Eat & Drink‎ > ‎

Northumberland's Best Sunday Lunch


We asked the people of Northumberland to nominate where they considered to have the Best Sunday Lunch in the County. We were overwhelmed by the number of nominations we received and the passion and support amongst the local communities for their favourites. We sorted through well over a thousand nominations and had the arduous task of narrowing the field down to four finalists who stood out from the rest for a variety of reasons.

After announcing the four finalists we visited each of the establishments in order to experience two courses of their finest food. Factors we took into account when judging the Sunday Lunches included: The provenance of ingredients, the way they were cooked, presented and the flavour, the service received, the location and the overall ambience created. It was incredibly difficult job trying to choose between the finalists as they all had something unique and interesting to offer. One thing they did have in common was the way that they all celebrated the incredible ingredients and produce that is grown and reared on this great land we call Northumberland.

The full reviews for each of the finalists were placed on our blog, The Wellwood, Amble, The Battlesteads Hotel & Restaurant, Wark, The Running Fox, Felton and Number 19 at the Close House Hotel, Heddon on the Wall.

The Battlesteads Hotel and Restaurant, Wark - Best Sunday Lunch in Northumberland 2011
After careful consideration and a lot of heated discussion we came to the following decision:
The Your Northumberland Guide Award for best Sunday Lunch goes to the Battlesteads Hotel and Restaurant in Wark, Near Hexham. We were blown away by every aspect of the meal we had at the Battlesteads, from the commitment to growing all their own vegetables, fruit and salad on site and local sourcing to the expert and delicate cooking and the flawless service. Huge congratulations to all the staff at the Battlesteads who work so hard to maintain these standards, they really are doing Northumberland proud. The standard across the board was so high that we would also like to give the other finalists a special award for:

The Running Fox, Felton - 'Best Value for Money'
This Sunday Lunch was the least expensive of our four finalists, in one case almost half the price of another. The Running Fox have somehow managed to maintain the quality and quantity of the other finalists at a price that offers simply superb value for money, bravo!

The Wellwood, Amble - 'Best New Venue'
Hot on the heels of their Northumberland Business Award for 'Best Start Up' we would like to pile another accolade on top, 'Best New Venue' for a Sunday Lunch in Northumberland.

Number 19 at The Close House Hotel, Heddon on the Wall - 'Best Location'
You simply will not dine anywhere in Northumberland with a more impressive view that is so carefully shown off from inside the restaurant. This is why we have decided to award Number 19 at the Close House Hotel 'Best Location' for a Sunday Lunch.


The Finalists - Why They Were Chosen

West Thirston, Northumberland
The Running Fox - Felton
A large number of people felt that The Running Fox has had an amazing impact and transformed the Village of Felton since they re-opened earlier in the year. It is clearly a special place that is held in high esteem by the community it serves, quality and value for money were mentioned again and again. Combine all this with a beautiful location by the river and they are on to a winner.

"Chris and Nev have done a wonderful job since taking over the Running Fox only this year, their fare is all made on the premises from locally produced sources. I would say their success so far is down to them being "people persons" which reflects on their staff who are very friendly. They truly deserve to do well as they do go the "extra mile" for their customers.".....

"This is a fab little establishment. Compact and cosy with lovely views of the river it never fails to deliver outstanding meals from locally sourced produce all at a reasonable price. The service is always friendly and the tables are always busy. A sure sign of a popular eatery!! Love the Running Fox.".....

"This wonderfull village cafe is Northumberlands best kept secret... wonderfull fresh food.. beautifully presented along with attentive staff... and if that isnt enough... extremely reasonably priced!!!".....



No.19 at Close House
- Heddon on the Wall

Standing out more than any other for the constant and direct praise for the standard of cuisine and service is No.19 at the Close House Hotel. 'Contemporary' and 'unique' are words that were regularly repeated throughout the nominations, patrons were genuinely impressed with the location, friendliness and excellent service.

"What a stunning Place for a family Sunday lunch. The views of the Tyne valley are incredible, the staff are very friendly making you at ease as soon as you arrive. The menu flooded with produce from Northumberlands wonderful larder. Everything on the menu was beautifully presented, the meat and vegetables beautifully cooked and for those with a sweet tooth the desserts are top class. Simply a great Sunday lunch."......

"No 19 puts its own stamp on a traditional Sunday dinner, using locally grown produce it really stands out against others in the local area. Being someone who dines out every sunday, always sampling new restaurants, No 19 has really stood out as the best in the area. Me and my family no longer sample new restaurants as we know that we cannot possibly find any better.".....

"No 19 at Close House is an exceptional place for Sunday lunch, the variation and choice in the menu is so unique but not lacking in the traditional roast, the locality of ingredients is also what puts no 19 above the rest. Beef from wallington, lamb from ingram valley, local veg, what more could anyone ask for, definitely number one in the region.".....


The Wellwood - Amble
In sheer numbers of nominations, The Wellwood just beat the other finalists to come out on top. The reasons were varied and passionate, but centred on the amazing flavour of their gravy. I look forward to sampling it!

"Another amazing lunch today at The Wellwood, this place never fails to deliver! The local "Gloster Hill" beef from the farm just a stones throw away shows real commitment to sourcing local. This from Zecca's sister restaurant who won last years Northumberland Business Awards for using local produce. Keep up the good work and please never ever change the gravy!".....

"An almost perfect lunch - I leave perfection to my late Grandmother. Good slices of quality meat, crunchy roast potatoes, a yorkshire pudding you would break your ankle if you fell from, just cooked fresh veg. The chef usually adds a different variation of veg such as cauliflower cheese. Lashings of hot tasty gravy..... Dont get me started on the puddings. I believe a Sunday lunch deserves a hot pudding. Bread and Butter, Crumble, Sticky Toffee - all served with custard. As I say - Almost Perfect!".....

"I have no hesitation in recommending it to all my "guests" as I run a 4 Star Gold holiday cottage. Those who visited the Wellwood, which are many, all report the quality of this establishment in the guest book and also recommend it to oncoming guests. I think it's a privilege to have such an establishment in our area and I hope long may it last!
".....


Local sourcing and home grown food were the theme in almost all of The Battlesteads' nominations. Sustainability is a buzz word of the moment and the customers here are clearly impressed by their efforts to keep things local. The beautiful location and highly praised food sealed the deal for them.

"This is a family run business with the proprietors being very much hands on giving that personal touch to all customers who eat there. There is a excellent variety of food on offer including a selection of fish and Gammon, all food is locally sourced with a lot being grown on site. (sustainability benifits everyone who live in and visits this beautiful unspoilt county.) The resaurant is always busy - testiment to its popularity yet the service is excellent and you are always greeted with a friendly smile. Excellent Food, surroundings and staff all locally sourced!!".....

"Every time I go its always lovely, nice selection of starters, lovely roast joints and vegetables, their ice cream menu is really different from Beckleberry's and the home made puddings are better than what mum used to make! Make me feel welcome and my custom is valued.".....

"Buffet lunches, large variety of vegetables, three - four meats. The roast Pork, Beef, Lamb and/or Chicken, just melt in the mouth and the flavour just erupts on the taste buds. Varied starters and deserts.Great welcome, busy, but found a table for us but only just.".....



Extremely Highly Recommended
"A great range of high quality traditional and modern dishes in good portions. The staff are friendly and efficient and the new build combines a homely feel with up-to-date decor and furniture. A great place to lose a Sunday afternoon at any time of the year!".....

The Coquetvale Hotel - Rothbury
"The star of the show is definitely the carvery, everything is served to you by the friendly chef.... he even carried my mum's plate to the table for her! There was a choice of beef (medium or well done - something I've only seen at one other carvery in Northumberland - the award winning Battlesteads Hotel in Wark), turkey and a glazed ham. I had a mix of ham and beef and both meats were a delight. On top of all that the vegetables were then brought to the table, carrots, broccoli, french beans, more potatoes and creamed leeks in a cheese sauce, all wonderful!"

"Fantastic, fresh, tasty food, all locally sourced. Service with a smile. Friendly staff and great atmosphere. Value for money. Will even deliver it to your home if you so wish! No need to go anywhere else.".....

"So many pub sunday lunches are often the weakest link in their menu. With the feathers you might even argue it's the jewel in their crown. From the excellent ales and fine wines, through the astonishing range of superb local produce, to the portions that guarantee you'll be going home satisfied the whole experience is a joy. And that's without even mentioning the quality of the cooking, for instance, the way the roast pork melts in the mouth is so sublime it has to be witchcraft. Not only is the feathers the best sunday roast in Northumberland, it's so good it's hardly worth holding the competition at all!".....

"Plenty of it, always cooked to perfection, fantastic home-made yorkshires, superb range of alcohol to accompany it".....

"Food served was lovely and hot and you got a good portion."..... "Always great service, fantastic food and that gorgeous feeling of being comfortabley full when you get back home. Lovely - and they serve all day.".....

"Having tried many sunday lunches, this one is unbeatable. I keep trying to find a better one but cannot. All of the produce is fresh and local, and the cooking of it is just like mum used to make. Traditional methods, no shortcuts, served beautifully. The puddings and icecream are delicious too, if you can fit it in. Thoughtful food served with excellence.".....

"Its always very busy but the standard of the food and the ambience cant be beaten,exceptional local rib of beef and perfectly cooked veg and home made puddings. Staff very friendly and welcoming.".....