The Lord Crewe has now re-opened and is ready to welcome guests who wish to dine in The Crypt Bar or The Bishop's Dining Room, as well as those who wish to stay overnight in our cosy accommodation.

To make an enquiry, you can contact us:
by phone - 01434 675 469,
by email  - linda.geddes@lordcrewearmsblanchland.co.uk
or via our new website  - www.lordcrewearmsblanchland.co.uk.

This blog will now end and further updates on our 'Goings On' can be seen on the blog of the new website.

As we draw a line under our pre-opening endeavours, we look forward to the next Chapter. Thank you for following our progress to date and we hope to see you soon at 'The Crewe' be it for a drink, a bite to eat or a short break.


2nd April - Meet the teamAll set for the re-opening of the pub at the weekend and the hotel next week, Tommy and the team are all looking so smart in their new uniforms and are eager to welcome the first guests to the 'new-look' Lord Crewe.

31st March - The names are out of the hat!

Thank you to everyone who entered our '21 rooms at £21' Prize Draw and congratulations to the lucky 21 winners:

Ms Abram, High Wycombe      Ms Guest, Durham
Ms Aitken, Chippenham           Ms Hornsey, Consett
Ms Bessford, Newcastle          Mr K Jobling, Durham
Mr Bone, London                     Mr Kennedy, Edinburgh
Ms Brown-Humes, Bristol        Ms Lowther-Wright, Skelmersdale
Ms Callaghan, Hexham           Mr Maggiore, Sunderland
Ms Chaston, Corsham             Mr Morpeth, Cardiff
Ms Davies, Stratford                Ms Rake, Corbridge
Mr Eccleston, Prudhoe            Ms Turnbull-Hall, Cambridge
Ms Fawcett, Leeds                  Ms Westland, Chester
Ms Fitzgerald, Chichester

We look forward to welcoming you all to 'The Crewe' over the next few months...

18th March 2014 - Its the final countdown....!

The sun may be hiding and the rain threatening, but here at the Lord Crewe we are full of excitement as the final count down begins.The signs are up as proof (the dates ARE firm!), and the team are heading over the road from our old base camp in the once village deli to the office in the Lord Crewe Arms; we can't quite believe it! There's no going back now...

Our Design Director Nicky Farquhar is co-ordinating the troops and the site is packed with bodies getting the final jobs done; the fires are being lit, Dorothy and Tom Forster's portraits have returned to their rightful home, and sweeping has begun in earnest. So, please do pencil in the dates and take a drive into the hills to experience the new Lord Crewe Arms at Blanchland, just in time for Easter.

Baits, Bottles and Brews...London bound
Our chefs headed off to London last week to taste the delights of the big smoke. Signed-up by the boss Mr Simon Hicks, our Sous Chef, Pastry Chef and Junior Sous enjoyed the pass at The Ritz and Scott’s during their hectic lunchtime service. Meanwhile (enjoying the calm in the storm!), Simon met with his old mentors Kevin Gratton and Mark Hix, They ran through our menus picking their brains and sharing the excitement for The Crewe. Home now in the hills of the north, they're full of ideas to bring a touch of London flare to our country kitchen. 
(The handsome man in the middle is our own Simon Hicks!)

Golden Brew..
And it wasn't just the chefs having fun, the boys behind the bar have been working with Wylam Brewery to concoct our very own 'Lord Crewe Brew'. A golden ale it's brimming full of golden ingredients; pale malt, golden naked oats, gold hops...fresh, clean and full of flavour, once our Crypt bar doors open you will just have to try it! 

3rd March 2014 - The Coat of Arms returns
Synonymous with The Crewe is the wonderful coat of arms that adorns the front of the building facing onto Blanchland's village square. For the last few months our infamous signage has been getting some TLC at local sign-makers Michael Gray of Morpeth.
Now all ready for our spring opening, our sign has come home - it's had a wee change of lettering and two black lions instead of a white and black and its hanging has made us feel pretty proud and very eager to open!
...and just in case you’re wondering our Lord Crewe Latin moto is 'United Strength is stronger'.

19th February 2014 - Baits, Bottles and Brews' - Meet Willie!

This week's to-do list has been full of delicious meat. We have had Geordie bangers, brioche burgers and incredible butcher knows best black pudding. Excitingly, the Crewe kitchen has made an all important team up with JD Halls of Corbridge, owned by Jim Higginson. His right-hand man Willie Grant manages the Corbridge branch and has been a great help talking us through the very best that Northumberland has to offer so that we can make sure we get it on our Bishop's Dining Room Menu - watch this space!

Chefs tip for the perfect banger:
Blanche your sausages before you fry them as this not only makes sure they are nicely cooked but importantly avoids the heartbreaking 'burnt on the outside, raw in the middle' combo.

5th February 2014 - Baits, Bottles and Brews - Knowing a Good Bean.

Coffee-tasting today for two lucky 'Crewe' members.

This is our third tasting in two weeks and it has to be said we are starting to feel the passion exuberated by the barista's we have met and none more so than the boys at Café Ginevra in Prudhoe, Northumberland.

These two brothers have sourced their beans from Scilly's Ginevra Roasting Company and as we are learning the different strengths and flavours of espresso beans, we are certainly smitten with the boys 'Silver Blend' - rich, smooth and strong enough to remind you that you are drinking freshly ground espresso and... oh the smell...is there anything better than that earthy, smoky fragrance? Thank you Cafe Ginevra.

4th February 2014

When our doors finally open (yes we promise soon!) so will begin our ‘Bait, Bottles and Brews’ blog or to translate; our Lord Crewe secrets to making good food, drinking good wine, and quenching our thirst with even better ales! With confessions shared from our Kitchen brigade and the boys behind the bar, expect juicy garden gossip, secret ingredients to be spilled, up-coming trends to be revealed and DIY guides simple enough to make this a must do at home, not just a can do! 

In the meantime, to share in our excitement and to reveal a little bit of what’s going on behind the scenes, watch out for snippets of our ‘Bait, Bottles and Brews’ detailed here on the Lord Crewe Blog, as we taste our way through Northumberland to make the final decisions on our Lord Crewe offerings (it’s a hard life you know!)

Baits, Bottles and Brews - Cuppa's Galore!
This weeks 'To do' is hot beverages and as if the gods themselves have timed it, we are rained in to our office with a view! So what better to do than indulge ourselves with a nice warming cuppa? Or maybe a few....

Green, black, white and herbal we never knew tea could cause this much commotion and with a good choice of local suppliers to pick from, this decision is a definite challenge! (Maybe it's time to call on Nigella and her spoon..) 

But with vintage tea cars and brew experts flooding the office, our tea knowledge has most definitely increased with each gulp! Which to pick may be undecided but why its so important has been well and truly cemented; so much so we have to share:

Picks from today's best tea tips!

- Drink lots of it! It enhances health, slows the ageing process and strengthens the immune system!

- Don't feel guilty! Tea is full of flavonoids that help you burn of excess fat (just maybe cut out the accompanying bourbon!) 

- Best served! To make sure you always serve the perfect brew never serve it too hot, keep it light, don't brew for too long (no one likes a bitter cuppa) and never rebrew your leaves!

3rd February 2014

Thanks to the well-attended recruitment days back in November and the continuing enquiries we have been receiving about working with us, we are delighted that we have recruited some great people that will each play their part in restoring the reputation off "The Crewe" to something of its former glory.

We are howver always looking for good people, particularly bar and waiting staff as well as  chefs of all levels so if you are interested in joing our team please email careers@lordcrewearmsblanchland.co.uk we'd love to hear from you.

31st January 2014

Much to look forward to up north in 2014 as we edge closer to the re-opening.

With still lots going on behind the scenes, it’s all starting to come together nicely (albeit a little slower than we had hoped!).

With a blanket of snow having fallen in the village today (as beautiful as it looks, it’s a bit of a nuisance), so it's probably best if we say we’ll keep you posted as to the opening date...for now at least.

Our spirits however will not be dampened and excitement continues to build so, if you’d like to make an enquiry, book an overnight stay or a special event with us, do get in touch and Linda, Emilia or Claire will be delighted to bring you up-to-date with our plans and talk to you about yours.

Back soon


12th December 2013

Exciting discoveries made at Lord Crewe today as this beautiful carving was found in the attic...

And by the looks of it, the gardening is also coming on!

Plus we found this hole in the floor of the guardrobe, also known as a medieval loo (left). However we are happy to report that we are planning to upgrade these particular facilities before we open 

However not all the finds were quite so 'basic'. This stained glass window, although also medieval, is certainly far prettier to look at than the loo...
31st October 2013

We've nearly finished our major renovations at The Lord Crewe Arms, and all being well will be re-opening the doors in March. The hotel will have 21 lovely bedrooms; a restaurant that will be fun, informal, and very good; a busy bar in the crypt for locals, and plenty of fire side eating for everyone that calls in.

The village of Blanchland was originally built as an Abbey in The 12th century and The Lord Crewe was used as the Abbots Guest House. Many of the bedrooms occupy part of the village square which housed the Abbey's refectory. The Crewe has therefore been offering hospitality for nearly 900 years. More recently as a hotel, it has been a backdrop for many special occasions and family celebrations, until its recent demise

We are now looking to put in place a team that can restore the reputation off "The Crewe" to something of its former glory. We need people who have a good understanding, knowledge, and a love of food, wine and service , but more importantly people with the personality to create the atmosphere we are looking for, in which our guests can relax, have fun, be themselves, and be cared for. We need people with a "can do" attitude, who love to please, don't stand on ceremony, like to get stuck in whatever the task,  rarely say no, love to work, and enjoy being part of a team with goals and objectives.

If this sounds like you, please fill in the application form on the recruitment page, or come along to our recruitment open days, any time between 11.00 and 6.00  on the 19th and 20th November at the Village Hall in Blanchland. These are informal meetings, purely for you to find out more about us, what our plans are, and what opportunities are available. More formal interviews will take place the week beginning 9th December. The successful team will start work with us on the 20th February for a week of pre-opening training

Specifically we are looking for people to fill the following positions:
Chefs at all levels ( to work for our Head Chef Simon Hicks) Kitchen porters, Restaurant Manager/ess, Waiters / waitresses, Bar staff, Receptionists, General Assistants, Cleaners, Book keeper ( part-time).

We need a flexible work force so applications for part-time work will be welcome. Most staff will need to be prepared to work weekends, evenings, and holiday periods, and we have some accommodation close to the village for live-in staff.

Who are we?
The Lord Crewe Arms in owned by The Lord Crewe's Charity but run under lease by Calcot Hotels. Calcot Hotels is a small privately owned hotel company with 2 hotels, a pub, and a catering company in Gloucestershire. Our other properties include Calcot Manor and Barnsley House. We are a company that believe in investing in, and developing  our teams and are proud of the long service that many of our key staff have given.

The Lord Crewe Arms will be managed by Tommy Mark, who lives in the village with his wife Emilia and family. 

11th October 2013

On 19th and 20th November 2013 we will be holding a recruitment day, so you too could become part of The Lord Crewe Arm's future!

We are looking for a range of people to join our hospitality team, from chefs of all levels, waiters, barmen, receptionists and general assistants, to a book-keeper...so if you have the dedication, skills and personality there could be an inspiring future for you here.

Further details will follow nearer the time, so keep an eye on the blog, and in the local press, for more information.

9th October 2013

We're pleased to announce that The Lord Crewe Arms has appointed it's new Head Chef!

Australian-born Simon Hicks will leave his role as head chef at Hix Soho for the position here in Blanchard and alongside General Manager Tommy Mark, and Hotel Events Manager Emilia Mark, will take up his role in December as part of our 20-strong opening team. Chairman Richard Ball says that the “...experience, approach and personalities of both Tommy and Simon clearly highlights the tone and character that can be expected of The Lord Crewe Arms and how it will blend in alongside its sister hotels".

When we open next year The Lord Crewe Arms will become the fourth property in Calcot Hotels’ portfolio, alongside Gloucestershire’s 35-bedroom Calcot Manor, the 18-bedroom Barnsley House, and the six-bedroom Village Pub.

7th October 2013

As mentioned in the latest edition of 'The Chat', our prize draw where you could be in with the chance of staying in one of our 21 rooms for only £ 21, has now  gone live!!
Simply click the link below and follow the instructions...and good luck!

21st August 2013

It's great news that our General Manager, Tommy Mark, and his wife Emilia (Hotel Events Manager) are both local people and grew up in the area. Not only that, but they will be living in the village full-time once the hotel doors open!

Tommy grew up in the hospitality trade helping manage his Dad's watering hole in Hexham, Northumberland. After a brief time away, he missed the 'buzz' of the pub trade and moved back into managing various gastro pubs in Northumberland. Meanwhile Emilia is one of a long-line of hoteliers based in Beverley in East Yorkshire and although she took the academic route for a while, she was eventually drawn back tot he hotel business. She and Tommy had known each other since school, as have many of their siblings who also went to the local school. But it was after she and Tommy got together seven years ago and got married in a village down the road from Blanchland, that they returned to the area with a vengeance.

They currently have a three year old boy, called Theo, as well as Jasper who is 18 months, but when they take up permanent residency in Blanchland, the rest of the 'family' will be coming with them...it seems that Bella and Bess, the family chickens, will also be setting up roost and making a permanent home...

You would imagine that a young family would be hard enough work on it's own, but with a new opening date for The Lord Crewe Arms of spring 2014, there'll be plenty coming up to keep ALL the family busy! 

19th August 2013

It seems that the magic of the area affects all sorts of visitors.  These doves, come pigeons (below), are obviously the product of a very particular 'love affair'....Only in the hills of Northumberland!

31st July 2013
It's all go at Lord Crewe Arms. The Angel, our 10 bedroom guest house across the square, has had boxes unpacked, decorators in and carpet fitters (Silkwood's of Durham) who have even carpeted the White House!

29th July 2013
Just a reminder....that as soon as we can finalise the opening date we will be having a one-off sale - the first 21 rooms sold on that day will be sold at £21 a night, BB, (one night only) so keep us in your favourites! You can also follow us on twitter and facebook. Don't forget, because once the rooms are gone, they're gone!

7th July 2013

We are excited to share that the Lord Crewe Estate covers a lovely stretch of the River Derwent, with a healthy stock of wild brown trout, or as it is locally known, 'broon trout'. 

Reaching up to 1lb in weight, these wily little fellows appear in our waters from March onwards. The perfect way to enjoy the tranquillity of the surrounding grouse moors, and with the prospect of your own catch for dinner, we will be happy to put everything in place for a day's fishing at the Lord Crewe.

And if its bigger fishes you are looking to fry, we are but a stones' throw from Derwent Reservoir and the banks of the Tyne River. With Derwent offering specimen catches of Trout up to 20lbs, and the Tyne regarded as the best Salmon river in England and Wales, either will make for an exhilarating days fishing.

27th June 2013

We are delighted that planning consents are now falling into place and that work on restoring The Lord Crewe Arms can soon begin in earnest.

Architect Chris Reed is now making the final arrangements for work to begin in the first week of July. We have lots to do. All the wiring and plumbing has to be replaced , fireplaces restored, windows repaired and replaced, kitchen and bar refitted and  so on. We’re looking forward to unblocking the front doors to the cottages on  the square that were bricked up sometime over the last  50 years.

The garden is still full of holes created in the recent archaeological dig, and we are looking into ways of preserving some of the discoveries for all to see. It’s given us a huge sense of the historical significance of the Lord Crewe, and the village of Blanchland.

We are determined to complete the works before Christmas but it’s likely to be later in the new year that we finally get the hotel ready for opening - keep watching for the all-important date! We are now taking bookings for Easter and beyond.

We are also starting to think about recruitment now and will be advertising an Open Day soon to set out the opportunities.

We also now have had our first potential wedding enquiry pencilled in the diary, so if you’re thinking about plans for later in 2014, now is the time to get in touch, enquiries@lordcrewearms.co.uk and we can keep you informed about when we are opening and when we may be available for your function.

28th May 2013
If you are interested in the great outdoors, then very close to Lord Crewe Arms you can discover the spectacular High Force Waterfall, one of the largest waterfalls in Britain.

From its rise as a trickle, high on the heathered covered fells at the top of the North Pennines, the River Tees steadily grows and gathers pace, until it suddenly and spectacularly drops 21 metres into a plunge pool below.

Located at Forest-in-Teesdale High Force has car parking, picnic areas, a shop and a café on site. A wonderful gently sloping woodland walk of a third of a  mile culminates at the falls and has several resting points along the way. 

High Force is open daily 10am-5pm from 25th March until 31st October, although entry is still possible (weather permitting) during the low season from November until Easter. 

Disabled visitors are also catered for. There is disabled access to a viewing area at the base of the falls and designated disabled parking and toilet facilities are available.

Surely a must during your stay at Lord Crewe Arms whatever the time of the year you decide to stay with us!

24th May 2013 Taking pictures of taking pictures!
Local artist Paul Stangroom braved the Lord Crewe Arms on Wednesday to photograph our beautiful windows which are believed to originally come from the medieval abbey. We are hoping he is inspired to add one to his wonderful Northumberland Window Collection. Delivering coal as a young lad to earn a few bob in Washington, Paul was particularly enamoured by our coal shoot shutters and the distinctive smell of burning coal in the village! In his words there's 'nothing quite like it'.

22nd May 2013
We're pleased to announce that you can now buy gift vouchers for the Lord Crewe Arms. These can be redeemed once we're up and running and could be a great birthday, anniversary or Christmas present! Simply click on the 'Buy Vouchers' link on any page and follow the instructions

15th May 2013
Still waiting for planning I'm afraid so still no firm opening date as yet but thank you to all those that have been 'keeping an eye' on our progress (albeit disappointingly slow!)
Also, a big thank you to those that contacted us in response to our request for room name suggestions- we did promise a free night's stay if we took up your idea and so we are delighted to say that we look forward to welcoming Mrs Roberts to the Lord Crewe Arms in the near future. She was the first to suggest that maybe we should be led by the works and poetry of WH Auden, and in particular the mines of the Pennines around Blanchland.



Building Update

We're still waiting for our planning consents to come through so unfortunately are unable to name an opening date. We are about to carry out a geophysical survey on the lawns behind the hotel to establish exactly where the foundations for both The Chapter House and The Infirmary of the Abbey might be. They are believed to be under the garden somewhere, and we don't want to disturb them. This, along with the detailed heritage statement prepared to accompany  our applications will all add to  the well documented history of the medieval abbey, and Blanchland village.

One of our objectives at The Lord Crewe is to provide a more sustainable way to keep the big property warm in the winter. Because of its age and its immense historic value it is a hard building to bring up to modern standards of insulation (the abbots must have been hardy folk!). We are hoping to install a bio fuel system to keep it toasty. More on this when its finalised.

Oh, and there’s the garden...
Garden Consultants Daphne Scott-Harden and Denise Herdman, discuss the re-planting of the Lord Crewe Arms' gardens with gardener Peter Everitt.

The garden is full of fascinating stones that must have come from the Abbey, used as all sorts of guises from drainage channels to steps.


On the front elevation of LCA there is a tiny blocked-in window just above the door to the bar. Inside this window sits a small cupboard in the Dorothy Foster Room that had been used to keep a collection of books. Rumour has it that this was a "garderobe" or medieval toilet, otherwise known as a "long drop". Can anyone tell us anymore about this? 

Room Name Suggestions!

We are keen to find a local theme to put names to the LCA's 21 rooms. We are considering using the vast amount of bird life found on the moor, or even the intriguing names of the mine shafts in the region. We would welcome any other suggestions - for a free night's dinner, bed and breakfast if we take your idea up!



We hope LCA will become an enchanting wedding venue once again. If you've just said "yes" and are thinking of a date this summer, do let us know and we'll share our plans with you at this early stage.


The LCA has clearly been used as place for family celebrations for many generations and we hope it will be again. We would love to hear your memories, recent and old. We are offering dinner for two for the best memories, and are hoping to host a tea party for the those that stretch back the furthest in the first few weeks of opening.
Opening Room Offers

We can't be sure exactly which end of the spring we will open, but when we do we'll have a month of fantastic room prices to get us off the ground. Please let us have your email address if you'd like to be alerted of these rates when we are ready.
(The room picture above is of The Village Pub in Barnsley, owned by Calcot Hotels)


As soon as we can fix the opening date we will be having a one-off sale - the first 21 rooms sold on that day will be sold at £21 a night, BB, (one night only) so keep us in your favourites!

Jobs Galore

We will be a launching a recruitment campaign later this year, or early in 2013. We are looking for people that smile naturally, love pleasing people, know the area and either have a skill (cooking, waiting, cleaning) or are willing to learn. We know it will be quiet in the winter, so in addition to a core team we do need a flexible work force who can step up when we get busy. It's never too early to send a CV, nor an email.

Keep it Local

We are determined to use local labour and buy locally where possible. We will be featuring the local firms that we are working with on this blog and want to hear from others who think they may have a product or service that we can use; in particular we need to forge links with local food producers, so please do get in touch.

Local History

Thanks to Elfie for giving our team a local history lesson on Blanchland, The Lord Crewe Arms, Nathanial, Dorothy Foster and all.