A69, Junction Horsley/B6528; 2 minutes
Free WiFi for visitors
Vegetarian or vegan options
Parking available onsite
Ten minutes from the A1, two minutes from the A69 and a mine of North Eastern creativity, the Hearth is a great place to stop for a taste of the region. The 17th-century manse house was restored in 2004 to provide Horsley with a community hub and nine studios where full-time artists create ceramics, jewellery, paintings and textiles, which are for sale downstairs; you may also be able to tour the studios.
The café is in the front two rooms, just beyond the porch, and its windows are frequently fogged up in winter with the hubbub of happy visitors and dog walkers warming themselves within. Snack on delicious home baking, such as peanut butter flapjacks or cheese scones, washed down with proper coffee, or opt for something more substantial. One visitor claimed the eggs Benedict were the best they’ve ever had (breakfast is served all day), and lunches are filling and the menu changes every three weeks: perhaps duck hoisin panini, hunters chicken or roasted sweet potato.
There are a couple of tables on the front terrace, with gorgeous views over the Tyne valley, for al fresco dining on fine days. Parking is just up the hill behind.