Go with Ted

Travel, trains, drinking and cooking with Ted

Northumbria Pub Guide 2023

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 24 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 and 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 Tees), and within that alphabetically by place. GBG means they are in the 2023 CAMRA Good Beer Guide. Pubs which we haven’t visited for more than five years are dropped from the guide – each entry notes the most recent year we visited. Getting out and about once more in 2022 means that there are a number of re-entries.

Steve Gillon, January 2023.

Update, 4 March 2023: The Welcome Inn in Bishop Auckland, County Durham is currently closed and seeking a new tenant.


Ship Inn, Low Newton by the Sea

Alnmouth Try Also Red Lion, GBG. 2022
Alnwick Try Also Ale Gate, GBG. Micropub. 2022

Harry’s Bar. Micropub. 2022

RE-ENTRY John Bull, GBG, 2022

Tanners Arms, GBG, 2022

Bamburgh Try Also Castle Hotel, 2018
Beadnell Try Also Craster Arms, 2021
Belford Try Also Black Swan, GBG, 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. Micropub, 2021


The Blue Bell, Belford

Craster Try Also Jolly Fisherman, GBG, 2018
Embleton TOP 20 Greys Inn, Stanley Terrace, NE66 3UY, GBG. Good beer, coal fires, busy and friendly early doors. 2018.
Hexham Try Also Platform Bar, Hexham Station, GBG. Micropub. 2022

Victorian Tap, formerly Tap and Spile, GBG, 2022

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 Nearly There RE-ENTRY Tap and Spile, 23 Manchester St, NE61 1BH, GBG. Friendly traditional pub. 2022
Morpeth Try Also Joiners, GBG, 2022

Office, GBG. Micropub. 2018


Castle Brew House, Sun Hotel, Warkworth

Old Hartley Try Also RE-ENTRY Delaval Arms, GBG, 2022
Once Brewed Try Also Twice Brewed Inn. GBG. On-site brewery and fine beers. 2019.
Rothbury Try Also Narrow Nick. Micropub. 2018.
Seahouses TOP 20 Olde Ship, 7-9 Main St, NE68 7RD. 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. Ownership has changed recently. 2021.
Warkworth Try Also Castle Brew House (Sun Hotel), GBG, 2022

Hermitage Inn, 2022

Masons Arms, 2019

Wylam TOP 20 Boathouse Inn, Station Rd, NE41 8HR. Well worth missing a train for. Get off at Wylam if passing through. Tremendous beers, friendly atmosphere.  2022


The public bar of the Olde Ship, Seahouses

TYNE AND WEAR (Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland)
Birtley Try Also Railway, 2022
Blaydon Try Also Black Bull, 2022

The Yard. Micropub. 2022

Felling Try Also Old Fox, GBG. 2018

Wheatsheaf, GBG. 2018

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

Station East, 2019

  Jarrow Try Also Albion Gin & Ale House, GBG, 2021
Monkseaton Try Also


Left Luggage Room, Monkseaton Metro Station. 2022


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. 2022
 Newcastle City Centre TOP 20 Crown Posada, 33 The Side, NE1 3JE. GBG. A gem of a pub. Good beer. Good music from the record player, friendly. 2022.
 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 1RQ. GBG. 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
Platform 2, Tynemouth Metro Station
 Newcastle City Centre  Nearly There Mean Eyed Cat, 1 St Thomas St, NE1 4LE. GBG. Friendly micropub with wide selection of beer and cider. Handy for bus stations. 2022
 Newcastle City Centre Try Also Centurion, Central Stn. Impressive interior. 2022.

Duke of Wellington, 2021

Forth. 2018

Hotspur. 2022

Old George, 2018

Split Chimp. GBG. Micropub. 2018

Strawberry, 2018

Telegraph, 2018

Town Wall. 2020.

Wobbly Duck. GBG. Micropub. 2022

Newcastle, Heaton Try Also Heaton Tap, GBG. Micropub. 2022

Tipsy Toad. Micropub. 2022

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


Free Trade Inn, Newcastle upon Tyne

South Gosforth Nearly There Victory, 43 Killingworth Rd, NE3 1SY, GBG. Traditional pub. 2022
South Gosforth Try Also RE-ENTRY Brandling Villa, 2022
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. Plenty of decent beers, Close  to the sea front. 2021
  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 Lodge, Tynemouth

 Swalwell Try Also Owa the Road. GBG. Micropub. 2022

Sun Inn, GBG, 2022

 Tynemouth TOP 20 RE-ENTRY, Tynemouth Lodge, Tynemouth Rd, NE30 4AA, GBG, Deservedly back after recent visits. Regular in GBG for 40 years. 2022 
  Tynemouth Try Also Copperfields. 2018

Platform 2. Tynemouth Metro. 2022

Turks Head. 2018

Whitburn Try Also Jolly Sailor 2018
Whitley Bay Try Also Split Chimp, Spanish City, GBG. Micropub.  2022

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. 2022
Try Also Bay Horse, GBG. 2022

Green Tree, GBG,2022

Blackhill Try Also Scotch Arms, GBG, 2021
Chester le Street Nearly There Butchers Arms, Middle Chare,  DH3 3QD, GBG. Fine traditional pub. 2022 
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. 2022.
Grey Horse, Consett
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. Regular live music. 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). 2022.
  Durham City TOP 20 Old Elm Tree, 12 Crossgate, DH1 4PS. GBG. Good beer, friendly local pub, well looked after. 2022.
  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. 2022.
  Durham City TOP 20 Station House, North Road, DH1 4SE, GBG. Micropub with quality beer which has developed into a fine local. Excellent reputation for cider. CAMRA UK Pub of the Year  2022 Runner Up. 2022.

Ted has a session in the Colpitts, Durham City

 Durham City Nearly There Dun Cow, 37 Old Elvet, DH1 3HN, GBG. Tiny front bar ideal for a few pints and conversation. 2022
 Durham City Nearly There Holy Grale, 57 Crossgate, DH1 4PR, GBG. Micropub which has become a good local boozer. Limited cask choice but large craft selection, 2022.
Durham City Try Also


 Half Moon, GBG, 2022.Hill Island Brewery, Restricted hours. Usually open Saturdays. 2022.Shakespeare, 2022

Waiting Room, on station platform. GBG. 2022.

Woodman, 2022 


Dun Cow, Seaton

Ferryhill Station Nearly There RE-ENTRY Surtees Arms, Chilton Lane, DL17 0DH, GBG. Home of Yard of Ale Brewery, plus guest beers. 2022
Framwellgate Moor TOP 20 Fram Ferment, 29B Front St, DH1 5EE, GBG. Friendly (particularly to dogs) micropub and bottle shop with good selection of beer and cider. 2022.
Lanchester Try Also Crinnions, GBG, 2021
Middlestone Village TOP 20 Ship Inn, Low Road, DL14 8AB, GBG. A recent visit confirms that this still is an excellent village pub. 2021


Ship Inn, Middlestone

No Place Try Also Beamish Mary, GBG, 2019
Seaham Try Also Coalhouse, GBG. Micropub. Recently has new owners. 2019
Seaton Nearly There Dun Cow, The Village, SR7 0NA, GBG. Unspoilt local pub. 2022
Shincliffe Village Try Also Seven Stars, 2022
Spennymoor Nearly There Little Tap, King St, DL16 6QQ, GBG Small and friendly micropub. 2022
Spennymoor Try Also Frog and Ferret, GBG, 2021


The Frog and Ferret, Spennymoor

Stanhope TOP 20 REENTRY Grey Bull, 17 West Terr DL13 2PB, GBG.  Friendly community pub, back in Top 20 after recent visit. 2022
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
Witton Gilbert Nearly There RE-ENTRY, Glendenning Arms, Front St, DH7 6SY. Village community local. 2022


The Square and Compass, West Cornforth

 Hartlepool Nearly There RE_ENTRY, Causeway, Vicarage Gardens, Stranton, TS24 7QT. Fine Victorian pub close to Camerons Brewery. 2022
 Hartlepool Nearly There RE-ENTRY, Rat Race Ale House, Hartlepool Station, TS24 7ED, GBG. The first micropub in the Northeast. Deservedly popular. 2022


Causeway, Hartlepool

 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. 2022.
 Stockton Nearly There Golden Smog. 1 Hambletonian Yard, TS18 1DS, GBG. Friendly micropub. 2021.
The Sun Inn, Stockton on Tees

A couple of notes:

The five of the 2021Top 20, lost from the guide in 2022 due to the five-year rule, have all re-entered, though some require a further visit before reaching the  Top 20 once more. A few pubs have been regraded this year and, while we have lost a small number due to the five-year rule they were all in the ‘Try Also’ category.

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 Bojopubs 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.

Finally, the prize for the berst-named beer goes to ‘Bojo’s Leaving Party’, seen in the Bay Horse, Bishop Auckland – and with a name like that I had to have a pint.


The Olde Ship, Seahouses

© Text and photos Copyright, Steve Gillon 2023.

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