Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The Swan at Choppington



On our way up to Scotland last month, we went via Northumberland to visit friends who live near Morpeth. Chris used to work with my husband, until they moved to take over The Swan at Choppington, the hotel / restaurant where they now live and work.

The Swan at Choppington

We arrived on Sunday just in time for lunch, having spent the morning looking around the nearby Belsay Hall. Chris & Kirsty live above the bar, and eat most of their family meals in the restaurant - which surprised me, although it makes perfect sense once you think about it. We joined them for lunch, once the restaurant had emptied of regular customers. The vegetarian roast was a huge portion of nut loaf, which was really tasty - and was served with a rich gravy and plenty of fresh vegetables.

Being invited to stay with hotel-owning friends was a bit of a novelty - rather than a spare room in their home, we got to try out one of the hotel bedrooms, which are in a separate, purpose-built annex to the side of the main building. Our room had a small sofa and coffee table by the window, which was an ideal spot to sit and read, and two comfy beds (a double and a single). Of course, we didn't spend that much time in our room, as we were there to visit our friends - so we went for a walk on the nearby beach, and then spent the evening chatting in the bar (which is closed on Sunday evenings, so we had the place to ourselves).

It was fun to get some insight into what it's like to run a busy hospitality business - with lots of staff to manage, menus to plan, and rooms to refurbish. I always like to take a look behind the scenes, at how  a business really works, and particularly in an industry that's always interested me. I've often thought I'd like to have a B&B or a small cafe one day, but I'm not sure I'd want to be responsible for something on this scale. Though, as always, catering kitchens make me just a little bit jealous (and tempted to redesign my own kitchen).

If you're in the area, I'd definitely recommend The Swan for dinner or as a place to stay - and not just because we know the owners!

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12 comments:

Rachel said...

One of my Dad's friends retired to help his wife run her parent's hotel - in the New Town in Edinburgh - and we got all sorts of interesting insights on our visits!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

The room looks so nice and refreshing.

Jenna Cooper said...

That beats sleeping on the couch or a spare bedroom for sure. The room looks beautiful!

Gwynneth White said...

I was in Northumberand two years ago. I feel so jealous reading your post. Thanks for taking me back.
Gwynneth
http://todayinshenaya.blogspot.com

Elisabeth said...

It's always fun to see what goes on behind the scenes, and to stay in a hotel with friends, in a hotel owned by friends seems so much less impersonal than when we normally get to stay in hotels. This one looks to be a beauty.

Bangkok.Ian said...

The room looks delightful. My Mum lives quite near nowadays so we'll probably go for lunch on your veggie recommendation.

Jenny Woolf said...

Looks like a nice hotel. I think that running a hotel or even a b & b would really wear me down, it's the feeling of hardly ever being off duty. Good for those who can make a fine job of it.

Kazzy said...

Very quaint. I love it!

Jen said...

So cool! I love the idea of running a restaurant/bar and becoming so immersed in it that you live above it and eat most of your meals there.

Charlotte Klein said...

I have often thought about what this might be like as well. Though I think it's a bit too much for me to handle personally, it is a job I would love to try on at least for a little while. How wonderful to get to know so many interesting people from around the world daily!

Mike Harvey said...

Although I love cooking (but not quite as much as I enjoy shiny new gadgets) I could never do it for a living. From what I've seen on the likes of Masterchef it's far too pressured a job for me.

Mike

christine said...

what a lovely, spacious room, and so sensible to have a sofa instead of sitting on the beds:)

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