Go with Ted

Travel, trains, drinking and cooking with Ted

Northumbria Pub Guide 2022

colpittsColpitts Hotel, Durham City

This is Steve’s guide to his favourite pubs in Northumbria. They are Ted’s favourite pubs also, though any pub that is open is his favourite. The main criteria are decent beer (cask ale in Steve’s case) and a welcoming friendly atmosphere rather than food, beer gardens or range of wines and spirits.

The Pilot Inn, Berwick upon Tweed

The pubs are divided into three categories:

  • The Top 20. There are currently 21 pubs in the top 20: I never was good at counting.
  • Nearly there pubs are very good also. The reason they are not in the top 20 varies – for some it is too many years since we’ve visited them, some newer or refurbished pubs need another visit, or I’d like to try another time of day or week to make up my mind.
  • The Try Also group are decent pubs also….worth dropping in if you are in the area.

The list is organised by county, from North to South (Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham including Darlington and the ex-bits of Cleveland north of the river), and within that alphabetically by place. GBG means they are in the 2022 CAMRA Good Beer Guide. Pubs which we haven’t visited for more than five years are now excluded and each entry notes the most recent year we visited.

Steve Gillon, January 2022.


Ship Inn, Low Newton by the Sea

Alnmouth Try Also Red Lion, GBG. 2019
Alnwick Try Also Ale Gate, GBG, micropub. 2019
Bamburgh Try Also Castle Hotel, 2018
Beadnell Try Also Craster Arms, GBG, 2021
Belford Try Also Black Swan, 2018

Blue Bell, 2018

Berwick Upon Tweed TOP 20 Pilot, 31 Low Greens, TD15 1LZ, GBG. An excellent traditional boozer. 2021
Berwick Upon Tweed Try Also Castle, 2021

Curfew, GBG, 2021


The Blue Bell, Belford

Craster Try Also Jolly Fisherman, 2018
Embleton TOP 20 Greys Inn, Stanley Terrace, NE66 3UY, GBG. Good beer, coal fires, busy and friendly early doors. 2018.
Haltwhistle Try Also Black Bull, 2017
Hexham Try Also Tap and Spile. 2017
Low Newton-by-the- Sea TOP 20 Ship Inn, NE66 3EL, GBG. Tremendous location on village green. Fine beer brewed on site. Can get a bit like a canteen on busy lunchtimes. 2018.
Morpeth Try Also Office, GBG, Micropub, 2018


Castle Brew House, Sun Hotel, Warkworth

Once Brewed Try Also Twice Brewed Inn. GBG. On-site brewery and fine beers. 2019.
Rothbury Try Also Narrow Nick, GBG. Micropub. 2018.
Seahouses TOP 20 Olde Ship, 7-9 Main St, NE68 7RD, GBG. Hard to beat. Excellent range of beers, friendly, the bar full of nautical bits and pieces is a classic. Eclectic range of customers completes the scene. 2021.
Warkworth Try Also Castle Brew House (Sun Hotel), 2019

Hermitage Inn, 2019

Masons Arms, 2019

Wylam TOP 20 Boathouse Inn, GBG, Station Rd, NE41 8HR. Well worth missing a train for. Get off at Wylam if passing through. Tremendous beers, friendly atmosphere.  2019


The public bar of the Olde Ship, Seahouses

TYNE AND WEAR (Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland)
Birtley Try Also Railway, 2021
Felling Try Also Old Fox, GBG. 2018

Wheatsheaf, GBG. 2018

Gateshead TOP 20 Central, Half Moon Lane, NE8 2AN. Near Tyne Bridge. Excellently refurbished pub. Good beer. GBG, 2019
  Gateshead Try Also By the River Brewing Co. No cask ale and expensive. Included here due to tremendous location by Tyne and Swing Bridges. 2018.

Station East, Closed but due to reopen early 2022, GBG, 2019

Jarrow Try Also Albion, GBG, 2021
Monkseaton Nearly there Left Luggage Room, Monkseaton Metro Station, NE26 3NR. GBG. Excellent atmosphere. 2018


Tyne Bar, Ouseburn, Newcastle

Newcastle City Centre TOP 20 Bacchus, 42-48 High Bridge, NE1 6BX. Well refurbished pub. Excellent range of real ale and unusual craft bottled and keg beers.  2020
 Newcastle City Centre TOP 20 Crown Posada, 33 The Side, NE1 3JE. A gem of a pub. Good beer. Good music from the record player, friendly. The ceiling is a feature. Has now reopened after long closure.2018.
 Newcastle City Centre TOP 20 Bridge Tavern, 7 Akenside Hill, NE1 3UF. Pub with beer garden directly beneath the Tyne Bridge, with own microbrewery. 2021.
 Newcastle City Centre TOP20 Bridge Hotel, Castle Garth, NE1 1R. At North end of the High Level Bridge with excellent views from the beer garden. Well preserved and restored and a wide selection of beers. 2021
 Newcastle City Centre Try Also Centurion, Central Stn. Impressive interior. 2021.

Duke of Wellington, 2021

Forth. 2018

Hotspur. 2018

Mean Eyed Cat. GBG. 2020

Old George, 2018

Split Chimp. GBG, 2018

Strawberry, GBG, 2018

Telegraph, 2018

Town Mouse, GBG. 2017

Town Wall. 2020.

Trent House, 2017

Wobbly Duck, 2021

Wylam Brewery, Exhibition Park, Limited opening hours. 2017

Newcastle East End TOP 20 Free Trade Inn, St Lawrence Rd, NE6 1AP, GBG. Beer as good as ever, as is the jukebox. Unbeatable location overlooking the Tyne. Good atmosphere. 2021.
  Newcastle East End Nearly There Tyne Bar, 1 Maling St, NE6 1LP. By the River Tyne at Ouseburn. Good beer, atmosphere and food. Regular live music. 2018.
Newcastle East End Try Also  Ship Inn, Stepney Bank, Byker. 2018


Free Trade Inn, Newcastle upon Tyne

South Shields TOP 20 Alum Ale House, Ferry St, NE33 1JR. Eight handpumps – ideal place to miss a ferry or six. 2021.
  South Shields Nearly There   Marine, 230 Ocean Road, NE33 2JQ,     GBG, 2021. Plenty of decent beers, close  to the sea front.
  Sunderland Nearly There Ivy House, Ashbrooke, SR2 7AW, GBG. Close to Park Lane bus and metro station, good beers and pizzas. 2018
  Sunderland Try Also Harbour View, Roker, GBG, 2018.Peacock. 2018

Ship Isis, GBG, 2018

  Tynemouth Try Also Copperfields. 2018

Platform 2. Tynemouth Metro. 2019

Turks Head. 2018

Whitburn Try Also Jolly Sailor 2018
Whitley Bay Try Also Dog and Rabbit, GBG. Micropub. 2017

The Bridge Hotel and inside the Crown Posada, Newcastle

COUNTY DURHAM (and Darlington)
Barnard Castle Try Also Old Well Inn, GBG, 2020.
Bishop Auckland TOP 20 Welcome, Low Waldron St, DL14 7DS. GBG. Friendly back street local close to town centre. 2021
Try Also Bay Horse, GBG. 2018

Green Tree, 2021

Blackhill Try Also Scotch Arms, GBG, 2021
Chester le Street Nearly There Butchers Arms, Middle Chare,  DH3 3QD, GBG, Fine traditional pub, 2021 
Chester le Street Try Also Lambton Worm, 2021
Consett TOP 20 Grey Horse, 115 Sherburn Terrace, DH8 6NE, GBG. Friendly local pub, home of the Consett Ale Works Brewery…so a fine pint also. 2021.
Darlington TOP 20 Number Twenty 2, 22 Coniscliffe Rd, DL3 7RG, GBG. For a modern pub its excellent with a great range of beers. 2021.
  Darlington Nearly there Quakerhouse, 2 Mechanics Yard, DL3 7QF, GBG. Fine pub with well-kept real ales. Friendly. 2018.
  Darlington Try Also Britannia. GBG. 2018

Darlington Snooker Club. CAMRA members welcome, GBG, 2019

Half Moon, GBG, 2019

ORB Micropub, GBG, 2019


Sunset at the Colpitts

Durham City TOP 20 Colpitts Hotel, Colpitts Terrace, DH1 4EL. GBG. Traditional Sam Smiths boozer, sympathetically refurbished, full of character (and characters). Good landlords (I’ll have a pint). 2021.
  Durham City TOP 20 Old Elm Tree, 12 Crossgate, DH1 4PS. GBG. Good beer, friendly local pub, well looked after. 2021.
  Durham City TOP 20 Victoria, 86 Hallgarth St, DH1 3AS, GBG. Historic pub, with all the plus points – good beer, friendly atmosphere and coal fire. 2021.
  Durham City TOP 20 Station House, North Road, DH1 4SE, GBG. Micro-pub with quality beer which has developed into a fine local. Excellent reputation for cider. 2021.
 Durham City Nearly There Holy GrAle, 57 Crossgate, DH1 4PR, micropub which has become a good local boozer. Limited cask choice but large craft selection, 2021.
  Durham City Try Also


Dun Cow, GBG, 2021.

Half Moon, GBG, 2021.

Head of Steam, GBG, 2021.

Hill Island Brewery, Opens only occasionally. 2021.

Shakespeare, 2021

Waiting Room, GBG, on station platform. 2021.


Ted has a session in the Colpitts, Durham City

Framwellgate Moor Nearly There Fram Ferment, 29B Front St, DH1 5EE, micropub and bottle shop with good selection of beer and cider., GBG, 2021.
Framwellgate Moor Try Also Queens Head, Front St, DH1 5EE. Formerly the Top 20 Tap and Spile. Newly refurbished, under new management. .
Lanchester Try Also Crinnions, 2021
Middlestone Village TOP 20 Ship Inn, Low Road, DL14 8AB, GBG Was an excellent village pub – and a recent visit confirms that it still is. 2021
The Ship Inn, Middlestone
No Place Try Also Beamish Mary, GBG, 2019
Seaham Try Also Coalhouse, GBG, micropub, 2019
Shincliffe Village Try Also Rose Tree, 2019

Seven Stars, Recently reopened under new management.2019

Spennymoor Try Also Frog and Ferret, GBG, 2021


The Frog and Ferret, Spennymoor

St John’s Chapel Nearly There Blue Bell, Hood St, DL13 1QJ, GBG. Friendly village local. 2018
West Cornforth Try Also Square and Compass, GBG, 2021
Westgate Try Also Hare and Hounds, GBG. 2018


The Square and Compass, West Cornforth

TEESSIDE (NORTH), (Hartlepool and Stockton)
Stockton TOP 20 Sun Inn,  Knowles St, TS18 1SU. A proper boozer despite refurbishment, mainly full of blokes following the racing. Still the best pint of Bass in existence. 2021.
  Nearly There Golden Smog. 1 Hambletonian Yard, TS18 1DS, GBG. Friendly micropub. 2021. 
The Sun Inn, Stockton on Tees

A couple of notes:

We’ve lost five of the previous Top 20, due to the five-year rule, and we intend to visit the Tap and Spile, Morpeth, the Keelman, Newburn, the Tynemouth Lodge, Tynemouth and the Causeway and Rat Race, Hartlepool during 2022, to see if they can be re-installed to their position.

There is a general bias in this list towards town and city pubs, the result of increasingly poor or non-existent evening and Sunday rural bus services, and the habit of many pubs being closed during the day. When we do visit country pubs they can be quiet or more like restaurants,  and it isn’t possible to gauge the atmosphere.


The Olde Ship, Seahouses

© Text and photos Copyright, Steve Gillon 2022

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