Stonyfield Cottage is pet friendly

Up to two well-behaved dogs are welcome but please confine them to downstairs 



​Protect the environment:

  • Take your litter home - leave no trace of your visit
  • Do not light fires and only have BBQs where signs say you can
  • Always keep dogs under control and in sight
  • Dog poo - bag it and bin it - any public waste bin will do
  • Care for nature - do not cause damage or disturbance.

You know that Titanic had a sister

YYou know that Titanic had a sistYou know Titanic had a sister!

Well, you've driven the 31 miles' scenic route from Stonyfield Cottage in Rochester to the market town of Alnwick and, at my recommendation, you've maybe spent time browsing the shelves of Barter Books and perhaps enjoyed a buffet lunch there. Of course, there's lots more worth seeing in Alnwick in addition to one of the UK's largest second-hand bookshops. Not to be missed is a visit to The White Swan on Bondgate with its remarkable dining room with its Titanic connections. RMS Olympic, sister ship to the ill-fated Titanic, was launched in 1911, retired from service in 1935 and scrapped in 1937. Many of the ship's fittings were sold at auction, including the luxurious dining room which was bought by the then owner and re-installed in The White Swan. Truly opulent. 

Where can I find one of the biggest second-hand bookshops in the U.K.?


Alnwick in Northumberland, less than an hour's scenic drive (33 miles) from Stonyfield Holiday Cottage via Rothbury and across the moors. Barter Books, a dog-friendly establishment, is housed in part of Alnwick's former and rather grand Victorian Railway Station and it is on truly a massive scale with books, both modern, vintage and antiquarian, on virtually every topic under the sun. You can spend hours browsing the shelves. There's a playroom provided for children, ample seating, an ice cream parlour and a buffet for refreshments. In the winter months open fires make the place seem especially welcoming. One notable quirky feature, not to be missed, is an overhead model railway running in the central room and linking the columns of books. Barter Books recently featured in railway enthusiast, Tim Dunn's most excellent TV series "The Architecture the Railways Built" on the Yesterday Channel (Series 3 Episode 7). This can be viewed on UKTV Play.  One of Barter Books' claims to fame is that it houses an original of the famous WWII poster KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON published by HMSO in 1939 and in their Gift Shop you can buy a replica of this iconic poster or other items bearing this slogan which seems to have some resonance today with news that we don't have enough HGV drivers and, as a consequence, supermarket shelves are emptying fast, petrol stations have no fuel, Halloween pumpkins are being left to rot in the fields and Christmas may have to be cancelled owing to a shortage of toys! If you are a parent, now may be a good time to tell your children that Santa didn't make it through the pandemic - let them down gently and get them used to the idea of no Xmas this year! Otherwise, you may end up putting a couple of AA batteries in their Christmas stockings with the message, "No toy supplied with these batteries". Just a thought!

AAre you a couple - one or both over 60 years old? Fancy saving a bob or two?

Whilst on holiday at STONYFIELD HOLIDAY COTTAGE , you may decide to visit one or more National Trust properties. There are several close by and others farther afield. These include:
Wallington (Adult admission £15)
Cragside (Adult admission £20)
Hadrians Wall & Housesteads Fort (Adult admission £9.90)
Dunstanborough Castle under care of English Heritage (Adult admission £5.90)
Cherryburn Cottage (Adult admission £5)
Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island (Adult admission £8)
Inner Farne Islands (Adult landing fee per island £8 - £12 excluding boatman's charge)
Seaton Delaval (Adult admission £8)
Members of the National Trust are exempted from paying admission charges but, for two adults who are not members of the National Trust, you can see that the admission costs to visit, say, just the first three properties on the above list would cost an adult couple just shy of £90 in admission fees. Anyone thinking of visiting multiple National Trust sites should consider whether it would be financially prudent to take out annual membership. The cost of annual N.T. membership for two adults at the same address is £120 per year. The National Trust do offer a 20% discount on that annual membership charge but only if both adults are over 60 and they have held annual membership during five of the last ten years.
Clearly, not every over 60 will qualify for senior membership of the National Trust but do not despair. There is a better deal to be had. Join the National Trust for Scotland. Membership of the National Trust for Scotland permits free entry not only to National Trust properties in Scotland but also to National Trust properties in the rest of the U.K.  Joint senior membership of the Scottish National Trust costs just £87.60 per annum (or £7.30 per month by direct debit). Furthermore, only one of you has to have reached 60 years of age in order to qualify for the senior membership rate and there is no requirement to have held previous membership of the Organisation. It's a win, win situation! What's not to like? So, whilst you are on holiday at Stonyfield Cottage, you could not only visit N.T. sites in Northumberland but also various properties North of the Border. Prior Wood Gardens, Harmony Garden and Robert Smail's Printing Works are all less than an hour's drive away and a further 33 places in the care of the National Trust for Scotland are within a distance of 100 miles from Rochester.
All prices correct at time of writing this blog

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