Review: what we thought of the new Beadnell Box pop up at Beadnell Towers, Northumberland

With pubs and restaurants currently only able to open for outdoor drinks and dining, Beadnell Towers is really boxing clever with its latest addition.

With regulars and day trippers hungry to get back to the landmark site and the hotel staff keen to be serving people once more, a former car park has been transformed into Beadnell Box, a large beer garden complete with dining tables, fire pits and deckchairs for drinks in the sun.

The listed building, which has a long history in the village, dating back to 1723 when it served as a granary, was given a spectacular new lease of life when it reopened as a luxury boutique hotel in May 2019.

But visitors were only able to admire the £3million renovation for less than a year before the country was plunged into the first Lockdown.

Beadnell Box pop up at Beadnell Towers, Beadnell, Northumberland. Photos by Helen Russell Photography.

Beadnell Box, however, gives people the chance to enjoy this landmark gem once more and is the perfect place to unwind after a walk along Beadnell Bay, a much quieter spot for a stroll than the more bustling Bamburgh up the coast.

Ahead of the hotel and restaurant opening fully from May 17, this artisan pop up gives people a real taster of normality with an al fresco dining experience.

Much like the hotel’s 18 luxury rooms all named after Northumberland colloquialisms such as Craa’s Nest, Muckle Hoose and Ducket, the menu is a real celebration of the county’s larder.

Food is served seven days a week from 9am for breakfasts through to late night pizzas from the on site stone-baked pizza oven, the latter of which can be ordered for take away on the beach, which is just 800 metres away.

A 'box' houses a pizza oven, with pizzas also available for take away to be taken on the beach. Photos by Helen Russell Photography.

In between, there’s a great range of salads, bar snacks and more substantial meals. We visited on a Tuesday evening and almost had the place to ourselves after one of the venue’s busiest weeks ever thanks to a buzz around the box.

We didn’t mind one bit as it gave us the chance to hog one of the fire pits for pre-dinner drinks which, as you could expect from Beadnell Towers’ keen eye for quality, includes a great range including a specially crafted gin made by local spirits company Pilgrim and beers from the likes of Alnwick Brewery and other Northumbrian brewers.

Food choices are a hearty affair, with starter options such as rustic chicken liver, pork and port pâté (£7.95) and salmon and cod fishcakes (£8.95).

The mains are equally filling, ranging from a Northumbrian fish pie, stuffed to the gills with locally-landed fresh fish (£17.95) and Alnwick beer battered Eyemouth haddock and chips (£16.45) to roast garden beetroot risotto (£13.95).

Drinks and bar snacks at Beadnell Box

I chose the potted local seafood to start (£10.95), a smooth blend of locally-landed crab, prawns and brown shrimp served with a light herb butter which didn’t detract from the delicate nuance of the seafood. It was perfect for smothering on the toasted bread and was as well presented as you could expect from sit-in dining – none of your paper plates and wooden forks here.

For mains, I had the 35-day dry aged Tweed Valley ribeye, a beautifully buttery slab so rich in flavour it hardly needed my choice of peppercorn sauce. The accompanying Wooler’s triple cooked chips had just the right balance of crunch with a fluffy centre.

We were stuffed, but if you can shoehorn in a pudding there’s a cheeseboard of locally-made Northumberland Nettle, Charcoal and Darling Blue (£9.95), as well as sweet treats such as crème brûlée and sticky toffee pudding, both priced £7.45.

Little legs are also well catered for with a kids menu of fours courses for £9.95.

Fish pie mains

Booking is recommended for Beadnell Box, but walks up are permitted subject to availability.

Covid Secure rooms

In response to the current climate, Beadnell Towers has created three self-contained rooms with their own entrances and online check-in so you can avoid going through reception and minimise time spent in communal indoor areas.

Other rooms are also available for guests staying for work, education or other legally permitted reasons. A continental breakfast is served to your room while the restaurant is closed.

The hotel can open fully for leisure purposes from May 17, in line with the Government’s roadmap to lead the country out of Lockdown.

35-day dry aged Tweed Valley ribeye at Beadnell Box
The building has been in the village since 1723. Photos by Helen Russell Photography.
The menu celebrates the flavours of Northumberland. Photos by Helen Russell Photography.
The hotel also has a terrace for al fresco dining. Photos by Helen Russell Photography.
The pop up has been created in the car park area. Photos by Helen Russell Photography.