Great British boltholes: A ‘whimsical and classy’ 17th-century B&B with a Harry Potter theme… and you don’t have to be a Potterhead to be enchanted by it
- Northumberland’s Hallow & Crux is next to Alnwick Castle, where the Harry Potter franchise was filmed
- The bed and breakfast has four rooms, starting from £170 per night, that are ‘overflowing with character’
- Downstairs is The Dirty Bottles, a freehouse pub serving Alnwick ales and a feast of Northumbrian produce
You don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to fall under the spell of Hallow & Crux, but if you love the books and films you’ll have a particularly wizard time staying here.
The stylish restaurant-with-rooms is set within a sandstone building that dates from the 1600s. Better still, it’s set in the heart of Northumberland right next to fairytale Alnwick Castle – which, of course, doubled as Hogwarts, the imposing School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, in all eight Harry Potter films (as well as appearing in two Downton Abbey specials).
Scenes from the films are subtly referenced throughout Hallow & Crux’s surprisingly grown-up design. There’s a witch’s hat here, a broomstick there and a set of school ties in Hogwarts colours hanging in a corridor.
Stylish: Newly restored Hallow & Crux is set in the heart of Northumberland right next to Alnwick Castle
One of its fine rooms. James was impressed by the ‘surprisingly grown-up design’ in the Harry Potter-themed rooms
Scenes from the films are subtly referenced throughout Hallow & Crux’s decor. Pictured is a replica Sorting Hat
You may also walk past a stuffed owl, a portrait or two of fictional sorcerers and a replica Sorting Hat, but it’s whimsical and classy enough to appeal to anyone.
There are just four rooms but they’re packed with wow factor and feel surprisingly grand.
Bare stone walls and wooden panelling make the most of the historic setting, while the overall feel is a mix of vintage and contemporary.
Bare stone walls and wooden panelling make the most of the historic setting in the four bedrooms
The overall feel of the bed and breakfast is a mix of vintage and contemporary, James observes
The two largest rooms, the Common Room and the Dumbledorm, are double-height and exceptionally spacious. Both have standalone roll-top tubs and walk-in showers in huge bathrooms.
Each room has its own colour scheme, though faux-candle lighting, heavy fabrics, wizardly knick-knacks and over-sized statement beds add some clever consistency.
When it’s time to head out and explore, Alnwick’s sights are close at hand.
The statue outside the building commemorates the knight Harry Hotspur, an ancestor of the Duke of Northumberland who lends his name to London’s Tottenham Hotspur football team.
The Dumbledorm, pictured, overlooks Alnwick Castle and is double-height and exceptionally spacious
Each of the four rooms has its own colour scheme, with prices starting at £170 per night
The Dirty Bottles, the freehouse pub that’s part of the Hallow and Crux family, is an American-style smokehouse
Step inside Alnwick Castle for tours that take in nearly 1,000 years of history
Hallow & Crux Alnwick, Northumberland. B&B from £170 per night. For more information visit hallow-and-crux.co.uk.
The current Duke resides around the corner in Alnwick Castle, where the grounds offer lovely walks along the banks of the River Aln.
Step inside the castle for tours that take in nearly 1,000 years of history.
I recommend rounding off your day with supper and cocktails at The Dirty Bottles, the freehouse pub that’s part of the Hallow & Crux family, then descend into dreams in your king-size bed.
It’s an experience I can sum up in a single word: magic.
USP: This boutique B&B capitalises on Pottermania without alienating any muggles (non-wizards).
The rooms: Overflowing with character. For a real treat, book The Dumbledorm, which overlooks Alnwick Castle.
The food: Downstairs, The Dirty Bottles is an American-style smokehouse that’s remarkably good value. The meaty menu also has veggie options plus plenty of Alnwick ales and cocktails made with locally distilled spirits. Breakfast is a mighty feast of Northumbrian produce, such as kippers smoked just down the coast in Craster.