This is heavenly countryside, and Brinkburn Priory (built in 1135) has an unrivalled position within it. Solitude and peace are yours in a dramatic wooded ravine along the meandering river Coquet – no wonder the monks who built it felt serene. Mark and Emma Fenwick have renovated (beautifully) three lovely old buildings: The Stables, perfect for a big family or friends’ gathering with plenty of outdoor space, Priory Cottage – a cosy bolthole for two, and Bel House with its private south-facing garden. All have superb kitchens and bathrooms, comfortable sofas and chairs by wood-burning stoves, good fabrics and gentle colours. Nothing is other than generous and all has been thought of, even down to bathrobes and good lotions and potions. It’s so romantic you may even be inspired to get married here, in summer on the terrace with a marquee or in the elegant White Room in winter. There are more than 30 acres for you to explore, with woodland walks along the river and lots of wildlife; beaches are peerless and yet you are close to good road and rail links, and the airport. Newbies to Northumberland will fall in love.