Towards the end of May, I revisited Budle Hall in Northumberland. What follows is a brief review of a memorable stay:
Budle Hall is a beautifully secluded late Georgian country house (B and B) located just a mile or so from Bamburgh on the Northumberland Coast. Its west facing bedrooms enjoy fine views of the Cheviot. Holy Island dominates the horizon to the north. A few minutes’ walk from the house, are the seemingly endless sands of Budle Bay, now part of Lindisfarne Nature Reserve. From Budle, the coastal walk via Bamburgh and Seahouses to Craster is one of England’s great walks. This really is a place to get away from it all.
For much of its history, this house has been associated with the Baker-Cresswell family. When I first stayed in September of last year, the house had been tenanted for a number of years and was going through a period of change. Sorting and packing was evident. In the hall, a lingering smell of disinfectant suggested something slightly unpleasant. There was a sadness about the Hall. My stay had coincided with the end of a chapter. When I returned with my wife in May of this year, I discovered a Budle Hall completely reinvigorated. Ralph and Celia Baker-Creswell have returned home; there is no whiff of disinfectant.Gone is that almost imperceptible feeling of decay.
I commend Budle Hall to you wholeheartedly, not just for its location which is both beautiful and peaceful, but for the Baker-Creswell’s kindness and unselfconscious hospitality, which goes far beyond the meaningless ticking of boxes. Little things are of course important – afternoon tea and biscuits, hot water bottles, even some rather good Ukrainian brandy -but what sets Budle Hall apart is that fact that Ralph and Celia have come home, they are delighted to be where they are, and are genuinely hospitable hosts. They like people. All this communicates. The place feels
lived in. “Was it a bit of an invasion having all these people in his family home?” I asked, Eeyore like, uncomfortably imagining myself in the same position. Not at all, said Ralph, and he meant it. The place is both large and small: large enough to absorb the guests, but small enough to feel cosy and warm. There’s a particularly lovely ground floor drawing room – with wood burning stove – for the exclusive use of guests. Up the road at Bamburgh, there is a decent choice of dinner– and the separateness of the place means that the crowds are not overwhelming. One can walk from Budle Hall and completely forget about cars, but Holy Island, Alnwick and the wonderfully dotty Chillingham Castle are all within a short drive. A bus goes direct from the station at Berwick upon Tweed to the bottom of the drive.
I very much look forward to my next visit.