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Wine wizards trained to help customers make 'grape' choices at The Hog's Head Inn


The Hog’s Head Inn has been performing wine wizardry by raising a glass to the grape with a special course organised by the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET).

 The Hog’s Head Inn general manager Gary Turner took part in the one-day course, designed to help wine and spirits professionals guide customers into making informed wine selections, amid what can often be a bewildering array of choice. 

Raising a glass after passing the WSET course, Gary said: “There is a dizzying array of wines for people to choose from – and it can be difficult to decide which variety to go for, especially if you are looking to pair it with a particular meal choice.

“The course really did help you to look beyond your favourite grape varieties and gain a robust understanding of different wine choices so we can help assist our customers whether they are choosing a glass of wine to relax and enjoy in the bar, or to accompany a particular dish. 

“We have a fantastic selection of wines from all corners of the globe, with wines designed to appeal to a wide range of different tastes and that are a cracking match to our range of homemade dishes. 

“With so many wines on offer, the course was invaluable in helping us find out about different wines and encouraged us to take our taste buds on a tour to explore different varieties and grapes, so we can help our customers make the best wine choice whether they are enjoying a glass or two at the bar, or are looking for the perfect pairing for their meal.”

The Hog's Head Inn's 'Gin-uary' is the perfect tonic to 'Dry January'


If the thought of Dry January leaves you cold, award-winning The Hog's Head Inn has the perfect tonic with their Try ‘Ginuary’ local craft gin showcase. 

The Hog's Head Inn is capturing the spirit of the gin renaissance with by turning the spotlight on pioneering local gin distillers throughout January, to bring something different to their customers’ gin and tonic. 

The inn will feature gins distilled nearby to encourage customers to put a different gin in their glass throughout January.

Already well-known for the choice and quality of the local and craft ales The Hog's Head Inn serves, it is now giving spirit lovers and gin newbies the opportunity to sample some of the best gins in the North and to work their way through a hand picked selection of lesser-known gin varieties.  

David Walker of The Inn Collection Group which owns The Hog's Head Inn said: “We’re trying to make January a little less blue by trying something that’s more of a tonic, with a small collection of local craft gins that we’ve tasted and loved. What’s more, they’re all distilled in locations close to our inns. 

“Gin is so quintessentially British, and with so many different taste variations now available, the possibilities for flavours from gin seem endless, we’re keen to showcase some directly from our little region of the world.  

“People are trying different garnishes too – ice and a slice of lemon no longer cuts the mustard and there are plenty of premium mixers upping their game to support the in-gin boom.”

Walter Riddell of Hepple Gin said: “We are thrilled that Hepple has been included in The Hog's Head Inn's Ginuary line up. We make our gin rather differently, using young green juniper sourced from the hills around Hepple near Rothbury in Northumberland. 

“We use two separate distillation systems and a high-pressure extraction system to bring a crisp freshness not found in any conventionally made gin. Because of the complexity of our distillery process and our exacting harvesting regime, we only make a small quantity of Hepple, our only product.”

The Hog's Head Inn's Try Ginuary will be showcasing: 

  • Durham Gin -  a small batch gin distilled in a 400 litre copper pot still called Lily, using traditional methods. Only a couple of hundred bottles are made from each batch and are labelled by hand. 
  • Hepple Gin – north Northumberland produced gin that’s vacuum distilled at lower temperatures to capture more flavour, including the young green juniper gathered from the Hepple Estate. 
  • Masons Yorkshire Gin – distilled slowly and traditionally in two 200-litre stills called Steve and Lefty, the first gin to be distilled in Yorkshire contains juniper and citrus flavours. 
  • Poetic License – flavoured with juniper and cardamom spice, lemon, lime and eucalyptus, this is a fresh scented gin that also contains a host of secret botanicals. 

Tasters will be able to try the different garnishes and serving suggestions recommended by the distillers to bring out the best in their gins.

Dave said: “We’re initially offering the craft gins on a limited basis during January but if they prove popular, we’ll be looking to put them behind the bar full time. 

Silver for The Hog's Head Inn in 'tourism oscars'


The Hog’s Head Inn proved it punches above its weight when it comes to being the best in inclusive tourism, beating off strong competition to pick up silver for the Inclusive Tourism category in the North East England Tourism Awards. 

Pipped only by national PLC subsidiary, Go North East, judges were impressed by The Hog's Head Inn's committment and measures to make all guests welcome and included including those with accessibility requirements.

The Hog's Head Inn will now automatically go forward to the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2017 for the first time. 

This year’s North East England Tourism Awards attracted a record-breaking 143 entries, and more than 60 of those were businesses that entered the for the first time, according to award organisers, the destination management and marketing organisation NewcastleGateshead Initiative.

The awards drew entries from Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham.  

The Hog's Head Inneneral manager Gary Turner said: "It goes without saying to us that each and every one of our guests should enjoy the best possible experience with us and feel welcomed, comfortable and at ease from the point of enquiry with us and throughout their stay. We have invested in staff training, special features and the appointment of our very own Accessibility Ambassador Ady in order for us to do this. 

"We are delighted to have this recognition and to have come second only to a far larger operator, in the whole of the region."

Keith Liddell, chief executive of The Inn Collection Group, said: “We are very proud that Gary and his team have picked up this award in such a prestigious competition. This is a testament to the high standards of our facilities and the extra mile we go above and beyond to deliver to customers with accessibility requirements and of course our first class customer service. We constantly strive to raise standards in hospitality are delighted to be recognised for our efforts to draws visitors to North East England and, in doing so, help put our region firmly on the tourist map as a great place to eat, drink, sleep and explore. 

“But it’s not just about awards. Our staff across all of our inns pull out the stops all year round to create the best experience possible for our customers, and I’m proud of their efforts, 365 days a year.” 

The awards were held at a glittering ceremony at Newcastle Civic Centre’s Banqueting Hall, in an event hosted by one half of The Mimic Men and BBC Radio Newcastle breakfast show presenter, Alfie Joey.

Don't miss The Mimic Men appearing at The Hog's Head Inn for a Christmas entertainment special on December 17th. Limited tickets are available priced at £45. Call 01665 606 576 to book. 


Breakfast with Santa at The Hogs Head Inn Alnwick Christmas Entertainment festive parties Northumberland

Father Christmas is coming inn-to town!

Make a date with Santa

Santa Claus and his elves are dropping in to dine with children at The Hog’s Head Inn and its sister venue, The Bamburgh Castle Inn in Seahouses. 

Mr Christmas himself will be visiting The Hog’s Head Inn for a very special ‘Breakfast with Santa’ event on Saturday December 10 before his sleigh arrives in Seahouses in time for ‘Tea with Santa’ at The Bamburgh Castle Inn on Thursday December 15. 

Offering something a little bit different to the usual Santa’s grotto this Christmas, the two Inn Collection Group venues are expecting lots of excitement when Santa touches down with some of his elves from the North Pole. 

The Inn Collection Group’s Sean Donkin said: “We’re very excited that Santa Claus himself is going to be dropping in to Northumberland to meet children. Our breakfast and tea with the man himself is a new concept that offers a fun, festive experience which is far more than the usual quick meeting and gift giving you’ll see in a Santa’s grotto.

“This year we’ve arranged with Father Christmas for him to take a little time out from his hectic pre-Christmas diary and enjoy a little down time with children and their families along with his elves.

“We’re looking forward to seeing lots of excited children enjoying the magic of Christmas at The Hog’s Head Inn and The Bamburgh Castle Inn.”
Breakfast with Santa at The Hog’s Head Inn includes a buffet breakfast for children and grown ups with Father Christmas and one of his elves. No one goes home empty-handed and there will be a gift for each child who comes along. Tickets cost £4.95 for children (babies under one year are free) and £7.95 for adults. The event starts at 10am.

Tea with Santa at The Bamburgh Castle Inn includes a special festive meal, with a free glass of juice for kids and a free glass of Prosecco with each adult meal. Children get the chance to meet Father Christmas and one of his elves and will receive a Christmas gift. Tickets cost £5.95 per child (babies under one year are free) and £9.95 for adults. The event runs from 4pm to 6pm. 
Father-of-three Sean added: “We’ve already had lots of enquiries so we’re advising people to book their ticket for Breakfast with Santa and Tea with Santa in advance to avoid disappointment.”

To book for Breakfast with Santa, contact The Hog’s Head Inn on 01665 606 576 and to book for Tea with Santa, contact The Bamburgh Castle Inn on 01665 720 283 or email