With its pretty cobbled streets, charming boutique shops and beautiful landscapes, the historical village of Corbridge is more than just a festival venue.
Sure, our beloved Corbridge Festival has amazing live music by the bucket load, fun workshops, acclaimed street food and breath-taking attractions to make plenty of unforgettable memories – but our surrounding village has the ability to make even more. If you’re taking a trip to our festival in summer, why not add an extra day of exploring to your visit? There’s so much to see, do, learn, eat and drink in our village! We’ve created a guide to show our visitors how to experience Corbridge to its fullest…
Corbridge isn’t like most high streets. Instead of rows of the same old stores, you’ll discover a quaint cluster of boutique craft shops, farm shops, traditional sweetshops and an award-winning bookshop. Step back in time by browsing Vintage at the Tower, a quirky Aladdin’s cave selling one-off nostalgic items that date from the Victorian and Edwardian eras through to the roaring 20s and groovy 60s. It has everything from homeware to clothing and many items have been restored or upcycled by their team of talented craftspeople. Nearby is RE, a converted workshop that sells loads unique items that have all been recycled, rescued and restored (hence the RE).
From multi-coloured hand-marbled notebooks and Frankfurt Opera House biscuit cutters to Rickshaw art vases and cast iron industrial tables, this shop is full of eccentric finds. Of course, if you’re after something a bit more sophisticated (although we can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want Frankfurt Opera House biscuit cutters), 1884 is a stylish boutique that sources some of the best quality British brands like The Harrogate Candle Company, Voyage and Helen Moore.
2-minutes’ walk away from 1884 is Forum Books, an award-winning independent bookshop based in a listed chapel selling a wonderful selection of hand-picked, eclectic literature. It’s so cute, in fact, that Look North magazine referred to it as ‘Shop of the North’. And as any book lover knows, there’s nothing quite like a lovely, indie bookshop. You can also buy Corbridge Festival tickets at Forum books while you're in there choosing your next read.
For some edible treats, The Corbridge Larder is an old-fashioned delicatessen that specialises in some of the finest, locally sourced cheeses, jams, chutneys, biscuits and cakes. Spokes cafe is also an irrestistable stop, when you're out on your bike and need to fill up.
A five-minute drive from Corbridge’s village square (and en route to Newcastle) is Brocksbushes Farm Shop that sells an exceptional range of fresh, homemade produce. There’s even a pick-your-own fruit field attached, where visitors can pick their own strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants or plums, depending on which month they visit.
From around the 2nd to the 5th century, Corbridge was a thriving Roman town where civilians and tradesmen would mingle with soldiers on their way to Hadrian’s Wall. Today, Roman ruins can still be seen and visitors can explore what’s left of the town and learn about Corbridge Roman life. One of the most influential and important archaeological discoveries can even be seen here. The famous Corbridge Hoard, a collection of well-preserved Roman objects that were discovered in a 2000-year-old chest in 1962 is now on display at the Corbridge Roman Site Museum.
Also in amongst the museum’s vast collection is the renowned Corbridge Lion – an extraordinary sculpture that’s given researchers a huge insight into Roman culture and craftsmanship. The ruins and museum are not far from Corbridge (and Tynedale Rugby Club, where our festival is held) and are only 2.5 miles south of Hadrian’s Wall, another famous site that’s definitely worth a visit.
It probably won’t surprise you that our little picturesque cobbled-street village is full of traditional tearooms. Massey’s is a cosy country tearoom that whips up a gorgeous afternoon tea, while Spokes Kitchen’s yummy cakes are adored by locals. If you’re after a good meal, Corbridge is packed with fabulous restaurants. Located in the stunning town hall buildings, The Wheatsheaf offers a great range of tasty delights, with an extensive menu that will appeal to everyone. It’s only a short walk away from our Corbridge Festival venue too, making it a handy spot for Saturday night campers who fancy filling their bellies before the Sunday ride home.
Another great place to eat is The Angel, a beautiful venue that dates all the way back to 1569. It serves astounding British pub food and has everything from Pressed Pheasant and Venison Terrine to Smokey Burgers filled with smoked bacon, smoked cheese and chipotle ketchup. If you fancy a couple of drinks, head to Pele Tower Pub. Not only is it a cool microbrewery that serves delicious craft beer, it’s also a converted 14th century tower. Loads of its history has been preserved too – it still has its original stonewalls and arched doorways and it’s been kitted out with old-fashioned wooden stools, barrel tables and even a golden Victorian cash register.
For a proper country pub with decent prices, try The Dyvels Inn. With a cosy atmosphere and exceptional beer garden, this pretty stone pub is located next door to the train station, making it a perfect place to grab a pre-travel drink.
You’d be surprised at how many exquisite art galleries are in Corbridge. Celebrating our talented local artists, The Wallington Gallery specialises in fine watercolour and oil paintings. Some of its extraordinary art dates back to the Victorian era, while others works are by contemporary painters like Newcastle-born Michael Teesedale and Hexham local Lindsey Cooper. You can find this gallery within the beautiful antiquary, Lawrence Stephenson Antiques, which is also worth a snoop.
Another fabulous local artist is Alex Clark, whose wonderful illustrations can be seen and bought from her Alex Clark @ Corbridge Gallery and Shop. She’s best known for her quirky depictions of farm animals and her work ranges from prints and canvas art to cushions, scarves and stationary. The Duck House Art Gallery is a great spot too. Not only does it house stunning fine art paintings by both emerging and established artists, it also hosts fun workshops, such as painting classes.
You won’t get far in Corbridge’s high street without seeing one of these one-of-a-kind galleries, so be sure to pop in for a browse (or in The Duck House’s case, a paint).
The breath-taking scenes of Corbridge make a perfect venue for festivals and events. Mid June (20th June 2019) sees the cobbled streets come alive with shoppers visiting our quaint and quirky shopping village during the 'midsummer evening' event (with shops staying open until late!). There's also independant stalls selling unique, rare and wonderful goods and a great choice of international street food to help fill you up before the drive home. In December, the village transforms into a winter wonderland for Christmas at Corbridge, while the town’s traditional Steam Rally occurs annually in June. The Tynedale Beer and Cider festival happens each summer too (14th & 15th June), which brings an amazing selection of beer, wine and cider to Corbridge.
But of course, Corbridge’s best event (in our opinion) is our brilliant family-friendly music festival, Corbridge Festival. It’s a two-day event that’s jam-packed with iconic music acts, emerging talent, exciting children’s workshops, delicious street food and locally brewed beer. Since 2011, the festival’s magic and mayhem has brought our little village alive and 2019’s will be no different. Headlining our main stage on Friday will be the legendary Reef, while our Saturday headliner is New York trio, Fun Lovin’ Criminals. We’ve also got some fabulous family-friendly attractions in the pipeline, like every child’s favourite scientist Professor Pumpernickel and the jaw-dropping Astral Circus.
There’s so much to see and do in our beautiful Northumberland village. If you still haven’t got tickets to our great little music festival, book them now. And enjoy an unforgettable getaway exploring Corbridge and experiencing incredible live music.