The Ship Inn, Low Newton

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The Ship Inn, Low Newton


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Review of "The Ship Inn, Low Newton"

published 03/02/2015 | cr01
Member since : 13/05/2008
Reviews : 651
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About me :
Now writing music gig reviews for free tickets. Sorry ciao, less time for you now; just wish you hadn't stopped paying for music reviews.
Pro Usually one of the best pubs in the land
Cons Marred by a bit of lack of attention on our most recent visit
Value for Money
Standard of Service

"Low Newton's Ship Inn - Sexy but it knows it"

The Ship Inn, Low Newton

The Ship Inn, Low Newton

To be admitted it was an unlikely looking flash mob; a group of 30 people, mainly women of a certain age wearing their yesteryear M&S jumpers of cuddly bears, bows and sequins. Indeed at first we thought it was some kind of alternative bus trip for middle aged love seekers on a speed date visit to a small pub perched on the edge of a windswept and icy Northumberland North Sea. The landscape and weather lent itself to cuddling. Once the group were all through the door however, a steely determination took hold and I could suddenly hear the rustle of a couple of dozen song sheets before the singing began.

While I wanted to enjoy the “spontaneity” of the moment, unfortunately this presentation had something of a grim determination to it. I like folk but this smelt like it had been practised to death. These people were overly desperate to share their love of song and make us, the sudden audience, have an experience they would tell their friends and family about. It rather felt too evangelical for me and I refused to be baptised in this frothing font brimming with song.

Unfortunately for the flash mob they had both arrived at an unfortunate moment and the punters had a secret. There were 18 of us in our party (fully half of the pub clientele) sat in 3 different tables across the pub, and we had seconds before the song began decided to leave. Crestfallen was the word as the singers seemingly managed to half empty the pub after just a sole song. We had unwittingly formed a flash mob of our very own.

The Ship Inn – sexy but it knows it

This sort of experience is typical of The Ship Inn at Low Newton. It is a stunningly beautifully simple pub located in a former fisherman’s cottage and with stone flag flooring and stripped down brine washed oak tables and chairs. While the pub is a dream image of what a pub should look like, it is also stunningly popular, busy and dare I say it, just a little too contrived.

That said I will still adore the Ship Inn. It would take much more than a flash mob of evangelical folk singers to ruin a love affair that has extended over 20 years and perhaps a dozen visits. I do wish I’d kept a tally of all the bars, the beers and the meals I’ve ever eaten; I’ve led a charmed life in that that I probably could boast an impressive number of establishments. Out of all those experiences it would be ridiculous to come up with a favourite as different visits offer a different vibe each and every time. However, the Ship Inn would make the top 10 of my personal list of top pubs.

The pub has its own micro brewery concern in the adjoining fisherman’s cottage, and it usually sells 3 or 4 very good beers. We were a little disappointed that on our most recent visit they were selling one that appeared a little cloudy and fusty. They did replace the pint without a quibble, but I fondly liked to think that there was a time when the beer would have been tasted and tested and not even served if it was found wanting.

The food at lunch time is likewise simple but excellent. There is a choice of toasties, ploughmans and local fish sandwiches (crab and kipper pate being especially prominent). I can recommend both. Sandwiches are not particularly cheap (say £7 for a crab or kipper one), but given that they use fresh local ingredients we weren’t being robbed blind. Unfortunately, there is no opportunity to book a table at lunchtime so it is pot luck if you get a table. We arrived found a table at 2:25 and quickly ordered as the food order closed at 2:30; lucky indeed. One of our young party decided that Crab at that particular time wasn’t for him and wanted to order something else. At 2:36 we were told the kitchen had closed and there was apparently no exception for a sobbing and attention seeking 9 year old. No matter for me, I nabbed a spare portion of crab sandwich while the parents were trying to coax said child from his sulk under the table. Again, I like to fondly remember that things were not quite as strict back in the day.

The evening meals are more formal affairs and while they are not cheap the food is lovely and the prices are reasonable for the quality you get. There is usually a choice of fresh fish or local meat. We have booked and enjoyed an evening meal at The Ship in the past.

The pub also offers bottle take-outs of its brews although at well over £3 a bottle again it's not a cheap option when Sainsbo's sells three (albeit less exclusive brews) for a fiver.

Make it worthwhile – hike there

If having a pub on the stunning Northumberland Coast isn’t enough, the five mile walk from Craster to reach the pub is one of my favourites too; it offers a good bang for the buck. If it transpires that The Ship Inn has finally succumbed to the thrall of its own beauty, at least you will have the memory of the hike to remember. Don’t worry if you don’t fancy walking, you can drive there but of course one of your party would have to go light on the pub brewed beer.

From Craster you walk along the coast to Dunstanburgh Castle; a ruined castle which sports an impressively ruined crown of a former tower. The Castle can be seen for miles around and is, again, one of my favourite spots of the Northumberland coast (and yes dear reader, I have hiked every inch of that coast). Just past the Castle you pass a particularly wild bit of sea and coast; even on a quiet sunny day it seems wild; on the blowy February day we passed by it felt as though the sea might drag you in, and we had to walk through clouds of sea foam that was floating through the grass and the path. Look out for seals on this stretch.

Beyond this spot, you have a choice of yomping over some impressive looking sand dunes or if you get tired of the up and down hill walking, you can stroll along the wide sandy stretch of Embleton Bay. The particularly nice thing is that there is a route off the dunes about half way along so you can grab a bit of both experiences if you want. After that windy hike, our initial perch in the garden of the Ship while we waited for our fellow hikers felt surprisingly warm although even out of the wind it was at freezing temperature.
Summing Up

I have always enjoyed our trip out to the Ship Inn and the bracing walk along the coast before the rewarding pint of real ale and a nice fresh fishy sandwich is always one of our real treats. On our most recent visit I have to say that the cloudy beer and the strict interpretation of the dining times did leave us with a slightly less rosy glow than usual. Perhaps the pub, which has a steady and constant stream of visitors, is starting to let go of the grip, although of course, it could have simply been an off-day.

While I adore The Ship at Low Newton by the Sea, I’ll rate only on this particular experience and where I’ll have to let it slip a star, although it is still well worth the visit if you are in the area.

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Comments on this review

  • shellyjaneo published 27/04/2015
    vh x
  • euphie published 01/03/2015
    e :o)
  • Dentolux published 28/02/2015
    An excellent reviewer by the trekker of the Northumberland coast.
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Product Information : The Ship Inn, Low Newton

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Product Details

Type: Pub

City: Low Newton


Listed on Ciao since: 02/02/2015