Wark, HEXHAM, NE48 3LS
Hadrian's Wall lies to the south of this converted 18th-century farmhouse; surrounding it are some of the country's finest livestock herds, game-shooting and fishing; and Britain's darkest night skies are overhead. There are three dining options: the bar serving, among others, Nel's Best real ale from High House Farm brewery, and Sandford Orchards cider; the conservatory, overlooking the walled herb, salad leaf, fruit and vegetable garden; and the softly-lit main restaurant, decorated with old railway travel posters. Among head chef Eddie Shilton's primarily modern British dishes are venison bourguignon; baby leek and smoked brie pie; hake and chips; and autumn vegetable tagine with bulgar wheat and harissa. Desserts include their ever popular whisky and marmalade bread and butter pudding. Given half a chance, owner Richard Slade will show visitors his carbon-neutral heating system and other 'green' features. Check with them for the summer beer festival date.