumbria might take in a trip to Hadrian’s Wall, traversing lakes, tarns and reservoirs, seeing some of the vast array of wildlife in one of the many Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, visiting the breathtaking Northumberland Coast, or soaking in some of the culture and rich history of this fascinating part of the country. All of this can be done from a base in the heart of some of the region’s most spectacular areas. We have many wheelchair accessible self-catered holiday cottages that are as steeped in history as the region itself – here are five of the best, all of which have been awarded Mobility Level 2 from the National Accessibility Scheme.
Ash Cottage is one of 10 luxurious stone cottages skilfully converted from former farm buildings at Tottergill Farm, near Brampton. Nestled on the slopes of Castle Carrock Fell to the north of the Eden Valley, the cottages boast unrivalled panoramic views to the east over the Castle Carrock Reservoir and beyond to the hills of the Lake District and the Solway Firth.
Ash Cottage has been beautifully converted from part of the ground of the ground floor of the Grade II listed tower barn, and is a wonderful character cottage, just for two. The accommodation is all on one level, and features underfloor heating throughout to keep you toasty. There is an open plan living/dining area boasting a wood burning stove, 32” screen TV with Blueray/DVD player and doors out to its own private enclosed garden, with patio furniture and barbecue. The well-equipped kitchen is furnished with cooker, ceramic hob, microwave, fridge/freezer, dishwasher and washer/dryer. The plush bedroom features a super king-size bed and en-suite wet room, as well as an LCD TV and iPod dock. Parking isn’t a problem, as there is ample space outside the cottage.
Another of the Tottergill Farm Cottages, Oak Cottage sleeps 2 and has also been converted from the existing Grade II listed barn. This luxury character cottage is perfect for a romantic getaway any time of the year, and, with its accommodation all on one floor, is well suited for guests with limited mobility.
Oak Cottage is on a first-floor level, and offers breathtaking views across the reservoir to Carlisle and the Solway Firth. It features a spacious living area complete with wood burning stove, 42” flatscreen TV with Blueray/DVD player, doors out to its own private enclosed garden with patio, a hot tub and a barbecue, where guests can sit back and enjoy the gorgeous views. The kitchen is well-equipped, with electric oven, gas hob, microwave, fridge, freezer, dishwasher and washer/dryer. The bedroom comes with super king-size bed, TV and iPod dock, with an en-suite shower room and WC. There is private parking to the rear of the cottage.
The third and final cottage to be converted from Tottergill’s Grade II listed barn, Watson Cottage is a luxury five-star cottage that can accommodate up to six guests. Accommodation is over two levels, but it is accessed via the first floor, which houses the kitchen, dining, and living area, as well as a wheelchair accessible super king-size bedroom, and, like all of the cottages listed here, it has been awarded with Level 2 Accessibility status from the National Accessibility Scheme.
Watson Cottage has been finished to an exceptional standard, with granite worktops and solid oak doors, and is incredibly spacious. The open plan kitchen, dining and living area on the first floor has stunning views looking out across the reservoir, and is impeccably equipped – the living room has a log burning stove, a 50” TV with home cinema surround sound system and DVD player, and the kitchen is well-furnished with electric oven, hob, microwave, fridge/freezer, dishwasher and washer/dryer. Double patio doors lead out on to an enclosed garden complete with a jacuzzi hot tub. The first-floor bedroom is wheelchair accessible, with super king-size bed (zip and link bed which can be twin beds), en-suite shower room and WC, LCD TV and iPod dock.
On the ground floor there are two more bedrooms, both with zip and link beds that can be either twin beds or double and super king-size beds, respectively. Both rooms have en-suites, LCD TVs and iPod docks – bathrobes and slippers are provided. There is ample parking to the rear.
Standing in an elevated position with panoramic views over the Weardale Way in the North Pennines, Alice’s Cottage – and its neighbouring cottage, Nelly’s Cottage – is ideal for those seeking peace and tranquillity with the additional benefit of relaxing in five-star luxury. Set all on one level, this luxurious cottage offers accessible accommodation without compromising on quality.
Both cottages are located on the owners’ traditional working hill farm, parts of which date back over 200 years. The land around Low Cornriggs Farm is registered with English Nature as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the wonderful wild flower meadows which peak from the end of May to the beginning of July and the abundance of unusual fauna and flora. There are frequent opportunities to observe rare birds like Yellow Wagtails, Curlews and Lapwings.
Alice’s Cottage has three bedrooms – one king-size with en-suite shower and WC; a twin room with TV, walk-in wardrobe and space for an extra single bed; and a single room. There is a separate shower room with large roll-in shower with wheelchair access and WC. The well-proportioned lounge features log effect stove, TV with satellite channels, DVD, Wi-Fi and CD radio, while the kitchen/dining room, has TV, electric oven, halogen hob, microwave, fridge/freezer, dishwasher and washing machine. Guests can book breakfast at the Farmhouse – which has been awarded Taste of Durham and AA Awards for its eggcup breakfast.
Neighbouring Alice’s Cottage at Low Cornriggs Farm, Nelly’s Cottage is a five-star luxury cottage that sleeps six, is all on one level, and has been awarded Accessibility Level 2 from the National Accessibility Scheme.
This three-bedroom cottage features a king-size room with en-suite bathroom with bath and WC, two twin rooms, and a shower room with roll-in shower with wheelchair access and WC. Both the lounge and kitchen/dining room are well-furnished, with electric log effect stove and satellite TV in the lounge, and TV, electric oven, halogen hob and a host of other amenities in the kitchen. There is a sheltered courtyard garden with furniture and charcoal barbecue outside, as well as off road parking for four cars.
Alice’s Cottage and Nelly’s Cottage can be booked together for large parties, together sleeping up to 11 people.
Accessible Northumbria Destinations
There are a wide range of fantastic places to visit in Northumbria that have accessible facilities. The Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site is only a short drive from Ash Cottage, Oak Cottage and Watson Cottage. Sites such as Vindolanda and the Roman Army Museum are fully accessible to wheelchair users, with over 70% of the remains accessible as well. You can find full details of Vindolanda’s accessibility here. The wall itself is accessible in many places – Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, for example, has written in a travel column of how she was able to get up close to the wall very easily at several sites along the wall. At Housesteads Fort, a cleared path is provided for the short walk from the visitor centre to the Wall and Fort.
There are several attractions on the doorstep of Alice’s Cottage and Nelly’s Cottage, and in the surround North Pennines in general. The nearby Mining Museum at Killhope has been restored with accessibility in mind, and great effort has been taken to make the site as accessible as possible. The spectacular High Force waterfall is only a short drive from the cottages, the highest single drop waterfall in England. High Force is wheelchair accessible, although it is recommended that able pushers accompany wheelchair users. You can see full visitor access information here.
Further afield, there are a whole range of accessible places to visit in Northumbria – Accessible Countryside is a great resource, with a long list of walks, country parks and nature reserves that are accessible for visitors with limited mobility.