Durham, United Kingdom
July 31, 2005
As it turned out, the Stanley Arms exceeded my carefully managed expectations by some margin. Despite its proximity to the Sellafield nuclear facility, rumours that the curtains would be lead-lined proved unfounded. It's called a hotel, but it's more like a pub with a dozen or so rooms upstairs. The rooms are simple, but very clean and cosy. There was a portable TV with no remote control and a dodgy volume knob in the corner of my room receiving four channels, tea- and coffee-making facilities, a bath/shower with basic toiletries, and a nice view of the beer garden and stream to the rear of the property. It was very nice really. Mobile telephone signals in this area are very hit-and-miss, you'll find, by the way, that there's a landline in the room, too.
Breakfast starts at 7am and consists of "full English," plus help-yourself cereal and juice. I had to start early, so the friendly landlord (a north Londoner as it happens) was happy enough to do me a bacon sandwich I could eat on the hoof - this was ready to grab at 7:05am each day as promised.
The downstairs bar is cosy and welcoming, generally hosting a mixture of Sellafield contractors, travelers, and locals and their dogs. Beers good and not pricey.
A fine evening allows the added treat of outdoor wining and dining in the tidy beer garden to the rear, overlooking the stream, bridge, and old village church.
In short, whilst this was simply a convenient base for my weeks work, the Stanley Arms has more to offer. It's a great travellers rest for those on a tight-ish budget (£47.50 B&B), and hearty fare for those wanting a big feed without a big price - see the dining journal for more details.
From journal This is England