The accolade of Country Life magazine’s top UK town suggests Hunter wellies, shootin’ and sherry at six. All that but a bit more too.


Stuff of your dreams here – at a price. In the centre of town you will find some nice Edwardian family terraces, as well as appealing apartment conversions and some ripe-for-conversion cottages. But a few miles away from the centre this is a rural hotspot with some wowie £1m-plus estates hugging the Tyne Valley with its expansive views and isolated grandeur.


East to get to Newcastle on the A69 by road and a good rail link to the big city too. The right side of the city to easily get to Newcastle Airport too.


Not as great as it could or should be considering the exposure the town’s had and the proliferation of visitors. But Waitrose. Reason enough for the south of the region to have serious supermarket envy.

  • Elsewhere some quirky one-off shops like the specialist Violin Shop or buy undies at Petal lingerie shop. Lots of antique shops and nice Cogito Books in St Mary’s Chare where you also find Matt Forster’s gallery.
  • A favourite is Josie’s Dragonfly Shop on Hallstile Bank, set up by the parents of Josie Grove after she died from leukaemia to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
  • This is Farmers’ Market heaven. Hexham’s was recently voted best in the country by the NFU. All of the stallholders come from within a fifty mile radius of Hexham. There are no middlemen or retailers, just good farmers and local producers. Produce has been reared, grown, baked, pickled, preserved or handmade, in a more traditional way slowly and in small quantities, with emphasis on care, quality and flavour.


  • Well, you can’t really go wrong! Rivers, hills and of course Hadrian’s Wall at its best. Hexham’s a great outdoorsy place with moorland and meadow on the doorstep. Hexham Abbey is the historic centrepiece of the town – built around 675 AD at the direction of St Wilfred. The crypt is largely original and the remainder was much altered after 1113 by the Augustinian canons and again in the Victorian and Edwardian periods.
  • The town also boasts two medieval towers, the 14th century Hexham Old Gaol – the oldest purpose-built prison in England – and a Moot Hall which dates from the 14th or 15th century.


  • Chef Greg Bureau put Hexham on the national food map when he was one of  the finalists in the Gordon Ramsay’s F-word competition to find the UK’s best French restaurant. Bouchon serves up typical French bistro cooking with set lunch menus and regular gourmet dinners.
  • On the outskirts of Hexham, The Barrasford Arms run by chef Tony Binks is traditional pub serving pints and pies but with a real gourmet touch in the dining room – where local produce plays centre stage.
  • The Tap and Spile is a ‘proper’ pub with real ales and regular music.
  • Indian food at Saathi and Diwan E Am, Priestpopple, a hit.


Alison Redshaw lives in Hexham.


  • After a long day’s work there’s nothing better than driving back home into the calm of the greenery and big open skies. We’re lucky to have the coast and city within an hour’s drive, whilst being immediately surrounded by beautiful countryside within a stimulating market town.
  • It’s great for children. The schools are great and my kids’ nursery is fantastic, offering locally sourced produce in a beautiful environment. I wish I’d gone to school here! Hexham is also a really safe place to raise a family with plenty to do from rowing on the Tyne to the arts at the Queen’s Hall Hexham.
  • You don’t need to spend any money to have a great time. We have beautiful scenery and amazing walks along the riverside, up into the hills or through the woods on our doorstep. There’s endless routes for a hike or a cycle…. or if you’re less active, a blanket, a great book and a picnic…. and a short stroll makes for the perfect day of lazy countryside shenanigans!


The Hexham Farmer’s market is an absolute must. It’s on every other Saturday and is award-winning for its variety and quality. If you’re not here on a farmer’s market day, check out the Corbridge Larder for fantastic food and drink. A locally sourced, organic, quality lunch is a home-made essential for any of my visitors!

We are lucky to have fantastic pubs on our doorstep. The Tap and Spile in Hexham for the very local pint and great ale selection. Five minutes away, The Black Bull in Corbridge is fantastic or the Hadrian at Wall has glorious views from the beer garden, especially on a dry sunny day!

I love taking friends to Aydon Castle, especially if they have children. It’s the ideal spot for the kids to play, whilst the adults chill on the grass and we all learn about the past, our local history in a truly beautiful setting; especially when the aroma of wild garlic is in the air. I’d round off the day with cake and tea at Ashton and Buckley’s in The Chare in Hexham, a fantastic cafe run by two lovely sisters with amazing talent for making the best cakes ever (alongside the rest of their fab menu)!


Hexham’s charity shops are fab, especially for children’s clothes and books. Buying  supports Oxfam and the work they do and it’s recycling! We also have fantastic NCT sales for families wanting a bargain!

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