Historic venue set to be unveiled as a hotel

From left: Manager Laura Kennedy, head chef David Hadfield and owner Julie Blackie.
From left: Manager Laura Kennedy, head chef David Hadfield and owner Julie Blackie.

A Grade II-listed coach house is set to open as a hotel after being bought and renovated by a North East entrepreneur, author and screenwriter.

The Otterburn Coach House Hotel is set in a stunning deer park and woodland around the former Otterburn Hall Hotel, which closed in 2012.

The Coach House went under the hammer in January last year when it was sold along with the hall and other buildings. It will be the first of the developments on the site to rise from the ashes when it opens for business this month.

New owner Julie Blackie is targeting the wedding market that is now thriving in Otterburn, by providing a marriage venue and overspill accommodation for guests tying the knot at sites in the area.

She said: “Otterburn has become a really popular place for couples to marry, but there just wasn’t the level of overnight accommodation locally to meet demand from wedding guests.

“The Coach House will fill that gap in the market, and we’re also welcoming in parties and celebrations of our own to cater for local people and those visiting the area from further afield.

“We’ll be providing great food – including Sunday lunches – and an excellent atmosphere, so local people can enjoy a great night out.”

The Coach House conversion will initially create five new jobs, including manager Laura Kennedy, who previously worked as assistant manager at the Newcastle-Gateshead Hilton, and head chef David Hadfield, who was previously at The Duck in Corbridge.

Built in 1870 for Lord James Douglas, the Coach House has 14 bedrooms, a bar and dining area, and has undergone a major refurbishment since Julie bought it at auction.

Julie also aims to offer gourmet fine dining nights and facilities for stargazers, walkers, cyclists and dog owners.