An ancient market town situated in the loop of the river Wansbeck. Some 14 miles north of the city of Newcastle and approximately 12 miles west from the sea at Cambois.
A bit of everything. Some ‘burbs, some impressive 30s detached and semis near the golf club. Characterful older terraces and always the option of a riverside apartment these days. Stone cottages and larger properties mean you can get lashings of character – and sought after because they’re in walking distance of the town’s ameneties. On the outskirts and in small villages round about find some spectacularly blingy new-build mansions, trendy barn conversions and sturdy, no-nonsense period properties.
That’s the good bit. Hop on a train to Edinburgh or Newcastle from Morpeth station on the east coast line, roughly hourly. The A1 is right by too making it easy to hit Newcastle in 15-20 minutes.
One of the charms of ‘Peth is local shops and markets. Among them independent department store Rutherfords in the high street and Su Heart, handmade jewellery on the high street. The Sanderson Arcade is impressive with a Fat Face and Laura Ashley as well as a great flower shop and a well-used M&S.
Foodies are well satisfied here. There’s a market every Wednesday with a great selection of stalls from local suppliers and the first Saturday of the month a certified Farmer’s Market in town square opposite the clock tower.
Other favourites, Morpeth Cheese Shop by the clock tower and Morpeth Deli.
Morpeth Castle was built of timber in 1095 and later destroyed. In the 12th century the castle was transferred to its present site. All that remains today is the gatehouse, which has been restored by the Landmark Trust and now used as a holiday home. There are several landmarks in Morpeth town centre, the most notable being the Town Hall, which was erected in 1869-70 from the plans of architect R Johnson an exact replica of Sir John Vanbrugh’s original. The clock tower, which stands nearby at the entrance to Oldgate, is a rare example of a freestanding bell tower. Originally built as a jail, the tower contains a clock which is reputed to be a very old one bought from Bothal Castle. The curfew bell still sounds at 8 o’clock each evening. Another prominent landmark in Morpeth is the Court House, which was designed by John Dobson and was built in 1820-28, now an apartment block and fitness centre.
Morpeth boasts many riverside walks which link to Carlisle Park. The town has won Britain In Bloom a couple of times and it’s easy to see why. Even in autumn and winter the riverside and herb garden areas are lovely.
EAT AND DRINK >>
- Black Door brasserie
- Marabini’s Italian
- Sour Grapes
- La Bodega
MY LOCAL >>
Dr Nicky Asbury is a consultant clinical psychologist. She lives in Morpeth with husband Dr Mark Welfare and sons Jake, Issac and Lucas.
Three good things about living here >>
- Fantastic local shops, the butcher the baker the candlestick maker, well nearly, but local department store Rutherfords, has exclusive clothes, gifts and furnishings. There’s a lingerie shop, Secrets, and there is nothing, simply nothing that you cannot buy from the ironmongers, Smails. The Sanderson Arcade is well designed. Good local food from the Cheese Shop and Morpeth Deli as well as M&S. The Farmers Market is excellent for local produce. Bookshop Applebys, a wide range of ‘coffee and cake’ stops and galleries at Tallentyres and Oldgate make Morpeth a relaxing and well-equipped shopping town.
- Morpeth is a great place to bring up kids. Good schools, wide choice of activities; leisure centre, climbing wall, soft play, and local activities such as Morpeth harriers, Rugby Club and football (you can tell I have boys!). I’m told there are good dancing schools for girls too. So much is in walking distance that it’s a safe place for kids to gain their independence and meet friends.
- Good choice of restaurants. Italian Marabini’s, La Bodega for tapas, for Indian The Manzil.
Three places to take vistors >>
- Come in the summer and enjoy Morpeth in Bloom or in winter to see the lovely Christmas tree and lights.
- The Chantry and the bagpipe museum – local artisans display and sell work and its full of local information!
- The riverside walk and the William Turner garden in the park – woods and the wansbeck provide great walking in the summer and winter, and still only 15 minutes from the Cheviots, Druridge and the MetroCentre. You can be considered a true Morpethian if you fall in the Wansbeck from the stepping stones! And search out the Millenium garden, hidden behind the town centre shops.
An in the know secret >>
You can walk through the park on a summer evening and take your dog into The Joiners Arms with you. While you enjoy local real ale, the dog will be fussed over and given a dog chew! Or Morpeth Rugby Club firework display. An annual bonanza.